Fix and Restore Vintage Singer Sewing Machine





Introduction: Fix and Restore Vintage Singer Sewing Machine

Step 1: Start Greasing!

Step 1, getting machine to work. If you find one and the motor still works your in luck! I found this one at an auction for 30$ and it was so seized you couldn't even turn the wheel by hand. So I got out my favourite 3in 1 oil and everywhere you see metal moving on metal that's where you put the oil.                                                                                                                                                                           Also you will see little holes in the cast iron and those are oil holes as well, remember a little oil goes a long way. As you oil the machine keep trying to free up the gears with gentle pressure. Clean any loose threads you may see tangled up and gently wipe down your machine. For most vintage machines this is all they need to get running. for more adjustments find a copy of your machines manual as every machine is a little different.   For a full restoration keep reading.

Step 2: Take It Apart

If you choose to fully restore and paint your machine, make sure you can get parts if needbelt)                                                                                                                                                                                               Supplies - respirator or good mask - safety goggles - specialty latex gloves for paint stripper - old clothes - cup of ice water - cheap paint brushes with no plastic parts - heirloom paint and varnish stripper - mineral spirits - primer - spray paint (make sure it covers metal) - clear coat -600 grit wet sand paper - clean rag - disposable metal dish - WD 40 - scrapper Start by unscrewing the hand wheel, presser foot and anything els you don't want painted. It's a good idea to take lots of pictures and to keep screws organized in an ice cube tray. So it's easier to put back together. There is a good before and after picture where I polished the silver.

Step 3: Stripping

I used heirloom gel stripper because its less messy and works great on these old machines. Make sure you strip the machine in a well ventilated area and wear all safety equipment these fumes can be toxic. Also remember paint stripper hurts like crazy if it touches your skin. Immediately rinse with ice water. Place your machine on a piece of cardboard and generously paint the stripper onto your machine. Let it sit as directed. Once it's time to start stripping use your scrapper to get it off. This may take several applications. Keep going until you get all the paint off than thoroughly clean with mineral spirits to remove any residue. No it's time to give your machine a quick sand and then were off to priming!

Step 4: Priming Time!

Using tape and newspaper plug all the holes so paint doesn't get on the gears. This is the most important part if you want a nice Finish. Spray lots of thin coats each gently overlapping the other. Remember to take your time and leave at least 12 hours after spraying before you sand. Using your 600 grit sand paper wet sand the whole machine and parts until its nice and smooth. Wipe off the residue an give it a second coat of primer. Same as above wait 12 hours and sand again. It's a good idea to use a clean box to spray in so dust doesn't get blown into your paint an ruin the finish. Using side to side stokes evenly apply a thin layer of paint( going to fast will leave runs) I did about 4 layers of paint lightly sanding between each application.

Step 5: Paint and Decals

When you are satisfied with the coverage of your paint, it's time to sand and add 1 layer of clear coat. I haven't got a finished picture yet because I am still waiting for original singer water slide decals I ordered online. But if you have them you can apply them now and keep doing layers of sanding then clear coat. I usually do about 5 on the base of my machine that's where they wear the most and 3 on the rest. REMEMBER THIS IS JUST A GUIDE! Please follow individual instruction on your spray paint and paint stripper! I am not responsible for any broken machines it took me a couple of try's before they started looking professional. This is the website I use to buy my decals, cheap and very easy to apply. In all this project took me 3 weekends. If you have enough ambition to on a project like this please share some pictures and feel free to ask any questions along the way.



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    I inherited my grandmothers singer sewing machine ( P. G. Built on motor) 15-91. I used it for many years. Now I believe the motor is fried. Can somebody tell me where in Mpls,-St, Paul area I can get it fixed. A friend gave me two singer sewing machines, I think are older than mine, that may have parts compatible to mine. I don`t think so, however would be willing to barter them for the repair of mine.

    I just found a singer from 1913 in the trash. Got it home and after first inspection: wow! Whoever had it last used the wrong oil. I can see the goo everywhere! The wheel is almost completely stuck- no wonder the belt ripped. I am determined to fix it! The table is in decent condition the cast iron has only one wheel missing but the machine wow that will be fun... how do I get the little plaque off above the serial? Can I just pull the let's say studs out? I am not sure yet if I want to repainted it as it adds to the charm of the old. I need to see if I have to buy more things like the bobbin. When I made up my mind and have the parts I'll start documenting it. Any ideas and tips are appreciated!!!!

    No follow up decal posts? Makes hulk sad.

    Still waiting on those decals! As soon as its done ill post some

    2 replies

    Gday Kristy,

    I need replacement decals, can you tell me where you got yours? I am after the "pheasant" decals specifically and haven't been able to track them down.

    Thanks for your time

    Question...I'm trying to "repurpose" my broken Singer sewing machine. Does the large metal plate on the bottom of the machine unscrew from the "neck" of the machine. I see some screws underneath that are really stuck. Wondering if they would separate the base from the "neck". Thanks.

    We have a family owned Factory style Singer Sewing Machine that was left in the home and is now completely rusted. Is it Salvageable at all and if so do you know if someone buys them?

    2 replies

    If you're local to East Anglia we may be interested in buying it as we need something to repare a horse's coat on.. Thank you.

    You should look up the serial number on this site. Some machines are rare and only a few were made and could be valuable. Also, an industrial machine will be suitable for more heavy duty work and is definitely worth saving.

    I have a New Leader crank sewing machine. Does anyone know if it takes a different size shuttle bobbin case? The shuttle is not picking up the top thread. It is too far away from the thread

    i am looking for the decal of the ruler that is on top of the cabinet near the base of the sewing machine

    You should not use 3 in 1 oil on any sewing machine. They make Singer oil and Singer lubricant for this, 3 in 1 oil just isn't good for them. As it ages, it can get thick and gunk up machine.

    Triflow is highly recommended too. Usually found at bike shops and very thin and light.

    One drop of oil where metal meets metal, there should be a tiny hole in each place it is needed, and then lubricant or grease as some call it, where gears are.

    My mother en law has a 1918 Eldredge "B" Sewing machine manufactured by the National Sewing Machine Company.I was wondering if anyone out there had any information to where I could get a belt for it.Also I need some how to tips on restoring it.I do not want to decrease the value and originality.Thank You

    3 replies

    You should be able to get one that fits well on eBay.

    I am about to refinish a machine as well. HOWEVER if you do not want to decrease the value then you cannot do any stripping or altering to the current surface. You can take your machine apart and gently clean the gears as listed in this post, and you can also lightly clean the surface of your machine with VERY diluted dish soap and a damp warm rag. Do not they the water anywhere near the inside of the machine or gears. You can you this to clean up only the exterior and whatever base (like if your machine sits in a wooden cabinet like the singer machines....which I suppose it does if it is 1918.) Good luck!

    Oh gosh....typing on my stupid smart phone. (you can DO** this only)

    I need help. I have an old Singer machine. I can't find anyone out in the Coachella Valley to restore it. Palm Springs? Palm Desert?

    Could you please tell me what type if paint, primer and gloss you used on your sewing machine? Thank you

    Could you please tell me what type if paint, primer and gloss you used on your sewing machine? Thank you