Monday, July 2, 2012

Singer 99K Progress

A few weeks ago, this little Singer 99K followed me home. No one else thought she was worth saving, but I could see the 'diamond in the rough'.

When I see or find machines like this 99, in the sad condition it is in, I often wonder about its life story. No, I'm not crazy. Each of the machines I find has a story; certainly it was loved and cherished at one time in its life. I can picture the owner spending countless hours with the machine, working on children's clothes, repairing a hem, or making an extravagant dress for a special occasion. And being that this machine was made in 1950, I feel confident that its previous owner was a woman. So, while I work and tinker on a machine, I get lost in the nostalgia and then I become determined to re-animate as best as I can. (I choose the term 're-animate', because that is what I do - give it new life. I'm not a professional restorer or refurbish-er. I think these old machines should show some of their battle scars.)

And so begins my task of re-animating the Singer 99k. I began by taking pictures...lots of pictures. It doesn't matter how many diagrams and schematics you have, a picture truly is worth a thousand words. Photos give me a chance to have a 'before & after', and it lets me know exactly how a piece was sitting in place when it was removed. Diagrams may show you where a piece goes, but they don't always show you how it was positioned.
My initial photographs give the machine the appearance of being not only used, but neglected. Many of the parts that should be bright and shiny look very rusty...not a good sign for a smooth running machine.
Bobbin case and hook assembly
Needle bar & pressure bar assembly
 The bobbin case area appeared to be rusted solid, as did the needle bar area. But the machine would turn over, so hopefully it was only surface rust and not welded together rust. The whitish spot you see on the bobbin case photo is duct tape residue. Tape is bad; duct tape is HORRIBLE! I can only assume the previous owner used it to hold the bobbin cover in place. Those bobbin covers can be tricky to re-install once completely removed. In fact, this machine was missing that piece completely.  Reproduction parts are available, but I prefer an original part. Original parts cost a little more, especially if you have to bid for them. 

That duct tape will be a beast to remove, without damaging the finish underneath. I've removed masking tape and sticky labels before without issue. My initial tests with the duct tape removal have been unfruitful. But, let's get the guts working first before I even worry about the 99's paint finish.  I've also decided to save the wiring replacement until the end. Better to be certain the machine sews, before I waste my time with the motor/light/controller.

More updates to come!

1 comment:

naturgesetz said...

I've caught up on your recent posts. It's quite a labor of love you're undertaking with "Ann," and it's nice that you get so much satisfaction from your work on all those machines. It's interesting to me to see how different the later models look from the more classic appearance of the 1950 model.