I’ve recently acquired a slug of Featherweights to restore and refurbish. With 30 machines piled around me I began looking at them, one by one, to determine the problems the machines had so I could figure which ones to attack first.There typically is a reason that Featherweights get sold. The machines haven’t stopped looking cute so it must be something else. Maybe the person just doesn’t use the machine enough and would rather someone who would use it would buy it and try to wear it out. That makes an nice wish but it doesn’t happen often.
The number one reason that these machines migrate is that somethings has gone wrong with the machine and the person finds themselves in over their head trying to determine what is wrong and what to do about it.
The number one reason that a Featherweight gets sold-off is that when it was maintained last; the needle plate was removed. When the needle plate was reinstalled the positioning finger of the hook assembly was not captured in the slot for it between what look two metal blocks on the underside of the needle plate. The machine will not sew in this state and the owner will sometimes think it is time to get rid of the machine. One in seven machines I buy do not have the positioning finger in place.
Number two reason: You are charged $35 to be told the parts are not available anywhere. You are told this by someone who doesn’t know, is too lazy to look or want’s to sell you this honey of a machine over here. Hog wash!!!! Parts are easy to find and cheap. Moving on…..
Tension problems are the next in line. This is a rather convoluted subject but often the problem has to do with the Upper tension assembly having been disassembled (which makes it a disassembled assembly) and it was not reassembled the way Singer thought it should have been. The original manual for the machine, my manual (The Featherweight 221 and I) and the Technician’s Service Manual for Featherweights have good illustrations of how the parts stack-up when correctly assembled. That funny washer that goes over the beehive spring must be installed with the tab on its edge side installed pointing up and so the tip of the tab is pointing out, like a small cobra head poised to strike.
With some machines there are often some rather creative repairs that have been imposed on the original Singer design. Please, if you have to change something completely to get the machine to work (?) it might not be the best idea. One of the most confusing conundrums is; why, after removing the hook assembly to clear a jam or whatever, and having correctly installed the hook assembly (for a fact) onto its shaft again, why does the needle strike the hook assembly?
Sometime in this machine’s past the hook assembly had been removed and the wrong set-screw on the hub of the hook assembly was put over the flat that is ground into the shaft it mounts on. The hook assembly is 180 degrees out of rotation now. The person doing the work believes the hook assembly was correctly installed, “I mean what can be so hard about putting a part on a shaft?”
“It must be the timing!!!” so the cure is to change the timing of the machine to make the machine agree with the incorrectly installed hook assembly rather than making the hook assembly agree with the machine. The hard part is that the machine works. So what’s wrong with that. I just wanted a machine that works? The next time someone works on that machine and installs everything the way Singer says it should have been (for a fact) the machine wont work.The person working on the machine by the hour, if they haven’t run into this before, will not work their mind numb trying to figure what is wrong and might well suggest, “let’s go sell it.!”
I love talking at you and I hope this blog helps. Feel free to ask questions.
Source: Dave’s Blog