More of it – Happy New Year!

“The only thing better than a good thing is more of it.”

Happy New Year Everyone!  As we go into 2015, I haven’t exactly made any resolutions but I have decided that I’m going to finish some projects that I’ve been working on and start the ones I’ve been thinking of.  What this means is that I’m planning on taking on only a couple of very focused projects this year which is a huge departure from previous years because last year left me pretty burned out.

I’m still going to be making posts – it’s one of the main things on my list of things both started and in contemplation.  I would really like to see the 34 drafts finished and out to you all to read.

In the effort to get an early start on the projects, I started 5 projects at once in the past week.  LOL!  Typical for me, overkill, right?

It’s OK – these projects are easy to stagger and it’s actually not as overwhelming as it sounds. 🙂

Here’s what I’m working on at the moment:

1.  The motor for my Singer 31-15 industrial has needed some TLC since before I brought it home in March.  On Sunday, Ryan took it off the table and Monday, we got into it to see what’s going on.   It’s got a chatter / squeal that makes a stabbing pain behind my right eye when it’s running, so it’s past time to fix it. 🙂  Of course, this small investigation turned into a huge production.  The wiring is bad and was tampered with and really hacked up before I got it.  I’m rewiring all the way from the coils to the switch and to the light.  One of the things I noticed was a distinct lack of information online about the clutch motors – at least as far as maintaining them.  I’m going to clarify a few things then get a post out about what I’ve learned.


2.  I’m learning to french polish sewing machine heads.  I have started with Glenn’s and Miriam’s tutorials here and here and am incorporating a little from some of the musical instruments forums and also from my own previous experience with painting – previously with HVLP spray guns but getting the best performance and shine out of the clear is pretty much the same.  I’ll post more about this as I go along. This is a shot after cleaning and before applying the french polish.  Currently, I’ve finished half of the shellac coats. Next comes the final sanding and polishing.  Then I can put her jewellery back on.


3. Betty, the first Antique we ever had in the house has needed some work since I got her.  I had planned on doing it by her 100th birthday and I’ve so far missed by a mile.  She was born in 1913.  When I got her, someone had broken into her cabinet and broken several pieces in the process.  I’ve been piecing her together slowly as I’ve learned more about woodwork.  With the latest lesson – French polishing – I’m seeing just how much more I can do for her. 🙂  Besides, a calendar reminder that’s 135 weeks overdue is just embarrassing!


4. Attempting to fabricate a bent wood case.  This year, just before Christmas – for my birthday, I picked up a really rough 201K with a hand crank.  Actually, it turned out that the machine wasn’t really rough but it is the one I’m learning to french polish on.  The bentwood case however would require a necromancer to bring it back.  So I thought I’d see if I could duplicate it using the parts that I could save as a template – sort of like taking a pattern off your favorite shirt.  I’ll post successes and failures on that one.  This is the seller’s photo.  I’m too lazy this evening to go downstairs and photograph it. 😉   That is in fact a bentwood case behind the backwards shot of a handcrank Singer 201k. 🙂


5. Featherweight rebuild – For longer than I care to admit, I’ve had a featherweight in pieces awaiting a repaint.  The paint was very rough and there was no way I would be able to save her but to have her repainted.  She’s been on display in my studio for months then suddenly earlier this month, she disappeared.  Ryan took her to work and gave her to the autobody department and asked them to paint her “Deep Impact Blue” – very close to the Red Bull blue I’d been contemplating but probably a touch lighter which in retrospect is probably better because she will have better contrast with the blacks and nicer color in her contours.   As of today, I haven’t seen her yet.  He tells me he was having her done for my birthday but the shop got behind.  As soon as she’s home, I suspect all other projects will get set aside for her. 🙂


Extra Credit:

6.  I’m also trying to get a little quilting done each day.  Even if it’s just a few minutes.  I’m trying to build a habit.  Of course, if I didn’t constantly have machines disassembled all over the studio and my cutting table, I may be more productive! 😀

7. Videos for the site.  Despite a couple of really rude people commenting on YouTube lately, the general reaction seems to be that you want to see more videos about these vintage machines.   What do you want to see?

What are you all working on this year?  Let me know below!  I love to hear from you!


Today’s post title comes from Wide Mouth Mason – More of it!  They’re a Canadian Band.  I’ve loved this song since the first time I heard it a couple of years ago.  Ryan got me the album this year for Christmas.

10 thoughts on “More of it – Happy New Year!”

  1. Please continue to post on You Tube. I got gyped when buying a 1938 featherweight. Looks just like yours. It is so corroded I have to paint it due to bubbled paint and chipping. Pieces are also rusted together. It may never run due to the number of parts that need to be replaced and cost and inability to find used parts. Thanks for the clear instructions on how to get it apart. Seeing your blue machine gives me hope.

    1. Hey Leslie! What parts are rusted together? Evaporust takes care of a lot of stuff and you can polish things back to a shine afterward. Things like the bobbin case should be put in all together then disassembled to dry and then reassembled or you’ll trap too much under the spring and in the latch area. What all is damaged? It’s amazing what can be fixed on these machines. You’re in Texas if my look at your IP is correct. Glenn Williams in Florida will have all of what you need and at a much lower price than the uh,… most prevalent advertiser in the US for Featherweight stuff.

  2. Hi Tammi! I have a 1924 singer, purchased on auction, that I dove right into. I took her all apart. She has all her parts, but I neglected to photograph the process, and cant remember how to reassemble her…Could you point me to a video to assist me? Thanks! Joan

    1. Hi Joan! There are a few things we’d need to know first
      1. Which model is your machine? Singer made a lot of models around that time and all will assemble differently. Start here and make sure to include all of the numbers and letters in your serial number.
      2. How much and what is disassembled? If you just took off what I usually refer to as “the jewellery”, that’s not too big a deal. If you did a disassemble like on the featherweight at the top of this post, I know of no one who’s done a complete tear down video. This sort of tear down would require timing and a reasonable amount of knowledge or great markings before disassembly to get it back together.

  3. I love all of your videos! Never can tell when seeing you work on something is going to present me with a perfect tutorial on something I need to do. And for stuff/machines that don’t currently pertain I still pick up knowledge that’s potentially very helpful. How come I never knew it helps to turn a nut backwards to seat it on the threads??? THANK YOU!

    1. Hey Barbara! I’m glad you’re enjoying the videos. 🙂 A lot of the skills I show you guys are definitely transferable to other machines and even to other items altogether! In fact, where I learned about the turning a screw backwards first thing was before my sewing days. I think it must have been when I was working on my car or something. It helps to make sure you don’t cross thread something.

  4. Great projects! Yes your videos are so helpful to those of us learning to do these maintenance and repair tasks. Ignore the haters, I doubt they’ve made any videos as helpful as yours have been.

    1. You know, that’s a good point. I have noticed the ones with the biggest rudest mouths don’t usually have any videos in their YouTube profiles. 🙂 Thanks for the wake up call on that.

  5. Just want to thank you for your ‘frozen slant’ video on you tube. I was fortunate to get a 411g and a 401 cheap cheap cheap lol and your video was great for spotting all the possible problem areas for maintenance. Ignore the idiots who leave ignorant comments ..folks who appreciate the time and energy you put into helping others far out number them. Thank you!

    1. Kath! You are very welcome. I think I had my panties in a twist because it was the first thing I woke up to on boxing day. Usually I look forward to the comments and interaction and that one was calling me names and swearing and such. You’re going to love both of those machines. The amount of work you may put into them to bring them up to full service and clean is worth it.

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