Ipschnug

Singer 78-3 Leather Needles

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Hello all,

I just picked up my first sewing machine, an old Singer 78-3.  It seems to be in good functional order, but the prior owner only did upholstery.  It came with a ton of standard point needles, but none of the cutting point needles for leather.  Looking at the manual, it says the needle variety is "16x100" for leatherwork.  I have not been able to find these anywhere, and none of the compatibility tables I have found list alternatives.  Does anyone have experience with what needles this machine takes, or can point me in the direction of where to find the old 16x100 type?  I would like to run up to the 138 thread I have read that this machine is capable of, which sounds like either a size 22 or 23, correct?

Thanks!

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I adjusted my needlebar on my 78-1 (uses same needles) to utilize 29x3 (round point) (29x4 leather) needles since that is what my SInger 42-5 is using. .  You can just as easily use  the very similar (except needle has a skarf) 135x16 or 17 needles that are more modern and about the same dimensions.  This is technically a simple  1 screw adjustment  , but the challenge is getting the connection to move after being in the same position for the better part of a century.  Some combination of tapping, heating, oiling and brute force may be required.

I have a 78-3, but mostly run my 78-1.  I have note figured out what the real difference is, but I have not tried very hard .. smile ..

Some pics and such for my 78-1 are at https://sites.google.com/site/oldironmachines/home/singer-78-1

I have not tried 138 thread on my machines.  best of luck. let us know how it goes.

78-1.jpg

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I have a couple of those machines,  The needles i use are 135x17 . they are a size 24. I think ( dont quote me.. :) but i think i had to adjust the needle bar because they were a different length than they use to use.... I have used 138 and thicker  thread on the machine , no problem....

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Whoops, my notes say that it sewed ok  with 138 thread top and bottom, but I have only done limited test sewing, no projects or extended testing. It was before I built my junk box bobbin winder and it was a bit tedious on a treadle powered winder on a domestic machine.

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2 minutes ago, leathersmyth said:

I have a couple of those machines,  ...

Hey Leathersmyth  . .  what kind of sewing do you do on your 78?

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44 minutes ago, leathersmyth said:

The needles i use are 135x17 . they are a size 24. I think ( dont quote me.. :) but i think i had to adjust the needle bar because they were a different length than they use to use.... I have used 138 and thicker  thread on the machine , no problem....

49 minutes ago, leecopp said:

You can just as easily use  the very similar (except needle has a skarf) 135x16 or 17 needles that are more modern and about the same dimensions.  This is technically a simple  1 screw adjustment  , but the challenge is getting the connection to move after being in the same position for the better part of a century.  Some combination of tapping, heating, oiling and brute force may be required.

 

Thank you all for your help!  Now that you say this, I can't help but wonder if the machine has already been adjusted. I think several of the boxes of needles that came with it said they were size 135x17.  It's been interesting trying to decode the encryption that they use on these sewing machine needles! :wacko:  Unfortunately the previous owner is no longer with us, I would have liked to pick his brain about a machine he obviously used and cared for.

Leecopp, the Singer 78 1,2,3 manual I found thanks to this site has a page that mentions what parts are different on the -3, but as a newb, I wasn't able to interpret the significance of the differences.

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4 hours ago, leecopp said:

Hey Leathersmyth  . .  what kind of sewing do you do on your 78?

Case Goods mostly, Depending what i am making and which machine i decide to play with.....   those machines will sew about 3/8 inch material..... They still stitch beautiful....   

image1 copy.jpg

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I managed to find some 135x16 needles locally and was able to get the machine to produce some beautiful stitches!  Thank you all for your help.

One new question, the feet that were on it looks to be a piping setup, with sharp teeth that was marking the leather.  The machine came with several feet, do either of you have pictures of which feet you prefer for most of your leatherwork?

 

 

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Following this thread because I just picked up a 78-1 for a song. Less than a song really and it runs and sews beautifully. I ordered 135x17 needles for mine but they haven’t come in yet. I’m interested in the feet question though mine only came with one set and it seems others aren’t easily available.

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These are the feet that are on my machines. They work for pretty much anything need to sew. They don't leave any marks on leather .

image1 (2).jpeg

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3 hours ago, FresnoFox said:

I ordered 135x17 needles for mine but they haven’t come in yet.

Those x17 needles are round, not leather point and may cause heat and grabbing problems. The ones you want are 135x16.

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4 hours ago, leathersmyth said:

These are the feet that are on my machines. They work for pretty much anything need to sew. They don't leave any marks on leather .

I think I have a set of those, I'll have to give them a try.  Thanks for the picture!

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8 hours ago, Wizcrafts said:

Those x17 needles are round, not leather point and may cause heat and grabbing problems. The ones you want are 135x16.

 I misspoke. Went back and looked at my order and it’s 135x16 diamond point.

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Good morning all, i figured this thread isn't too old to post in, i just picked up a couple of singers from a sale site for $50.  One is a 306K in table, and the other is a 78-1,  no table etc, it's also missing the foot lift bar on the back but has the spring and bottom mechanism.  It rolls nice and smooth after a little cleaning and oil, I'm curious about the needle system 16x99/100...It looks like you're using the 135x16, I want to make sure i understand correctly on the adjustment screw referenced, the screw that holds the "needle bar" (Image attached) in place, are you raising/lowering etc?

My other question is, table and motor/belt setup, what if any modifications are needed to use a servo/v-belt setup?  The machine came with a piece of round leather belt but doubt it would be enough to reach under a table even for the old treadle... I will honestly not mind hand cranking it for wallets or small items, i'll have to figure if a servo is overkill.

I'm really excited to have found these machines, I really wanted a 1206rb or a singer 111w for lighter leather, but after ~$2k for the cb3200 and accessories, mama said nope..., well technically she said, as soon as I've sold enough holsters, belts etc to cover the initial expense for the cowboy, and to cover the cost of another machine...go ahead...lol.

On a separate topic, if you fellas don't mind the 306K looks like a quantum processing super computer compared to an abacus in relation to complexity to the 78...(redacted to add to a 306K thread) apologies.

singer 78-1 Needle Bar_Page_1.png

singer 78-1 Needle Bar_Page_2.png

Forgot to add pics of the machine...

https://imgur.com/a/GeuAD8K

cYJjdnXm.jpgSlH9kKNm.jpg2vNyCqwm.jpgaNIYqplm.jpg

Edited by koreric75
added photos of machine

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On 5/8/2018 at 5:11 AM, koreric75 said:

Good morning all, i figured this thread isn't too old to post in, i just picked up a couple of singers from a sale site for $50.  One is a 306K in table, and the other is a 78-1,  no table etc, it's also missing the foot lift bar on the back but has the spring and bottom mechanism.  It rolls nice and smooth after a little cleaning and oil, I'm curious about the needle system 16x99/100...It looks like you're using the 135x16, I want to make sure i understand correctly on the adjustment screw referenced, the screw that holds the "needle bar" (Image attached) in place, are you raising/lowering etc?

My other question is, table and motor/belt setup, what if any modifications are needed to use a servo/v-belt setup?  The machine came with a piece of round leather belt but doubt it would be enough to reach under a table even for the old treadle... I will honestly not mind hand cranking it for wallets or small items, i'll have to figure if a servo is overkill.

I'm really excited to have found these machines, I really wanted a 1206rb or a singer 111w for lighter leather, but after ~$2k for the cb3200 and accessories, mama said nope..., well technically she said, as soon as I've sold enough holsters, belts etc to cover the initial expense for the cowboy, and to cover the cost of another machine...go ahead...lol.

On a separate topic, if you fellas don't mind the 306K looks like a quantum processing super computer compared to an abacus in relation to complexity to the 78...(redacted to add to a 306K thread) apologies.

singer 78-1 Needle Bar_Page_1.png

singer 78-1 Needle Bar_Page_2.png

Forgot to add pics of the machine...

https://imgur.com/a/GeuAD8K

cYJjdnXm.jpgSlH9kKNm.jpg2vNyCqwm.jpgaNIYqplm.jpg

@leecopp @Ipschnug so i found a buy on ebay for some 16x100 needles, I'm going to see how they look when they arrive and compare to the needle that was init when i bought the machine.  It's a leather needle with the grooved shaft and chisel point, i tried reading the numbers on the dang thing but couldn't get enough light and magnification to see em...lol  

I still realize that i will have to find another alternative, as these were the only ones i have found, currently i have a few parts removed and soaking in vaporust, that stuff works wonders and is amazing.  I plan to remove the chipped paint and rust from the bed and refinish that so it's somewhat smooth.  

I'm curious, from the build of the body, and the parts catalogue, I'm wondering if there was a setup for an oiler?  there is a large hole with a smaller (threaded maybe) hole in the middle back that runs to the rotating assembly underneath, i'll snap a photo of it and post later.  I guess it could be some sort of access for the lifter as well but haven't figured it out yet.  There aren't alot of info pics out there or IPB that i could find (illustrated parts breakout showing where the parts go on/in the machine).

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The problem with alot of the older needles is the eye in the needle are smaller than the newer ones,so you might have to bump up a size or two so the eye of the needle is large enough for the thread you want to use.The easiest way to check is thread the needle through a piece of thread & hold it vertical & see if it slides down the thread  w/o hanging up,if it does then it'll work.

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30 minutes ago, CowboyBob said:

The problem with alot of the older needles is the eye in the needle are smaller than the newer ones,so you might have to bump up a size or two so the eye of the needle is large enough for the thread you want to use.The easiest way to check is thread the needle through a piece of thread & hold it vertical & see if it slides down the thread  w/o hanging up,if it does then it'll work.

Thanks bob!  I've been so focused on needle length and etc, i hadn't thought ahead  to when i actually  want to put thread through it...lol.  I've been using #69 bonded nylon thread for my wallets on my singer 15-91 with a size 16 needle and have only run into issues if the needle gets sticky from glue, i've since learned to be more patient after sticking pieces together...and before to let the bond dry more and then stick.  I haven't found a sure fire way to say a size 16 needle will work with #69 tho, other than the method you described, I've had needles out of the same little pack that one would work and one wouldn't...could've been the thread as well.  

ps, @CowboyBob  you wouldn't have any old documents or pictures lying around for this machine would you?  one of the few videos i found mentioned yall, he sourced a welting foot and something else for his 78, but that was awhile back... 

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The 135x17 or 135x16D (for leather) are the same length as the 16x99 & 100.I can't seem to find any welt feet anymore BUT do have some standard flat feet in stock.

Have you seen this yet?http://parts.singerco.com/IPpartCharts/78-1.pdf

Edited by CowboyBob

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1 hour ago, CowboyBob said:

The 135x17 or 135x16D (for leather) are the same length as the 16x99 & 100.I can't seem to find any welt feet anymore BUT do have some standard flat feet in stock.

Have you seen this yet?http://parts.singerco.com/IPpartCharts/78-1.pdf

Awesome, that is a relief.  I have the singer Co parts list downloaded, so I know what each part looks like and can find the name of it, just not where they go once all together... Lol.  I take pictures of everything as I disassemble, and can get everything back where it belongs, was just looking for something like a maintenance or text manual with more info in it.  I don't want to do something or not do something that could ruin the internals.  I also noticed there are a few parts that changed between year models so interchangeability is another factor...I haven't found in the parts list any year identifiers, but have noticed a few special identifiers like material competition.  Thanks again for the info on the needles, that'll get me started once it's cleaned up and I see if I can get a nice stitch line hand turning it.

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On 4/16/2018 at 1:05 PM, leecopp said:

I adjusted my needlebar on my 78-1 (uses same needles) to utilize 29x3 (round point) (29x4 leather) needles since that is what my SInger 42-5 is using. .  You can just as easily use  the very similar (except needle has a skarf) 135x16 or 17 needles that are more modern and about the same dimensions.  This is technically a simple  1 screw adjustment  , but the challenge is getting the connection to move after being in the same position for the better part of a century.  Some combination of tapping, heating, oiling and brute force may be required.

I have a 78-3, but mostly run my 78-1.  I have note figured out what the real difference is, but I have not tried very hard .. smile ..

Some pics and such for my 78-1 are at https://sites.google.com/site/oldironmachines/home/singer-78-1

I have not tried 138 thread on my machines.  best of luck. let us know how it goes.

78-1.jpg

@leecopp you forgot cursing...lots and lots of it...lol, once it was apparent that it wasn't going to move with tapping, and oiling i removed the whole assembly.  There is also a screw on the rear of the part that slides (#1), The walking foot bar was also stuck, and the presser foot bar screw (#2) has yet to yield, I am tempted to leave it be to avoid damaging, but am worried if i don't get it out and clean it up, i'll need to adjust it at some point and will have to do this all over again.

(#3) in pic, this thing...not sure what it is, but doesn't look to serve a purpose unless it's for bobbin winding maybe?  broke off so now there is an empty hole with the threaded end sticking out...

SvnA7h7.jpg

On 5/9/2018 at 8:16 AM, CowboyBob said:

The 135x17 or 135x16D (for leather) are the same length as the 16x99 & 100.I can't seem to find any welt feet anymore BUT do have some standard flat feet in stock.

Have you seen this yet?http://parts.singerco.com/IPpartCharts/78-1.pdf

@CowboyBobWhen i finally got things freed up and oiled well, I tried checking with the 16x100 i ordered to see how it looked, the needle would not pick up the bobbin thread (p.s. the eye on that needle is super tiny...wish i would've posted here before ordering) I took the needle plate back off and removed the bobbin and the eye of the needle didn't come close to the hook so wondering if it has been adjusted previously.  A quick needle bar adjustment became a weekend project as detailed above...lol.  Are the flat feet you have the same as these?  This is what came with mine, minus the binder of course...

jox0WWq.jpg

 

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No,the feet I can get are #36253 outside &#37326 inside.That part #3 you have is a thread guide & should be  there,a standard 3-hole one will work since you can't get that one anymore.

Edited by CowboyBob

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On ‎4‎/‎16‎/‎2018 at 2:05 PM, leecopp said:

I adjusted my needlebar on my 78-1 (uses same needles) to utilize 29x3 (round point) (29x4 leather) needles since that is what my SInger 42-5 is using. .  You can just as easily use  the very similar (except needle has a skarf) 135x16 or 17 needles that are more modern and about the same dimensions.  This is technically a simple  1 screw adjustment  , but the challenge is getting the connection to move after being in the same position for the better part of a century.  Some combination of tapping, heating, oiling and brute force may be required.

I have a 78-3, but mostly run my 78-1.  I have note figured out what the real difference is, but I have not tried very hard .. smile ..

Some pics and such for my 78-1 are at https://sites.google.com/site/oldironmachines/home/singer-78-1

I have not tried 138 thread on my machines.  best of luck. let us know how it goes.

78-1.jpg

You nailed that procedure on freeing a tight needle bar. Picked a 78-3 up last weekend and spent a good hour getting the needle bar somewhat freed-up. Usually once you get them moving they free up well, not this one. Enough to raise the bar with some real effort and get the stitch in compliance. I've never seen one take that much heat and effort and I've never seen on still that tight after freeing it. My machine was rebuilt or remanufactured at some point. At work currently so not looking at it but I want to say the label was Union out of Philadelphia who did that. The MA in the label telephone # tells me maybe 1960's? Machine is a 1940.

The question I have: Do your 78's you have is the shuttle driving shaft pinned at both ends? Mine is. Was wondering it that was factory or done later.

I need to see what needles Bob has, this thing came with an assortment of wrong needles and fortunately one 135x16 pack in size 20 DIA point. So labeled anyhow and looked correct. 2mm shank diameter and 39 mm to the top of the eye which I think is the spec on that needle system. They work, now.

I can tell you that hook was at the very top of scarf when I started and I only moved the needle bar up maybe 1mm/ possibly a tweak more. Was sewing fine in some assorted materials after that adjustment but when I looked at it initially I thought that bar needed to go up 2mm or better and I was sure it wouldn't catch a stitch, it did. I never pulled the needle plate after I adjusted it to see exactly where it lands now (yeah I know, major shortcutting due to time constraints and normally I'd have that plate off for that procedure but I'm decent enough at seeing measurements, live it daily). I'll check one evening out of curiosity. My guess is it's still lower than I'd like but it's laying good stitches without fail now. Close enough.  

These old Singers are pleasurable to operate. No tensions release as freely in my experience and once you get them right, they tend to stay there unless perhaps you ask entirely too much of them. This one is very smooth operating and free spinning, like that. Holds material well with surprisingly light foot pressure when the needle is up. Feed mechanism is rather impressive for no bottom feed. Two other likes. This will be a wallet (2-4 ounce) interior machine among a few other fabric tasks. It will run two layers or 5-6 vegtan but that's pushing it just a little harder than I think it prefers. Ran two layers of chrome tan in that same weight and that wasn't taxing it at all. A little to soon to grade it against the stable but I'm thinking it gets high marks, if for no other reason than it fills a void I had.

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Here's a pic of the feet,the only ones I can get.

Singer 78-1 Feet 50.00 pr.jpg

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These teeth can be ground down or fill in w/JB weld.

Singer 78-1 Feet bottom pic.JPG

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Photos of the rebuild label and the pinned shuttle shaft. Hope this works, first photo insert attempt.

IMAG1338.jpg

IMAG1339.jpg

IMAG1340.jpg

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