This weekend I took the treadle machine apart so I can clean it. It's now in four pieces - the machine head, the cabinet, the underbelly of the cabinet (this the part the head swings into when the cabinet is closed and probably has a better name, but I'm referring to it as the underbelly), and the treadle irons. Turns out, the cabinet makes a great Fortress of Solitude for Max.
Why did I take it apart? Because what's safe for the irons isn't good for the wood pieces and what's safe for the wood won't work on the irons, and pretty much nothing I use on those parts needs to be anywhere near the machine head if I want to have decals left in the end. Also, now that everything is separate I can really get into all the nooks and crannies and clean things up REALLY well. I took lots of pictures, made notes and all screws and parts are in individual baggies with labels inside. Also, I found out that I'm missing a few screws (not a surprise), so I'll have to see about getting some replacements.
There were enough comments from Friday's post about people who had/have/are looking for/need to clean up treadle machines, I thought I'd list a few links for parts and information. Also I'm going to tag this post (and tag Friday's post as well) with "treadle sewing machine" so if you click the tag, it will list all posts with that tag and put any additional information I stumble across all in one place. Sound good?
Vintage Sewing Machines
: This is a group on Ravelry, and you do have to be a Rav member to get to it, but they've got lots of information and links and cover anything from really, really old chainstitch treadle machines, all the way into the 1970's. It's a helpful and friendly group and just reading through the old threads, I got a bunch of information. Also, check their pages - lots of info there too.
: This is the site for the International Sewing Machine Collectors Society. They have a huge amount of information here. Old manuals, a catalog of the Singer decals (great to identify a machine on Craig's List, assuming the photo quality is good enough - huge assumption there), serial number dating information, needle information, all kinds of things, and not just Singer or treadles either.
: This is a mailing/discussion list for treadle fanatics, but the site has a lot of information on it as well, particularly cleaning, and fixing treadle machines, but also what to look for when buying one and other helpful information. I tried to subscribe to the list, but never heard anything from them. Maybe the Internet gnomes ate the message, I don't know.
: Parts and Supplies as well as articles and reviews of older machines. I haven't ordered from her yet, but I will be placing an order soon. The Ravelry group recommends her a lot. I would have ordered from her when I got the parts my Featherweight needed, but I couldn't find oil pads on her site at the time - they're under "Misc. Screws and Fasteners." (At that time, I ordered from 221parts.com instead, but they really specialize in Featherweight parts ((like the name says)), and don't have everything I need for the treadle.) Oooh, look, double parentheses!
You can find treadle sewing machines on Craig's List (keep a sense of humor here) and in antique stores. Yard/garage sale season is just getting started so you might be able to track something down there as well. Ebay and Etsy both tend to run high on old sewing machines (you're paying for convenience) and be sure to watch feedback and be aware that shipping is going to be crazy high even for an electric machine out of a cabinet (or a treadle head, alone). Sewing machines aren't easy to pack properly and there are horror stories out there of how things have been shipped. With the size of a treadle cabinet and irons, I'd just stay local. Also Goodwill runs an auction site and sells sewing machines as well, but again, unless the machine is local to you, you're paying shipping and you have no way of knowing how a machine works.
Hopefully, these links and info will keep you busy for a bit. I'm going to start cleaning from the bottom up, so treadle irons will be cleaned shortly! Let me know if you have any questions, I'll try to help out or send you places that actually can!
Labels: treadle sewing machine