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Thread: Problem with a 15-91

  1. #1
    Super Member DogHouseMom's Avatar
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    Problem with a 15-91

    Well ... another sewing machine "fell" into my car today. Fortunately, it's one I wanted Singer 15-91 dated to 1952 in a cabinet no less. I have a problem with it though (and was able to get the price lowered considerably for it!).

    I can't get the balance wheel to engage from bobbin winding to sewing.

    I DID figure out that it was missing the "stop motion clamp washer" and was lucky enough to find that sucker in one of the drawers of the cabinet (I was actually trying to source it on the net when my husband asked if I checked the drawers and ... lucky me!).

    I'm sure I've got that in the right position, and I've got the knurled clamp screw mounted correctly with the stop screw is in-between two of the studs on the stop motion clamp washer. I can now get the knurled clamp screw to tighten, but I still can't get it fully engaged to turn the needle when I spin the balance wheel (it will turn the needle a few times then stop, then perhaps again ... not consistent).

    I noticed that there is some "play" in the balance wheel. It will slide perhaps 1/8" in and out (meaning in the direction as if I was going to remove it ... not a "sideways" or "wobbly" motion, it's just not "tight" to the machine). Wondering is there a specific way that I have to put the balance wheel back onto the machine to properly engage the gears ... or is there something wrong with the gears themselves?

    I think I need to take the balance wheel off again and check the textolite gear. I hope I didn't make matters worse.
    May your stitches always be straight, your seams always lie flat, and your grain never be biased against you.

    Sue

  2. #2
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    I've read that the two tabs in the center of the stop motion washer should point out to the stop motion knob.
    "Most" of the machines I've got are set up that way and work great.

    Also even if the tabs are point the correct direction the washer can still be put in two ways. So take it out and try rotating it 180 with the tabs to the knob and see if that helps.

    Joe

  3. #3
    Super Member DogHouseMom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J Miller View Post
    I've read that the two tabs in the center of the stop motion washer should point out to the stop motion knob.
    "Most" of the machines I've got are set up that way and work great.

    Also even if the tabs are point the correct direction the washer can still be put in two ways. So take it out and try rotating it 180 with the tabs to the knob and see if that helps.

    Joe
    OK .. I know I have it oriented with the correct side out, but did not realize that if I rotate it and put each tab in the opposite slot it could make a difference. Will try that in the morning. Thanks.

    how close should the stop screw be to the studs? Does it make a difference? The adjusters manual I'm following only states "... so that when the stop screw is tightened, it is a sufficient distance to the right of one of the three studs on the washer to permit enough counter-clockwise rotation of the clamp screw to stop sewing action of the machine during the winding of the bobbins." "Sufficient distance" isn't very specific so I figured "in the middle of two of them" would be correct ... or should it be closer?
    May your stitches always be straight, your seams always lie flat, and your grain never be biased against you.

    Sue

  4. #4
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    Sue,

    I think that's about it. Mine vary a lot where the screw is in relation to the tabs. As long as they can tighten and loosen enough it's good.

    Joe

  5. #5
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    Rain has a very good tutorial on that:
    http://vssmb.blogspot.com/
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.
    good mothers let you lick the beaters - great mothers turn it off first

  6. #6
    Super Member liking quilting's Avatar
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    Wow, thank's for the link to Rain's blog on vintage machines. What a great job!
    Mavis

  7. #7
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    Try taking the stop motion washer out and putting it in backwards of how it is now. Those little washers are tricky!

  8. #8
    Super Member DogHouseMom's Avatar
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    Thanks all!! Got her working and laying down a stitch. She has some tension issues, but I plan on taking the tension apart anyway for a thorough cleaning - along with everything else. I wanted to make sure it COULD lay down a stitch before I spent hours on cleaning etc.

    anyway ... here she is. I'm quite pleased that all her decals are intact, no scratches or anything on her japan - cosmetically she's in ACE condition. Despite the owners dedication to keeping the outside of the machine in pristine condition, I don't think they ever touched the inside. She needs a good strip down of her working bits. The cabinet needs to be stripped and re-varnished as well.
    Attached Images Attached Images


    May your stitches always be straight, your seams always lie flat, and your grain never be biased against you.

    Sue

  9. #9
    Super Member BarbaraSue's Avatar
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    She's a beautiful machine. Mine was in only the bottom of a Bentwood box. You are lucky. Enjoy her, 15-91's are good machines.
    To make lots of quilts, is to have lots of scraps, and I do, and I do.
    BarbaraSue

  10. #10
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    I got the dull rubbery/tar stuff off the back of one with rubbing alcohol - looks a lot better - be careful around the decals - some is ok but too much will silver. I have seen so many of those 15s and 15 clones with messed up tensions, I just take them apart and rebuild as an automatic part of the clean up. Just print out the instructions in large print & keep handy...
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.
    good mothers let you lick the beaters - great mothers turn it off first

  11. #11
    Super Member 1screech's Avatar
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    She is a beaut. I bet if I had been around, she would have jumped right in my car too.

  12. #12
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    Nice machine and cabinet! Should you have that problem in the future, in addition to changing the position of the washer, also play a bit with the tightness of the screw in the hand wheel. A slight alteration there makes a big difference.

    A Model 15 clone is always worth having. They are wonderful machines. I have two, love them both.

  13. #13
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    My 15k80 has what looks like a brittle brown hazing over the black japanning. It is predominantly around the oiling holes. Is it an original part of the varnish/japan covering or is it just dried up oil? I would like to clean it off but do not want to do any unnecessary damage. Is it what is meant by shellac?

  14. #14
    Super Member SteveH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stitch1967 View Post
    My 15k80 has what looks like a brittle brown hazing over the black japanning. It is predominantly around the oiling holes. Is it an original part of the varnish/japan covering or is it just dried up oil? I would like to clean it off but do not want to do any unnecessary damage. Is it what is meant by shellac?
    To be sure we would need to see a photo, but cleaning a machine with sewing machine oil is almost always safe.

    Shellac is the product made from beetles that is like a modern poly coating. The older "japaned" machines are "painted" with mixture of shellac and black pigment and then baked.

    Using new oil to soften and clean the old oil works very well but slow (and safe) you can use other "treatments" but they are progressively more risky to the decals.

  15. #15
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    Many thanks. The sewing machine oil strategy seems the best course of action. I'll give it a try and see what happens. I want the machine to look good but not at the risk of damaging the finish which to be honest is in a pretty good condition. The RAF decals are more or less intact. I'll try to upload some photos.
    Name:  Staining1.jpg
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    First photo shows staining around oil hole. Second photo shows the worst patch and third is quite difficult to see. Any ideas??

  16. #16
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    Stitch,

    I would clean it with oil and a soft cloth only. Then when you no longer get any grunge off the machine I'd suggest reading this thread posted by by Glenn> { http://www.quiltingboard.com/vintage...s-t186522.html }
    PM him for help if needed.

    Joe

  17. #17
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    Hi Joe,
    I'll do as you suggest and repost some (better) photos when complete. Many thanks.
    stitch1967

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