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Thread: 401a

  1. #1
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    Lightbulb 401a

    Attachment 405983Here is my treasure I found on Craiglist for $50. She is just beautiful. I have oiled her. And now she is moving (how fast do they go? She's a bit slower than I thought she would be. Unbeknownst to me, the drawers were full of originals....pinking sheers in original vintage boxes, an original singer buttonholed, a plastic carry case of every foot imaginable, and a darning foot still in it original packaging. I cannot get the two sets of knobs to move off of "A", I am hoping she just needs to loosen up a bit.

    i did well, yes? Nice little sewing desk, too!
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Mdaniels; 04-02-2013 at 03:56 PM.

  2. #2
    Super Member Stitchnripper's Avatar
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    Wow. In a table! I got mine in a case from good will and have been working to loosen up those dials. My thread is "shall I get this machine". I got lots if great advice from this wonderful board and I think everything moves now. Good luck and keep us posted!

  3. #3
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    You did amazingly well! We all dream of getting a deal like this! A 401 is one of the last on my list to get. (A 301 long bed is another!) You two will have so much fun together! Be patient as my 201 I got last Friday was very stiff at first and is now zooming.

  4. #4
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    Thanks ladies, I could hardly wait to get home from work and get her out of the car. Stitch ripper, I followed that thread, almost at the edge of my seat, not knowing I'd luck out and find this one. I will go back and re-read and keep working at her clean up! Thanks

  5. #5
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    To get the knobs to free up you'll need to remove the top of the machine and clean, oil and grease everything that moves. The two vertical shafts with the sliders on them to the left of the cam stack are the cam disk selector shafts. These need to be free of any old sticky oil and oiled to stay free. Lots and lots of moving metal parts in the 401. They are oil hogs.


    O= oil G = grease

    I recommend Tri-Flow oil for the oil places and Tri-Flow grease for the gears. Do not oil the gears, grease them.


    Joe

  6. #6
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    If the motor is strong on the 401, it should be very quick and responsive. As Joe suggested, oil it quite a bit at first to free her up, then a drop or two every 5 bobbins or so. Don't forget the gears under the bed of the machine.

  7. #7
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    Thanks so much! And where does one find TriFlow? I will have to search tOmorrow at lunch. Thank you for the photo, also helpful.

  8. #8
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    Tri-Flow oil and grease is available at Sew-Classic: { http://www.shop.sew-classic.com/ }, and some bycycle shops carry the oil.

    Joe

  9. #9
    Senior Member Mom3's Avatar
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    All great suggestions are listed above. (Aren't we a smart group? )

    Just a note: When you want to move those dials you have to pull them towards you and then turn.

  10. #10
    Super Member kitsykeel's Avatar
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    Actually you pull one and push the other. I don't have mine opened right now, but I believe you pull the lower one to turn and push the top one. You will like her once she is up and running. Love that little desk and all those fabulous goodies that came with her.
    Kitsy

  11. #11
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    The dials do pull out and push in, but they will not budge. I spent some time reading Stitchnripper's thread last night, and all the advice there. Tonight when I get home from work, I will re-oil and order some Tri-Flow if I cannot find it locally. Somewhere in one of the threads I read, someone mentioned using the solvent one uses when cleaning a gun and I'm wondering if I can try that while I wait for the Tri-Flow to get here?

    Thanks, the board is sew helpful

  12. #12
    Super Member Mitch's mom's Avatar
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    Great find! Yes you can use some gun cleaner just be careful not to get it on the paint. Just a squirt and let it sit. Once everything breaks free your machine will sew very fast; not industrial fast but she can chew through fabric with the best of the home machines! One area that needs a drop of oil on these old girls is right in the middle of the bobbin case. There is no hole just metal. Go ahead an put a drop on it and let it soak in. Every 400 and 500 series machine I have had squealed or didn't run just perfect, once I oiled the bobbin case - problem solved. You'll love it once you get her loosened up!

  13. #13
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    Ran out at lunch and picked up Triflow at the local sewing shop here--can't wait to get home and work on it!

  14. #14
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    Just an update and a question (I think)--I oiled her up with the Tri-flow and she was doing well until I put material on her--then she really slowed down. I figured it probably wouldn't hurt to also oil the feed dogs, so I did and man, did she take off!! Wow. The only problem now continues to be the knobs that look like a pig nose. Any other advice on loosening them up? I need to re-oil and let them sit, perhaps?

    I will order some grease, which my sewing shop did not have, from Sew Classic. Very impressive machine, nice, nice straight stitch.

  15. #15
    Super Member Mitch's mom's Avatar
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    Keep working with them. Mine were stuck for days and I was about to give up thinking it was broken when someone mentioned using a hairdryer on the cam stacks to warm things up a bit. The little ratchet/finger things on the cam stacks broke loose after just a couple minutes.

  16. #16
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    you might benefit from reading this entire post:
    http://www.quiltingboard.com/vintage...e-t216956.html
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.
    good mothers let you lick the beaters - great mothers turn it off first

  17. #17
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    Thank you, I will keep working at it and yes, I've definitely been using that thread as my reference. It's been very helpful.

  18. #18
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    I have one of these machines that I purchased new in 1959 when I finished college-my first purchase after school years of near poverty to get my degree. I would never part with my machine even though I have several others. I use it frequently!

  19. #19
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    I have this very same machine that my Father gave me when I was around 10 years old. He worked for Singer just about all of his life. He used to take me to work with him on Saturdays for sewing lessons, it's where I learned my basics. It's been sitting at my Mom's ever since, very rarely used and not touched for a good 30+ years but after a good oiling (the wheel would not turn at all) it seems to be working fine. All I have to do is run back to my Mom's to pick the foot pedal up. Of course, the kids left it behind!

  20. #20
    Super Member cctx.'s Avatar
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    Awesome score, it's beautiful!

  21. #21
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    I have this machine. Was my FIRST wedding anniversary gift..............It is a workhorse. Just started quilting 5 years ago. Use almost every day to sew quilt blocks..........You will enjoy this machine for many years.
    Happy Quilting

  22. #22
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    More info about my previous post. My machine was purchased in l957.................Old but still working good. Use almost every day.
    Happy Quilting

  23. #23
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joyplace View Post
    More info about my previous post. My machine was purchased in l957.................Old but still working good. Use almost every day.
    Happy Quilting
    I believe the key to it is to use it almost every day.
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.
    good mothers let you lick the beaters - great mothers turn it off first

  24. #24
    Senior Member AlaskaAlice's Avatar
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    I just a month or so ago won a bid for my 401.. I paid more for it and did not get all the goodies..infact I think the shipper (packer) must have dropped it and a corner of the bed in the back was broken.didn't hurt the function of the machine. It did move but the stitch controls did not move. I cleaned, cleaned and oiled (even found a little bird feather in it) finally after much gentle persuasion I could move the controls. I found even then it would not change the stitches. It was locked up in the stitching bar above the needle. got that loosened up and it works. Still needs a bit more cleaning but everything works correctly and it sews a wonderful stitch. So I love this machine.(I had one like it I bought used in 1958 that is still working)my daughter has it. This one is not as worn as that one. I Did lots of upholstery sewing, heavy sewing as well as light. I have worn out many machines in the last 25 years so I think I got a great deal! but Yours is a wonderful buy! keep cleaning oiling and loosening and you will love her when she purrs for you!

  25. #25
    Senior Member AlaskaAlice's Avatar
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    Use it every day is a good thing to do! mine will get a little sticky if it sets still very long..(needs more cleaning and oiling..I can get it completely free.but it sews great)

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