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Thread: Restoration - Wheeler & Wilson #8

  1. #1
    Super Member SteveH's Avatar
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    Restoration - Wheeler & Wilson #8

    Hey folks,

    Here is my 2nd go around on the restoring a machine process...

    I purchased this Wheeler and Wilson #8 through Craigslist. I used a site called searchcraigslist.org that searched ALL site in the US. This unit was in Wisconsin.

    It was $20 + shipping.

    I'll start with the "baseline shots" of how it arrived.

    No Flash, but real colors
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    Yikes... this is going to be SO much fun!

  2. #2
    Super Member SteveH's Avatar
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    ok, so I am now in a quandary...

    I decided to begin the cleanup with the rule "least damage first"

    I started with sewing machine oil ONLY. I used a soft retired toothbrush, a bit of 5/0 steel wool for the metal bits, and oil. I have everything else shown as my "kit" but i wanted to try JUST oil.

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  3. #3
    Super Member SteveH's Avatar
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    I decided to begin the cleanup with the rule "least damage first"

    I started with sewing machine oil ONLY. I used a soft retired toothbrush, a bit of 5/0 steel wool for the metal bits, and oil. I have everything else shown as my "kit" but i wanted to try JUST oil.

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    I did a little gentle wiping..
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    and with gentle cleaning with oil only
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    and a couple of passes later..
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    found more here
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    and here ( love the little flowers up front)
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    the rest of the back
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    even a little left on the bed
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  4. #4
    Super Member SteveH's Avatar
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    so, do I wipe out all but the beautiful "8" plate and redo this completely

    or do I keep cleaning and see how far it will take me...?

  5. #5
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    if it were me, i'd keep cleaning and see how good-looking you can get it. i LOVE seeing the 8 emerge! had to go back and look at your original photo - i'd have missed the 8 being there entirely!

  6. #6
    Senior Member TinkerQuilts's Avatar
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    Lots of patience required (and Irish Mist). Nice to see the progress in pictures.
    I have a Wheeler&Wilson 9 and an old Pfaff model that look better every time I work on them.

  7. #7
    Super Member JudyTheSewer's Avatar
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    Wow, my WW#8 has none of its gilding left. I really enjoyed seeing the decorations that are left on your machine. I'm sure I'll return to this thread in the future to admire them again. If it were my machine, I would leave it alone. I like to see the wear on a well used and loved machine (JMHO). It is so cool that you have so much of the decorations remaining. But, if you decide to start from scratch I am sure it will be lovely. I look forward to seeing this machine's restoration.

  8. #8
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    I love how the decals appeared. I would never have guessed they were even there. Great job.

  9. #9
    Super Member SteveH's Avatar
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    hand painted BTW, not decals...

  10. #10
    Super Member SteveH's Avatar
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    I am thinking that I will disassemble all of the mechanisms, clean and restore them, but continue to work with the original paint as much as possible.

    I mentioned before that I used oil only in the cleaning, but that has changed now.

    I am using Oil on the painted surfaces, but I will be using PB blasted on the rusted bits and completely cleaning the rest.

    I gave the whole unit a bath in Dawn dishwashing liquid (the blue stuff) (ONLY do this if you plan to completely disassemble a unit, otherwise it could ruin a machine) This removed the fuzzy crud and the dirt that was just not going to help the process. I used a soft nylon brush and gently scrubbed the unit clean(ish)

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    Last edited by SteveH; 01-28-2013 at 09:49 AM.

  11. #11
    Super Member SteveH's Avatar
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    I cleaned the stitch length regulator slide and arm.
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    but it really made it look funny with the rest of the feed mechanism..
    Here begins the slippery slope of restoration...
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    I decided to remove and clean the feed system, I am glad I did..
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    here is my favorite part of the feed mechanism. I just like twisted steel.
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    and that lead me to decide to remove the bobbin holder
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    and that lead me to decide to remove rotating hook mechanism ...
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    THIS required a certain sequence of removal to accomplish. I figure most folks will not want to see the whole step by step tear down, i'll just show the results of removing the whole feed dog mechanism and rotary hook assembly.

    Here is the collection of parts prior to cleaning. (minus the regulator arm cleaned earlier)
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    and after cleaning
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  12. #12
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    wow! thanks for documenting this for us Steve. I love this stuff! You never know what you're gonna find. I've always thought I would like to attempt it, but was too chicken to start. I'm not convinced I could get all those parts to fit back together, & play well with each other again. This alleviates some of my angst. lol Fascinating stuff!

  13. #13
    Super Member SteveH's Avatar
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    If you want, I can almost post a step by step (or send it privately)

    Typically I take a picture, loosen the part, take another, remove the part, take one, take a pic of the part loose, take a pic of it cleaned, then pic of it in place again. I REALLY don't think it would be OK to bury the board in THAT many pics. but if someone wants them, I can ZIP up the whole set and make them available.

  14. #14
    Senior Member grayhare's Avatar
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    This is fascinating! I am enjoying your restorations, Thank you
    "A change of feeling is a change of destiny."
    -Neville-

  15. #15
    Super Member SteveH's Avatar
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    Thank you for enjoying enough to comment!

    Here is the four motion feed and stitch length adjustment mechanism reassembled
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    Cleaned the bobbin hook assembly as well.
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    here is the needle bar removed Note the screw in bushings and little tiny oiler/gaskets.
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    here is the head with the needle bar removed
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    so, this is ANNOYING... you cannot remove the presser bar without unbolting the arm from the body.
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    Which opens up a whole new level of gross...
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    Finally!! they are both out..
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    here is one of the little gaskets slid just out of place... gross.
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  16. #16
    Super Member SteveH's Avatar
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    Now, a new set of parts to clean...
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    and more of the designs are coming out each cleaning
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    I used a new method here. I used a drop or two of sewing machine oil with about 1/2 a Pea sized bit of toothpaste. It really removed the gunk, help reveal more of the gold color, and did not seem to remove any of it.
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    and Heather says it leaves it minty fresh.....

  17. #17
    Super Member vintagemotif's Avatar
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    Sir Steve, the man with the hands of steal that brings the fountain of youth to vintage sewing machines!

    I'm enjoying this thread!!! There are some folks that have blogs on repairing vintage machines, but I have never come across one that strips the machines apart like you have done here.

    PLEASE start a blog and then link to your avatar. I would follow your blog.

  18. #18
    Super Member SteveH's Avatar
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    As long as folks on this board do not complain about my use of HDD space with all of my pictures. I will keep posting here. I LOVE the people here and would rather help attract folks here than splitting them off to other places..

    As far as my methods, Some might say that others respect the machine TOO much to do what I do. Some folks feel that these machines should be preserved with as much original material and as little "repair" as is necessary. Me, I feel that these machines are not so rare that each machine need to be preserved "as is". Anytime I find a part that is in exceptionally good condition, or unusual in it original state, I do leave it as is.

    However, I would MUCH rather have a pretty machine that works well, as opposed to a museum grade preservation that is not used.

  19. #19
    Super Member vintagemotif's Avatar
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    opps* correction steel not steal. You're not the man that steals or has stolen hands. One day, I'll learn to spell.

    I made the suggestion of starting a blog since threads like these eventually move way down into the long list of threads where one is never able to find it again-or almost never. Hence, folks may enjoy your blog over looking for the information here. You could post some of your work here for discussion with then the more detailed work of pictures, explanations, and tutorials on your blog. Just a suggestion!

  20. #20
    Super Member SteveH's Avatar
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    I'll consider that. I'd have to track down a blog site that allows LOTS of pics...

  21. #21
    Super Member SteveH's Avatar
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    updates for today...

    This is the spool pin and base, plus you can see a few shiny bolts

    I have been following the idea that if when I clean it I see that it was shiny, I buff it, otherwise I leave it wire wheeled clean.
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    here is the needlebar, the presser bar, and the take-up assemblies all cleaned up, Brass springs again!
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    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by SteveH; 02-01-2013 at 08:33 AM.

  22. #22
    Super Member vintagemotif's Avatar
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    Those parts all shine! Nicely done!!

  23. #23
    Super Member SteveH's Avatar
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    ya know, I've worked with metal in one way or another for several decades, and I have to say that there REALLY IS a difference when working with old metal. Maybe it is the lack of "contains X% recycled materials" or my overly romantic imagination, but this metal seems to have nicer texture and seems to be more resistant to elements than modern metals.

  24. #24
    Super Member vintagemotif's Avatar
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    Sir Steve,
    Well worth all the hours you have spent cleaning them. I love they way they clean up after decades of caked on dirt and oil. Don't know anything about the chemical compounds of metal from today versus a 100 years ago. Even with my lack of that knowledge, I can feel the difference in these vintage machines when using them for sewing. It's like their bones and souls are so much strong and smoother, like a good vintage.

  25. #25
    Super Member Celeste's Avatar
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    I do not get to spend a lot of time on the computer, so I usually just look. However, I do enjoy enough to comment, and completely agree with all the others, especially vintagemotifs;

    Quote Originally Posted by vintagemotif View Post
    Sir Steve, the man with the hands of steel that brings the fountain of youth to vintage sewing machines!
    Please post your pet's - past and present -pictures at http://www.quiltingboard.com/general...ds-t32280.html

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