Replacing Singer 411G spool pins

Another edition of Reader Mail:

I get this question probably a couple of times a year, so today I’m presenting a post with a video companion!  Jocelyn and I spoke via email but I asked her if it would be OK to use her email for reader mail.  I’m guessing she didn’t expect me to get to it almost 2 years later!   (I really do get that behind on the site stuff!)

Jocelyn emailed me some time ago to ask:

Hi, I inherited my mom’s Singer 411G.   (Lucky ME!).  Both spool pins are broken and I am having a devil of a time trying to find replacements.

Any insight/direction/suggestions would be gratefully appreciated.

The 411G is an excellent machine!  One of Singer’s best for sure.   The spool pins though.  Ugh!!  This is actually my only complaint about the entire machine. Those pins can be character building to change.  To do it properly, you should remove the stitch chart on the bottom of the lid or you risk bending it.

The parts that you need

Most will likely still be with the machine and the pin itself is still available through the “regular” channels – i.e. I can get them for you, your local sewing shop should be able to order them for you and several online shops sell them.

There are 4 components to this “pin”.

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  1.     The 507077 spool pin is the only piece still available new.
  2.     The “pad” that holds the pin about 3/8″ from the base of the lid, so the base of that pin sits flush with the lid.  I use a featherweight bed cushion 45780 to replace the ones that seem to disappear. It’s a tight fit, and it sits ever so slightly above the top of the lip of the cover.
  3.     There’s a flat nylon or plastic washer that attaches underneath the plate – if this was missing, I’m sure there’s something in the hardware section of Home Depot or similar.
  4.    Then a push nut – like the one that holds the stitch chart onto the lid. When these are missing, I use a 3/16″ “push nut” made by Paulin part number 442-410.  I get them at Home Depot in a 10 pack baggie.  They’re very tight and do well with being drilled out a tiny bit to fit on easier.

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The tools you’ll need:

  1. Needle nose pliers
  2. A long thin blade screwdriver
  3. (Optional) A good stiff drink

The method:

  1. Remove the lid and set the machine aside
  2. Detach the stitch plate cover from the lid and set the lid aside
  3. Gently work a blade screwdriver in under the plate from the hinge side.
  4. Put your finger on the push nut so it doesn’t go flying when you release it.
  5. Using a motion similar to opening a paint can, work your way under the plate around the area where the push nut is.  It will pop off with the plate. (This is easiest to visualize if you watch the video – keep reading!)
  6. Remove the broken pins by pulling the push nut off the pins
  7. Assemble the new pins
  8. Push the push nut back on using the needle nose pliers.
  9. Reinstall the stitch plate
  10. Reinstall the cover onto the machine lid
  11. Install the cover onto the machine.

The demonstration:

Alternatives:

Craig emailed me last year to mention that he’d made some spool pins out of some bolts that he’d modified.  He also suggested that some of the nylon bolts and nuts may work as well.  These are the ones he sent me to evaluate:

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He also sent me these in the package.  The top ones are the originals.  The bottom ones, I’ve seen before but didn’t find the day I was looking for them.  I like these better than the Paulin ones above and will be looking for them the next time I need replacements!

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How about you guys?  Have you subbed any parts for the original spool pins?  Will this help you revive your machine?

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24 thoughts on “Replacing Singer 411G spool pins”

    1. Hi Collette, Sorry for the bad response time – we’ve been on vacation.

      The best thing to do is contact me through the contact page up there on the upper right. That way, I can email you back about pricing and postage to your location. I will warn you that the pins have gone up and are also bulky enough to not go anything smaller than small packet in Canada. Unless you’re in the Edmonton Area, which of course means you can pick them up. 🙂

  1. Psst! I think I have an elegant solution for these problematic, plastic Slant pins…

    Replacing them with a metal alternative is definitely the way to go. If it is neat, effective & cheap, so much the better?

    Two recently arrived Slants have this problem & I’m a bicycle restorer/builder so have a large amount of small bike parts, so I thought to look for a suitable fix for the problem & ‘Bingo’!

    I used bicycle double chain-ring bolts. They fit without any modification to them, or the machine. Just needing one spacer washer! They are neat, sturdy, cheap & easily available. They also take a ‘standard’ Singer plastic spool pin as a simple push-fit. (Not the Slant 6mm one, but the plain 5mm plastic Singer pin with stepped base. Mine came with a 1980ish Singer 6061 & I’d expect them to be avalable still.)

    A 5mm Allen/Hex key is al you need to fix/remove them should you want to go original later.

    Not easy to describe, especially to non cyclists, but they fix the chain rings to a roadbike/MTB double/triple chainwheel. Pics would paint/save a thousand words so I can best give you a link to my website where all will be clear: ) Uploaded only this morning with plenty of pics & more to come: http://bicyclz.com/slant-spool-pin-fix/

    More details available on request: )

    Next problem needing a fix is the 431 throat plate fixing ‘screws’ which some people think are conventional cross head screws…. & break them.

    Keep up the good work on the Slants. Best online resource for them IMHO. I’d never have gotten into the amazing Slants without it!

    John.

    1. When I first saw your comment about metal pins, my first response was: “But the wall or the stitch plate!” Of course, upon reading further – I quite like your solution. The pins are easily replaceable. The parts are easy to get – I assume I could walk into any reputable bike shop? And no extortion level pricing on the pins! Those things are ridiculous lately!

      As with most replacement parts, the spool pins are still available but the new ones are a smidge delicate. I used to lose 1 for every 2 I installed, I’m fairly sure my stock hasn’t gotten better with age. They are usable though.

      The plate screws – not the pins that hold the plates on, but the set screws? I have scavenged pins from I think it was a Touch and Throw 750 or similar. I had one 431 that some helpful OSMG had “manufactured” pins for and completely messed everything up in there. I was thrilled. 🙁 With a little patience and gently removing the stuff he had torn, I managed to get it back close to stock. If those aren’t the ones, let me know and I’ll do some more thinking.

      I’m glad I’ve been able to help you help out some slants. They’re really marvels. I’m scrapping with a Pfaff 1222E right now and boy am I missing the “simplicity” of the Slant designs.

      1. The parts I mention are really easy to find on ebay, for example. Not necessary to buy new ones… (Campagnolo will be expensive: ) But plenty of ‘lesser quality’ examples, which, for an SM spool pin are perfectly adequate. Just now on ebay.co.uk there are sets of used chain-wheel bolts/screws for around £5…. Search for ‘double chain ring bolts’.
        http://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=p2060353.m570.l1311.R5.TR11.TRC1.A0.H0.Xchain+ring+bolts.TRS0&_nkw=double+chainring+bolts&_sacat=0

        The key point being the 10mm inside flange diameter. (Standard size for bike chain-wheel bolts) They just slot straight into the 10mm Slant cam stack lid holes.

        I’m getting a bit mixed up with correct terminology for parts….: ( Plate screws, for example. On the 431 throat plate fixings they are not ‘set screws’, but snap fasteners. Which look to be a push fit into the alloy main body. Difficult to remove, even if you have the replacement parts to fit. One of my 431s has this problem & I’ll upload a pic to my site to illustrate it better.

        Here: Bottom of the page: )
        http://bicyclz.com/singer-431-slant-omatic/

        Keep up the good work!
        John.

        1. Alright, I know What you’re talking about now. I will source some and give it a shot.

          As for the pins – from what I remember, there should be set screws that hold those in. Release the set screws, and the pins slide out quite easily. Unfortunately, I don’t have a 431 here anymore to snap a pic. I do know that the set screws weren’t immediately obvious though.

          1. I’ll send you set to try if you want.
            CW 5mm washers as mine.
            It’s so simple & cheap really, it’s crazy.

            I did not even look for set scews on the 431 pins I must admit.
            Just never occurred to me.
            (I just assumed they were push fits from the start. Could be a proper lesson there..}

            I’m looking closely, very shortly; )

          2. Hi John!
            That would be wonderful! Please hit the contact button at the top of the screen and let me know how much to send you for the pins and I’ll send an address at that point.

            Did you find the set screws? If I had the 431G here still, I’d take photos. If I manage to get down to the south end of the province any time soon, I’m going to schedule some time with that 431G I gave to my cousin, so I can refer to them when I talk about or answer questions about the machine from now on.

          3. Of course you were absolutely right about the 431 set screws: )
            Removing them is now easy, but finding replacements is another matter….. Problematic might be the best word here!

          4. I think I remember doing exactly the same thing you did – tugging and wondering what the heck…. then I found the set screws. Of course, my first 431G had customized screws for replacement throat plate pins, and they’d been screwed in so set screws weren’t the first thing on my mind. I thought the thread of the holes had likely been destroyed thanks to that maneuver. Boy was I relieved to see there was no thread. 🙂

            The easiest way to get replacements that I’ve found so far is to find a 750 series donor machine. Let me see if I can find a part number for you though.

          5. OK, part # 174256. It looks like 737, 750, 755, 756, 758, 770, 775, and 778 machines can be donors. There are more too, that’s just what’s listed on the one chart I’m looking at. The 2001, 1060, 925… if it has the same style of throat plates, you can take its pins.

  2. Hello. I have just bought from the local recycle shop a Singer 411g which cost me 40 euros. I have totally fallen in love with her, she’s called Doris. I to have the spool problem which someone has fixed with a wine cork. Seems natural enough when in France. Good to see the video and how to repair. She also tends to start up by herself and I can’t work out if it is the foot pedal getting hot or the motor. Any thoughts?

    1. OK. That cork comment made me laugh out loud. 🙂 That said, there’s no reason a well cut cork couldn’t be used permanently.

      Starting up by herself indicates a short of some sort. Most commonly, that’s in the cord but it could be in the pedal as well. It’s less likely to be the motor. It is a potential hazard though so you do need to look into it. I would say look to see if there’s a capacitor in the pedal (http://archaicarcane.com/singerattheraces/) and evaluate the wiring. After that, I’d refer it to someone with some background in electrical. It doesn’t have to be specifically sewing machine related – these machines have very simple electrical connections and some may need attention after 55+ years out of the factory.

      1. Thanks for getting back to me. I saw on your website after sending you an email the video and explanation for the capacitor and am going to have a look at that. I also have a friend who mends big freezer/fridge things and will get him to have a look.

        I would like to say I am so thrilled to have found your website, it’s detailed explanations etc and feel Doris has a new friend. Fifi

        1. I’m so glad you’re going look at and have the machine looked at. That’s one thing I don’t ever suggest people ignore. 🙂

  3. Thank you for the detailed video. I recently acquired a 411g and both pins are wobbly. All I appear to be missing are the cusions.

  4. Thanks for all the great articles – they’ve been no end of help to me renovating a 411g.

    I did, at great expense, order some original style spool pins. I used upside-down tapered rubber feet from a hardware shop with the bottom cut down so they were flush with the metalwork of the machine. I glued those in with contact adhesive.

    This works, but it struck me that the same detail with parallel sided nylon spool pins just pushed into the rubber would do almost as well and be cheaper. They wouldn’t be stuck up so high without the nylon shank. With new felt on top of the rubber, it would look pretty authentic too. The “flopping about” issue might occur though….

    1. Oh dear! Those pins shouldn’t cost much – Canadian retail is about $7.70. And we get raked over the coals for most things.
      Er,… I have to check with my supplier – the new spreadsheet shows the cost is almost that these days. I wonder when they went up. I suppose that makes some of the other options viable now.

  5. Thanks for this. I’m hoping to add to my vintage sewing machine collection someday… slowly… 😂 It might come in handy. Now I have a question for you? Do you know of a few CANADIAN on line sewing parts suppiers? I’m trying to avoid very expensive shipping costs from other countries! ☺️

    1. Ha!! Slowly!! I think the way it usually goes is the initial acquisition phase is rapid, even very rapid then paring down to the final “collection” is what goes slowly. 🙂

      Well the problem you will run into is that the cost of shipping in Canada is higher than the cost to ship from the US. I have no idea how that happens but I lose most of my sales to the US once I quote a shipping cost. Plus, often (not always) our cost is pretty close to the online retail prices in the US. I am a dealer for SMS and HA Kidd, so I can get you most things but because of the shipping thing, it’s not been worth it to create a web store so I’m not technically an online sewing parts supplier. I’m online, and I can supply parts but… 😉

  6. You won’t like my comments about Singer and their plastic spool pins , I’m afraid . I also have a 411g & agree with you that it’s probably one of Singers finest but whoever is responsible for the plastic spool pins , should be hung up by the thumbs until he repents !!

    1. Ha! I’m not really a fan of the plastic pins either but they do keep it “authentic” if that’s important. Also, if someone is prone to breaking them, I’d rather replace the pins than whatever the next weakest point is down the line (the stitch plate or the cover or the drywall…. 😉 ) if one were to use something harder. For people who don’t break them, I think replacing them with a metal alternative is the way to go.

      I agree that someone on the design team has earned more than a little corporeal punishment!

    2. @ Robert Gosser
      I just read your comments about Singer 400s & their delicate plastic spool pins, I’m 110% in agreement with you.

      Great machines, (I mean all the slant 400s) let down by the ‘poor’ plastic/nylon spool components.

      I might have hung him from different parts; )

Pssst! I'd love to hear what you think about this!