Sunday, 21 November 2010

Singer 99

This morning we went to a Christmas Craft Fayre and bought a few bits and pieces, this afternoon we went to an indoor car boot sale. I bought a little bone china tea set for £1, quite sweet with autumn leaves on it.

Later I cleaned a Singer 99 case and base with Fenman's Elixir. It came up quite well and I have now polished it with white polish. This contains shellac like French Polish. When that is dry it will be polished with beeswax and turpentine polish to bring a lovely patina to the case. The machine itself is not in bad condition and needs very little work to make it presentable.

I tried sewing with the Jones Spool treadle yesterday evening. It treadles with the wheel going away from you and it is very difficult to treadle that way when you are used to Singers. That has also been cleaned, with methylated spirits to get off any remaining shellac. There are a few stains I might need to treat with white spirit as they look like green paint.

It's amazing how any vintage machine with a wooden table or case seems to get paint on it. The Singer 99 case had spots of white paint all over it.

I have started repairing the broken drawer on the Jones Spool, gluing it together and clamping it until it dries. I need to make a new back piece for it as the original is broken and in a bad way.

Tomorrow we are going down to London with 16 blocks of soap and possibly a sewing machine if I get it finished in time.

Tuesday I hope to be able to stain the Jones treadle and complete reveneering the other Singer 99 base. It's a learning curve, vintage veneer is thicker and doesn't bend round corners so well, but I have found that using a steam iron on the corners helps with modern veneer so I will try that on the old veneer on Tuesday.

It is very difficult trying to type with a large cat draped across the laptop so I am giving up now.

Friday, 19 November 2010

New machines

I bought a new treadle last night at our local auction. A Jones Spool, one I don't have in my collection. This is a keeper, even though I don't really have the room. The machine head was very dirty with old oil. It was so bad that I used neat eucalyptus oil and it came off very quickly. The decals are lovely and bright now.

The woodwork needs stripping off and repolishing and I need to clean all the chrome on the machine head.

The Spool is an odd machine, it seems a cross between a Singer 15 (tension discs on the face plate) and the Adler Rotary number 8 which I have (similar bobbin mechanism). The bobbins are quite big and very flat. I look forward to getting the machine in working order.

I also bought a Singer 99 to sell at SBI The Workshop and a Frister & Rossman Cub 7 for me to keep. It is a sweet little machine which does zigzag and stretch stitches. There doesn't seem to be anything wrong with it so I have no idea why it ended up at the tip. The owner got something newer I guess. Nearly all the parts are metal, only one plastic part as far as I can tell.

I have made 6 batches of soap this week (Rosemary, sweet orange and crushed olive stone, cinnamon and oat, Tea Tree and bentonite clay, rose and clove) to go down to London for Sarah to process before she goes down to Devon next weekend. She has had her soaps and body butters launched at "From the Wilde" website - Hopefully they will sell well.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Spinning/soap making

Yesterday I made soap, ti-tree and clay/clove bud. Today I did some spinning of the Leicester Longwool fleece.

I also stripped the ruined veneer off the Singer 99 base. I have some oak veneer which I am going to try, to see if it is easier to use than the original Singer veneer. Modern veneers are thinner than antique veneers so hopefully it will bend easier round corners. I have to find a way of joining it, either by cutting over both when I get round to the end of the glueing or by shaving it thin and overlapping. Then I will need to stain and polish it. I also need to clean the case which is a bit dirty but should clean up well.

The machine itself needs to have the bobbin and needle plates cleaned as they are quite rusty. the rest of the machine seems to be in good condition and is quite lint free for a change. It looks like the previous owner actually looked after it when they were using it. It's a shame that most old machines seem to end up in garages and other damp places where they go rusty and the veneer peels off. They also seem to attract paint spots.

The machine belonged to the mother of the chap I bought it from. She died some weeks ago and they have no use for it.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Treadle servicing

I have been down to London again, this time to service a treadle. It was one I have never seen before, a Grosvenor possibly a German machine. It belonged to the lady's Aunt. Very pretty and she was overjoyed because not only did I get it going but gave her a lesson and left her happily treadling away. She plans on making curtains for her front door.

While I was down there I was asked to service 2 more treadles, a Singer 15 (no problem to clean up, well used and the decals were very worn, half a ton of lint under the needle plate) and a Pfaff 11 which was very rusty, so more of a mini-restoration than a service.

Now I am back home it's more soap making, knitting and spinning, plus restoring a Singer 99.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Bad day

Yesterday was a bad day, nothing went right. I couldn't find the inspection plate for the BSM machine I was servicing so I stopped that. The Singer 66 Lotus had a sheared screw on the slide plate spring and the decals and pillar paintwork were very bad so that will be parted out. The Lotus hand crank I can put on one of several Sphinx VS machines and use that case when I've repaired it.

I was just about to give up when I spied a bentwood case and couldn't remember what was in it. It was a Singer 12 with missing slide plates, but underneath that was a hand cranked Singer 15 Centennial in beautiful condition, a few chips on the bed but the decals are very good. The original case needed reveneering but I had a case exactly the same ready to go. An hour cleaning it last night, testing and polishing it this morning and it is lovely.

Today I am off to London. Phil is taking me and I'm going back on the coach as Molly our elderly cat is not well so I don't want to leave him with no transport. I just have to sort out a small toolbox for my servicing tools to do the treadle for Dee. My normal toolbox is too full and too heavy to bring back on the coach.

I will take Casie's scarf to knit on the coach. That should get me a fair bit further. When I come back on Wednesday, I am going to do some spinning as I haven't had time for 2 weeks and I wanted to spin enough to make some Christmas pressies.

Saturday, 6 November 2010


I have had more trouble with the Singer 15. I forgot when I changed the balace wheel that the bobbin winder is not close enough to the wheel to work. I have decided to put the Singer Lotus 66 in the same case and base as that is a hand crank already. That will need a full service and clean tomorrow.

I haven't had much time to knit or spin lately but I have been making soap. Hopefully after Monday when I have taken the machines down to London I will be able to just make soap, knit and spin.

I am making some double size wooden soap moulds. I have found that lining the moulds with thick plastic means I don't have to freeze the soap to release it from the moulds. Doing the same with wooden moulds means I need not have them bolt together. I will need to make a cutter to cut the double block in half.I bought all the offcuts of plywood today and they only cost £3.50 I will just need screws and some wire for the soap cutter.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

More machines

I have had a few hiccups with the Singer 28 as the top went on crooked and when I took it off, the top sections came unglued again. I have now reglued and pinned them so it won't happen again, I had a brainwave and covered the new plywood top with some of the veneer I retrieved from the old treadle and table I had to take apart. All I need to do is take off the old finish and some of the dark stain.

I have put my Singer 15 in another case and changed the solid balance wheel for a spoked wheel and added a hand crank. Then I will oil the machine and give the case and base a quick going over with Fenman's elixir.

The next machine is a Singer 185 electric in beige. I know it works fine as this is the machine I lent to the group making Carnival costumes last year. A quick service, clean of the case and that's it.

The last machine is an electric 201, one of the more modern angled shape. It will need a service and I need to try out the motor, although the wiring looks good.

I won't have time to do much tomorrow as we have a funeral to go to, our elderly neighbour who was 90.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Singer 28

I have been cleaning up the Singer 28 hand crank which I am taking down to London at the end of the week. I had to make a new top for the case as the old one was too damaged to repair. This machine has pretty Victorian decals.

Tomorrow I have to clean up a Singer 201 (electric) which is also going down to London. It shouldn't need much more than a service as it is very clean.

I might also start on a Singer 66 which will need rewiring as the wiring is very old and cloth covered. Hopefully I won't need to solder new wires onto the motor.