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So many posts to catch up on in this area, but they'll have to wait for another day.

The subject today is the cleaning of one of the three vintage machines I currently own (and yes, this is a new development) - my grandma Oslin's old Kenmore 1601. This is an epic old ebay post that goes into detail about why I'm so glad to have inherited this machine, sentimental value aside: Old listing for 1601

My current projects for it include epic refinishing of the cabinet, acquiring all the accessories (it was missing all but a few feet and buttonholer), and getting it purring like a kitten and running like new. After this much money and emotional investment I fully intent to use her as my main machine, since the 1601 is vastly superior to my newer, plastic Singer. There are still small but crucial issues to iron out, unfortunately.

I was having issues with the machine not consistently zigzagging and did some cleaning and heat to help it along (it did), but then we realized the selector arm for the cam stack wasn't moving up and down as it should. All springs appear to be in place so now it gets taken apart for a thorough de-gunking - my husband surmises it is just too gummed up for the force of the springs to overcome, and very stiff to move with a finger to select other internal patterns. So now I get to experiment in the land of solvent soaks and massive disassemble/reassemble. The service manual is a help but many of diagrams are horrible photocopies. Grr!

Everything appears to be in working order when the arm is manually moved to another cam, it's just that mechanism sticking (and some reluctant feed dogs we already had to break free). So the plan is to extract the cam mechanism and surrounding parts for a soak in brake cleaner (solvent similar to gasoline). I'm considering doing the needle bar assembly as well, as it is well caked in lint and old varnished oil crud (that's a technical term :) ) and is a bit slow/reluctant to move back and forth when zigzagging. The gear actuates a noticeably moment before the needle bar creeps over to the left and back.

Any tips and tricks for keeping this disassemble from being a total headache? We were going to take the parts out, label them and their sequence for assembly on cardboard and take pictures before anything goes in the solvent bath. Am I missing anything?

I think I'll give my Necchi Silvia 586 a bath, too. She needs a camstack repaired and I haven't disassembled her yet to remove it, but since I'll already be halfway there to get that part out for cleaning and 3-d printing, I figure I should clean her up, too, once 1601 is bathed.

And those are my current adventures in sewing machine repair!

taryl | General | 16 September, 6:08pm
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