Saturday, September 20, 2014

Singer 66 Treadle: Cleaning the machine head

We are finally finishing up the table this weekend, and I realized that I never posted about cleaning up the actual machine. To recap: I bought the table last September, and Andrew sanded the wood and metal base down in the fall, over weekends in October and November. We almost go to the staining and painting part, but then last (brutal) winter caught up with us. The back porch is uninsulated and unheated, so we gave up for the winter...and then some!

I was able to take this into the dining room and clean it, however. Excuse the crappy pictures that were taken in the dark, early evenings in November- January. 

The machine was cleaned with an old toothbrush, Q-tips, cheesecloth, copper wool, screwdrivers and sewing machine oil. It took a LOT of elbow grease, but not everything is perfectly shiny and new. That's okay as it's almost 100 years old. I got out all the old grease and lint and greasy, old lint. Everything moves smoothly and functions!
Base before cleaning. 

Not perfect, but way better and missing a ton of old grease.
Base after cleaning.

I forgot to take a before of the head. Machine oil is best for cleaning because it doesn't take off the decals. You still don't want to rub very hard. The N and G are missing because the owner had a piece of fabric wrapped there to use as pincushion. I have seen that on many old machines at estate sales.
Decals after cleaning.
 Cleaning the bobbin area was very time consuming and gross. What looks like poop in the picture is actually a hard mix of old lint, dirt and lubricant that had to soak in machine oil until it loosened up. This took me several evenings to finish. I do know how to take apart the whole thing and put it back together!

 After, with the bobbin out. Not all of the silver would come back to "shiny", but it at least clean and it spins smoothly.

After, put all back together.
I was on a roll here and forgot to take a before picture. It looks gross, but the shiny black is just the cast iron. This part (the tensions?) was completely full of dust/lint. This one made the biggest impact after cleaning it; the whole machine starting turning really easily and smoothly!
With flash

Without flash. 

 After cleaning the turning parts in here. It was black with old grease.
 The round plate on the back and this plate on the left have that raised texture and I really had trouble cleaning them. In the end, they are not completely clean and shiny, but they look better. It looks much worse with the flash on than in real life.
 In real (winter), daylight.
 This was just a day's amount of cleaning stuff. I used a million Q-tips on the bobbin case and to get into all those little areas. I think the toothbrush was the perfect tool for most of the scrubbing; it can fit into a small area, but still is abrasive enough to take off most of the grime.
It looks a million times better and is ready to be used, as soon as the table is done. I'm excited to see it all refurbished and put back together!

1 comment:

  1. Wow! You really had your work cut out on getting it clean. Love that you've shown the process - This is filed away for the future if I get an older machine.


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