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Thread: Newcomer, have a German 1955 Phoenix 429 Machine

  1. #26
    Senior Member Cecilia S.'s Avatar
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    Thanks, redmadder. I thought so, too - so I tried it as you suggested, and unfortunately when I did not thread it through the tiny loop, the whole spring just flopped down and to the left and did not provide tension.

    This threading seems really unusual -- and quite a pain! Has anyone seen threading such as this on other machines?

    While on the topic of tension, I am also wondering whether the tension knob looks as though it is missing a cover screw, to sort of hold things in place a bit more firmly? I am wondering because when I simply turn the numbered knob, the whole tension assembly wants to turn. When I stabilize things with my fingers and then turn the numbered dial, then indeed only the numbered dial turns. Seems to me that I should be able to simply turn the dial itself and not have to stabilize other bits so as not to have them travel as well. Any ideas, anyone?

    Thanks!

  2. #27
    Senior Member Cecilia S.'s Avatar
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    Also, I wanted to say - I was sewing today, testing out stitches on leather. Wow, it stitches nicely! I did notice I had to reduce the tension -hugely- in order to sew zig zag on leather and not have the top thread pucker up. Does this sound typical? I have no experience sewing leather. Not much experience sewing anything at all, to be honest - I am still a novice!

    Thanks in advance for any comments. :-)

  3. #28
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    Why would you sew zig zag on leather. I think if I were going to sew leather I would do it on something less rare like a 15 clone.
    I don't know about the tension unless I had the machine on my bench. Does the manual have any info on the workings of the tension? Some times they have a drawing of the tension. Then you would have to look and compare. I would probably take the tension apart and put it back together but I do them all the time. If you aren't used to doing it you might want to get it serviced.
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.

  4. #29
    Senior Member Cecilia S.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by miriam View Post
    Why would you sew zig zag on leather. I think if I were going to sew leather I would do it on something less rare like a 15 clone.
    I don't know about the tension unless I had the machine on my bench. Does the manual have any info on the workings of the tension? Some times they have a drawing of the tension. Then you would have to look and compare. I would probably take the tension apart and put it back together but I do them all the time. If you aren't used to doing it you might want to get it serviced.
    I was just doing the zig zag on leather to test out the stitching and see how it would look cosmetically. How come you would suggest doing it on something less rare - is there something about zig zagging (or sewing in general) on leather that might wear the machine?

    I think I might disassemble the tension at some point; that is a good idea. There are no drawings in the manual, but I might keep looking... Otherwise, I figure if I take it apart carefully, one piece at a time, what could go wrong? ;-) Famous last words!

    Thanks a lot for your input :-)

  5. #30
    Senior Member frudemoo's Avatar
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    Hi Cecilia
    Now that I've looked at your pics I'm pretty sure the bobbin winder and tension assembly is the same as my Phoenix 250, so I will take pics and look into your questions and post back tomorrow when there's time and daylight. We'll get to the bottom of this! Mine has been driving me mad.... but I am 90% sure I'm getting a manual from Germany so I'll be sharing it with the world when I finally get this machine going!!
    (PS - mine's called "River" - hehe)

  6. #31
    Senior Member Cecilia S.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by frudemoo View Post
    Hi Cecilia
    Now that I've looked at your pics I'm pretty sure the bobbin winder and tension assembly is the same as my Phoenix 250, so I will take pics and look into your questions and post back tomorrow when there's time and daylight. We'll get to the bottom of this! Mine has been driving me mad.... but I am 90% sure I'm getting a manual from Germany so I'll be sharing it with the world when I finally get this machine going!!
    (PS - mine's called "River" - hehe)


    Thanks, frudemoo! By the way, the bobbin-winder thing, I "solved" by replacing the rubber "doughnut" in the bobbin winder with a rubber doughnut of slightly smaller thickness. This way, it still engages with the large wheel for bobbin-winding, but it does not contact whilst sewing. I still think perhaps the mechanism is spring-loaded backwards from how it should be, but oh well! ;-) For now, it works. How do you deal with yours? Does yours stay in contact with the large handwheel whilst sewing?

    But, if your manual has detailed drawings which help, then yes, do share! I have a German-language user manual which I am happy to share if you need anything - but the problem is, these things are not addressed in my manual. I was fortunate to have a German-fluent houseguest last week. We had a good giggle over Spulenkapsul and ZickZack! I have, owing to this, re-named The Beast; his new name is Ziggy! ;-)

  7. #32
    Senior Member Cecilia S.'s Avatar
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    By the way: This machine takes round-shank needles. A first for me! It came with some needles, and I noticed that a few of them are quite short; what would be the reason for this? I thought needle length was very no-tolerance? In fact on the Singer site, they say never to use non-Singer needles with a Singer machine, for the non Singer ones are just a smidgen longer and will over time destroy the bobbin business... any insights on this?

    My manual also gives a chart as to the range of needles and thread appropriate to this machine; the range is very wide! So, from sewing the finest silks right up to sewing whole entire chesterfields! The manual for a later, more domestic-looking model, has a smaller range of threads sizes and needle sizes. Interesting.

    BTW, the machine came with its original bill of sale tucked in the case. Neat, eh?

  8. #33
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    If the tension is not put together correctly and then you take it apart and put it together just like it was, it isn't going to fix anything.
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.

  9. #34
    Senior Member Cecilia S.'s Avatar
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    tension assembly stuff

    Quote Originally Posted by miriam View Post
    If the tension is not put together correctly and then you take it apart and put it together just like it was, it isn't going to fix anything.
    D'oh! Right you are. I shall set to finding a diagram, then. Funny, I was just thinking that taking it apart and cleaning it may help, but of course you are utterly right.

    BTW, when it comes to other machines, such as old fashioned Singers and Singer knock-offs, can anyone recommend a good all-purpose diagram of tension assembly? I have an oddball machine, a White 722, which looks anywhere from the 20s to the 50s; you know, that standard old pre-zigzag Singer-like casting that never really changed. Its tension seems to work fine, but it did once accidentally pop off, and I never was certain whether I had replace all the bits in the proper order. If anyone has a good all-purpose manual diagram to recommend, I'd much appreciate it!

    -C.

  10. #35
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    The best all purpose manual is: http://www.tfsr.org/publications/tec...achine_manual/
    This really only deals with the old machines but some times you can wing it just fine if you have an exploded diagram. Some times it is just the principles that you need.
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.

  11. #36
    Senior Member Cecilia S.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by miriam View Post
    The best all purpose manual is: http://www.tfsr.org/publications/tec...achine_manual/
    This really only deals with the old machines but some times you can wing it just fine if you have an exploded diagram. Some times it is just the principles that you need.
    WOW! Miriam, thank you -so- much! At a glance, that site looks just fantastic. I will be reading it thoroughly, and I am sure I will learn a great deal. Thank you thank you thank you :-)

    -C.

  12. #37
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    blow up the pages you need 200% or so - that way you can see at a glance.
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.

  13. #38
    Senior Member frudemoo's Avatar
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    Hey Cecilia - this is all really interesting. I've taken some pics of mine to share with you. Here:

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    You can see there's not much of a gap when the winder is disengaged, but there is definitely a gap between the rubber tyre and the handwheel.
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    This is my tension assembly, but I never thought of threading it through the little loop. Seems like it work either way... but I was thinking if you get stuck, I can loosen mine off and take a pic of how it goes together if you like. I presume mine is okay even though the machine isn't stitching. I think it's to do with having the wrong needle. I have the system 1738 round shank needles, but you said yours are short? How long are they? (in mm)

    Cheers, Amelia
    Last edited by frudemoo; 06-06-2013 at 08:04 PM. Reason: add pic

  14. #39
    Senior Member frudemoo's Avatar
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    Tension Assembly components

    Okay, so that was really easy! LOL. This shows the parts as they go together on my machine.
    The front numbered dial unscrews to reveal the tension spring which slots into the front screw. The discs are at the back. Let me know if you need any clearer pics or have any questions.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  15. #40
    Senior Member frudemoo's Avatar
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    CORRECT TENSION ASSEMBLY - previous post incorrect!!

    I just realised mine was wrong!! But the good news is that I figured it out. Here we go:

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    The most important parts are in the first image where the tension spring gets hooked under the slot on the left hand side, (2nd image shows the spring inside the machine); and that the larger spring on the front sits inside this little cog contraption with the black plastic housing sitting over the base of the spring - the tension dial then gets screwed on over that.

    Previously, I had the black plastic housing sitting behind the spring and the spring was inside the tension dial instead - it was doing absolutely nothing. So I think I've probably helped both of us with this exercise!! LOL.
    Last edited by frudemoo; 06-06-2013 at 08:42 PM. Reason: Sorry, I've put the wrong title on this. Thought I had uploaded an older picture.

  16. #41
    Senior Member Cecilia S.'s Avatar
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    Oooh, still my beating heart, a site full of sewing machine geeks, and a sister machine to my Ziggy! I love this!

    Frudemoo/Amelia, our machines look nearly identical from what I see on your photos! To the left of the side-place, mine has a strange, Roman-nose-like lamp. Does yours have a light elsewhere? Oh wait, yours is a treadle - so probably not. Does yours have a candle holder there, then? ;-)

    Thanks so much for photographing your tension. That, plus Miriam's wonderful link, will inspire me to take apart my tension assembly. I will surely post again with photos and questions ;-)

    Thanks also for the bobbin-winder rubber doughnut photo. That looks as mine does now that I replace the doughnut with a less fat one. That is, clearance in its resting position, but not a lot of clearance. I think perhaps someone simply put a too-thick rubber doughnut on mine.

    I still think we should not have to thread through that wee little hole on the tension spring, but let me ruminate on this one a bit...

    Have you been sewing on yours yet, or is it new-to-you and you are yet to sew until you get the manual?

    -C.

  17. #42
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    Your tension spring may not be 'set' right - does it spring back when you touch it? I don't know how to explain it but that manual tells how to 'set' that spring - I think it is the only place I've seen that information.
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.

  18. #43
    Senior Member frudemoo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cecilia S. View Post
    Oh wait, yours is a treadle - so probably not. Does yours have a candle holder there, then? ;-)

    Thanks so much for photographing your tension. That, plus Miriam's wonderful link, will inspire me to take apart my tension assembly. I will surely post again with photos and questions ;-)...

    Have you been sewing on yours yet, or is it new-to-you and you are yet to sew until you get the manual?
    I've tried to make mine sew and have had success with a few stitches, but it misses stitches and does weird things, so I think it's the needle - but it could be the timing.... I have no idea. I've been fixated on getting the manual as a starting point, so that's been a 6 month project (as you can see from the topic I've started called "SO disappointed!!!!" about a guy trying to charge me a LOT of money for a copy of the manual. .....But I know the manual may not even help me that much. I haven't found anyone else with a comparable machine who could help me any more than this, that's why I thought it would be nice if we can help eachother.

    I think mine's from 1953 so they're a similar vintage, but being a treadle and a SS only, my machine is a lot simpler. I'm sure yours will be fabulous once you've got it working well, they are impressive machines (I'm keeping an eye out for one of the later free arm models) ... and then I can finally make my assessment as to whether I like the British, German, Italian or Swiss machine the best!

    I'll have to check out Miriam's link too. Haven't had a chance yet.

  19. #44
    Senior Member Cecilia S.'s Avatar
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    Hi everyone;

    I had some very kind help with manual translation from my recent German-speaking houseguests, and also from someone on this board.

    I am posting here a few photos from my manual; Amelia, I hope this helps you with your threading. The photo of the threading diagram very clearly seems to indicate that the thread goes through the tiny hole on the end of the tension spring. This really does seem odd to me (and to others as well!) but please tell me if you agree with what the photo says?

    I have also included a photo of the diagram of how to thread the bobbin out of the bobbin case; the little hook on the outside of the bobbin case is unlike any other machine I have ever seen.

    Does this help you? I found that mostly, the manual was intuitive based on diagrams and other machines' traits; however, it is indeed a funky machine in its own way!

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  20. #45
    Senior Member Cecilia S.'s Avatar
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  21. #46
    Senior Member Cecilia S.'s Avatar
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    Miriam, no, my tension spring just flops between 9 o clock and 12 o clock, if that makes sense. It does not spring back, although having just now touched the spring on my old White single stitcher, I know what you mean.

    Today I shall disassemble and re-assemble my tension. Fingers crossed :-)

  22. #47
    Senior Member Cecilia S.'s Avatar
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    Now this is just me being a geek - but look at this neat advertisement which came with the old 429. An ad for a new modern Duplomatic Automatic Phoenix 388! I hope you can read the text; I find it amusing.

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  23. #48
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    If you mess with the spring you might want to look at that manual how to set it so you have some idea how it should go - It was the most frustrating thing for me to learn about tensions. I wish I could just show you....
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.

  24. #49
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    I had a brochure when I got a Phoenix - it went with the machine when I sold it to a really great little gal that deserved a good machine. Name:  phoenix sewing machine 026.JPG
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    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.

  25. #50
    Senior Member Cecilia S.'s Avatar
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    I have the same tin!!!

    :-)

    No disks, though, for my Ziggy is just a zigzag and straight stitcher. Zick-zack, in German, and I just love how that sounds!

    -C.

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