Thursday, May 31, 2012

Leonidas' Surgery - Part Two

Well, after taking apart the motor and the foot pedal, it was time to start disassembling the rest of the machine.  I decided that since his innards do turn easily I am not going to completely disassemble him, however I am taking him apart.

So, every part that can be removed has now been removed, and this is a brief synopsis of how I did that.

DISCLAIMER:  Again, I do not intend for this to be a comprehensive tutorial, nor am I giving any advice here.  I am simply sharing MY experience.  I am not doing anything that I am uncomfortable doing, I know the risks I am taking and IF I screw this up, I'm "OK" with that.

The Hand Crank is the largest piece still attached to the block (the term for
the main body of the Machine) so I decided to start there.
One little Screw and the knob slipped right off.  Notice how badly pitted the
chrome is here.  Nor sure yet what I am going to do about that...
I took many, many pictures like this.  A part that needed to come off was
moved slightly, a photograph taken so I can see how it was when I
removed it, so I know how to put back together again!
Next was the Bobbin Winder assembly.  A simple screw holds the arm in
place.  Easy to remove, BUT, I am having a hard time figuring out how
to remove the wheel from the arm.  It HAS to come off as the arm needs
to be refinished and the wheel needs to be refinished.  The wheel is
supposed to be chromed, you see how rusted it is...
Large Bronze "screw" next to the spool post.  I removed this piece only to
realize what it is...  It is a PIN that keeps all of the innards aligned properly!
LUCKILY, I realized this and with the help of my son, lined everything inside
back up and got this bad boy back in place before things got whacky in there!!
Stitch Regulator Arm
Stitch Regulator Face plate.  I am thinking of stripping off the black paint
and redoing it with Maroon... Not sure though... We'll see.  I've got time.
Face Plate Removed.  This is the only Chromed
piece that is half decent.  All of the other chromed
or "silver" pieces all look terrible.  Not sure what
I am going to do about this yet... Suggestions?
Part of the threading assembly, again, looks bad.
Foot Presser rods, lifter and needle rod.

Removal of the Presser Rod was a little tricky
due to the spring you see here near the bottom
of the rod.  Due to the spring I could not lift the
assembly through the hole at the top.
Putting this part back together is going to be
The completely removed presser foot rod.
The thread take up lever.  Again, looks horrible,
but I can't get it off to refinish it.  It looks like two
simple machine screws, but they won't budge.

So, next is the thread take up lever, the tension assembly and the needle rod and then I think I will be ready to start stripping this bad finish and preparing him for the "Ultimate Makeover".

I haven't been doing much quilting lately because my wife and I have decided to put our home on the market and we are looking to buy a larger home.  Much of my time has been spent preparing our home for market.  It's amazing how much STUFF accumulates over 15 years!  Watch for a blog post about my sewing "Space", which is nothing more than storage space in my garage.  But since I am now cleaning it out and organizing and deciding what I need for the next four to six months and what can go into storage, I am realizing how much Quilting Stuff I have!

I have been able to squeeze 15-30 minutes here and there to work on Leonidas, but sewing requires set up and tear down, etc. so for now, Leonidas is going to have to suffice to satisfy the creative spirit in me.  Thus far, he has...

As Always, Thanks for Reading...

Until Next Time,

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Leonidas' Surgery - Part One

In case you missed it in the comments on my last "Spartan" post, my good friend Jimmy declared the "Spartan's Name should be 'Leonidas', King of Sparta!"

And so it is that my Singer Spartan now has a name and his name is "Leonidas".

Since my last post, I have been oiling him daily, hand turning his workings a few times and then running him for a minute or so.  On the third day he started to spin with no hesitation and was churning away when I started to smell something burning.  I stopped and looked at the motor and saw a bit of smoke rising out of it.  So I unplugged him and decided I would not run it again until I had a chance to open up the motor housing and clean it out.

The next day, I attacked the first part of my refurbishment - The Motor.

Let me start by saying, I am NOT AN EXPERT.  I know a enough about how an electric motor works that I am comfortable opening this up.  (Not to mention, if I destroy it, it can be replaced for less than $20).  I am sharing the process and what I have learned along the way... This is NOT A TUTORIAL.  Just my experience.

I took a lot of photos and a lot of verbal notes along the way, so I can reassemble by printing the photos and listening to my notes in reverse order...

Here is a photo journey of the dis-assembly and cleaning of Leonidas' motor.

The Motor
Mount Side of Motor
After removing the Belt Wheel and two nuts the back half of the
Motor Housing slipped right off exposing the innards of the motor.
Pictures like this help me remember where the small
bits go when it comes time to re-assemble.

A goopy motor fan, which I promptly cleaned up.
When I started cutting wires, I started marking wires and taking good
notes.  This is the only way I will feel comfortable putting it back together.
This little piece is curved and it holds the bearing in place for the motor
shaft.  It came out fairly easily, but putting it back in is going to be tricky.
I am pretty sure they made a tool specifically for this task that I don't own...
The foot pedal is in such poor condition I had to refinish it.  Unfortunately
in taking it apart, I had to cut off the pin you see on the right.  That pin
is like a rivot, except it is about 1.25 inches long with a smaller tip on the
end that is curled around the support pillar to mount the whole thing in
place.  With it cut, there is no replacing it.  I am going to have to find an
innovative way of fixing this little problem...
All of the "Little Parts", each covered in goo.
After cleaning all of the "little parts" with Goo-Gone my hands were
all white.  I had never had this happen with Goo-Gone in the past, but
then it struck me, "I don't usually use an eighth of a bottle at one time."
Next time, I'll wear gloves!!

So, that's it.  The motor and the foot pedal are completely disassembled and ready to be stripped.

I have decided not to go back to the original black.  I am going to build a "Theme Machine" to go along with his new name.  "Leonidas" was king of the Spartans.  His shield was made of hammered bronze and his cape was Maroon.  So, I am going to paint the machine with a hammered bronze paint and I am going to design some decals to go along with the theme.  The "Spartan" name badge will be replaced with "Leonidas" in a Greek font, and while the Spartan was sparse on decals, I am going to deck him out with some chains, a spear or two and maybe a Flail or two.  Right in the middle of the deck I am going to put a shield of some sort.

Let the fun begin!!

Until Next Time,

Friday, May 25, 2012

Hanging Stuff Advice...

You know how every now and then you hear an idea and you think "DUH!!! Why didn't I think of that!"  Well, prepare yourself.  Most of you are probably about to do that at least once...  (Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to be a smart alec, I had the same reaction when I saw the first part of this tip several years ago, and again last week.  But I had to try it first...)

When hanging a picture I have often used a post it note rather than putting a mark on the wall.  This serves two purposes.  First, I can "move my mark" without leaving the first mark on the wall... Second, I can SEE the mark from across the room, so I can make sure that I really want to hang whatever I am hanging where I have placed my mark.

Laser level is the height for my mark.  The point on the Post It Note
is the center.  This photo taken from 6 feet away and the mark is easily
seen against the bright yellow post it note.  I can even see the mark
from 10 or 12 feet away!
I saw that trick years ago and haven't put a mark on my wall since.  But the other day I got an email with all sorts of little "Home Remedies" for common "Problems".  I saw in their photo a Post It hanging on a wall and I thought "I do that!"  But then I noticed that the Post It was folded and as I read the paragraph, I realized they weren't using the Post It to mark a spot on a wall.  They were showing to use a Post it to catch the drywall dust when you drill the hole in the wall!

Their advice was to place a Post It note UNDER the spot
where you are about to drill and FOLD it to catch the
falling dust...  My Folded Post It note with my "mark"...

The contents of my folded Post It note after drilling, etc.

My Floor, AFTER drilling a hole in the drywall to hang a piece of art...
Notice there is NO dust on the air return grate, the baseboard or the floor!!
SO, for the past 10 to 12 years I have been using a Post It note to mark my spot and then watching all of the dust fall right over the Post It to the floor, then dragging out the vacuum cleaner to clean up the mess when ALL I HAD TO DO WAS FOLD MY POST IT NOTE!!!  Why didn't I THINK of that!!

Boy did I feel silly, but now I know!  And so do you!

Until Next Time,

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Bonnie Hunter is in Town...

Those of you who have followed for a while know that I follow Bonnie Hunter from Quiltville.  If you've not visited her website, Quiltville, do so, she has dozens of free patterns, lots of advice and tutorials galore.  She is also a much more consistent blogger than I... I follow three blogs daily, and hers is one of them.  You can visit her Blog HERE.

I love her spunk, her smile, her quilts, and now that I've met her face to face, her laugh.  She is a contagious person, in a good way, a very good way.  I came home wanting to quilt.  of course, tonight I have some work to do that can not wait. I am sneaking on here to brag that I just saw Bonnie Hunter's presentation on her Scrap User's System.

I have envied Bonnie's organizational skills since I started reading her blog and now that I have seen it "in practice" I understand it much better and will begin using it very soon.

I am taking a class with Bonnie in 3 weeks, and I can't wait...

I would love to stay and write some more, but I must get some photos from this afternoon's shoot processed and up on my photography blog... If you're interested you can see them at

I do not carry my professional cameras and lenses with me everywhere I go, but I do carry a pocket camera with me almost everywhere I go.  Due to my shoot I walked in right before they got started which meant I was relegated to the back of the room, but here is proof (albeit a rather pitiful piece of photography) that I was at Bonnie's presentation tonight...

Miss Bonnie Hunter in Ohio...
Until Next Time,

Monday, May 21, 2012

Baby Quilt FINISH!!

My daughter's dance instructor is having a baby so I made a baby quilt for the new addition to Miss Dawn's family.  This is their first child and they are very excited...

Here are some photos of my most recent finish.

Animal Nursery print with tan batiks.
Simple Checkerboard Quilt, straight line quilted
3/8 or an inch from all seams.
Border done in a simple dark brown to contrast all of the light colors
in the main body of the quilt.  Also Bound in the same dark brown.

Backside view of the straight forward, simple quilting.
The green polka dot backing was chosen as the nursery was done in light green.

Another view of front and back of quilt.
And what would a post be without a kitten photo...  Having kittens in the house if fun and at times a little trying... While I was basting the baby quilt my kitten was playing "King of the Hill" sewing machine style...

When I stood up and saw him atop my machine, it
took everything in me not to chastise him.  I calmly got
the camera, snapped this shot, and then when I picked
him up to tell him the top of my machine was "NO" place
he looked right up at me with those beautiful green
eyes and started purring, almost as if to say,
"Are you REALLY mad at me right now!?"

The joys of kids and kittens!

Until Next Time,

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Initial Clean Up of "Spartan"

In my previous post, I shared with you my new "Spartan", I still haven't named her (or is it a him... "Spartan" isn't very feminine...) Anyway, I took it home and vacuumed the dust from the beat up case, and Then I washed her using some dish detergent to break up the grease.

Here she is all full of suds after some elbow grease...
And here she is after wiping her all off and rinsing away the suds...
And after a slight buff with a buffing cloth...
Not much difference after the buffing cloth,
I'm going to need to give her a full polish...
Two things became obvious as I did this initial clean up:
    1 - She has quite a few knicks and dings... Especially around the edges
    2 - The part I thought had been bent was actually just loose.  Tightening the screw straightened it!

Her metal parts are all clear of rust, there is no rust anywhere on or in her that I could see.  Her movement is smooth (meaning there are no "catches" or "ticks") but she is stiff (meaning it wasn't easy to turn her).

So I gave her a good oiling and after only a few dozen rotations, she started moving much more easily.  The motor runs very smoothly, with some minor squeaks.  Based on the gook I cleaned out the bobbin case I imagine the electric motor has some crap in there too that needs to be cleaned up.  I will open up the motor and clean it out next.

The belt looked horribly warped when I opened the box, but after removing the belt cover I realized that the belt was actually fairly new, but it had been twisted under the cover.  I took the belt off and laid it flat on the bench for a few days and the twist seems to have disappeared, and it seems to be working just fine now.  (I'll probably buy a new one anyway...)

She has enough knicks and dings on her front edge that I probably won't use her until I have smoothed out her front and back edges enough so fabric won't get caught and snagged.  If it weren't for the edges, I think she'd be fine with a good polishing job, but the knicks of missing paint are large enough, and plentiful enough that I may have no choice but to strip and repaint her.

I don't know yet what I'll do, BUT, I do know this:  It was $15.50 well spent!!!

Until Next Time,

Saturday, May 5, 2012


I have been wanting a Featherweight 221 for quite some time now.  I decided I want to do the "Refurb" myself if I could find the right machine.  So the hunt has started.  Last week a friend of mine sent me a link to an Ebay auction for a Singer Spartan (basically a 99 sold in Britain under the name Spartan) that had 4 hours left and was sitting at $12.  The case itself was worth that much, it was in great shape.

Long story short, I bought it for $15.50.  Unfortunately, it was dropped while it was being delivered, and this is what I received...

The machine with case pieces strewn throughout...

The case that was immaculate when it left the shop, was
in shambles when I received it.  The hardware is all still good
so I might make a new case and use the original hardware.

You can see here where the machine tried to break through the
side of the case.

Cables and the bobbin wrapped around the machine
over and over again.

Unfortunately, the plastic base also broke... The whole end of it broke
completely off.  You can see one of the pins... The holes they were in
were completely sheared off.

Surprisingly, the machine actually came out of this pretty well...  It was covered in sawdust which was the result of the case disintegrating around it.

I've got a bunch of stuff on my plate right now, so I won't be working on this in great detail anytime soon, but I will post a bunch of "In Process" photos when I start working on it.  My intention is to more or less learn from this one... If I make a few mistakes, I'll learn from them, and I only have $15.50 invested...

If all goes well, I'll sell it and buy a 221 that needs some TLC.  At worst, I'll disassemble it and sell the parts.

This weekend my daughter and I will be going to The Creation Museum and the Newport Aquarium for a Father & Daughter weekend.

Thanks for Reading,