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About DonInReno

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    Reno, NV
  • Interests
    old machines, anything that makes a stitch

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    Auto interiors, vintage western
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  1. There are definitely some skipped stitches on the bottom side, so that may be another issue. it sounds like you’ve had one heck of a day chasing this thing around - you’re really close to getting it, so tomorrow should be a good day
  2. Those are definitely twists in the thread or the thread is untwisting as it forms the knot - not a tension issue. Sorry to drag you through all the tension stuff - I should have asked for a picture. What brand and type of thread is it? To be honest, if I don’t know anything about the bottom problems I’d still think your thread doesn’t look right on top - like it’s not bonded and a loose twist - not the normal dense bonded nylon we usually use. The good news is, a different spool of thread will probably solve the issue. I’ve attached a random picture of 138 size thread - look at how twisted your top thread is compared to how it lays down flat in the pic.
  3. Thanks for the information Glenn! I’m going to pass on this one - the small bobbin size is the opposite of what I’d really like to end up with. In the search for information this style of patcher, the one machine that really caught my eye is your “Patcher on steroids”. Something like that would a fun machine to have. Did you ever find out who made it? Of course the odds of ever running across a similar machine are zilch, but it did get my wheels turning.
  4. I’m betting #1 is still your problem. It’s very hard to just look at the tension disks and tell if the tension release is preventing the last few .001” of disk pressure. I’d also check for deep grooves in the tension disks that might be preventing them from firmly gripping the thread. Perhaps the tension adjusting nut is bottoming out on something? Aftermarket tensioners are so poorly made, if it’s ever been changed any number of things could be wrong. Have you had the tensioner apart lately? Is the machine new to you? Do you have a picture showing how it’s threaded? Is the thread down between the disks and not ridding up on the outside edges? If you can physically pull thread through that tensioner with bare hands when it’s tightened fully, it’s definitely something in there.
  5. If the upper tension regulator won’t provide enough tension even when adjusted as tight as it will go, there’s a good chance the tension release is improperly adjusted not allowing the tension disks to fully engage the thread. Thats assuming the lower thread tension is correct, and the needle size is large enough to allow the know to be pulled up.
  6. This chart is only accurate if the needle is large enough to allow the knot to be pulled up in the material. For 95% of all sewing the bobbin tension isn’t messed with other than the initial setting. With the bobbin in the bobbin case and holding just the thread, gravity shouldn’t let the bobbin/case fall. If the thread is then giggled up and down gently the bobbin should start to pay out thread.
  7. That makes sense - there’s very little information on it.
  8. I’ve read through a number of past posts here about similar machines, but nothing specifically about a Bradbury - and it’s definitely stamped a Bradbury. From what I gathered these were made in the UK up until the early 1900s and something like 70,000 were sold here in the US. It is interesting how many different companies made their version of this design. This machine popped up a few hours away and I’m trying to gather a little information to decide if it’s worth seeing in person - wondering if anyone has used or even inspected a Bradbury A1 compared to one of the German versions? My biggest question is what kind of stitch length is common with these really old (about 1900) machines? If it only had a tiny little stitch u dear 10 spi I’ll probably pass, but I don’t have any clue. They were sold to shoe makers so it seems stitch length wouldn’t be too short. I have a Chinese patcher and would like to get a similar design, but higher quality machine that I don’t mind putting time into to tighten up, smooth out and modernize a bit. Bradbury marketed these as industrial machines and had hardened wear surfaces. Theres nothing fancy about it, but the metal parts seem decently machined and surface finishes are much like any other old sewing machine, so not too bad and worlds above a Chinese patcher. I’ve finally collected enough equipment to machine, heat treat and precision grind parts and this seems like a fun project to hopefully end up with a fun conversation piece.
  9. I bought a Consew 206rb from a professional curtain and upholstery person - she was replacing it with the newest version of the same machine and had no complaints about its capabilities. You will find over a dozen different machines from different makers that look surprisingly similar - it’s not your imagination - this is the poster child for the type of machine most upholsterers prefer day in and day out. You’ll do well with any of the most popular triple feed upholstery class flat bed machines. If a friend had a $1,000 to $1,500 budget, I’d suggest a used Consew, Juki, Cowboy, or Singer that is maybe 10 to 30 years old, complete and in sewing condition with older looking table and old style of motor - you’ll want at least $100 in specialized presser feet, then spend the last $250 on a new servo motor and speed reducer. You can always upgrade the top of the table down the road for $200 or so. Most professional upholsterers would chastise me for suggesting a speed reducer because speed is money, but every single one of them does a lot of slow speed operations with a lot of manual hand wheel turning in detailed turns and whatnot. A full speed industrial will operate at twice the speed of the residential machines you’re used to. A speed reducer greatly reduces manual hand wheeling and can always be bypassed for jobs with long straight seams. The type of work and the sewing speed you like dictates this, but anyone new to industrial machines will benefit from the reducer. Getting a good deal on a used machine is often a matter of waiting and scanning both dealers and online - don’t be discouraged if none are available today - next week, or the next, or the next, something too good to pass up will come along. Just be sure to check to make sure the model is a triple feed - some look similar but are only needle feed or a simple non-walking foot single feed. Unless it’s a new machine with warrantee, you’ll need to find a knowledgeable industrial service person in case you need a hand with adjustments - not everyone understands industrial machines. Best of luck - you’ll really enjoy it!
  10. Lol I forgot to say to check the bobbin thread isn’t being pinched in the bobbin case opener, or in a groove in the bottom of the feed dog. I bought one old factory machine that had a ridiculously deep groove in the bottom of the feed dog for some reason - like it was sewing something that required extra bobbin tension - that drove me nuts because I couldn’t see the groove, but something was obviously snagging thread as it was pulled up.
  11. Whenever tension adjustments seem harder than they should be it’s not a bad idea to double check the thread path for issues. Watch out for thread that develops occasional kinks between the spool and machine, or even thread that sticks to itself and comes off the spool jerky (old bonded thread does this). Badly worn thread guides with deep grooves can create extra tension when thread is down in the groove and alternating light tension when it’s not. Then there are often grooves in the tension disks that might contribute to problems - tension disks are cheap to replace, but you can often sand and polish out light grooves. Likewise, there may be deep grooves in the bobbin case, or a squirly spring. Tension disk springs that are too light require a lot of turns to adjust and if they bottom out just need to be replaced. The biggest gotcha that will drive a person crazy until it’s discovered is a tension release that won’t allow tension disks to fully close, making it strangely difficult to get knots to center - it should be fairly straightforward to add a few cranks on the tensioner and have the knots move where you want them to be. It’s common for replacement tension disks to have slightly different shapes/thicknesses so it’s a common issue to check. On 111w155 type of machines it’s about the size of a 15g nail and is filed down or replaced with a longer one if the release isn’t opening the tension disks when presser foot is raised - have no idea what your machine uses, but the tension release will have some means of adjustment. Ideally, lifting the presser foot part way, like when changing directions in a sharp corner or reversing, won’t release thread tension, but fully raising the foot does. Having said all that, often the first thing I’ll do because it’s the easiest is go up a needle size and see if that clears things up. The knot has to have room to be pulled up in the leather. All the other issues in the thread path may still need to be fixed, but it lets you know that the hole isn’t the problem. You're going to run out of things to adjust on this machine and have to pick up another fixer upper!
  12. The 211w156 is the walking foot with reverse. I’d guess the 256 has the oiling felt thread guide and the take up lever with the strange hood - we can’t see it, but I’m guessing you have the big bobbin. The “G” is made in Germany while the “W” machines are made in the US. Here’s a manual that should work. https://www.supsew.com/download/Singer/Singer 211G155, 211G156 Service Manual.pdf
  13. Yep, after the needle starts to rise (about the thickness of a nickel is most commonly recommended for most machines) , the eye should be 1/16” BELOW the tip of the hook as they pass each other. That might be what you said - I’m just double checking. The horizontal gap BETWEEN the needle and hook needs to be as close to zero as you can get without touching. Most manuals give a range for this gap, but as close as possible is ideal - that’s not just my option, but guys managing big sewing shops have said zero is just right. Heck one of those guys said if the needle is deflected a a tiny amount he won’t change it. Its a little hard to tell how sharp that hook is, but it looks a little blunt, which doesn’t help it grab the thread cleanly. It may sew great, but if you still get odd skipped stitches, or the hook seems to be impacting the thread once in a while instead of cleanly hooking around it, then you might look into sharpening it a bit. Its hard to explain, other than recommending looking at a nice sharp hook and duplicating the angle and polish on it. Probably more hooks have been damaged beyond repair than have been saved by well intentioned first timers, but you’re pretty handy and I’d bet it’s something you might try so I’ll briefly hit on it: Keep in mind you aren’t taking material away from the needle side or outer diameter of the hook. Also, don’t reduce the length. Having a good hook right there makes it easy to know where to remove material. It won’t be perfect - we’re just reducing any bluntness. I picked up an old singer with 1/4” of the hook broken off - sharpened what was left until the new hook arrived - it’s sewn threw a pound of thread without a single skipped thread so I’ve never installed the new hook yet. Sandpaper glued on a popsicle stick, or even fingernail emory boards work well - the tip of the hook is thin and it won’t take much. I’ll use 220 grit to get the shape, then 400 followed by 800 to get any scratch marks out. Finally going over the whole hook with 1200 or 1500 grit cleans up any minor surface rust and blends the new tip in so nobody should be able to tell you’ve done anything. Anyway, good job on your progress! You are learning your machines inside and out. edit: I almost forgot to mention, if at all possible keep an original Singer hook - replacement Chinese hooks are dirt cheap, but they are often soft metal and may not be shaped correctly.
  14. I tried to search for the Australian company and google won’t allow it - it’s like the vast majority of international companies are not searchable like they used to be. Anyway, this is the 6k132 that has both reverse and what I believe is a true walking foot.
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