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Hey - something went right this week!

Which is a neat trick.  The theme for this week is for everything I touch to turn to manure.  Sigh.

But I heard from the sewing machine place today.  Let me back up a bit.

I have an assortment of sewing machines, and I really have a thing for pre-1980 Viking sewing machines.  They're fabulous machines, they're all mechanical, they're almost entirely metal, and most importantly to me, they're gear driven rather than belt driven.  LOVE them.  I have two.  Once was mom's, and was purchased in 1975 - and at the time was VERY expensive.  The other one was a Hartford Courant classifieds find.  It's from 1978, and spent it's early years as a home ec machine in a school.

I specifically mention "pre-1980" Vikings, because in 1980 Husqvarna made a number of significant changes to the design, and they really became entirely different machines.  Since then, Husqvarna has basically washed their hands of that era of product.  There is no support, and there are no parts.  God help you if you crack a camstack - you have to hope you can find a parts machine with the part you need NOT broken.  Additionally, fewer and fewer repair shops are willing to even open them up.

The icing on the cake is the lubricant.  Those machines used sintered metal/bearings.  As I understand it, the metal parts were impregnated with the lubricant.  As you ran the machine and the parts warmed up, the lubricant basically oozed out of the pores and... lubricated.  When you were done and it coold off, it pulled back in.  It meant that the user never had to oil the machine.  Very efficient.  Until forty years later, when lubricant that old turns into... glue.  Everything is fine if you're running your machine all the time, but let it sit for any length of time, and you may as well have drenched the guts with adhesive.  Lots of people didn't know this.  Including me.

Both of my machines have/had issues.  My mom's old machine is my favorite, but a few years back it clearly needed a tune up, and I didn't feel like restarting my search for someone willing to work on them, and didn't want to spend the money.  So I set it aside for a few years.  Revisit that last paragraph - I'll wait.  It froze SOLID.  I still didn't know why, but I pushed it under my sewing machine table to deal with later, and moved back to the home ec machine ("my" Viking, as I think of it.)  That worked fine.  I sewed all of our Investiture garb on it, and everything was hunky dory.  Then I went to take in the green dress a few months back, and the needle wouldn't center.  Uh oh.  I pulled out my White that I don't like and did my sewing, and loaded both machines up and took them to the place in Manchester where I've been getting them serviced.

He refused to even open them up.  Declared them junk, not worth my money, and sent me on my way.

I turned to Google, and discovered a yahoo group specifically for these machines.  There really is one for every topic.  They have full service manuals posted for those brave souls who want to fix it themselves - this is where I learned about the lubricant/glue problem, and realized what must be wrong with mom's.  I figured that while I might be able to fix them, I would really, really prefer to throw money at it.  Much better to let someone with the right tools and space do it.  But finding someone...

That would be someone in Southington.  I took my machine in for an initial test, because it still ran, just with the needle way over to the right.  He allowed as to how I could be in trouble, but he'd take a look.  Then in a moment that gave me hope, he pulled out a VERY well-thumbed model guide to Viking machines, checked the model, and told me that my machine was manufactured in 1978.  This is a man who may actually know something about these!

A week later my machine was fixed and tuned up.

So when I went to pick it up, I brought the other one.  Mom's inspired some dark looks, and predictions of doom.  I allowed as to how I'd be obliged if he would please open it up and see what was going on.  I know that someday it's going to become a parts machine, but it was worth a try, right?

Today I got the phone call.  He'd opened it up, and the thing is solid glue.  He allowed as to how it would like involve taking every last gear and piece out and cleaning them individually.  That doing that would cost a LOT of money.  That he's seeing this more and more with the old Vikings, and generally people just don't.  I asked him if anything was actually *broken,* and he allowed as to how as far as he could tell, nothing was.  I asked if he was willing to do the job if I was willing to pay him what his time is worth.  He said he would.  I said that I want him to.  Unless he finds something broken DEEP, I'm going to have both of them back!

And now I know that I need to run them both, every month.  I suppose it will help me get projects done.  In the short term, I just need to find how to set them both out so that I don't have to fish one out of a case to give it it's monthly workout.  Perhaps my first project on my machine will be a couple of dust covers.

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( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
isabeau_lark
May. 25th, 2013 01:55 am (UTC)
One of my "when I'm solvent" tasks is getting my machines to be tuned up. None of them are working properly. It's pretty sad to own three sewing machines and need to borrow one to work on a project.

I can only really complain about one of them, which is the newest and most expensive one that developed trouble pretty quickly. The other two are my grandmother's from the 60s and the one my parents gave me in 1990. Both of them have taken decades of abuse from me.

I'm glad you're getting both machines back.
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