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Thread: Question about using aquarium tubing on treadle machines

  1. #1
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    Question about using aquarium tubing on treadle machines

    There is at least two threads on here referring to using tubing as the drive belt for treadle machines.
    My wife bought us some to try because every time I go to use one of my treadles the darn belt has stretched and the machine slips.

    So, my question is this. How much short do you make the tubing to give it some tightness?

    I don't know how much it will stretch so I'm asking first.
    I've PM'd vintagemotif because I know she's done this, but if anyone else has done this I'd like to hear from them too.

    Joe

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    Senior Member Mom3's Avatar
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    Joe,

    I can't help with your question but just thought I'd pop in with this info:

    While attending a local historical re-enactment, I noted someone sewing a period clothing item on a treadle machine. They we sitting outside, in the shade of an old oak tree - very picturesque!

    Anyway, I noted their machine 'belt' was actually braided string. I asked them about this and their reply was with all the shows they attend their belts were getting jostled around and broken in moving site to site. They used something like the old style store string, tripled up (three strands each for a total of 9 strings) and then they lightly coated the string with beeswax.

    Just an FYI.......

    Shari

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    Super Member vintagemotif's Avatar
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    Shari, Thanks for sharing this. I'm always interested in testing different tubing.

    Joe, I answered your PM. Sorry, been a busy day, just saw your PM and post.

    So, figure out how much is needed to fit around the wheels and then shorten by about an inch. I now don't even sew the pieces together; instead, I insert tubing that is about and 1-1 1/2 inches long inside the ends of the tubing.
    To do this I fold that small insert tubing in half (and I don't mean end to end), a rolling of the tubing technique. I also put a drop of sewing machine oil on the ends to help get the insert tubing to slide into the ends of the long tube without too much difficultly. Once the insert tubing is in place, I just slide the ends of the long tubing together. No sewing or stable is needed to hold the long tubing ends together. This all makes for easier and less work if an adjustment needs to be made.

    Have fun treadling!!

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    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    Shari,

    That does sound interesting. Something to put in the file for future consideration.
    Oh, how did she connect the ends?

    Joe

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    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    vintagemotif,

    Got the PM and responded.
    Tomorrow I'm going to try this tubing on my #5 treadle. For some reason the leather belt on it just keeps on stretching. Pretty hard to do anything with the machine slipping every time you work the treadle plate.

    I also have another experiment I'm going to use the tubing on. My Greyhound machine uses a real odd sized belt. I can get belts longer and shorter, but not right for this machine. So, I'm gonna try the tubing idea. If it works it will remove a lot of the strain from the motor.
    I'll let you all know what the results are.

    Joe

  6. #6
    Super Member vintagemotif's Avatar
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    OH, I think I once slit the small insert tubing longwise to make the rolling and inserting much easier...forgot about that one.

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    Senior Member Mom3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J Miller View Post
    Shari,

    That does sound interesting. Something to put in the file for future consideration.
    Oh, how did she connect the ends?

    Joe
    The braid was over-hand knotted at the beginning and the end. The two pieces were then 'wrapped' with a single strand of the store thread - wrapped just like an eyelet is 'wrapped' with thread on to a fishing pole. Yes this made a 'bump' in the thread but the knots were over lapped a bit.

    Shari

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    Senior Member greywuuf's Avatar
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    I use aquarium running on my take base, both the 27 and the 306w share the base. I find that the soft tubing is actually kind of "sticky"and does not really need to be stretched very much...as a matter of fact I just finished serving all of the final leather edging on my"haver sack" and looking at my machine I would say that my belt is "slack" it gave me no trouble
    (I was having plenty on my own...folded edging is a bugger"

  9. #9
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    greywuuf, Thanks. I think I might have stretched mine a bit too much. It keeps popping apart. Hmmm, perhaps I'll just make a longer coupler.

    Joe

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    Super Member vintagemotif's Avatar
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    Joe, The plus to using the aquarium tubing is that it doesn't cost very much. You can make a longer coupler, that will work too.

    Also, I notice on my Singer 224 that I'm using lots right now that I did have to shorten the tubing since it kept slipping off. With the temperature up in the 90s ( I have house temp set at 80), I notice the tubing stretching. I have tubing on the Two Spools, but I had already shortened months ago when the temperature was cooler.

    Let me know if with lots of usage and warm temps if your tubing stretches.

  11. #11
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vintagemotif View Post
    Joe, The plus to using the aquarium tubing is that it doesn't cost very much. You can make a longer coupler, that will work too.

    Also, I notice on my Singer 224 that I'm using lots right now that I did have to shorten the tubing since it kept slipping off. With the temperature up in the 90s ( I have house temp set at 80), I notice the tubing stretching. I have tubing on the Two Spools, but I had already shortened months ago when the temperature was cooler.

    Let me know if with lots of usage and warm temps if your tubing stretches.
    I will let you know. I did notice something last night that I have to be careful of. I lowered the head of the machine so I could use the top of the treadle for something else. I know, I hate doing that but I have soooooo little room no flat surface goes unburried. When I opened up the machine the tubing had gotten kinked. Looked like it had been pinched between something sharp. I'll have to find out what that is and correct it.

    I've also got a New Home Greyhound Mdl 30 that uses an off size belt. I can get belts too long and for the most part too short. The motor is adjusted to the smallest point it can be and the current belt is too tight.
    So, I'm going to try a custom made tubing belt on it. This tubing is the same OD as the black rubber band belts everyone sells, so it should be doable. That is on tap for today. If it works I'll use it to piece some of my All Machine Quilt squares.

    Joe

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    Super Member lovelyl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J Miller View Post
    There is at least two threads on here referring to using tubing as the drive belt for treadle machines.
    My wife bought us some to try because every time I go to use one of my treadles the darn belt has stretched and the machine slips.

    So, my question is this. How much short do you make the tubing to give it some tightness?

    I don't know how much it will stretch so I'm asking first.
    I've PM'd vintagemotif because I know she's done this, but if anyone else has done this I'd like to hear from them too.

    Joe
    I don't know much about treadles, but I was told to release the tension on the belt after each sewing session. This is supposed to keep the belt from stretching.
    Linda
    There may be times we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest. - Elie Wiesel

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    Senior Member diamondee's Avatar
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    A friend of ours got a treadle from her mother and she had a pair of pantyhose tied up for the belt. That was definitely the first time I have ever seen that. If it works on a fan belt on a car, I guess it could work on a treadle.

  14. #14
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by diamondee View Post
    A friend of ours got a treadle from her mother and she had a pair of pantyhose tied up for the belt. That was definitely the first time I have ever seen that. If it works on a fan belt on a car, I guess it could work on a treadle.
    LOL .... I've read of using panty hose before, but I'm not that desperate. And nobody here wears the things.

    Joe

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    Joe someone wrote that they used long leather shoestrings for a belt for their treadle. Maybe you can find that thread and read it.

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    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    carolynjo,

    I do remember reading that thread as well. I suppose there's a lot of ways to make treadle belts, but this time I was just experimenting with the tubing.

    Joe

  17. #17
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J Miller View Post
    I will let you know. I did notice something last night that I have to be careful of. I lowered the head of the machine so I could use the top of the treadle for something else. I know, I hate doing that but I have soooooo little room no flat surface goes unburried. When I opened up the machine the tubing had gotten kinked. Looked like it had been pinched between something sharp. I'll have to find out what that is and correct it.

    I've also got a New Home Greyhound Mdl 30 that uses an off size belt. I can get belts too long and for the most part too short. The motor is adjusted to the smallest point it can be and the current belt is too tight.
    So, I'm going to try a custom made tubing belt on it. This tubing is the same OD as the black rubber band belts everyone sells, so it should be doable. That is on tap for today. If it works I'll use it to piece some of my All Machine Quilt squares.

    Joe
    REPORT:

    The kink in the treadle tube belt had no effect on it. Once straightened out it worked fine. Sewed up some scraps and no slippage or problems.

    I did make a tube belt for my Greyhound Mdl 30. That didn't work so well. At first it worked. Turned a bit slow and seemed to take a bit to get going. I let it sit for a while and found a few places that needed oil. When I went back to sewing the tube belt wouldn't turn. The motor pully just spun with no effect. It looked as if had stretched a bunch. I tried to work with it a bit but the connection wouldn't stay together. After a while I put a regular belt back on the machine and went on with my sewing.

    Joe

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