Thursday, January 9, 2014

Treadling On

     I promised you progress reports on the lovely old treadle I bought and I am happy to report that she is in working order.  I thought we would have to wait until warmer weather, but Tuesday my husband got impatient and set us up a work station on the kitchen counter.  I'll post some pictures of the process.
Here she is, all exposed, ready for her exam, and whatever we need to do to make her good as new.
After cleaning all of the parts with the WD-40 and re-oiling, the needle would go up and down if you turned the wheel.  But we still had some problems.  The clutch (that little knob in the middle of the balance wheel) that stops the needle action while you wind the bobbin, wouldn't work.  Also, after watching the same video 20 times on how to load the spool into the shuttle, I still couldn't get the thread to go under that little spring. And the new belt hadn't arrived yet, so we still didn't know if the treadle would actually run the machine.  I put her back in her cabinet and
 made a shopping list for some items recommended on a website for cleaning the head and decals.   

Turtle Wax Bug and Tar Remover did a satisfactory job on the painted areas and 409 polished up the chrome and metal areas.  I'm thinking someone has sprayed the entire head with some kind of "sealer/varnish" product, because the paint and decals are still dull and muted.  I used some Goo-Gone on a small black painted area and that took it off, but I haven't worked up the courage to try it over  a decal yet.  But she definitely looks better.

The belt arrived in the mail, so we are motivated to work on her again.
Today, we decided to tackle this clutch problem.  I pulled up some directions for removing the balance wheel and we got to work.
Here's the little culprit that makes the clutch work.  Those two little prongs on the inside fit into two little notches on the balance wheel.  This area was full of gunk, which probably was keeping it from engaging.  We are using Liquid Wrench by now, because one of the websites cautioned using the 
WD-40.  They said if you didn't go back with oil in every little spot, it would eventually freeze up again.  So we oiled everything generously and put it back together.  Viola!  It works perfectly.

My assistant mechanic.
I forgot to take pictures of putting the belt in place.  You didn't really want to see me in that position, anyway.  It wasn't too flattering.  It is a job best done standing on your head and utilizing three or four hands.  Luckily, my husband was helping me by now, so it made the job easier.  It took two tries, as the belt was too loose the first time and we had to take it apart, cut some more off and replace the little wire staple that holds the two ends together.  After getting it back in place, it is time for the unveiling.  Will rocking the treadle actually turn the wheel and make the needle go up and down?  This is 1888 technology, remember.  YES!!  It works. 
Now I can wind the bobbin (shuttle spool).  I get the treadle going and the thread just sings going on the spool.  What fun!

Now to deal with that unthreaded shuttle issue.  I remember seeing an old shuttle somewhere in my sewing collectibles and since I never throw anything away, it must be here.  I find it in an old sewing kit from our previous house.  I try the down and up threading technique I have been attempting for three days with the other shuttle and it pops right under that spring, just like it is supposed to.

   Into the shuttle carrier it goes and I'm sewing!

Now, I need to practice treadling.  If you don't get the rhythm right, it starts going backward and the thread breaks.  After a little practice, I'm thinking my first project might be a doll quilt from some vintage feed sacks in my collection.  Stay tuned.

1 comment:

  1. Woo-hoo, Judy and Assistant Smitty! So fun to work together to get the old gal up and running! --Gina


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