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Thread: The Tension Dance

  1. #1
    Senior Member redbugsullivan's Avatar
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    The Tension Dance

    Climax Kate, a New Home series L treadle, is finally up and sewing. My struggle is with the tension. Between the upper tension and the VS it is a struggle to find a happy medium. I've even adjusted the presser foot tension to try to remediate puckered stitches.

    Are there any strategies that I can try to reduce the amount of puckering? I can get the interlock to meet in the middle but the stitches still pucker!
    Annette

    There is no fireside like your own fireside.

  2. #2
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    Tension is my biggest problem too. My wife has it down pat. If your thread interlock is in the center of the material, but it's still puckering, try reducing the tension just a wee bit on both the shuttle and top tension.

    Joe

  3. #3
    Super Member Caroline S's Avatar
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    ​Congrats on getting Kate up and running. I agree with Joe, check out the shuttle.
    Sweet Caroline

  4. #4
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    Oh, one thing to check; take the shuttle tension spring off and clean under it. I had one that wouldn't sew worth a hoot. Took it apart and cleaned a lot of lint and crud out from under the spring. Also cleaned out the insides where the bobbin rides. Worked pretty good after I cleaned it.

    Joe

  5. #5
    Senior Member redbugsullivan's Avatar
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    Not only is Kate up and sewing, she's in the house! Alvah has been usurped and resides in the "wreckroom". I took apart the shuttle prior to installing to check for crud. You have me thinking though. What if the bobbin's ends are a bit rough? Hmmm...

    I am loosening here, stitch a while, loosen there, stitch a while. The VS is amazingly noisey compared to all the other VS machines I've worked on. Perhaps it is traveling too much?
    Annette

    There is no fireside like your own fireside.

  6. #6
    Super Member Caroline S's Avatar
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    Find your camera and take some pics. Glad to hear Kate is now in the house. Perhaps she is just being a bit testy because she was "on restriction" in the workshop too long.
    Sweet Caroline

  7. #7
    Senior Member redbugsullivan's Avatar
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    Wouldn't surprise me! The more she stitches, the better she gets. Now if only I could get MY timing right to keep her starting the right direction. The treadle is so smooth that a slight nudge to start results in several stitches. Yeah, except when it goes backwards and breaks the thread!
    Annette

    There is no fireside like your own fireside.

  8. #8
    Super Member ArchaicArcane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by redbugsullivan View Post
    Now if only I could get MY timing right to keep her starting the right direction. The treadle is so smooth that a slight nudge to start results in several stitches. Yeah, except when it goes backwards and breaks the thread!
    I had a guy at the antiques restoration place tell me that you should always give the hand wheel a little turn towards you as you start treadling. This prevents you from going backwards and breaking threads. I tried it when I got home, sure enough he was right. It's how I start almost all of my machines these days, electric or human powered.

  9. #9
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    I have four functional treadles right now. My #2 Singer 66 is for the lack of a better word, balanced, so well I can start it with the treadle. All I do is glance at the wheel to see if it's turning the right direction and if so continue treadling. If not I reverse the pedal and go.

    My Franklin and #1 Singer 66 are more obstinate. My 9W-7 is azz backwards from the start and drives me nuts till I'm able to reverse myself to match the machine.
    For those three I have to turn the wheel by hand until I get them going.

    Joe
    Last edited by J Miller; 08-21-2012 at 12:22 PM. Reason: spell checker put the wrong word in

  10. #10
    Senior Member redbugsullivan's Avatar
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    Joe, like you I pay attention to the wheel at start up. My Alvah is so stiff to start I turn the treadle wheel!

    On recommendation, I took apart the shuttle again. This time I closely checked the bobbin. Looked good. Put a couple of drops of SM oil on a swab and shoved it in. OMS!!! The black crud that was in the bottom was thick. It took a soak with oil for 10 minutes and a small screwdriver scratching about to get it cleaned out. Much better results now! Still rather noisy but the stitches are acceptable.

    I am finding that the stitch length is off. Even at the longest throw of the feeddogs I get 12 stitches per inch. Right now I am hoping more oil time (soaking it in) will improve its function. Everything on the underside moves freely. Suggestions anyone?
    Annette

    There is no fireside like your own fireside.

  11. #11
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    I have a bunch of older machines that the stitch length is off. None of them seem to be adjustable, but they do move from 0 stitches to the high stitches, even if the actual stitches doesn't agree with the numbers on the adjuster.
    If the feed dogs move when the stitch length adjuster is moved, I'd say just keep oiling all the moving parts. Hopefully it will free up.

    And one more thing, all of my long bobbin machines are noisy. Well, noisier than a round bobbin machine anyway.

    Joe

  12. #12
    Super Member ArchaicArcane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J Miller View Post
    And one more thing, all of my long bobbin machines are noisy. Well, noisier than a round bobbin machine anyway.
    I finally heard my first motorized vibrating shuttle machine this weekend. Holy cow! You're not kidding that it's noisier! It put it in perspective, because til then, the VS machines were treadled, and the round bobbins were all motorized. Having them all motorized sure let me know how different sounding they are, and the volume difference is pretty notable too!

    I also think that when I'm treadling (using all 4 limbs at once) I'm less likely to notice the noise.
    Could be all of my joints creaking too though.

  13. #13
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    Some of the old long bobbin machines were motorized with friction drive motors. If the rubber friction wheel gets flat spotted it will add a roar to the sound of the machine. A smooth drive wheel will make no noise and all you'll hear is the machine.

    Joe

  14. #14
    Senior Member redbugsullivan's Avatar
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    OMS! VS motorized must be incredibly noisy! Kate's shuttle is just sloppy. There's no adjustment to decrease the space for movement so I guess I must live with the noise.

    A year ago, I fixed my MIL's A2 VS New Home for their 50th anniversary. Compared to my National Alvah, it was a dream. Quiet, smooth and so easy to treadle. When I got this treadle, I expected the same results. So much so that my Alvah has been relegated to the "wreck room".

    The New Home Climax has been a disappointment. Noisy, finicky and quirky seem to be the best words to describe her. Yes, she may be having a fits for being in the shop but she needs to get over it or back she goes!!!
    Annette

    There is no fireside like your own fireside.

  15. #15
    Super Member ArchaicArcane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J Miller View Post
    Some of the old long bobbin machines were motorized with friction drive motors. If the rubber friction wheel gets flat spotted it will add a roar to the sound of the machine. A smooth drive wheel will make no noise and all you'll hear is the machine.

    Joe
    Naw,.. this one is a relatively recent conversion. It's a BAJ3-8 motor, same as the ones that come stock on the 99K machines.

    It's the sound of the shuttle moving faster than when I treadle. The weird double bounce that the needle does seems to be a good part of the noise. Of course, this is also without a full cleaning / oiling/ tuneup, but on the long bobbins, it seems like there's always noisy play with the shuttle in its holder. That's the noise I hear, just louder and faster.

    It's not going to shake the house down, just enough to make me go "Wow! That's noisier!"

    Quote Originally Posted by redbugsullivan View Post
    OMS! VS motorized must be incredibly noisy! Kate's shuttle is just sloppy. There's no adjustment to decrease the space for movement so I guess I must live with the noise.
    That's exactly the noise I'm talking about. Imagine that about 1.5 to 2 times faster than you usually treadle. (Or at least it is for me with a motor)

  16. #16
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    Tammi,

    You are describing metallic sounds I can't hear well. Being a long time shooter that started long before hearing protection was talked about or suggested, I've got a lot of high pitch hearing loss. And that includes certain metallic noises. Low pitched noise I hear just fine ... .
    That's why I can't hear what you described, but I do hear the noise the flat spotted drive wheels cause.

    I have several electric and motorized treadle long bobbin machines, both friction drive and belt drive. Their noise varies from mild to wild. And I've got one long bobbin treadle, my Franklin (uses Singer size shuttles and bobbins) and it's one of the noisiest.

    Joe

  17. #17
    Super Member ArchaicArcane's Avatar
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    We have that same problem here. I apparently hear like a bat, and the DH hears low tones, and misses a lot of the higher pitched stuff. My hearing though isn't terribly good with direction, so when we're trying to figure out where a noise is coming from (like in the car, for instance), it can get pretty comical.

    You can probably "see" the noise we're talking about. The needle bottoms out, then does a tiny little bounce. This bounce causes a little "thump", then when the shuttle begins its drive forward, it grabs the thread, and you see the shuttle pitch to the left a little as the thread goes between the first "claw" of the holder and its shuttle. It "clicks" and the shuttle rocks back to the right, sometimes there's a slight noise here, another click. The thread travels further, then goes under the second claw, click click.

    They're not bad noises, but I sort of think that the motor seems to amplify it a little, and I sew "faster" with a motor than when I treadle, so there's more noise due to the higher rpm. Enough so that I would use another machine if the DH was sleeping across the hall. During the day though, any machine is fair game.

    as far as tension is concerned (might as well keep it somewhat on topic, eh RBS?) I wonder if the shuttles can use the same "rule" for setting their tension.

    I posted a thread a while back about setting the bobbin case tension for a 99 / 66. It said that an ounce of weight should have the thread -almost- coming off of the bobbin. If I can come up with a way to verify that this is the same for the shuttles, I will definitely post about it. I want to know too, since I have 4 of the things here that should probably be set correctly. That may help you lead your dance. If it's set rationally at the bobbin side, the top tension should be easier to reign in.

  18. #18
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    I cannot hear crickets with my right ear. My wife hears them to the point they drive her bats. I ignore them till she bugs me enough to go on a seek and destroy mission. Of course she has to be my fire control coordinator as I can't tell where the little bugs are coming from.
    When it comes to noises in the trucks ..... I tell her to wait till it gets loud enough for me to hear it, then I'll fix it. That's about all I can do.

    "Most" of my machines have the top tension set between 2 and 3 , using #50 thread. My wife has pretty much taught me how to "feel" the thread to know weather the tension is right or not. So when I have a machine that's close at 3 I'll tweak the bobbin adjustment to bring them together.
    As for checking the bobbin, I've played with them enough that I normally can feel if they are right just by gently pulling on the thread after the needle has pulled it up through the needle plate.
    A very "scientific" method. LOL

    I do the same type of things with the round and long bobbins. If there is no dirt, or mechanical problems they all respond pretty much the same.

    Joe

  19. #19
    Senior Member redbugsullivan's Avatar
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    Cleaning up that shuttle changed the stitches. They aren't so puckered and the tension has been decreased on top now that the bobbin is moving freely. When stitching small pieces, the machine curves them to the left. Does that sound like a presser foot issue or a feed dog thing?

    After reviewing my herd, I've decided that Climax Kate may need to be sold. I'm not terribly attached to it and only have space for the best sewers. Someone's going to love her...
    Annette

    There is no fireside like your own fireside.

  20. #20
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    I have a couple that won't stitch straight. It's annoying to say the least. I haven't tried to figure them out yet.
    When I do I'll start with a new presser foot. Then go from there.

    Joe

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    Make sure the feed dogs are perfectly straight in the throat plate slots. And then make sure that the presser foot is sitting straight on the feed dogs. If they're not, loosen the presser foot bar slightly...& turn it til it's straight. The only other thing it could be is that the presser foot is worn pretty heavily on one side or the other...or that the feed dog teeth are worn much worse on one side than the other. Good news is that it's all fixable!

  22. #22
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    Pat,

    I know how to adjust the presser foot shaft so that's not a problem, but how do you adjust the feed dogs if they are not square with the feed dog slots?

    I guess you could reorient the needle plate on some machines, but on those you can't how do you do the adjustment?

    Joe

  23. #23
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    If you loosen the feed dogs, there may be a little wiggle room there. And you usually can move the throat plate slightly. To be honest, I've never had a machine that was so far off that it needed more than that.

    There's always the possibility that somehow the feed dogs got bent...wouldn't be easy to do but, stranger things have happened! I think I'd try a different presser foot first. Even if it doesn't appear to be worn on one side, it could still have a slight twist to it. If that isn't it & the feed dogs can't be adjusted, I'd try new feed dogs.

    And maybe it's just a machine that never was right straight from the factory....

  24. #24
    Muv
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    Puckering can be caused by the stitch length being too long on fine material. Sometimes all you need to do is shorten the stitch length.

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    Super Member Charlee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Muv View Post
    Puckering can be caused by the stitch length being too long on fine material. Sometimes all you need to do is shorten the stitch length.
    And once again I've learned something "new to me" from you Muv!! Thanks! I didn't realize long stitches could cause puckering!
    One day, you'll only be a memory for some people. Do your best to be a good one.

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