Monday, April 28, 2014

Two New (to me) Machines

I told you in the last post that I was heading out to the Newark Community Garage Sales on Friday.  At the very first sale, on a farm, I found a cute cow teapot (sorry, no pictures yet) and asked if they had any old sewing machines.  One woman said 'No' then said 'hold on a minute, don't go anywhere' and walked away.  I had waited a while, and was about to leave when she came around the corner of the barn and motioned me over.  she must have spent all that time trying to dig out this old cabinet.  It was FILTHY!  I lifted the lid and inside was a brown New Home sewing machine, all covered in rust, spiderwebs and dead ladybugs.  Oh My!  The machine did turn when I tried, it, but, the rust was pretty bad.  She asked if I was interested.  I pointed out the rust, that the cabinet front wouldn't open at all (has to open to get to the knee control) and that parts for this brand probably wouldn't be available.  She made me an offer.  Well, it would be a challenge.  I'd not worked with a rusty machine before.  I just loaded it in the back of my SUV. 

Several garage sales later, I stopped at a sale a church group was holding.  I saw a machine right off.  There was a man near it that said that he'd plugged it in and the motor ran, but, that the needle bar wouldn't move.  At first glance, I thought it was a Japanese made machine.  It was in a case that looked like it was in decent shape, and, for $5, the case alone was worth it.  MINE!

I spent all Saturday afternoon and evening, until 9pm, then again most of Sunday afternoon trying to clean these machines.  I spent more time on these two machines than I've ever spent on other machines before. 

I started on the New Home.
New Home Type F, serial #NLB308057
 All the finish on the outside of the cabinet was gone. 
you can see the spiderwebs still stuck on the bobbin winder, along with the rust

friction motor on the New Home

rust on the face plate, and bobbin cover plate, and other parts

rusty bobbin area
another view of rusty bobbin area
As I got parts removed, I washed them in Oxi clean and then put the rusty parts in an Evaporust bath.  This is the first time I've used Evaporust before.  Great product.  I let the parts soak for a couple of hours while I cleaned and oiled the New Home.  I washed and dried the formerly rusty parts, then used steel wool on the roughest parts, trying to smooth away some of the roughness.  The formerly brown machine is now bronze.  This machine is much lighter than my other machines.  I think it is aluminum.  The bobbin that was in the rusty bobbin case was in great condition, but, the spare bobbin still has rust on it.  I did NOT take the whole bobbin case out of the machine.  I wasn't sure if that would mess up the timing on the machine or not. 
Roberts Sewing Center service sticker
 This machine was last serviced at Roberts Sewing Center in Joliet, IL.  I've been going to Roberts Sewing Center for fabrics for a decade now, and it's located in Crest Hill now.  I wonder when they moved.  It would give me an idea of when this machine was last serviced.

I did finally get the front of the cabinet to open up.  It was really stuck.  Now it won't shut unless I mess with the knee control lever.  Cabinets and machines do NOT like living in barns!
cleaned New Home

most of the rust is gone now, chrome is pitted, but smoother than it looks

the tension knob looks much better now

there was bronze under all that dirt

the light works

After cleaning the New Home and it's cabinet, I put them aside and pulled out the 2nd machine. 
case on Universal sewing machine

Universal sewing machine, made in Italy
The hinge pins that hold the machine in the base, were snapped off and stuck in the base of the machine.
snapped off hinge pin
 I've not seen both hinge pins snapped off before.  Rough treatment.
foot control and plug on base
This machine would not turn at all.  I can't believe that the man helping at the sale plugged this motor in to see if it worked.  I can't believe that he didn't get electrocuted or start a fire.
motor and wiring, showing metal thru the casing in several places
light on Universal machine
The wiring on the light was still good, and I plugged it in.  It works.

This poor machine has been abused!  Notice the scratches all over this machine.  There were even scratches under the arm of the machine, near the light. 
scratches on base of the Universal machine
Lint was packed in tightly in many places on this machine, including under the face plate.
lint under the face plate area

lint in bobbin area
I did discover that this was NOT a Japanese made machine, like I thought.  It was made in Italy. 
Universal BC3, Made in Italy, MF2 stamped on bottom of machine
There was a major thread nest all around the bobbin area.  There was another thread jam under the face plate area, tightly wound around the moving metal parts.  This was why the machine wouldn't move at all.  I've never seen a thread jam in that part of the machine before.  I spent 45 minutes trying to get all the pieces of thread out.  Thread was stuck between the metal parts, and, those parts are not designed to come apart, once they are together.  Where the tip of the tweezers are, in the picture below, is where the thread jam was.
where the thread jam was
I'm still not sure I got all the thread out.  The thread was the same color as the metal, and, you just can't see well in there.

The stitch length lever is still stiff on this machine.  I left it out all night, and kept oiling it over and over.  I also couldn't get the bobbin winder off this machine to clean it better.  There isn't a screw, and I don't know how it is attached. 
bobbin winder on Universal, no, that is NOT a screw and doesn't turn
This is the Universal after cleaning.
scratches by spool pin

scratches where motor goes

scratches on bed of machine, after cleaning

On Sunday afternoon, I pulled out the motor to my Spartan, and tried it on the Universal, to see if it would sew.  I had to guess at the threading on this machine.  It looks like a Borletti machine, but, I haven't found a manual for that machine yet.  After some adjustments, it makes a nice stitch.
Universal sewing

stitching from the Universal
Universal after cleaning
This machine would be a good candidate for a repaint.  This is what it looks like after cleaning.  With some TLC, and some new hinge pins, I think the base is salvageable.  I don't know if the foot control works or not.  I'll try it on another machine at some point.

After stitching on the Universal, I pulled the New Home back out to see if it would stitch.  The bobbin winder isn't working properly on the New Home, so, I had to wind a bobbin on my sidewinder.  Also, this is a strange way to thread this machine.  I don't have a clue if I was threading it properly or not.  I couldn't find a manual for this machine, either.  After all the rust, I wasn't sure if this machine would thread or sew at all.  The tension isn't happy (would you be, if you'd had that much rust on you?), but, I did get it to stitch after lots of trying. 
New Home Type F

stitches from New Home, not pretty, but, better than I expected

I'm not interested in keeping either of these machines.  I just bought them to see if I could get them to work again.  I knew I couldn't make them worse than they already were.  For $15 total, these were great learning projects.  They still need more work, but, I saved 2 more machines. 


  1. I can't believe the work you put into these - patience beyond my dear.

  2. I think the universal looks like a necchi. New chi ' s were made in italy. The other one I would try to thread like a class 15 singer. Wow. I wouldn't have even tried to clean those. You are WOMAN!!!!!!

  3. Cheryl, saving the world - one sewing machine at a time! Atta Girl!
    I'll bet the machines were used into oblivion and then abandoned because they didn't work anymore. (They were dirty with lint and wouldn't work anymore.) Some folks don't know there is regular maintenance to do.

  4. You are so patient with these old machines - I greatly admire your perseverance! You have saved MANY machines! Way to go! ~Jeanne

  5. You sure do love a good challenge! I admire your perseverance!

  6. I am amazed you even knew where to begin. If my poor old 50+ singer gets word of this, my name will be mud.

  7. Now you can add sewing machine repairman to your resume! Good on you

  8. Wow! I can't believe how clean you got the New Home! I may have to give that Evaporust a try on a rust White that's been sitting collecting dust as it waits for me to come up with a plan of attack!

  9. pretty nice blog, following :)

  10. I bought a Universal from the Goodwill two weeks ago. No rust, just stripped. No motor, no back plate, who knows what else. Not having available parts, I had to take it back. I'm almost wishing I hadn't. I am always amazed at what you can do with old machines. Amazing!!!

  11. I would have walked away from that New Home. Amazing restoration, you did a terrific job and it looks wonderful now.

  12. They look great! What a lot of work!

  13. They came up beautifully, I too am a fan of the Fenman,s restorer and have been for 7 years


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