Saturday, 18 January 2014

New check spring for Singer 28K

This handsome little machine is my Singer 28K.  It was my first and it was this machine that got me started on sewing.  On it I sewed my first ever garment, pieced my first quilt top and then went on to quilt and bind that quilt.  It's not very easy for a beginner to quilt a single bed sized quilt on a three-quarter sized machine fitted with a fixed straight-stitch foot but the results are satisfying.

Singer 28 Sewing Machine

The machine had been given to a colleague of mine who is a wiz with fancy dress.  She didn't feel it was really the machine for her so the 28 had been stored under her desk at the office for some months.

When it arrived there really wasn't much wrong with it.  It looked like it hadn't been used for a long time and although slightly dulled and with a few blemishes there were no signs of significant rust.  It came with the essentials; a fixed straight-stitch foot, a shuttle, one bobbin and a blunt needle.  The only real problem was that the check spring, which on Singer 27/127 and 28/128, is comparatively long, unguarded and therefore vulnerable to damage, had been snapped.

The check spring is the fine wire spring which will usually be found somewhere in the region of a sewing machine's tension disks.  It's job is to remove slack in the thread as the take up arm rises to the top of its stroke after the stitch has been formed.  If the tension on the check spring is too little or the spring is missing the machine will be unable to form good stitches.


This machine was actually able to form a pretty good stitch even without a properly functioning check spring.  However I knew it would do better if it was in tip-top condition so I bought a new one.  If you are looking for one it is worth knowing that a spring from a 27 will fit a 28 and vice versa.

Singer 27 check spring

The new check spring has a loop at one end for the thread,  a long straight section, a row of even coils and one small coil at the end.  The whole thing slips neatly over the tension assembly stud.


The stud is threaded at both ends.  The narrow thread screws directly into the machine head and the split end allows the pressure on tension discs to be varied.


This photo shows the check spring in position over the tension stud.  The tail of the spring will be sandwiched between the step in the stud and the machine head casting.  This holds the spring in place and under tension.


The check spring's travel is limited top and bottom by the two notches on the machine head casting but the arm of the spring should sit on the lug mid way between these two.  The position can fine tuned by loosening the screw at the bottom of the tension assembly and sliding the slotted back plate to the left or right.


Here is a detail of the tension unit after reassembly.  The knurled nut adjusts the upper tension and shouldn't need to be much tighter than in the picture if the bottom tension is set up correctly.


With a new check spring the Singer 28k is now producing beautiful, even, balanced stitches.  Not bad work for a 115 year old!

8 comments:

  1. Gorgeous machine and those stitches! Lovely

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Karen
      The stitches are great. Equal to a 201? Maybe. I sometimes miss reverse feed when sewing on this machine but I really think that vibrating shuttle machines are underrated.
      Hugs
      G

      Delete
  2. Beautiful machine. I don't know how you can crank and sew at the same time .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It isn't difficult. Hand cranked machines sew more slowly than electric ones so you have lots of time to steer through the curves and a seam guide is a great stand-in for your right hand through the straights. The machine stops as soon as I do so I always feel like I'm in control. My impression is that fewer hand cranks were sold in the US but if you ever get the chance give one a go.
      Hugs
      G

      Delete
  3. The check spring and tension balancing was necessary on my 127 treadle. I bought it in 1988 from an estate sale and it hadn't sewn in years and I couldn't get it to sew. A couple of years ago I had it serviced and now it stitches beautifully. I'm betting the broken tension springs have sent a bunch of these to the garbage and the spring part was really cheap. You will probably have saved some of these machines by posting these photographs.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! I should have mentioned that the spring was really easy to find via ebay AND it was cheap (less than £2). A lot of vintage seamster appear to over look the long bobbin machines but I find mine really rewarding to sew on. There are some videos on you tube of a very brave man doing some pretty good free motion quilting with a 127 treadle - mesmerising! Thanks for your comment the thought that some machines might be saved and used is a nice one.
      Hugs
      G

      Delete
  4. Nice photos, Gavin! And, as always a crystal clear explanation.
    When I read blog posts about technical things, I realise how lucky I was when I bought my 127.
    The check spring was fine, and so was the bobbin winder. Like yours, mine came with only 1 bobbin and the fixed straight foot.

    By the way, the man you're referring to is that 'Treadling with Lane'? If not, at least it was fun to see another 127 in action, albeit a treadle.

    hugs,
    Marianne

    ReplyDelete
  5. My favorite characteristics of the 27/28 machines are 1) the little "hiccup" the needle bar makes each time a stitch is made and the sweet "ka-chick, ka-chick" sound of the shuttle, especially on a well tuned and quiet treadle machine. It's almost a zen-like sewing experience!

    ReplyDelete