Featured Singer 201 Complete Rebuild Project

Discussion in 'Antique Discussion' started by Shangas, Jan 25, 2016.

  1. Shangas

    Shangas Underage Antiques Collector and Historian

    God, this dude must have no life!

    Yes, it's ANOTHER sewing machine. What we have here is a Singer 201 from the early 1950s. I bought this at an annual, country-town antiques fair...God...2...3 years ago? I have no idea...Ages!! That's all I remember!

    [​IMG]

    It sat in the basement for all this time, rotting away, until I had the equipment I needed to start breathing life back into this puppy.

    This machine started out life as a Singer 201 electric knee-lever domestic sewing machine. It had sat in someone's barn for the better part of...I'd say 30-50 years, and of course, the electrics and the case and everything else had quite literally rotted away to nothing. In fact the machine fell apart from the housing on the way home!

    A few months back, I acquired a handcrank attachment for this machine, and the necessary securing-bolt, and a new slide-plate, and so the restoration began.

    The first step was to pull apart the crank and wash out as thoroughly as possible, all the decades of grease and oil inside it. This wasn't some Chinese-repro handcrank (yes, such things exist. Check eBay), this was a real Singer-made crank from the 50s or 60s. But it was frozen solid with gunk!

    After flushing out all the filth and getting it running again, I found a bolt and secured the handle firmly onto the machine. Then came the marathon of cleaning the machine of gunk and relubricating it, and checking and testing all the moving parts and putting the new slide-plate back onto the machine.

    Now comes the real challenge - Building a new case and base!!

    I have all the necessary hardware - now comes the hard bit - building it! I still haven't figured out quite how to get that done, but something will occur to me.

    [​IMG]
    The new slide-plate doing what it does best - sliding back and forth :) The Singer 201 takes ordinary 'Class-66' domestic machine bobbins.

    I want to do it as properly as I can. The Singer 201 was the last great pre-war domestic Singer. It came out in the mid-1930s. It was sleek, modern, easy to use, extremely robust (this thing has to weigh 40lbs on its own without the woodwork!!) and very popular.

    Sadly, the Second World War forced Singer to cease manufacturing machines. The cast iron and the steel that went into their construction was too valuable, and the wood used in the cases could've been used for other things. That, and during the war, the 'Clydebank Blitz' hit the Singer Manufacturing Company's factory in the area and their entire timber-yard, where the necessary wood for case-construction, table construction etc, all went up in flames! As a result, many Singer 201s were made AFTER the war.
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    Singer's Clydebank factory burned to the ground after the Clydebank Blitz.

    Due to the vast reserves of timber and metal at the factory in Clydebank up in Scotland, the Singer factory was a deliberate target of the German Luftwaffe. Clydebank was so far north that it was believed to be untouchable, and well out of range of German bombers. In one night, almost the entire factory was razed to the ground.

    [​IMG]
    Forward-Reverse + Stitch-length Selector Lever.

    This really was one of the last great Singer machines made in the traditional black-and-gold style. It had easy stitch-selection, it had forward-reverse movement, a very smooth action, and proving that Singer moved with the times - it had a very angular, minimalist Art Deco decal-pattern on the machine (called "Paperclips") which scream the 1930s. A machine like this when it was new back in the 30s would've come out during the very height of the Jazz Age, with big band and swing on the radio and flashy suits and impressive dresses being the rage.

    With luck and a whole lotta patience, you'll see this turned back into something resembling its original appearance...
     
  2. KingofThings

    KingofThings 'Illiteracy is a terrible thing to waist' - MHH

    Beautiful and thanks for the war damage photo as well.
    ~
    Isn't that a Greek Key pattern?
    ~
    "As a result of the raids on the nights of 13 and 14 March 1941, the town was largely destroyed and it suffered the worst destruction and civilian loss of life in all of Scotland. 528 people died, 617 people were seriously injured, and hundreds more were injured by blast debris. Out of approximately 12,000 houses, only seven remained undamaged — with 4,000 completely destroyed and 4,500 severely damaged. Over 35,000 people were made homeless." :(
     
    gregsglass likes this.
  3. Shangas

    Shangas Underage Antiques Collector and Historian

    Technically, yes, the pattern is 'Greek Key', but if you look up the guides online, the official name is "Paperclips"
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2016
    KingofThings likes this.
  4. Bakersgma

    Bakersgma Well-Known Member

    LOL. Did you mean "paperclips"?
     
    KingofThings likes this.
  5. Shangas

    Shangas Underage Antiques Collector and Historian

    Goddamn bloody laptop.
     
    KingofThings and Bakersgma like this.
  6. KingofThings

    KingofThings 'Illiteracy is a terrible thing to waist' - MHH

    i fIgrEdd eat wUz aa fArt smonNe. ;)
     
  7. komokwa

    komokwa The Truth is out there...!

    It's not like you to blame your tools ! :hilarious::hilarious::wideyed::wideyed::rolleyes::rolleyes:
     
    KingofThings likes this.
  8. Shangas

    Shangas Underage Antiques Collector and Historian

    It is this time! I'm stuck using this sub-rate computer because...*sigh*...reasons.

    And I bloody hate it! It's slow, it's old, half the things don't work...I can't wait til I can use my regular one again.

    Anyway, enough of that - Glad you folks like the sewing machine :)
     
    komokwa and KingofThings like this.
  9. Shangas

    Shangas Underage Antiques Collector and Historian

    Well I dunno how many people remember this thread, but I'm embarking on rebuilding the sewing machine case for this machine, now.

    I have most of the necessary parts (anything else I need I can easily find at the flea-market or hardware store) and I've got the measurements. So we're all ready to start cutting and sawing and stuff.

    I managed to scrounge a full set of sewing-machine case locks and catches (for the lid and the base) from a junker that I threw out (it was beyond saving), so I'm going to incorporate them into the design.

    Fingers crossed....
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2016
  10. Aquitaine

    Aquitaine Is What It IS! But NEVER BORED!

    For whatever reason, your pictures are Xed out........???????....but would be fun to see it!!!
     
    KingofThings likes this.
  11. Shangas

    Shangas Underage Antiques Collector and Historian

    I have no idea WHY that's happening.

    Here's the machine:

    [​IMG]

    As I said in my original post - this machine was originally an electric knee-lever portable (I think that's hilarious - the carcass on its own weighs 30lbs!), but decades in a barn had all but destroyed the original woodwork. I saved what I could, and once I managed to source a hand-crank for it, I decided to try and rebuild it. Hopefully, we can start this weekend.
     
    KingofThings and cxgirl like this.
  12. Messilane

    Messilane Well-Known Member

    Ooooo I can't wait to see your progress!
     
    KingofThings likes this.
  13. Aquitaine

    Aquitaine Is What It IS! But NEVER BORED!

    WOW!!!! THAT looks AMAZING!!!!! Niiiiiiiiice :joyful::joyful::joyful::joyful::joyful::joyful::joyful:
     
    KingofThings likes this.
  14. Shangas

    Shangas Underage Antiques Collector and Historian

    We've selected the wood for the top and bottom of the machine-base. Now we need the sides.

    Unfortunately, I don't have the hinges and screws that will allow for the machine to be tipped back inside its case, so instead I'm gonna put drawers at each end of the base to serve as storage (and extra space on top for sewing). The machine will just drop into a hole and I'll secure it down somehow. Although given its weight, that might not even be necessary.
     
    KingofThings and cxgirl like this.
  15. Bakersgma

    Bakersgma Well-Known Member

    Your projects are always so much fun to follow, Shangas!
     
    KingofThings and cxgirl like this.
  16. cxgirl

    cxgirl Well-Known Member

    I missed the original post, thanks for adding the photo!
    I love your threads, your enthusiasm for bringing your treasures back to life is wonderful:)
     
    KingofThings and Bakersgma like this.
  17. Shangas

    Shangas Underage Antiques Collector and Historian

    Heading off to the flea-market today. Gonna see if I can source some nice period handles or knobs for the drawers and lid and stuff.
     
    KingofThings and Figtree3 like this.
  18. Shangas

    Shangas Underage Antiques Collector and Historian

    Dad and I have gotten most of the wood together. We've figured out how we'll put it together now. Next step is measuring and cutting! We hope to get started on the basic carcass of the base before too long.
     
    KingofThings likes this.
  19. Shangas

    Shangas Underage Antiques Collector and Historian

    Work continues apace. We've got most of the wood. Soon will come measuring and cutting. Will give photos when we start really getting down to it.
     
    KingofThings likes this.
  20. Shangas

    Shangas Underage Antiques Collector and Historian

    LOOK!!

    PICTURES!!

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    My highly technical schematic drawing for the appearance of the base-board. All measurements are done in inches. Singer machines were all made according to imperial measurements, so it was just easier to do it in inches.

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    Cutting out the hole that will eventually hold the machine.

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    The Great Singer Cavity.

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    Close-up!

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    Nice and snug.
     
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