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Pull Singer 201K (treadle) apart, clean it and put it together again

Pull Singer 201K (treadle) apart, clean it and put it together again

Old 12-22-2019, 12:34 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2019
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
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Default Pull Singer 201K (treadle) apart, clean it and put it together again

Hi Everyone,

I'm new here and while I've sewn for years I've just recently caught the vintage machine bug... I know, it's incurable!

I'm trying to find instructions/how to's/guides/anything on dissassembling my Singer 201K (treadle) and putting it back together again. I want to clean every last nook and cranny in there I can find and get as much as possible clean-as-a-whistle before I put her back together again. I've got the adjuster's manual but it doesn't go that far, and it's a bit short on really clear pictures and thorough how-to's.

Do you know of any resources, or has anyone done this so has good advice for me, please? They were assembled in the first place, by the gazillions, so I figure there must still be plenty of people out there that know all about them, inside and out.

One thing I really want to do is get the spool pins out but I'm having so much trouble you'd think they got welded in rather than "tapped" in. I've noticed a hole under the machine that seems to go all the way to the base of the spool pin on the bed (for winding the bobbin). Does anyone know if I'm supposed to "tap" it out through that hole? And any tips on how to do it with the least fuss?

I want as much possible off the machine so that when I clean and polish those bits up I don't wreck the finish on the machine. She's an ugly duckling and is never going to be a swan, but I know if I can get her clean she'll look okay. Her decals don't look wonderful, but they're mostly there so I want to keep them as intact and in as good shape as I can. I think it will also just be easier to clean the body with all the accoutrements out of the way.

Any help, pointers tips or advice would be fantastic! Thank you.

(By the way, I got her for $35 NZD, which is about $23 USD, and that included the treadle table and base! They sold her as not working but I put a bit of kerosene in all the oiling holes and anywhere else that looked like it should move and within about 2 minutes I could turn her with my finger. Everything works pretty much and there looks to be nothing missing. !)

Last edited by QuiltnNan; 12-22-2019 at 03:39 AM. Reason: shouting/all caps
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Old 12-22-2019, 07:28 AM
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welcome to the board and a fascinating new interest! I know many members have disassembled their machines for repaint so it can be done, the machines were designed for home upkeep unlike modern machines we don't dare touch

There was a recent thread about a man who pulled a vintage machine out of a pond or shore and showed him disassembling and reassembling it, very interesting. Acquainted me with the tools he used and the way he kept the parts organized.
Again, welcome, and well done on the purchase price!
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Old 12-22-2019, 10:44 AM
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The closest I have come to a complete disassebly is a 66 on the Vintage Singer forum. Personally I have never gone that far, luckily you can get most things up to standard with out. However, if you insist it is possible. Some models may need speical tools and access to a metal workshop could be handy.

Kerosene on all joints, gears and hinges help dissolve grime and flush it out. It is importat to keep on oiling and runnng the machine now and then, kerosene will evaporate. If you go for a complete disassembly it's not that important though.

My black cast iron 201 from 1950 has tapped in spool pins. I know, because one was missing and one bent. Once in place they stick rather well to the body. I think my beige 1955 aluminium 201 has threaded screw-in spool pins.
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Old 12-22-2019, 01:17 PM
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Look up Nova Montgomery on the internet. She has a wonderful site for Featherweights. Helped me alot with mine.
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Old 12-23-2019, 02:52 PM
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Location: Auckland, New Zealand
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Default General thanks, and any recommendations for special tools

Quite a bit of good advice given here already - thank you everyone, you're awesome.

Access to a metal workshop is not something I can easily get, I'm afraid. Good to know that for some models that's needed, though - it will save me wasting time trying things I can't do yet... I've got a set of Chapman's screwdriver bits on the way (the 8900 set) and a pretty strong husband but not much in the way of other tools. If any of you have recommendations of "Well, I wouldn't be without my xxxx" then please let me know what they are. If I already have it I'll assemble it into my "machine kit", and if not I'll keep an eye out for them.

Thanks again... Megan
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Old 12-23-2019, 08:38 PM
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Location: Auckland, New Zealand
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Addition - needle off-centre? My needle is only just (by a whisker, nay, a hair) inside the throat plate hole on the left side. The teensiest bit further left and it will hit the plate. I looked at another thread on here for someone else who had the same problem and followed the advice to check out the video where someone twiddled with a screw for the needle bar. That wasn't his problem but it said it fixed his needle alignment problem too. But I'm struggling to see how that could be left/right adjustment. When I fiddle with mine I get an up/down adjustment and so that seems to be more about the timing and how far the needle is below the bobbin hook when everything lines up correctly at the second timing mark.
That thread's a little old now too - has anyone else learned anything since about what can cause a needle to be so far off to the left, and how to fix it? Mine does still sew and while I'd like to perfect it I don't want to risk disassembling this part of the machine and ruining it for the sake of not finding out.
(I can't find anything in the adjuster's manual about left/right adjustments and there's no diagram in there - or anywhere else I can find - about where the needle should go down that hole for a 201. I'm assuming that if it was anywhere other than the intuitive "centre" - where you measure your seam allowances from - then either the user's or adjuster's manual would have said so.) Thanks again in advance for any tips you've got on this one! ... Megan
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Old 12-24-2019, 08:41 AM
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I've cleaned up a couple of 201s and didn't really disassemble anything that didn't just screw out easily. Both turned out well and hummed perfectly.

In contrast, I had a 66 that I bought for the cabinet. It was a refurb, so I decided to disassemble it and see what it would take to strip it and refinish it, as I have a Featherweight that will require stripping and painting to be nice. The 66 ended up going to metal recycling and the salvageable parts to a past member of this board. I realized it was a bigger job than I anticipated.

I also decided to part out the Featherweight, as the shop wanted $250. to disassemble it and reassemble it. I can buy a nice featherweight for $250. to $350., which is less than it would cost to refurb the one I have.

If you do decide to disassemble it, take lots of photos as you go. Put the associated parts in separate containers, so that things don't get confusing. Be very careful to keep every screw, as sewing machine screws don't match any other kind of screw.

I assume you have looked to see that the needle isn't bent, that's it's inserted correctly and that it has it's original throat plate. Other than those suggestions, I know nothing.

Given it's Christmas time, it may be a couple of days before you get someone knowledgeable about your problem.

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Old 12-24-2019, 09:36 AM
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Megan , have you triple cleaned the place where the needle fits into the needlebar???? A tiny bit of gunk in the wrong place can give you fits. If you have a old needle poke around there with it upside down and dig for gunk.

Pat m, It is a 201, not a featherweight.
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Old 12-24-2019, 01:36 PM
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Thank you Bkay. It's encouraging to know I can do a pretty good job on a 201 without needing a metalworking workshop. I think I'll try to steer clear of 66s unless/until I start to consider myself a bit of an expert at this caper!

Yep, I've done the straight-needle, insertion correct check list. The throat plate is a vintage Simanco part - but that's no guarantee it always belonged on this machine. If all else fails (like the suggestion of the area to clean from LeonF) then I'll look at comparing to another throat plate just in case the needle alignment is totally perfect and I've got a dodgy hole.
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Old 12-24-2019, 01:47 PM
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Thank you LeonF - No, I haven't cleaned that whole needle clamp area out yet. But it sure does need it so that's up next. I think the former owner thought the whole machine is supposed to be black! I've called her Black Beauty - after the work horse who had a helluva hard working life and then, at long, well-deserved last, got lovely pastures in retirement. I'm hoping to be her lovely pastures where she can frolic as much as she likes, and be well-cared for at the same time. (Yes, I'm a hopeless romantic - I may as well admit it now!!)

By the way, even if this tip doesn't do the trick I love tips like this. One day it will come in handy, if not for me then for someone else. But if it does work I'll let you all know.
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