Vintage machines – What’s a servicing worth?

I received an email today that I just have to talk about.  It’s not the particular email, but the type of email I get fairly regularly.

From time to time, I sell a fully serviced vintage sewing machine on the local buy and sell.  Every time I post one of these machines, I will mention that I’m selling the machine for less than the price of a tune-up.

And I kid you not, EVERY time I will get at least one person, usually more, tell me something to the effect of:  I can’t afford that much, or will you take *insert usually 40% or more off of the price* for the machine.

Seriously?  The price of the average tuneup is $80 here in Central Alberta.   I usually sell the machines, depending on what they are for between $50 and $60 (collectible machines are more, of course), and there’s a really good chance I have money into the machine in the cost of buying the machine / the price of the parts to fix it, after all, most people don’t give up a machine unless there’s something wrong with it, real or perceived.

On average, every machine that hits my bench is at least in need of:

  • Cleaning, for lint and other things, basic things that occur because of usage.
  • Oiling
  • Serious cleaning of the exterior. (Click on the images for a better view of all of these pictures.)

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More often than not though tensions have to be addressed, and there are other problems, and it’s a complete tear down instead to get good results.

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Which machine would you rather buy?

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This sort of work can take from an hour to 4 hours per machine.

What’s your time worth?  I’d say these machines are undervalued, wouldn’t you?

And honestly, if a person can’t “afford” $50 for a machine, they’re in for a shock when it comes time to buy fabric and thread, etc.

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