Thursday, February 27, 2014

Edna, Part II

You may remember me telling about my acquisition of Edna, a 1927 Singer treadle sewing machine.  Edna belonged to the seller's grandmother and associated many fond memories with the machine but since she didn't sew, it didn't make much sense for her to keep it.  The seller chose me to receive the machine once she learned how much I sewed and she felt that I would value the machine as much as she valued the memories associated with the machine.  (I consider the acquisition of Edna to be Part I)

I decided to name the machine Edna, after the machine's original owner.  I have remained in touch with the seller, and will continue to share my Edna's experiences with her.

As Edna was my first treadle, I spent a lot of time researching the 'care and feeding' of a treadle.  I collected the tools and supplies needed for the process of bringing a treadle back to life.  I hoped that Edna would continue to sew and live a long and happy life with me.

When this journey first started, I felt I was up to the challenge.  I was logical, methodical, and patient.  Researching the how-to and collecting the items needed was just a step in the right direction.  I was on the road to becoming best buds with Edna.  Right?

All preliminary research was done and all tools and supplies  had been delivered....  2 weeks ago.  Edna had been watching and waiting for 2 weeks. 

What was the hold up? 
I realized I was a bit afraid.

My beloved Pfaff 1472 had fried.  Without an act of congress, it couldn't be repaired.   I was totally disillusioned with electronic, which is why I took the off-ramp from the technological highway to savor the simplicity the older and old machines....  I have to say that I almost took the pfailure  of the Pfaff as a personal slap.  That machine had seen me through years and years of tough times and served as a therapist and pfriend and I wasn't ready to give her up yet...  but she left me anyway.  (are you tired of the "pf" jokes yet?)

So I bought a Singer 306W and Edna.  I already has a hand crank that my brother had given me but I can hardly chew gum, walk, and remember my name at the same time.  I wasn't quite ready for a hand crank as a machine to use on a regular basis.  The 306W and Edna were purchased to be my go-to sewing machines and Edna had the added incentive of giving me footsteps on my cursed FitBit.

The 306W needed a cleaning but was already sewing.  Edna needed a little work and some new parts before she was ready to sew.  What if she didn't like me?  What if she didn't want to work for me?  Did Edna know the fun she would be missing if she didn't want to work for me?  Perhaps her time, like the Pfaff, was passed.

No.  I sat down with Edna, a bottle of sewing machine oil, TriFlow grease, long tweezers, a brass brush, a screwdriver, and lots of makeup pads, qtips, toothpicks, old towels, and a movie playing. (ironically, it was an oldie too.) 

I tested the wheel before I started.  It turned hard and tight.  I gave the treadle a few pumps and it stopped when I stopped pumping.  Edna wasn't going to get better on her own.  Ok, Edna, here we go.

I had already decided that I would not do a complete restoration on Edna for now.  I just wanted her and I to get to know each other. That took a lot of pressure off of me.

I took off the cover plate near the needle  Yuck.  No wonder she looked so sad.  I laid an absorbent towel down in the 'slop' danger area and sprayed sewing machine oil in the area and let it soak for a minute.  I then sopped up the excess oil with makeup pads. 

I then took whatever little tool I thought would work to remove the lint, old oil, and gunk that Edna had collected over the years. I was careful to not leave new lint or anything else from the tools I used.  I was also careful to not scratch any surfaces.  I left it pretty oily in there and went on to the next section.

I snuck down and oiled all of the joints in the treadle and let it set for a while.  I found that letting the oil set really loosened the gunk and make cleaning it out a lot easier.

Removing the plate on the back of the machine, I was pleased to see that it was not bad but you can see the gunk left by old oil and that all the parts are dry.   The machine would have to be completely dismantled to really clean this area so  I doused the area with oil after putting a towel under the machine.  This area was a little harder to get to so after letting the oil set for a bit, I sopped up the excess and went to the next area.

I tested the wheel again - it still turned hard.
I tested the treadle - it pumped better.  YAY!!

Next section.

I didn't grab a photo of this part but I took the screw out of the hand wheel, unscrewed the big screw, and removed the wheel, carefully taking the little washer with it.  I laid them aside, keeping the washer in the same position.  I oiled, degunked, and wiped everything out and removed the excess oil.   I replaced the wheel and tested it.  

GASP.  PROBLEM!!!  The needle isn't going up and down!!!

Treadles are direct drive, basically like an old bike.  There are no gears, just go.... and not go.  If you pedal (or  treadle) and it doesn't go, something isn't hooked up correctly.  I removed the hand wheel again, and replaced it.  Tested it.  YAY -  needle moves again, but still tight. 

I gave the treadle a few pumps just to work the oil in a bit more.  Its getting easier to pump!!

Next section.

I tipped the machine up and looked underneath.  It didn't look too bad.   I oiler her up and decided to take a break.  But I didn't stay away long.

I started removing gunk and lint.  I was working away and tried to remove that little red linty thing that you can see just above the center of the photo (its near the bobbin case).  Stubborn.  I worked and worked...  from the bottom...  from the top.... tweezers and toothpicks and bit by bit, I got it out.  It was a lint ball packed in there and was about the size of a large pea.  I prayed I didn't damage a little spring that was in the area adjacent to where the lint was wedged.

I finished degunking and cleaning up lint and old oil and flipped her down.

sigh.  Ok, I was ready for another test.  I hoped the lint ball had caused the hard turn.  Or that the oil had loosen everything enough.

I literally yelled at DH to come.    I wanted him to share my joy....   or my sorrow.  

I turned the hand wheel.  It spun easily.  REALLY?  I had DH try it.  yep, it felt great!  
I pumped the treadle.  It continued even after I took my feet away.   

You have no idea how excited I felt.

But I was tired and didn't want to continue.  Working tired usually goes bad.  Part III may have to wait until Sunday but will include photos of the final cleanup, installing the new treadle belt,  and taking Edna for a test drive.  Once all that is done, I will polish up the cabinet.

I feel confident that Edna has a lot of life left in her and will continue to make memories.

Thank you, Kirsten!

Oldies ARE goodies.

1 comment:

  1. That is so awesome. Had to click the picture twice as the first time I thought maybe I clicked the wrong picture trying to find the red lint. Then it was a "oh I see"!! Pretty cool!!!