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Old Kenmore - broken gear

Old Kenmore - broken gear

Old 07-23-2012, 05:57 AM
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Default Old Kenmore - broken gear

I bought my old Kenmore about 33 years ago, and sewed happily on it until I started quilting. It has bells an whistles, e.g. cams to sew fancy designs (duckies, etc) - I think I spent $400 on it, back then! When I started quilting, I bought a walking foot for it, but I could not find a darning foot for a super high shank machine. Since I wanted to FMQ, I ended up buying another machine about 5 years ago, keeping this one as a backup.

My niece wanted to learn to sew, so I thought I could pass on my old machine to her, BUT, when we started up the machine, it wouldn't sew correctly - it got stuck! Two sewing machine repairmen have looked at the machine, and both say that it's a broken gear, and that it would be "prohibitive" to fix - hard to get into the part, and both suggested getting a new machine. (My sister-in-law is actually the one who brought the machine in, and so I don't know what "prohibitive" means in terms of $ amount).

Any thoughts? I guess I have some sentimental ties to this machine, and feel that I spent a lot of $ on it, back then. Also, it's heavy duty, all metal parts, so I know it's sturdy. I'd appreciate your feedback.

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Old 07-23-2012, 06:02 AM
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He probably means you could buy a new one for less than it would cost to fix this one...or he wants to sell you a new one. I bet there's someone here who could either walk you through the repair or you can find someone who specializes in repairing older machines.
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Old 07-23-2012, 06:07 AM
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Okay You spent $400 on it 33 years ago. I think that you have definately gotten your moneys worth out of it! You can't help but feel sentimental about something that has been your friend and companion for that long! You could start looking for a replacement on Craigslist, classifieds, etc. I learned to sew on a Kenmore (39 years ago!) and I have no idea what happened to that machine. It was my mothers and I just don't know where it got to. However, I was browsing my local shopgoodwill.com and found the exact same machine! I had to have it! I paid $7 for it. All my memories came flooding back as soon as I put my hands on it. And I actually remembered how to thread it and operate it!
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Old 07-23-2012, 06:10 AM
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If it is that old, it may simply be that the part is no longer available or hard to find. But I know from experience repairmen will tell you"you have an old machine, you would be better off trading up and putting money toward a new one."
Not if i really LIKE the one I have, thank you. I have a Kenmore-24yrs old-one of the first computerized ones. I did put about 250 into it a few years ago and it is just fine. It is my back-up and the one the girls go to when they are home. Honestly, it has some features my newer Brother doesn't have, i have no desire to get rid of it.
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Old 07-23-2012, 06:29 AM
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I have a Singer that had metal gears in it and I stripped them out (after thirty years of use -- I paid $86 for it used in 1976). My repair guy said the same thing about the cost and my husband insisted that we have it fixed rather than buy a new one. The new gears are plastic... not metal... and the darn thing is so loud that I can't use it.

I have since bought several machines but the Singer in her cabinet is now a night stand. Hubby still counts it in the "machine count" when he is telling folks how many machines I have.

Your niece should probably look for an inexpensive starter machine. You want her first experience to be a pleasant one that will make her want to sew. Janome has several that are good machines.
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Old 07-23-2012, 06:37 AM
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You didn't say how old your neice is that wants to learn how to sew. I bought my 8 yr old neice a sewing machine to learn to sew on and it had 2 speeds. She called them "Too fast" and "I'm scared of that one". After a long time she learned, but I wish I had not bought a new, beginner's sewing machine but instead had bought a very old machine with a speed that was adjustable. Just for your info.
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Old 07-23-2012, 06:43 AM
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I had to get a different machine myself,and told was worth fixing old machine which was true when they told me the cost of fixing it. And after I was thinking about how many quilts and other items I had sewen with the machine
it did it's fair share work . so I can't complain about it at all.

Now days I think that the sewing machine need a mileage meter so we will actual rember how much we have put our sewing machines though.
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Old 07-23-2012, 07:10 AM
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I would take it to as many different repair people as possible for a "Free" estimate...You should be able to find a expierened 'older' guy that with time can find the part, or maybe has it from another machine. Do not get rid of it, think of all the happy times 'she' has given you. Worse comes to worse, put it on a shelf, a place of honor where you can still enjoy her for what she gave you in many years of service. only then can you buy a replacement. IMHO
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Old 07-23-2012, 07:16 AM
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It's often easy to repair a vintage machine, but not (in my opinion, anyway) if it's a broken gear.

There are vintage sewing machine groups you can join if you want to try to take the machine apart and fix it yourself. Personally, that is way more than I would want to do in this situation, but some people enjoy the process. Try joining the vintagekenmoresew group and the oldkenmoresewingmachines group at groups.yahoo.com . Also try the wefixit group. There are a lot of old sewing machine guys on those groups who can explain what to do.

If it were me, I would donate the machine to Goodwill (labeling it with painter's tape so buyer knows it doesn't work; dealers often buy these machines to either fix up or use for parts). I understand the sentimental value, but sometimes new is actually better.
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Old 07-23-2012, 07:30 AM
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My Kenmore started "freezing up"... I'd be sewing and it would just stop. Give it a few minutes and it would go again. Took it in and had repairman look at it. Said it would be fine. Yes, it was... for about 3 months. It has frozen up this time and won't unfreeze. I'm thinking mine is a broken gear too. I may try looking on one of the fix-it yourself groups to see if I can do anything. I have several other machines, but I always could use this one too! I just don't want to spend more than the machine is worth since it is quite old...
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