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Thread: EARLY Elias Howe sewing machine

  1. #26
    Super Member SteveH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caroline S View Post
    Hmmm, flat black primer and satin laquer. That would work for treadle irons very well. Did you use spray cans or paint gun?
    It sure does..
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    Rattle can (Spray Can) I use the new "spray at any angle" stuff from my local Orchard Supply Hardware (Shameless plug)

  2. #27
    Super Member JudyTheSewer's Avatar
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    It is looking great!

  3. #28
    Super Member SteveH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoJangles View Post
    How long have you been interested in sewing machines?
    I've been "interested" in them since getting my backside tanned for playing with my grandmothers treddle. I got my first machine when I was cleaning houses and found an old "dressmaker". That was probably 15 years ago. I learned to sew on it 10-12 years ago (it was in storage till then) and after sewing my first tent on it i started having issues with it. I took it to the local OSMG with the hope of getting a "trade in" on a new machine. (i was ignant)

    He told me that the issue was that in this old machine they had experimented with ONE of the new nylon gears and that was what had failed. He said that even the Manufacturer stopped supplying nylon as replacements and that they were ONLY available in metal. He explained that i would have to pay LOTS to get a machine that could do what this could. I got it.

    After that it was finding machines that could do specific stuff like a Viking 1030 zig zag with step down for "umph". Then a friend gave me his "old POS" Translate: 1910 Singer 28 portable in beat up bentwood case. That machine started the REAL issue because it needed me to fix it. then i fell in love with the mechanics of the older machines. (and they are cheap to acquire)

  4. #29
    Super Member SteveH's Avatar
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    here is where I run into a issue.... I am not sure which path to take.
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    This a before and after with my wire wheel process.

    I have the ability to repair those surfaces to smooth. Some planishing (hammering smooth) and some gentle stock removal and it could be shiny again.

    Should I do that or do I acknowledge it's life and history by leaving it "as is" structurally?

    Happy Sunday.

  5. #30
    Super Member Glenn's Avatar
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    Steve, I am really enjoying your thread here and nice work you are doing. As an antique restorer my feeling is to leave it as is showing the history and wear. In the antique business the motto the less you do is better and will not devalue the item. Now in this case it must be personal choice on your part. This said you are going to have a nice machine no matter what you do. I would go with your instincts and what makes you feel good.
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    Glenn W. Cleveland

  6. #31
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    Steve,

    You are already repainting it. So I'd polish-up and refinish the metal surfaces, too.

    Cathy


    Quote Originally Posted by SteveH View Post
    here is where I run into a issue.... I am not sure which path to take.
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    This a before and after with my wire wheel process.

    I have the ability to repair those surfaces to smooth. Some planishing (hammering smooth) and some gentle stock removal and it could be shiny again.

    Should I do that or do I acknowledge it's life and history by leaving it "as is" structurally?

    Happy Sunday.
    Cathy

    "Most sewing machine problems are due to the carbon based unit in the chair in front of the machine"

  7. #32
    Super Member SteveH's Avatar
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    I agree. In fact I have decided to clean and buff but not repair.

    I can always go back later and change my mind Muhahahaha.

    Here is one I forgot earlier, the back of the movement arm notice the hollowed out side now.
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    I thought a contrast picture would be cool, Painted body on old bed.
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    Started on the bed, slow going doing it "softly" to preserve the texture of what portions of the original machining marks are still there. FOUND A SET OF NUMBERS!!!! I had hoped that they had put a serial number on the frame as well as the slides, that does make WAY more sense.
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    Check out the "action area" neat machining.
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    Close up of the numbers.. ANY help here would be appreciated.
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    Kinda of cool representative shot. The bed as I stopped for the night.
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    And 90% of the under bits. Done. Check out the feed dog.. it is Sharp.
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    That's it for tonight. If I do not stop now, I'll be up all night trying to finish...

    Final note: I was blown away to find out that the spring is brass!!! I did not know until i began to remove the tarnish! (AND I HAD HELD IT)... That was a secondary "sweet" moment. after the numbers.

    Enjoy, I sure am.
    Last edited by SteveH; 01-06-2013 at 09:12 PM.

  8. #33
    Senior Member Connie M.'s Avatar
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    Wow, Don't you wish your machine could talk...oh the tales she could tell, and I bet she is delighted to be "resurrected". Congrats on you lovely Christmas gift.

  9. #34
    Super Member SteveH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Connie M. View Post
    Wow, Don't you wish your machine could talk...
    I think it would be a lot of "Hello?..... Hello?.... It's damp here!... Hello?"

  10. #35
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    or this rust itches get it off me
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.

  11. #36
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    I am in awe! What did you use to remove the initial surface rust? A brush of some sort, or chemical?

  12. #37
    Super Member SteveH's Avatar
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    Awww, thanks.

    I used Krud Kutter as a "wash" and PB blaster as the real workhorse, then hand brushed with a brass wire brush. I was not sure how tough the material was still. Then after a couple days of "worrying it" as my Grandmother would say, and the parts started to soften. From then on it has been a 6" fine wire wheel on a 1/2 hp buffer. I have a 3/4hp but the weaker motor keeps me from pushing too hard. As the RPM's drop, the sound changes, I actually maintain my pressure more by sound than touch. (hard to feel when the world is going bzzzzzzz)

    The PB Blaster stuff is amazing. It works like a cross between WD40 (penetrating) and Navel Jelly (rust breakdown). It is the ONLY think that will loosen the old bolts on my Jeep Cherokee's (yes, plural) If I could have afforded some Evaporust I would have tried that... It looks cool.

    It's bad... I wanted to take the day off to finish the cleanup...

  13. #38
    Super Member SteveH's Avatar
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    No work done last night. My DIL's car got busted into last night. The idiots tried to hot-wire the car. They found out it is not as easy as in the movies. all they succeeded in doing was destroying the plastic around the steering column, shred the ignition module, and render the car nonoperative...

    They are hitting the wrecking yard today to get parts, and then I'll fix it tonight.. joy of joys...

    I did take a couple close up shots of the needle plate.
    I love the skill represented here. Remember:1860's...
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  14. #39
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    That is a very cool machine. I have never seen one.

  15. #40
    Super Member SteveH's Avatar
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    for those who like to read as well as look at pictures...

    from the Smithsonian:
    Users Manual for Elias Howe Step feed
    https://dl.dropbox.com/u/18576541/Us...%20Feed%20.pdf
    Instructors manual for the Elias Howe New Family
    https://dl.dropbox.com/u/18576541/In...w%20Family.pdf

  16. #41
    Super Member SteveH's Avatar
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    Woo Hoo! I found a mechanic friend who was willing to help the DIL fix her car at a price low enough that I don't need to be involved!!!

    This means that I will be able to work on the Howe tonight!!!

  17. #42
    Super Member nanna-up-north's Avatar
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    WoW!! I love watching your project and am so amazed at the progress. I'm not so adventuresome and have passed up some machines in the past due to their condition. (Don't beat me up.... I'm still new at this.) It certainly makes me realize that there is a lot for me to learn. Thanks, Steve.

  18. #43
    Super Member SteveH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nanna-up-north View Post
    (Don't beat me up.... I'm still new at this.) It certainly makes me realize that there is a lot for me to learn. Thanks, Steve.
    I'm new at the sewing machines too, I've just worked on MUCH bigger projects, (1957 Chevy, 1967 Dodge Dart, 1966 Barracuda) so this almost feels like "tinkering". "Fear is the mind killer, it is the little death..."

    Last night was fun. I got a fair bit done, and managed to talk myself into stopping at 10pm...

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    This are the main shaft bearings, one before, one after the "lovin"
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    One of the most challenging parts was cleaning the shuttle motion shaft. It looks like it is removable, but I was unwilling to risk damage to the bed by trying to torque it off. So I wire wheeled it in place.. carefully...
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    here is the underside after I painted the deck. The paint in the middle of the unit is the original, I left it that way.
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    another angle. Note the cleaned up "cone bearings"
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    Here is a cool angle showing the profiling done for the shuttle action.
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    one coat of primer, two coats of paint later...
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    I think that I am going to have to attack this with paint remover to remove the paint from the action areas. I should have masked it off like the badge...
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  19. #44
    Super Member Glenn's Avatar
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    Steve you tinkering is wonderful. Now I have to go do some more polishing on my machines. You have inspired me to more to my old machines.
    BTW Nancy called them her twins
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    Glenn W. Cleveland

  20. #45
    Super Member SteveH's Avatar
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    Thanks, Your articles and posts have certainly set the bar pretty high... I'm walking in your footsteps still.

    A member on this board was kind enough to contact me directly and based on what was seen here, has decided to sell me the Elias Howe Model A that they have!!!! I believe it has the bits that this one is missing, and if so, I should be able to get both sewing (with a little sharing)

    There is even a chance that I might be able to get the table as well... oh to dream....

    Any thought about the paint removal issue? Do you think it needs to have the paint removed to operate correctly?

    I know that it does not matter until I have a shuttle boat and bobbins but I want it to be "roadworthy" in any case.

  21. #46
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nanna-up-north View Post
    WoW!! I love watching your project and am so amazed at the progress. I'm not so adventuresome and have passed up some machines in the past due to their condition. (Don't beat me up.... I'm still new at this.) It certainly makes me realize that there is a lot for me to learn. Thanks, Steve.
    I pass on rusted up machines, too - grease and frozen up don't scare me a bit. This is a cool project to watch unfold, though.
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.

  22. #47
    Super Member SteveH's Avatar
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    here are a few "reference" shots taken with better lighting.

    underside
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    bed
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    back
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    front
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  23. #48
    Super Member SteveH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by miriam View Post
    I pass on rusted up machines, too
    Ok, so any rusted machine made prior to 1899 let me know! I just might be interested.

  24. #49
    Super Member SteveH's Avatar
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    I am compiling a collection of other Howe's trying to develop a set of designs for the "gold work" accents. There were a few different, obviously hand painted designs.

    The last two photos above were taken with the idea of using them as a canvas for developing the designs.

    I am not sure of the significance of each design. perhaps the different designs were for different markets, or made in different places, or evolved through a sequence, or even just what the production/art manager felt like that day...

    ponder... ponder...

  25. #50
    Super Member SteveH's Avatar
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    Lots of updates today.

    Based on the numbers stamped into the frame we believe that this was made in 1870. So cool.

    Thought I would include a couple of in-process shots today

    Shuttle movement arm
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    Driveshaft, Needlebar movement arm, belt pulley, feed dog movement arm
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    After painting and tape removal. I actually had a dream about being bugged at not painting the feeddog cam end....
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    So I fixed THAT this morning.
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    Here is a closeup of the feeddog arm showing adjustment and shuttle movement arm showing bearing end. Note the end of the feed dog movement arm (flat with "dimple") it is where the cone bearings go.
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    Here is a closeup of the shuttle movement arm bearing, it was seized and if you note the flat I would guess it was seized when it was still in use....
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    Vindication for Mizkaki's faith in Tri-Flow, it now spins beautifully!!
    Last edited by SteveH; 01-10-2013 at 09:16 AM.

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