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Thread: talk to me about timing, please

  1. #1
    Senior Member MrsBoats's Avatar
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    talk to me about timing, please

    So. The Kenmore has been freed up, cleaned up, oiled and polished up, and is all back together. (And it only took a couple of tries to get it right! )

    The problem now is the needle is ticking on something in the bobbin/hook area. The hook, I think, or some part of it; there's no bobbin or bobbin case in it currently. I don't know if it did before or not (frozen) but I had the needle bar out to clean everything, so I'm assuming that's what did it.

    I'm using the old needle; I have no idea what size it is. It *looks* like a standard HA 15x1 when compared side by side, but I just don't know. I have several close-but-not-quite Kenmore manuals, and all they say about size is to mention that your machine is a rotary and give the serial number when buying needles. (How helpful!)

    Assuming I've got the correct needle, can I retime this myself? Got any good links showing me how? Anything I should know before I give it a try?
    -Karen
    There's no such thing as too many sewing machines!

  2. #2
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    Get a new needle. Using a 30 year old needle isn't a good idea. It may be bent or have other problems. It should be just a regular 15 x 1 needle. If you google timing sewing machines there are diagrams and info. available, but I'd for sure put in a new needle before messing with the machine.

  3. #3
    Senior Member MrsBoats's Avatar
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    Changed the needle-apparently 15x1 is the correct one. It's not catching on anything, but it's also not picking up the bobbin thread, either. Both old Kenmores have a funky bobbin case with the tension spring on the finger, and that's where the upper thread is hanging up, I think. I'll fiddle with it some more, but I'm also going to my osmg's tomorrow, to take him the current batch, and this one for a rewiring. He said he'd check out everything else while I was there, so one way or another, I'll get this sorted!
    -Karen
    There's no such thing as too many sewing machines!

  4. #4
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    Make sure the presser foot is down. Some machines have to have the presser foot down before they'll pick up the bobbin thread.

  5. #5
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    I think I did a tutorial on this somewhere http://www.quiltingboard.com/vintage...l-t147275.html ah here is it - links and videos if you need to time it - I do everything but time it first
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.

  6. #6
    Senior Member donna13350's Avatar
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    Yes...timing is very simple and takes less than 5 minutes, even for a beginner.
    First..you need to see if it is OUT of time...remove your bobbin and bobbin case, then turn the hand wheel toward you while watching the needle and hook. Once the needle has risen and has gone all the way down, it is what it does when returning up that counts. When the needle is coming back up, watch the hook, the tip of the hook should pass just over the top of the eye of the needle...if it does, your machine is timed properly ...if it does not, then you need to time it.
    To time it, lay the machine on a towel on it's back, remove the bottom cover, if there is one. turn your handwheel so that you can see the shaft that turns hook assembly(follow the dots...the hip bone is connected ..etc!)....on that shaft there will be a bearing with (usually) 2 set screws...loosen them with the proper sized allen wrench....now just line up the top of the hook over the top of the needle(again, on it's upward stroke), ...tighten set screws...turn hand wheel again, and check to see that it's correct, then snug the set screws down well, replace bottom, then put your bobbin case and bobbin back in and test...NEVER with the foot pedal first! always test the first few stitches by turning the hand wheel manually in case something isn't right...if nothing jams and nothing hits, then go ahead and run machine.

  7. #7
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by donna13350 View Post
    Yes...timing is very simple and takes less than 5 minutes, even for a beginner.
    First..you need to see if it is OUT of time...remove your bobbin and bobbin case, then turn the hand wheel toward you while watching the needle and hook. Once the needle has risen and has gone all the way down, it is what it does when returning up that counts. When the needle is coming back up, watch the hook, the tip of the hook should pass just over the top of the eye of the needle...if it does, your machine is timed properly ...if it does not, then you need to time it.


    To time it, lay the machine on a towel on it's back, remove the bottom cover, if there is one. turn your handwheel so that you can see the shaft that turns hook assembly(follow the dots...the hip bone is connected ..etc!)....on that shaft there will be a bearing with (usually) 2 set screws...loosen them with the proper sized allen wrench....now just line up the top of the hook over the top of the needle(again, on it's upward stroke), ...tighten set screws...turn hand wheel again, and check to see that it's correct, then snug the set screws down well, replace bottom, then put your bobbin case and bobbin back in and test...NEVER with the foot pedal first! always test the first few stitches by turning the hand wheel manually in case something isn't right...if nothing jams and nothing hits, then go ahead and run machine.

    Only if it is really out of time or you will still have the problem
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.

  8. #8
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by donna13350 View Post
    Yes...timing is very simple and takes less than 5 minutes, even for a beginner.
    Well, I have to disagree that it's simple and takes 5 mins. And I'm not a beginner. I have spent up to a couple of days re-timing machines. It's not just the bobbin assembly that needs adjustment, sometimes the needle bar needs it too. And since every machine is a tad different, it always takes me added time to figure each one out. And lots of time to sometimes extract stuck screws etc. No...sometimes it can be a day to 2 or more day project. It's not something to tackle if you don't have to.
    Last edited by Candace; 12-13-2011 at 09:36 AM.

  9. #9
    Senior Member MrsBoats's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the replies! I'll definitely bookmark this thread for future reference.

    Lesson learned: Know what you're talking about before you talk about it. The bobbin case that I borrowed from the other old Kenmore "fit" in the sense that it did go in the shuttle, but it still wasn't the right bobbin case. My osmg dug one out of his boney pile, and with the right bobbin in it, it picked up the thread. (Imagine that! ) It's still at the shop for a rewire (I do NOT fool with electricity-everyone has an edge, and there's mine) and a new friction drive rubber.
    -Karen
    There's no such thing as too many sewing machines!

  10. #10
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    Good. I'm glad you were able to figure it out. It is good to check everything else before you do the timing - I've very seldom found timing to be an issue. I would encourage any one reading this to exhaust other ideas first - specially if this is a machine you have been using. They just don't magically go out of time.
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.

  11. #11
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by miriam View Post
    Good. I'm glad you were able to figure it out. It is good to check everything else before you do the timing - I've very seldom found timing to be an issue. I would encourage any one reading this to exhaust other ideas first - specially if this is a machine you have been using. They just don't magically go out of time.
    Well, I somewhat have to agree an disagree. I've picked up several machines where the timing is off and it won't sew. Hence the reason the prior owner was selling it. "It's broken"....Nope, just needed re-timing. And I know machines go off time frequently after hitting pins or other obstacles. But, I do agree to exhaust other options before tackling it because odds are it's something else causing the problem.

  12. #12
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Candace View Post
    Well, I somewhat have to agree an disagree. I've picked up several machines where the timing is off and it won't sew. Hence the reason the prior owner was selling it. "It's broken"....Nope, just needed re-timing. And I know machines go off time frequently after hitting pins or other obstacles. But, I do agree to exhaust other options before tackling it because odds are it's something else causing the problem.
    As I said, "I would encourage any one reading this to exhaust other ideas first - specially if this is a machine you have been using. They just don't magically go out of time." I have gotten machines cheap because they were out of timing. I presume someone didn't know where else to start on fixing it when it could have been something else all along. I have caused machines to go out of timing. 1) I put a high shank foot on a machine that wasn't a high shank machine - the pressure foot snapped down and out she went. 2) I have an industrial machine - it is very high speed - when thread gets wrapped around the shuttle I have to take it off and clean out the thread - it just doesn't come out easy on that machine - you are talking a lot of power. Then it always takes work to get it back together and timed. I've had it take a month. I would work on it awhile and quit out of frustration, pick up again and one day it all come to me... 3) I have had to remove a bent shaft and replace it. Had to time it when I did that. I've bought machines that were out of timing for what ever reason. Then I have one that went out of time because I was stupid. This was a machine that had a good coating of 3 in 1 oil on it... (never use that stuff) I cleaned off the needle bar real good and oiled it up real good - it's the one I tested with the high shank foot... Well it got too slick for the set screw to hold. I had to get that oil off before it would stay in time. I have seen a few machines with the needle bar turned funny so had to turn them right and make sure it stayed in time or re-time it. Candace, once you've done the same machine over and over in a week you get pretty fast at it - it is a frustrating job to do though - often times the screw can't be reached at the same time the needle is set in the right place. I've not had one go off timing by hitting a pin - usually breaks the needle and it flies in my face.
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.

  13. #13
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by miriam View Post
    As I said, "I would encourage any one reading this to exhaust other ideas first - specially if this is a machine you have been using. They just don't magically go out of time." I have gotten machines cheap because they were out of timing. I presume someone didn't know where else to start on fixing it when it could have been something else all along. I have caused machines to go out of timing. 1) I put a high shank foot on a machine that wasn't a high shank machine - the pressure foot snapped down and out she went. 2) I have an industrial machine - it is very high speed - when thread gets wrapped around the shuttle I have to take it off and clean out the thread - it just doesn't come out easy on that machine - you are talking a lot of power. Then it always takes work to get it back together and timed. I've had it take a month. I would work on it awhile and quit out of frustration, pick up again and one day it all come to me... 3) I have had to remove a bent shaft and replace it. Had to time it when I did that. I've bought machines that were out of timing for what ever reason. Then I have one that went out of time because I was stupid. This was a machine that had a good coating of 3 in 1 oil on it... (never use that stuff) I cleaned off the needle bar real good and oiled it up real good - it's the one I tested with the high shank foot... Well it got too slick for the set screw to hold. I had to get that oil off before it would stay in time. I have seen a few machines with the needle bar turned funny so had to turn them right and make sure it stayed in time or re-time it. Candace, once you've done the same machine over and over in a week you get pretty fast at it - it is a frustrating job to do though - often times the screw can't be reached at the same time the needle is set in the right place. I've not had one go off timing by hitting a pin - usually breaks the needle and it flies in my face.
    I'm glad I'm not the only one that has these jobs take a while. I've not had to re-time the same machine more than once, so I've not gotten to that assembly line stage:> Newer machines timing go off from hitting pins much easier than the vintage machines.

  14. #14
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Candace View Post
    I'm glad I'm not the only one that has these jobs take a while. I've not had to re-time the same machine more than once, so I've not gotten to that assembly line stage:> Newer machines timing go off from hitting pins much easier than the vintage machines.
    I would have to agree - some of those old machines have never been re-timed - they are pretty well made and can handle most anything unless you get stupid. I do remove pins as I go most of the time - with my big industrial I use glue to tack in the middle or I use clips along the edges. You learn to do what you have to don't you? One time my industrial machine went out of time because it got too cold. It was in a pole barn I had for a shop. The thing set all winter and when I cranked it up it clattered and clunked and I had a mess - thread all over the place and the shuttle was off it's set screw. That was the time it took me a month to get it put back. I tried to just stick it on there and screw it down. I should have pulled the whole thing out and started from scratch... hind sight. Now if it has been setting around, I check to see if those 2 screws are very tight. Kind of like oiling up after a machine has been setting. Always a good idea. 3 in 1 oil all dried on and gummed up could cause a machine to go out of time I'm thinking.
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.

  15. #15
    Senior Member donna13350's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by miriam View Post
    Only if it is really out of time or you will still have the problem
    Miriam...if you had read my post, I did advise her to make sure that the machine was actually out of time before she timed it, and advised her on how to do that.

  16. #16
    Senior Member donna13350's Avatar
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    Timing can be thrown off from something as simple as a birds nest on some of these newer machines...it doesn't take much. On the older machines, the set screws can loosen and the timing will change just from use.
    If you are the type of person that cannot loosen a screw, then by all means, do send it out. If you do not understand the difference between a timing issue and a bent needle bar, then you should send your machine out for repair. I have timed machines since I've been 11 years old( my Dad had an authorized repair shop for over 40 years), and it is a simple procedure that takes only a few minutes for a person with a basic knowledge of their sewing machine. Candace asked how to time it, I answered her...it was up to her to decide if she had the confidence and ability to do it.

  17. #17
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    some of us have had to learn in the school of hard knocks on a low budget
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.

  18. #18
    Junior Member Sandy-lou's Avatar
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    have read these posts with great interest and have learned a bit more , which has been useful as I am having a hook timing problem. Everything else has been exhausted.
    Sandy-Lou and Meg (quilt inspector)
    The girls from down under in Tassie Devil Country

  19. #19
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by miriam View Post
    I think I did a tutorial on this somewhere http://www.quiltingboard.com/vintage...l-t147275.html ah here is it - links and videos if you need to time it - I do everything but time it first
    That timing video on the bottom of the page is gone.
    Here is another video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=njfCy...eature=related this one is better anyway.
    You will also need the second one http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sE2um...eature=related

    or you can search Utube for sewing machine timing

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