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  • I'm learning a LOT more about this Featherweight than I had planned!

  • I'm learning a LOT more about this Featherweight than I had planned!

    Old 05-18-2014, 09:33 AM
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    Default I'm learning a LOT more about this Featherweight than I had planned!

    I posted the other day about finally getting a Featherweight (named her Miriam). I bought her from someone I've known for about 20 years, a friend from a sewing group. Now, this friend supposedly "rehabs" Featherweights as a hobby business. I assumed (yeah, that word is a bad one, I know) that she was selling me a completely rehabbed machine (at least, that's what I expected based on the price she charged me). I thought that I would take my little machine home and put in a few drops of oil and just sew along happily! Not so much.

    First of all, this machine has a horrible odor. I know most of them have an odor, but this is not musty basement odor... this is what I assume (that word again) is a horrible rancid oil smell. I left it sitting in my living room, and when I came home from work the in the evening, I got an instant headache from the odor in my house.

    I immediately removed the machine from the case, read every internet and message board tip I could find, and got to work. I put a bar of Dial Soap in the case, with a couple of those anti-dampness packets, and stuffed it with newspaper. It's been sitting (closed) on my basement stairs for a week now, and today I've got it opened and out on the deck, hoping for the sun to come out (right now it's a little damp and dreary here).

    I cleaned up the outside of the machine by wiping it down with some warm water very gently, but I wasn't sure exactly what else I could use - does anyone have a suggestion? I think one of the websites I went to suggested mild dish soap. Then, I got to work by removing the oil pad. Underneath the pad was about 1/8" worth of grossness, which I'm not sure (after reading more on this Board) if that's old oil or glue. Anyway, I did about three soakings with Goo Gone and tried to clean out as much as I could, but there's still some crud in the bottom I just can't get out. I bought some wool felt and traced the old pad and made a new one, but I didn't know that I was supposed to actually glue it in the bottom. What type of glue do you all use?

    Right now the machine is sitting in my front window getting a little air, but the machine itself still smells pretty bad, even after putting in the new pad. Do you think this might dissipate after she's out of the case for a while?

    If I can't get the case deodorized, I'm going to just stick it in my basement and be done with it. I have a feeling that once I put the machine back in the case it's going to pick up the smell all over again - that is, if I can ever get rid of the smell in the machine to begin with.

    Any tips about the glue and about cleaning the outside of the machine would be appreciated.

    Oh, one more thing. The machine has a replacement (gray) foot pedal. Does that devalue the machine at all? I didn't buy it for resale value or anything, I'm just curious. Actually, I'm going to buy a new black pedal for it anyway.
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    Old 05-18-2014, 10:15 AM
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    I removed all of the paper/material cover from a case, sanded it down inside and out and painted it, the horrible headache causing odor was finally gone. The machine didn't lose the odor until I set it out in the sun for a week.
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    Old 05-18-2014, 10:18 AM
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    So sorry about the stink!

    I would give the metal internals a careful (careful, staying awayyyyyy from the finish) with methylated alcohol. Q tip, no dripping, the alcohol will wreck the finish.

    Any fabric, felt, etc that is stinky will remain so. I would replace those things.

    One thing I have done with stinky machines once they were clean is put a drop of peppermint oil in their innards. Again stay awwwwayyyyy from the finish.

    The rubber of the cords may also harbour a smell. Might need to wipe with alcohol or bleach (not great for rubber, but [robably won't kill it this once.... Or soapy water, of course not getting the wiring itself wet....) os who knows, maybe replace the wires if you are very handy!

    The stinky case, those are a problem. A Big problem. Let us know how it goes.

    Good luck, and again, I am sorry for the misfortune.

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    Old 05-18-2014, 10:28 AM
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    I use rubber cement (lightly and just dabs) on the bottoms to hold the felts. It's easy to remove if needed. I would first let the machine air out before doing anything. Then determine if the case is the cause or the machine or both.

    I would also ask your friend if was serviced before you received it and see what she says! She may not know it wasn't cleaned up and have her husband do it for free. I would hint at that since you paid a premium for the machine.
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    Old 05-18-2014, 01:05 PM
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    I have a FW I'm working on right now that smells really bad too. The case smells like an active mouse nest and the machine has the rancid oil smell.

    I can deal with the machine smell by making a new felt drip pad for the bottom cover. As for the case, well that might take some doing.

    We used a bag of ceder shavings, amongst other things, to help remove the most of the odor from ours. But it wasn't as bad as this one.

    I'd use sewing machine oil and a soft cloth or a make up removing pad to clean the surface. It might not happen on your machine but I've had water and soap turn the clear coating on black Singers milky white.

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    Old 05-18-2014, 01:30 PM
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    Originally Posted by J Miller
    ...I'd use sewing machine oil and a soft cloth....I've had water and soap turn the clear coating on black Singers milky white. Joe
    Agreed. Keep the water and soap off of an older Singer with a Japanned finish.

    CD in Oklahoma
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    Old 05-18-2014, 01:38 PM
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    There's a local lady that rehabs featherweights and sells them for $400. I've seen her work and I can't say I would ever consider one of her machines.
    Good luck! She will be a labor of love for sure.
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    Old 05-18-2014, 01:38 PM
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    I too had a stinky FW. the odor was in the box bad. it took alot of elbow grease with soapy water and weeks of sitting in the sun to destroy the smell. I read somewhere that the sun rays were the best. every morning I would put it out and bring it back in at night. smell is gone. now I have a couple of silicone gel packs in it(probably more than a couple). I have picked them up from the floor and/or shelves in stores and asked if I could have. they always say yes and I push it in the box. Hobby Lobby is a great supply for these. good luck, it will take time but to get rid of that smell is worth it.
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    Old 05-18-2014, 03:00 PM
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    Okay, no soap and water! And I will try a little polishing with the sewing machine oil. Never thought of doing that. The box was outside all day but we didn't have much sunlight. The machine is currently sitting on my windowsill and hopefully she is enjoying the fresh air!
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    Old 05-18-2014, 04:54 PM
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    I just got back from a class with the "Old sewing machine man" here in Florida. He is an expert on all things featherweight. So I have a solution for some of your problems.

    So for the stinky case he suggested Odor eliminatior by Mary Ellen. Same lady that puts out Best Press. He says it's the only thing that will work.
    He also suggests that you use a 1/2 water and 1/2 simple green to clean the machine. After that dampen a cloth with water and wipe it off again. Then dry it with a clean cloth.
    You can shine her up.with Carnuba car wax. DO NOT use any wax with "rubbing compound".
    Also do not get rubbing alcohol near your decals. They will turn silver and then dissolve.
    For the case you can clean it inside and out with Murphy's oil soap.
    Use elmers glue to track down any fabric that might have come loose. Use a permanent marker to color in any worn places.
    He also said to use a piece of batting to wrap up the machine where you would normally pick it up and/or put it in the case. It keeps your skin oils from eating off the finish. If you feel underneath the top of the machine, it might feel bumpy. That's the finish wearing off.
    You did right getting rid of the felt pad in the bottom. I just replaced mine too. It was full of oil and mold. I imagine with a good wipe down and some air, your machine will smell better soon. As will your case if you get the odor eliminatilor. I hope this helps. Gina
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