Thursday, October 11, 2012

1926 Singer 99 - Part 2

Before I start in on the second part of the 1926 Singer 99 restoration, I want to apologize for not getting it posted sooner. Sometimes life throws you a curve ball from out in left-field, and if you aren't looking for it, it smacks you in the side of the head. It's been one of those months, and life and family take priority over any leisure time I have. Things still haven't settled down, but I have found a moment or two to hide myself away in my projects.

Now, on to the fun stuff!

In Part 1, I spent most of the post disassembling the electronics and removing the machine from its Bentwood case. It never ceases to amaze me at just how much gunk accumulates on these vintage machines. Granted, this one is 86 years old, but a little dust rag here and there wouldn't have hurt it over the years.
The accumulated dirt underneath where the motor sits.
After removing the electrics, I began assessing the condition of the machine's mechanics. Digging into the hook area and needle bar area, this machine showed evidence of having been neglected as far as basic maintenance goes. The bobbin was still half full with some very old (and smelly) vintage thread. Removing the bobbin case on this 99 machine is identical to the other 99 that I have. Just lift the bobbin case retention bracket, and slide it to the right. This loosens the resistance on the bobbin case, and with a little wiggling, it should come right out. With the bobbin case removed, there must have been a pound of lint impacted into the hook area. Lint attracts moisture, mix moisture with metal, and you have a breeding ground for rust.
With the bobbin case bracket turned to the right, the bobbin case has been removed.
That's a lot of lint! 
The rust was evident on the bobbin case bracket. You can also see that someone had tried adjusting the retention spring in the past, as the screw head is nearly stripped. I wonder if the previous owner had thought adjusting the spring would solve whatever issue he/she was having with all of the impacted lint and thread trapped in the hook area.
Rust on the ejection spring; nearly stripped adjustment screw. BUT, the oil wick is in tact.
Normally, I would disassemble and clean a machine in sections. But since I've become familiar with the workings of the 99, and I have quite an assortment of pre-disassembly photos, I decided to keep removing parts and clean all at one time. It is easier that way for me.

I worked on the needle-bar assembly next. This was another area who's maintenance had been neglected. The pressure adjusting rod was heavily coated in rust, and its internal spring was very brittle.
Behind the face plate, the ol' girl shows her age.
Simple maintenance would keep this area fully functional.

The bottom spring is the original.
It fractured and broke three separate times because it was so brittle.
The top spring is the replace I bought off eBay.
Removing the needle-bar is still a bit scary for me. I worry about not being able to reset the timing when I put everything back together again. The truth is, these old machines are so simplistic in their nature (by today's standards), that putting it back together, and adjusting the timing is less difficult than I once imagined. One thing to note on this 1926 99 versus my 1950 99 - the 1950 actually has a timing gauge attached to the needle thread guide (seen on the left); the 1926 version does not. The 1926 should have had an older style timing mark system, but it was not there. In order to set the 1926's timing, you'll have to become familiar with the needle-bar's lowest and highest positions, and the position of the hook in relation to the needle. I'll cover that in re-assembly later.

The thread guide, with and without the Timing Gauge.
Removing the tension engaging arm was more difficult. On the 3/4-sized 99s, the arm is held in place by a pin, which must be tapped out. On larger sewing heads, that is usually held in by a screw. Once I figured out how to maneuver my tools and hands into position, the pin came out rather easily. Yes, it took a good whack or two with the rubber mallet and the drill punch, but it didn't offer much resistance.
The red arrow shows where the pin will come out.
Working from the underarm side of the head, drive the pin out
with a nail punch and a mallet.
Though it's out of focus, you can see the gunk coated on the pin as well.
Next up was the feed dog and hook drive mechanism. One screw holds the feed dogs in, and that same screw can adjust height clearance as well. A series of tap rollers controls the motion of the feed dogs and the hook. Over time, these rollers become clogged with lint and debris, and if not properly maintained, they will seize up and no longer roll freely. When this happens, flat spots will develop. I was fortunate with this machine - although the rollers had seized, they had not yet developed flat spots. Once I cleaned and thoroughly oiled them, they roll freely and smoothly.
Feed Regulator - the feed dogs attach here. This roller should turn freely.
The Feed Raising Bar and its roller. It too should spin freely.
Once the bottom end parts have been removed and begun their soaking process, I move back to the top and rear of the sewing head. On top of the model 99, there is an combination screw/bushing (Arm Rock Shaft Screw) whose oiling access point is right next to the spool pin. Often times, you'll see a spool pin wedged into this access hole. I like to remove this bushing and clean it out thoroughly. It is more than likely fully clogged with lint and debris, and little to no oil can pass through the small opening in the bottom. When I removed the bushing from this machine, it was jam-packed with gunk. You should be able to see the opening in the photo. Oil flows from here to the Arm Rock Shaft in the pillar of the machine head. Since the 99 does not have an access panel from the backside, proper maintenance of this bushing is critical to a smooth running machine.

This oiling hole is often plugged with lint and debris. It must be kept
clear in order for oil to penetrate to the Rocker Shaft below.
The last parts I remove are the stitch regulator screw, and the Feed Forked Connection and assembly. The screw just below the hand-wheel holds this mechanism in place. But be warned - on these 3/4-sized machines, it can be a beast putting it back together again. Sometimes I find I need six hands and a contortionist's degree. But with a little patience, it can be done. Having a magnetic screwdriver doesn't hurt either. Stupidly, I did not photograph the removal process for this. I have done it before with a Singer 128 and it is near identical to the 99 in this aspect and I'll look for a photo from that rebuild to add here later.

Part 3 will cover the re-assembly and timing of the machine. And Part 4 will cover the motor and electrics re-wire. {Edit - this changed a bit, as now there will be 5 parts. Part 3 - Cleaning; Part 4 - Reassembly & Timing; Part 5 - Electrical.} As I go along, if there are any parts or sections that you would like more information on, please let me know and I'll try to cover or explain them as I understand them to work.


Michelle said...

You are BRAVE! I would have given up before I started! Good job!

Denise said...


I am trying to take my 99-13 1926 apart but I stopped at the needle bar. Could you be kind enough and clarify it for me? I am at a loss.
The other part I could not take apart was the foot bar lever.
I would be forever grateful!!


Anonymous said...

How can I replace the bobbon case wick? There is a little coil spring where the wick should sit but no sign of the wick itself

Scott said...

Someone may have removed the wick,thinking it was lint, as it often discolors with age. To replace it, you will need to remove the bobbin case, and then the bobbin case position bracket from the machine. Once that is out, you can remove the coil, insert a new piece of wool felt, and then re-assemble everything.

Wendy said...

I am trying to revive a rusted up one...after a few days in kerosene, we finally got hand wheel to move, however it only moves about 180 degrees in either direction, something is stopping it from doing a complete turn, any suggestions?

Russanne said...

Hi there. We are trying to put together a 99-13. We have everything working well except the feed dog length regulator. (The feed dogs go up and down just not forward/ back.) We are missing parts according to the charts...8216, 8217 and possibly a screw 42. We have the Large turn screw on the outside but it's not attached to anything on the inside. I have found the parts on eBay that I think we need but here's the problem. We can't seem to figure out how it will all go together. We haven't been able to locate any pictures or diagrams to help us. Would you be able to help us?