Thursday, December 24, 2015

Rewiring a Singer Potted Motor (Worst Case Scenario)

Once upon a time, I fell in love.   In love with bringing old, abandoned, vintage Singer Sewing Machines back to life.  My absolute favorite, still remains, the Singer 201-2.

 There are so many valuable resources out there for the novice that is just getting started with this life-altering obsession.   There's a Vintage Sewing Machine Facebook group with currently over 20,000 members, a discussion thread on Quilting Board, You Tube Channels and blogs.

One of the most valuable resources when I was first starting out was  - the Holy Grail in my honest opinion - "The Vintage Singer Sewing Machine Blog".   Oh the sadness when I realized that it's a "historical only" resource with the last entry dated July 14, 2013.   I've referenced that blog over and over and over again.

One of my favorite posts is the series on rewiring a potted motor (BEST CASE scenario)  Thank goodness the first half-dozen potted motors I re-wired were textbook BEST CASE....  because I don't know if I would have kept going with this passion if this happened in those first few years.

Unfortunately - of late - I have only come across WORST Case Scenario's....  and figured it was about time to blog it out for my own reference.   I can't even describe the flip your stomach does when you remove the terminal plug on a Singer 201 and find this:  Sigh.....damn.  Poor Poor baby....

Singer 201-2 Subject A
Might as well dig in and remove all the wires from the terminals.

Singer 201-2 Subject A

 If you notice discrepancies in my photos, it's because I have TWO "Worst Case Scenarios" going at the same time here.  (What are the chances of THAT???)   I'll try to remember to caption each photo so you can distinguish them.  The first machine, I had actually set aside for a later date because I have a deadline for this customer.   Then when I got to the motor off the second one....well.....hence the post.   (sigh)

Singer 201-2 Subject A
The photo above, Subject A, while depressing, isn't the worst... But electrical tape??  Come on people.  Who does that??  

Singer 201-2 Subject B
Subject B is probably the worst I've seen.  I've already gently used the end of a small screwdriver to dig out the GOOP that was remaining of the grommet..   The black sticky rubber goop is also on the machine head and inside the motor.   So here we go:

If you have already looked through the other blog link I posted above on Best Case Scenario, you'll see all the detailed removal of parts, etc.   I'm just going to dig in and get these girls working again

Singer 201-2 Subject B
See that slimy shiny stuff on the carbon brushes?   Yeah...that's bad.  REAL bad.  THAT is what happens when you stick oil (or grease) in the wrong hole on a motor.  Carbon brushes are attached to springs and then capped with those very fragile Bakelite screws.  NOTHING is supposed to go in there ever, except when replacing the carbon brushes.  That area of the motor is supposed to stay completely dry, free of debris, moisture, and most especially OIL or GREASE.   The DRY carbon brushes make contact with the copper commuter and the commuter goes round and round and round very fast.  Pretty little sparks sometimes when you go REAL fast.  Which is perfectly fine might I add, if wired correctly.  If not, melting CAN ensue...  But I digress.   The spring attached to the top of the carbon brush, is held in an "unsprung" state by those Bakelite caps and applies enough pressure to the carbon so that it lightly touches the copper and it forms a gentle arch to the shape of the commuter.  This is part of what makes it go VRoooooommmmm.....

What we have here, is no sign of copper on the commuter (which I already removed), we have a black sludgy mess.  

I had to cut the wires really close (way closer than I'd like) because they were all frayed and covered with goop.  Did I mention that the goop USED to be a rubber grommet protecting the wires?  It was also part of the sheath on the wires.   Crappy wires I might add.  

Singer 201-2 Subject B
Ok....just finished opening Subject A....I take my previous statement back.   I'm not sure which is worse....
Singer 201-2 Subject A
It's not going to clean up itself.   Gloves, Q-tips, toothpicks and Isopropyl Alcohol.  Dig in.  

The Tools to Use
As soon as the Q-tip is black, roll it to a clean spot, blacken it up, flip...repeat, dispose.
Singer 201-2 Subject A
This is NOT a quick process....but worth it for a "forever" machine

Singer 201-2 Subject A
The above shot it for understanding.   There is a thin washer on the end of the commuter.  Do NOT forget to put it back in when you put it back together.   Let me explain why!   See that tiny hole on the left side of the permanent brass ring?   That hole leads back to one of the grease cups.   This is what you are actually lubricating when you add grease to a motor.  The other end has a little brass cap over it.   The WASHER restricts the flow of the grease to JUST the end of the commuter!   It is, after all, metal on metal there. If you lose the brass washer, don't bother putting the motor back together.  You put the carbon brushes and the wiring in jeopardy of lubricant!   AGAIN!     

Singer 201-2 Subject A
The picture above is a gentle reminder of what happens when you take shortcuts and use electrical tape around bare wire instead of properly insulating it with solder and Heat Shrink Tubing.   Electrical tape is NOT for bare wire!   PERIOD!   It eventually heats up and melts.   

Singer 201-2 Subject A
Here is where we UNDO what the previous genius (ahem - hobbyist) did.   I removed all of the electrical tape and used Isoprophyl Alcohol on a qtip to clean the wire in preparation for soldering new ends.  Keep doing it until the paper towel under the wires wipes clean.

Singer 201-2 Subject A
MANY hours, hundreds of Q-tips, toothpicks, dental picks, an eraser, more Isoprophyl Alcohol, paper towels and new grease wicks later, all our parts are cleaned and ready to bring her back to life!

Singer 201-2 Subject A
That last photo reminds me of one particular guest at a lecture that I did last summer on Vintage Singer Sewing Machines.  Whilst the majority of the group was engaged and in awe of what it truly meant to restore and maintain one of these old machines, one wasn't so interested.  Annoyed even. Up until my lecture, she had never taken apart a sewing machine motor to inspect\refurbish\rewire it.  Apparently she liked to hunt Featherweights and resell them to the locals. Would blow out lint with canned air, oil, add new grease on top of the old grease and jack up the price $200 and then re-sell them as fully serviced.  While a Featherweight is a little less involved than a Singer with a potted motor, there is still much to know and take into account before you decide to "do business with friends" in my humble opinion. I smiled kindly at her after the demonstration, gave her a few of my business cards, and didn't say another word. I have since then gotten several calls from HER customers. They tell me that she highly recommends my services!   Sometimes, the know-it-alls that give you a not-so-nice first impression can become great allies if you respond respectfully!  I add this story to reinforce my reasoning for doing this blog post.   Knowledge sharing, is something that I strongly believe in.  My blog has been sparse this past year, but I really do plan on changing that in the coming new year.  :-)

Back to our already scheduled program!

Subject 201-2 Subject A
Lead wires trimmed to about an inch long, braided with copper wire, soldered and insulated with heat shrink tubing. Red on top, black on bottom. 

Singer 201-2 Subject A
Underwriters knot on the wires, more heat shrink tubing on both wires. Next, before you go any further, install a new grommet on the motor. You need a 3/8" diameter rubber grommet.

Singer 201-2 Subject A
Once the grommet is installed, feed the heat shrunk portion of the wires through and start putting your motor back together.   Tuck all the wires around the motor screws, put the washer on the end of the commuter, feed it back in (through the worm).   One screw on the worm goes into the flat portion of the shaft and the other, just screw in (more stability).  I add about a teaspoon or so of grease right on the worm.   The grease I use is is Polylube, the brand doesn't matter.   It's a polyurea Grease (Petroleum based) and can withstand hot and cold.   Bike shops use it.  It's a super slippery formula, kinda like that weird jelly stuff you used to play with as a kid.  It inhibits corrosion and WON'T harden like Lithum, plumbers grease or any other cheap stuff people buy to lubricate gears. 

Singer 201-2 Subject A
Singer 201-2 Subject A
The other end of the commuter peeks through the end under a brass-like screw.   I put a dot of grease there as well.

Singer 201-2 Subject A
I put a little bit of grease on the new wicks, feed them in (spring side up) and put the clips back in.   More grease - these are the actual grease cups - they feed grease to the worm and the other end of the commuter behind that little washer.  Remember the little pin hole?  Screw the grease cup caps back on.

Singer 201-2 Subject A
The machine head where the wiring melted to it has been all cleaned up.   Removed all the old rubber from the electrical tape fiasco and cleaned out the even older wire insulation crumbs. There was also hardened tan colored something (which I assume the previous "service" person decided was good enough to use as grease)......   The same person that opted to insulate bare wire with electrical tape..... Anywho...Cleaned out the 3-prong terminals with Isopropyl Alcohol and Q-tips.  Put the two large screws that held the whole potted motor in place back in and fed the wires down the head and behind the terminal.    Let them hang so you cut them at a comfortable length to terminate.

Singer 201-2 Subject A

I terminated the ends with terminal rings made for the same gauge wire and put all the wires back on the terminals.  

Red wire to #3 terminal, Black wire to #2 terminal.  The leads coming out of the head of the machine are for the light. One is connected to the switch and then comes back out of the switch and goes to terminal #3. The other lead coming directly out of the head goes to #1.   Add the brass rings back, put the knobs on, and screw the terminal box back to the machine and take her for a test drive.

Singer 201-2 Subject A
Plugged her in and hearing her rev up like a Porsche made my heart sing.  These machines, are like royalty when they are properly maintained and restored.    I'm off to work on the rest of her shiny bits now!   My customer is going to be so thrilled.   She thought she was going to be getting "Betsy the 2nd"...turns out, she's getting "Betsy the 1st!"

I forgot to mention - the serial number for this machine dates it to a set of numbers released on September 5, 1940.   "Betsy", as her new owner has chosen to call her, will be celebrating her 76th birthday next year.  And now, she'll run like a dream for another 76 years!   If you come across these beautiful machines, think twice before you put it to the curb or donate it to Goodwill.   They just don't make them like they used to.   If someone told me I had to get rid of all my sewing machines but one, MY Singer 201-2 would remain in my family for generations.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Embroider This!! Part 7 (Final) (Seasonal Wall Hanging)

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Last Summer I presented a Block of the Month (BOM) pattern for the girls at my local quilt guild. The idea behind this pattern was to use Machine Embroidery or fussy cut fabrics, or even hand embroidered blocks into a traditional style wall hanging.   I'm hoping to use this pattern over and over again for different seasons, themes, whatever!   I wanted to take a moment to share the final wall hanging.  You can take a look at where it started here.

The post for the Month 1 Unit is here.
The post for the Month 2 Unit is here.
The post for the Month 3 Unit is here.
The post for the Month 4 Unit is here.
The post for the Month 5 (Final) Unit is here.

Here's the final pattern

And here are some of the finished tops that were made!

Pam W

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Autumn Victoria

If you have been following my blog this past year, you've probably seen pieces of a very "October" looking quilt in progress.   The quilt is finally complete, in Loving Memory of my irreplaceable Bestie - Vicki Steffenhagen.   1950 – 2015

I’d like the memory of me to be a happy one, I’d like to leave an afterglow of smiles when life is done.
I’d like to leave an echo whispering softly down the ways, of happy times and laughing times and bright and sunny days.
I’d like the tears of those who grieve, to dry before the sun, of happy memories that I leave when life is done.

“Thinking about you a lot today as I look through your unfinished projects. Reflecting on how amazing you were. How big your heart was, how vast your mind and how kind your spirit. Always learning and always teaching. Together, we were an unbeatable team. There will never be another like you. I love you and miss you every day. But I'm doing better. Day by day, week by week. I feel your watchful eye on me. Your silent strength and I love you for it. Thank you for your unwavering friendship for so many years.”

Quilt Name:
Autumn Victoria

Vicki R. Steffenhagen
Janet A. Mercer

Amazingly talented
Long Arm Quilter:
Kim Werth

The "Story" - Once upon a time, the Lord graced the world with a special Angel. Everything she touched, everyone she met, was better, forever changed, because of her. She was my BFF, my soul Sister, my guardian angel. She bought this pattern almost 2 years ago (Glacier Star + Queen Borders by Judy Neimeyer), signed up for classes at Mt. Pleasant to stay focused on it and set to work.   Ray, her husband, shared “I remember spending an entire day going to one shop after another looking for the right fabric and colors so my bride could make this quilt. At the time it was nothing more than a lot of shopping bags.  As she began to sew the sections I saw the idea she was embracing. She never got many areas complete before the Lord called her home.”

Before Vicki passed away, she had completed the large center star pieces, the inset squares and had begun working on the spiked star outline pieces. The pieces were lovingly folded into a carrying box with all the tools needed to pick it up and work on it whenever the mood hit her.   I inherited many of her beautiful things and this quilt was the one that I decided to focus my effort on to complete in time for her guild's show.  My tears are woven into this quilt. Some of my healing came from this quilt. Its beauty is nothing compared to the beautiful soul we had the opportunity to know.

Special thanks to more of my besties that also laid their hands on this quilt. Kim Werth (The Long Arm Quilter),  Mary Christopher & Kathy Case (the paper-puller-offer-team), Lois Marvin, Lori Zappala, Charlotte Hawkes, Kathy Rochette, Lona Mahoney, Denise Hare, Anita Kile, Jerilyn Prentice (the CHEERLEADERING TEAM!!)   Whether it was to position pieces, make color choices, change things, change them back, encourage me, sit and peel papers off, do the breathtaking quilting and help to stitch the binding. what quilting is truly all about. 
…………….    “Do What Matters!” ……………….

Vending at the Brockport Quilt Show!

What a FABULOUS experience I had vending for the first time at a local Quilt Show.   The Show was in Brockport, NY and called "Ladders to the Sky".  I've done lectures, classes, demo's, talked people's ears off in grocery stores, but never my very own booth at a show!   They were running short on vendors and asked me if I'd be interested in filling a spot for them.   Well why not??

My shop\service is usually people bringing Classic Singer Sewing Machines to me and I give them life again.  I love everything about them.  The look, the workmanship, the nostalgia.   So it didn't take me long to figure out that my "booth" wasn't necessarily going to be to "sell", it was going to be to make people EXPERIENCE what Singer was all about.   I decided to bring 4 machines with me and set them up, threaded, ready to go and make people WANT to try them.  They gave me the sweetest sitting room to set up in!

To the far left, we have "Queenie" classy Vintage Singer 201-2 Sewing Machine.   People have been listening to me go on and on about this beauty, the quality, the ROYAL feeling to this amazing machine.   This was my opportunity to really make them understand.    I brought her in a Queen Anne Style Singer Cabinet No 40, and had the foot pedal mounted for the knee bar.   The ooh's and ahh's and GASP'S when people used her was so satisfying!!  

My Suzie Centennial Vintage Singer 99.  Was disappointed that no one tried to use her, but since she was my first restore and is my PRIMARY piecing machine, she had to come with me.

A Vintage Singer 15-91 in the back.  She has the sweetest "ticka-ticka-ticka" sound. A Card table full of reproduction feet and LED bulbs.

And of course a few Featherweights (Singer 221).   Everyone seems to want those!   I also had with me several Vintage Featherweight Card Tables.   Only have 3 left now!

And for nostalgia purpose, a sweet simple treadle.   On top I had a Singer 66 Red Eye that is "in progress" of restoration.   Coming out beautifully I might add.  :-)

One of my besties took it upon herself to make me an official BOOTH Sign the night before.  She decoupaged pieces of Singer Sewing machine manuals to the background.   Just LOVE it!

I would definitely do it again.   I really enjoyed myself!  And I think all my visitors did too!  

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Embroider This!! Part 6 (Seasonal Sampler)

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A few months ago I started posting a BOM series that I am sharing with my local quilt guild.  If you would like to participate too, take a look at where it started here.

The post for the Month 1 Unit is here.
The post for the Month 2 Unit is here.
The post for the Month 3 Unit is here.
The post for the Month 4 Unit is here.

Here are my completed Blocks for last month

Here's what a few others came up with 
Kathy R
Here's the FINAL installment of my Seasonal Special Block wall Hanging series for Month 5!  If you want the instructions that I made for everyone on piecing them together, just shoot me a message!

2015 Seasonal Special Block Wall Hanging Series

Unit #5  Notice Placement difference with pieces!

Finished Block Size is 17” x 9 ½” 

a) You’ll need a total of (46)  1 ½” x 1 ½” squares there are several different blocks here – 2 shoo-fly’s that will need 5 solid squares each, 2 nine-patches, 2 strips of 5 And 2 eight-pointed stars that need 4 in each corner. (See shaded areas below)

b) Using whatever method you prefer, make (32) 1 ½” x 1 ½” HST’s (Half-Square Triangles) - These finish at 1” when sewn in (I used 1” finished Thangles)  The 2 shoo-fly’s need 4 in each corner and the 2 eight-pointed stars have  12 in each block.   (See unshaded areas above)

c) Using whatever method you prefer, make (8) 2” x 2” HST’s (Half-Square Triangles) – These finish at 1 ½” when sewn in.  – there are 2 pinwheels using these.

d) There are 6 Small Flying Geese Units.  I used “Triangles on a roll” – 1” x 2” Flying Geese to make these.   Otherwise – (6) 2 ½” x 1 ½” bricks and (12) 1 ½” squares – flip and sew method.

e) There are 2 measurements for the small inside frames for the eight-pointed stars.  Cut 4 pieces 1” x 4 ½”, and cut 4 pieces 1” x 5 ½”

f) Cut 2 Bricks – 1 ½” x 3 ½”

Next month I'll share the completed Wall Hangings!!  

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Embroider This!! Part 5 (Seasonal Sampler)

Don't forget to join us on Facebook!!
Click here --->> QUILTING REVOLUTION ON FACEBOOK <<--- Click here

A few months ago I started posting a BOM series that I am sharing with my local quilt guild.  If you would like to participate too, take a look at where it started here. 

The post for the Month 1 Unit is here.
The post for the Month 2 Unit is here.
The post for the Month 3 Unit is here.

Here is one of my completed Blocks for last month

Let's see what some of our ladies came up with at show and tell tonight!  

Kathy C
Here's the next installment of my Seasonal Special Block wall Hanging series for Month 4!  If you want the instructions that I made for everyone on piecing them together, just shoot me a message!

2015 Seasonal Special Block Wall Hanging Series

Unit #4 (Make 2) Notice Placement difference with pieces!

Finished Block Size is 17 ½” x 9 ½”

a) Cut 12 squares 2 ¾” x 2 ¾”
b) There are 2 measurements for the small inside frames for the (3) SB3 blocks - Cut 6 pieces 1 ¼” x 7 ¼”  AND Cut 6 pieces 1 ¼” x 5 ¾”
c) There are only 2 sides to the frame to accommodate the SB4 Block – Cut 2 pieces 1 ¼” x 7 ¼”
d) Cut 2 rectangles – 9 ½” x 2”
e) Will be 18 Small Flying Geese Units.  I used “Triangles on a roll” – 1” x 2” Flying Geese to make these.  the product ID number if you want to use this is #1502.
If you choose to do them without the papers:
      e1) Cut 18 rectangles 1 ½” x 2 ½”.
      e2) Cut 36  1 ½” x 1 ½” squares in color pairs.