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Thread: Restore - Refurbish - Service

  1. #1
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    Restore - Refurbish - Service

    Many folks here use the words restore and restoration when they are actually just refurbishing, repairing or servicing a machine.

    Let me explain.

    Having been involved in the collecting of vintage fountain pens, older firearms, and for a short time a 1927 Chevy car, I've come to learn the real meaning of the the words "RESTORE" and "RESTORATION".

    Restoration: Is the end result of when you take an object and restore it to it's original condition. In this case sewing machines. When you restore, you completely rebuild it back to it's original mechanical and visual condition, putting to it's original configuration, using ONLY ORIGINAL FACTORY PARTS . It will be as it was the day it rolled out of the factory.

    Refurbishing: Is what you do when you repair a machine, using factory or what ever parts are available, back to functional useable condition. This includes, but is not limited to; cleaning, adjusting, replacing parts, repairing damaged parts, touching up or polishing the paint and plating and fixing the cases or cabinets.
    This IS NOT restoration.

    Repairing: Is what you do when you fix a damaged machine. This is not restoration.

    Servicing: Is what you do when you clean, adjust, and oil a machine to make it work properly.
    This is not restoration either.

    Since we deal with modern, semi modern, classic, vintage, and antique machines here, I thought I'd get this pet peeve off of my chest. A lot of members here are always using the term restore when all they are doing is refurbishing or servicing their machines.
    If you have read my posts, you will notice I do not use the terms restore or restoration when referring to what I do to my machines. I do use the term refurbishing or repair as that is what I do with some of them. The others just get serviced.

    Hope I don't ruffle any feathers, but I needed to say this.

    Joe

  2. #2
    Super Member Glenn's Avatar
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    Joe your very correct here. In the antique furniture business we use the words restore and refubish as the same. When working on antique furniture we repair and refurbish(restore) that is because the normal everyday wear of a 100 year old piece should not be removed unless serverly damage. The history of the piece is as important as the age of the piece.
    No ruffled feathers here.
    Glenn W. Cleveland

  3. #3
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    Glenn,

    That is an important point. In the antique business any repairs that alter the item reduces it's value. Provenance and originality rule.

    Joe

  4. #4
    Super Member SteveH's Avatar
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    Thanks for the clarifications. I will try to use the terms "correctly" going forward. Restoration is usually my goal with refurbish as the fall back plan.

  5. #5
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    The hard part about restoring antique sewing machines is the decals. Or it seems that way to me anyway.

    Joe

  6. #6
    Super Member SteveH's Avatar
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    Well, for me it is the fact that the machines I acquire are almost all before SAE standards were adopted, so to replace a broken screw or bolt I have to make a new one. Since I usually begin with a rusted "hulk", I face this problem a lot.

    Decals/painted designs are a close second...

  7. #7
    Super Member Glenn's Avatar
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    Yes the decals are hard to deal with, unless you happened to be an artist good with paints. I am no artist so I use the shadow of the decals to help. Like paint by numbers LOL
    Glenn W. Cleveland

  8. #8
    Super Member DogHouseMom's Avatar
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    Restoration: Is the end result of when you take an object and restore it to it's original condition. In this case sewing machines. When you restore, you completely rebuild it back to it's original mechanical and visual condition, putting to it's original configuration, using ONLY ORIGINAL FACTORY PARTS . It will be as it was the day it rolled out of the factory.

    Refurbishing: Is what you do when you repair a machine, using factory or what ever parts are available, back to functional useable condition. This includes, but is not limited to; cleaning, adjusting, replacing parts, repairing damaged parts, touching up or polishing the paint and plating and fixing the cases or cabinets.
    This IS NOT restoration.

    I don't understand something. If all I do to a machine is clean it, no parts replaced or repaired ... just cleaned and polished ... why is it not "restored" to it's original condition as opposed to "refurbished"??

    Or are you saying that "restoration" MUST include the replacement or rebuild of some parts??



    And lastly ... some "fine lines" ... where do items such as needles, and belts come into play?? Needles especially are considered 'consumables' ... like motor oil ... and on some machines only the original needles can be used, but on others newly manufactured and readily available needles can be used. Belts are also somewhat 'consumable' .. is it "original" if the same type of belt was used?
    May your stitches always be straight, your seams always lie flat, and your grain never be biased against you.

    Sue

  9. #9
    Super Member ArchaicArcane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveH View Post
    Well, for me it is the fact that the machines I acquire are almost all before SAE standards were adopted, so to replace a broken screw or bolt I have to make a new one.
    That's not even just on older machines before the standards were adopted. Singer, for one, made their own screws for years. Once the standard came in in the early 1900s?, they kept using the screws they were using, because everything was already designed. And because they could. What a hassle though if you lose or break one. Good example: the stop motion screw (not the knob) on the 301 (built long after SAE was available) - "Singer thread". Discontinued. Am I bad person if I get frustrated and want to tap the knob out to a "normal" size?

    No, I didn't do it.

  10. #10
    Super Member kitsykeel's Avatar
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    Joe,

    I wonder if you are referring to my thread about cleaning, oiling and adjusting a Featherweight for our local Habitat for Humanity "RESTORE." That is the NAME of the thrift store. Maybe you misunderstood my remark about the Restore Featherweight. Is that possible?
    Kitsy

  11. #11
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DogHouseMom View Post
    <snip>

    I don't understand something. If all I do to a machine is clean it, no parts replaced or repaired ... just cleaned and polished ... why is it not "restored" to it's original condition as opposed to "refurbished"??

    Or are you saying that "restoration" MUST include the replacement or rebuild of some parts??



    And lastly ... some "fine lines" ... where do items such as needles, and belts come into play?? Needles especially are considered 'consumables' ... like motor oil ... and on some machines only the original needles can be used, but on others newly manufactured and readily available needles can be used. Belts are also somewhat 'consumable' .. is it "original" if the same type of belt was used?
    If all you did was clean it and polish it, then you just serviced it. It is not restored because it's still original.

    A restoration is much more than a refurbish or servicing. If a machine is in such good condition that it doesn't need repaired, rebuilt, parts replaces, it's original. Much better for the collector than a "restored" machine.

    Needles, belts, should be original. Simanco needles and belts can be found, I have some. To make a machine 100% original it needs OEM parts. Any other state makes it a used, refurbished, repaired machine.

    Joe

  12. #12
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kitsykeel View Post
    Joe,

    I wonder if you are referring to my thread about cleaning, oiling and adjusting a Featherweight for our local Habitat for Humanity "RESTORE." That is the NAME of the thrift store. Maybe you misunderstood my remark about the Restore Featherweight. Is that possible?
    Kitsy,
    No I wasn't referring to your HfH thread. Just a lot of threads where the posters used the word restore to indicate something else.

    Joe

  13. #13
    Super Member chickadeee55's Avatar
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    We RESTORE Featherweights, sometimes custom, and sometimes original. If its painted a color other than stock, it is a custom restoration as I call it... Here is a link to a complete restoration. http://www.wctc.net/~arm/singer221.htm

  14. #14
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    Dang a Bear! I'm glad we got that straight! Earth might have slipped off its axis otherwise and then Someone would have had to either refurbish, repair or restore the balance. froggyintexas
    Quote Originally Posted by J Miller View Post
    Many folks here use the words restore and restoration when they are actually just refurbishing, repairing or servicing a machine.

    Let me explain.

    Having been involved in the collecting of vintage fountain pens, older firearms, and for a short time a 1927 Chevy car, I've come to learn the real meaning of the the words "RESTORE" and "RESTORATION".

    Restoration: Is the end result of when you take an object and restore it to it's original condition. In this case sewing machines. When you restore, you completely rebuild it back to it's original mechanical and visual condition, putting to it's original configuration, using ONLY ORIGINAL FACTORY PARTS . It will be as it was the day it rolled out of the factory.

    Refurbishing: Is what you do when you repair a machine, using factory or what ever parts are available, back to functional useable condition. This includes, but is not limited to; cleaning, adjusting, replacing parts, repairing damaged parts, touching up or polishing the paint and plating and fixing the cases or cabinets.
    This IS NOT restoration.

    Repairing: Is what you do when you fix a damaged machine. This is not restoration.

    Servicing: Is what you do when you clean, adjust, and oil a machine to make it work properly.
    This is not restoration either.

    Since we deal with modern, semi modern, classic, vintage, and antique machines here, I thought I'd get this pet peeve off of my chest. A lot of members here are always using the term restore when all they are doing is refurbishing or servicing their machines.
    If you have read my posts, you will notice I do not use the terms restore or restoration when referring to what I do to my machines. I do use the term refurbishing or repair as that is what I do with some of them. The others just get serviced.

    Hope I don't ruffle any feathers, but I needed to say this.

    Joe

  15. #15
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    I don't worry about semantics, though obviously others do. Some others hate the term "harp space" too. I really don't care about any of it. Most vintage sewing machine values are pretty low so I don't sweat the small stuff.

  16. #16
    Super Member jlhmnj's Avatar
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    My favorite misused terms is "heavy duty" and "industrial strength" applied to the domestic Black Singer. Compared to today machine's this might be true but anyone that's seen a real industrial would laugh.

    Jon

  17. #17
    Super Member oldtnquiltinglady's Avatar
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    I am laughing my head off at this whole thread. I loved it. Now we have all our little ducks in a row about restore and refurbish, right?
    Make every day count for something!

    JoAnn

  18. #18
    Super Member kitsykeel's Avatar
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    Chickadee,

    Thank you for that wonderfully thorough pictorial explanation of what you do to restore Featherweights. So very interesting. Never realized there were that many little parts in my little machine.
    Kitsy

  19. #19
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    Words have meaning. If we use the wrong words then we do not convey the meaning we are trying to put across.
    At that point the reader can only guess what the writer is trying to say.

    I've said my peace and will leave this thread at this point.

    Joe

  20. #20
    Senior Member berrypatch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J Miller View Post
    Glenn,

    That is an important point. In the antique business any repairs that alter the item reduces it's value. Provenance and originality rule.

    Joe
    I agree with all your definitions, however I tend to disagree with the fact that "any repairs that alter the item reduces it's value." I find that "generic type" antiques such as an oak dresser, chair etc. that are "mass produced" have a better resale value than those which may have an alligator finish, trim missing etc. I have found that the value of these type of "antiques" is actually based on fair market value. In otherwords, "what I am willing to sell it for & what you are willing to pay for it." Remember, I am not talking about a signed Stickley or Wallace Nutting and other signed furniture. However, this does not relate to primitive pieces.

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