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  • "Return of the Singer 404's!!!" At a theater near you...

  • "Return of the Singer 404's!!!" At a theater near you...

    Old 07-30-2015, 05:32 PM
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    Default "Return of the Singer 404's!!!" At a theater near you...

    Hi, all!

    Why do the same ones all show up at once?? I picked up a Singer 404 in a beat-up oak cabinet last week. Paid all of $19.99, plus tax of course. It was used, probably for many years, as a school machine:

    [ATTACH=CONFIG]526494[/ATTACH] [ATTACH=CONFIG]526495[/ATTACH] The white sticker under the stitch length lever says "KSD 415", which I take to be Kennewick School District, and you can see that someone scratched "Meridian J.H." on top of it. I don't know which Meridian they are referring to, so I think we need to put this in with Miriam's 40-year-old unsolved mystery machines and hire a detective!!

    This poor little sewing machine is covered with grease, inside and out.

    [ATTACH=CONFIG]526496[/ATTACH] [ATTACH=CONFIG]526497[/ATTACH] It looks like it was over-oiled by generations of junior high-schoolers, then stored in the school shops for a decade or two!

    I'll bet it was given to the thrift store because the feed dogs wouldn't move the fabric through. And I'll bet that's because the needle plate was in the "Up" position and whoever owned it didn't know that the plate went up rather than the feed dogs going down when used for darning or quilting!

    So far I've tried vinegar and water (50:50), isopropyl alcohol (not the 99% kind - can't find my bottle - hope nobody drank it!), orange smelling adhesive remover (on the outside - works but I can't take the smell), and a little bit of WD-40 (also works but I'm being cautious). It seems to me that someone has mentioned something that cleans out the gunk in a flash, but I've forgotten what it is. Could one of you enlighten me? Searching through all the posts that mention oil and cleaning will take forever!

    Anyway, I'm selling the table under the 404 to a friend, so I have to move it, so it may take me a while to get back to the little darlin' I'll send pics when she's all cleaned up, and hopefully, running!
    Attached Thumbnails 401-1.jpg   401-2.jpg   401-4.jpg   401-3.jpg  
    MFord is offline  
    Old 07-30-2015, 07:00 PM
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    Alcohol is my favorite for cleaning dried up oil residue. Looks like you already tried it though. From what I've seen it's faster than mineral spirits. Just don't get it near any decals or old black machines. It dissolves shellac.
    Very old manuals recommend a kerosene bath. I would remove anything electrical first if I tried it though.
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    Old 07-30-2015, 08:42 PM
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    I've dealt with a few of these models with the stuck plate lifters. For me it was a combination of a penetrating oil like Liquid Wrench or Kroil and heat. The heat softens the old oil enough to get things moving and then once you can get it moving you can use alcohol to dissolve and clean. It can take a few times. I can remember that once the heat wore off it could get stuck again so you have to keep at it. Then oil it well to keep things moving.
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    Old 07-30-2015, 09:44 PM
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    i've used electronic cleaner on a few of my machines. Theyre about five bucks in an auto part store. I love how fast they can literally blast away grease and oil.
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    Old 07-31-2015, 05:30 AM
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    Tri-Flow oil and Denatured alcohol is what I use on my machines. However in the worst cases I use Hoppe's #9 gun solvent.

    That machine isn't too bad. Tri-Flow oil and grease in the appropriate places, some cleaning and it will be good to go.

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    Old 07-31-2015, 06:29 AM
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    I don't own WD40 or Liquid wrench. After going through chemical poisoning I avoid that stuff. I do not use vinegar on the machine only on removed chrome parts with slight rust - then quick dry off. I do not use anything water based on a machine - only on removed parts that do not have any moving parts attached to them.
    If you want to rust something overnight for a shabby look, let it set in vinegar over night then let it dry awhile. Being gummed up with oil is not a bad thing. What I think is worse is no oil at all - more likely to see rust from moisture in the air.

    The Hoppe's gun solvent stuff is good.
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    Old 07-31-2015, 01:34 PM
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    Try Kroil. Comes in a spray can like WD 40.
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    Old 08-01-2015, 08:46 AM
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    My guess is Meridian Junior High. Is there one around there?
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    Old 08-01-2015, 01:10 PM
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    Well, I've spent about 6 hours now cleaning my new baby, and still haven't gotten the under part done. The machine is a bit of a puzzle - I thought the greasiness was due to over-oiling by students, but I've found that all the oiling holes on top of the machine are plugged with what looks like sawed-off screws! Also, I don't believe anyone has ever cleaned out under the needle plate. So much fuzz!

    Here are a couple of before/after pics:


    You can see that the needle bar area is much cleaner although not perfect. This is the stickiest, gunkiest grease I've ever encountered! I've been using 99% isopropyl alcohol on most of it, but had to stop due to feeling sick from the fumes. It's 100 degrees out right now, so too hot to work in the garage, and my ventilation solution (fan plus bathroom fan) appears inadequate!

    I see evidence of lots of needle strikes on the needle plate, so may have some questions about that in a day or two.

    Oh, there is an area near Green Lake, Seattle, called Meridian. Could be that's where the machine came from originally.

    PS - Miriam - what does chemical poisoning feel like? I feel kind of sick right now. Also - moisture in the air here is the least of our worries - indoor humidity right now is 16%. Ugh all over!
    Attached Thumbnails 404-ugly.jpg   404-cleaner.jpg  

    Last edited by MFord; 08-01-2015 at 01:13 PM. Reason: add ps
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    Old 08-02-2015, 08:59 AM
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    It's coming along nicely Margaret. Isn't it rewarding to see the difference as you clean? I'd had several of them in that condition.
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