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1920 Singer Sewing Machine

A co-worker asked me to repair his circa 1920 girl's Singer sewing machine.

 I believe it was his grandmother's sewing machine.  My co-worker's 4 daughters actually sewed things with it when they were children, about 25 years ago.

The handle got lost, so my co-worker sawed off a piece of pink broomstick, to make a new handle.

He requested a new handle, and I volunteered to upgrade the old pine base to a nice oak one.

Here are the before pictures.........



New Red Oak Base

I glued up some red oak boards to get a wide enough piece for a new base. I decided to use a 45 degree chamfer bit to route an edge all the way around the base:

I used a cherry stain on the red oak.  I did 2 rounds of 220 grit sanding and polyurethane.  I also used grain filler on the top of the base to give a super-smooth finish.  Here is the first coat of varnish:

New Crank Handle

I decided to make a new crank handle from red oak using the lathe.

 I had an old pencil sharpener from the 1950's, and I used the handle as a pattern for designing a new handle for the sewing machine.

Here is the pattern in Google Sketchup:

On the first handle I made, I did not drill a center bolt hole on the lathe.  I tried to drill it on the drill press, and it was way too far off-center.

I turned a second handle on the lathe, then drilled the bolt hole on the lathe using the tailstock.  My 1939 Montgomery Wards lathe struggles with tailstock drilling, but I got it done.

I used a piece of 1/8" copper as the spacer for the bolt to tighten against.  This allows the wood handle to spin freely.

Mounting the Sewing Machine on a New Base

I used blue painters masking tape to mark the centerline, then placed the sewing machine on the centerlines, to try to make it perfectly centered.

The Finished Repaired 1920's Girls Singer Sewing Machine


YouTube Video:

I made a video of me cranking the sewing machine after my refurbishment was done:




Concluding Thoughts

Everything went as expected, except I should have drilled the center hole in the handle on the lathe the 1st time using the tailstock.

This sewing machine is ready for another generation of grandchildren to sew with!






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