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Thursday, October 20, 2016

Wheeler & Wilson No. 9

Long time readers know that I sometimes use this blog to offer machines for sale.  There is a catch though:  NO SHIPPING.  Ever.  For Any Reason.  No matter how badly you want me to.  Not even if you scold me for posting something you want, but cannot have.  (Yes, this happens, even after these disclaimers).

I'm posting this for a friend in my quilt guild.  She wants it to go to a good home.  Contact me by emailing me directly at cherylwarren27278 dot gmail dot com for the very reasonable price.  We live in the Piedmont region of North Carolina,

The pictures tell the story.  Head only, no treadle.  Straight stitch foot on machine, narrow hemmer and at least two bobbins (there may be another one in the machine, I don't know).

Decals are still present and would PROBABLY clean up a bit.

Looks like all the vital parts are present and correct, but it is untested. It does turn smoothly.  Sold "as is".  And as mentioned, the very reasonable price reflects this.

The usual bed alligatoring.  Because there are no decals on the bed (and never were), the bed finish can be stripped off and re-varnished for a smoother surface.  If you are the kind of person to tackle that.

Bobbin winder present.

So, that's it.  These are legendarily wonderful machines.  If you have only ever treadled Singers, you will be impressed with the superior engineering of a Wheeler & Wilson.  Of course it was more expensive for them to manufacture them, which may have something to do with the fact that eventually they sold out to Singer.  Just conjecture on my part.

Let me know if you are interested.


Monday, September 5, 2016

This post is for Nellie and Clinton

Dear Nellie and Clinton,

The sewing machines are on their way to you and I will be there a few days later.  Can't wait to see you!

I have asked your mommy NOT to open the boxes before I get there.  I need to put them back together.  But mostly I want to be there to see you when we open them.  I will really enjoy that.

We can sew some tote bags on your new sewing machines if you want to.  So please look at these fabrics and pick out two that you like.  (Your mom and dad can pick some out if they want to make tote bags too).

Surf boards!  You know why I picked this one!

No. 9 is kind of hard to see in this photo, but is is rows of cars.

I will cut the fabrics that you like and get them all ready so we can sew them into tote bags while I am visiting you.

see you soon!


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Guest Blogger: Eleanor from Down Under

Hello, fellow sewing machine fanatics

Eleanor from Sydney, Australia has been working on her Husqvarna in between dealing with her responsibilities as secretary of a lawn bowls organization.

Yep, I had to look up lawn bowls, which I had never heard of.  The photos look kind of like bocce ball, but since I have never played that sport either I can't really say.  Both seem to involve flinging small wooden balls around.  It is winter in sunny Sydney and any outdoor sport sounds good to me about now.  Sammie and I had to give up our outdoor walks months ago when the Southern heat and humidity kicked in.

She has been sending me pictures of her progress in repainting a Husqvarna, from crinkle green to hammered copper, and I have finally gotten around to putting them together here.  The Husqvarna is shown first.  Then at my request she also sent pictures of a lovely 66 repainted a bright blue, so keep reading until you get to that one.

All photos are by Eleanor and all text in quotes is from her emails to me.

Original color

First coat

"As promised, I got started. Very cold here in Sydney (my last excuse to you was that it was too hot!), so, I've rugged up in my thermals and sitting out on my back verandah putting the first coat on. It looks like a dog's breakfast! As you can see, I changed my mind again on colour and have gone the hammered copper route. I think this will suit the machine and if I'm able to work out how to do water slide decals, they'll be black. I've found the font type and the water slide printing paper on eBay, haven't purchased yet. "

"So I got the brushes out again and worked on my bits while the mood struck. The tin says one coat should be sufficient on previously painted metal in sound condition. I guess they hadn't met Godzilla finish, or my need to work quickly around fiddly bits."

Treadle flywheel and pitman

Second coat

"Just sending you some more pics to show that I haven't gone to sleep on you again with it. I've put another coat on today and it is starting to look a whole lot better. I'm very happy now with my colour choice.. It's my first experience with a wooden pitman, so it would be nice to restore it back in its own treadle."

Third coat

"I put another coat on today to patch the bits of green that were still persistently showing through. I think I'm nearly there. I must now get the water slide decal paper for our laser printer and start searching for some images."

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

and if you thought all that was fun, just LOOK at the bright blue Singer 66 she repainted.

 "This machine was picked up out of a ditch by my friend's son and sat in her yard for twelve months or so before coming my way. It took me about three months of occasional fiddling to eventually get it turning over. The Lotus decal is the most common 66 pattern seen in Australia and I have three other lovely ones, so felt no guilt in repainting this one."

I sure wish the Lotus decal was that common here in the US.  Red Eye is our common pattern.  Also lovely but I particularly like the Lotus.

"This is the one with the Indian crank, which you now know all about and I use it a lot."

She is referring to a discussion of hand cranks from India, available in Australia but not here in the US.  Notice the two holes in the mounting part.  One hole is for Singers the other is for another brand--I think it was Pfaff but don't quote me on that.  Notice the nice wooden knob.  Notice the metal ring covering the gear (as opposed to the plastic one on the Chinese hand cranks).  Notice the all around better look--no rough casting here.

WHY CAN'T WE HAVE THESE HERE?  Someone on the board investigated and found it would be cost prohibitive to import them from Australia.  But they are from India.  Why are our suppliers not importing the Indian version?  I will have to do some nudging on this.  

"I had been following your blog and missewsitall and thought "what have I got to lose?" My freehand calligraphy could be better, but I don't really mind it"

"The little arrow markings were personal fake tattoos and worked well. I gave it a spray of clear coat too."   

Aha, I thought I was the only one who had thought of using the fake tattoos.  You will see this again soon on the machine I have decorated for 6 year old Clinton.

Lovely work!  Thanks, Eleanor.  Looking forward to seeing the finished version of the Husqvarna too.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Paint Along 11: Clear Coat

whoo hoo!  Am I proud of the results?  You betcha!  (last name blurred out of photo for privacy)
Just joining us in the paint-along?  You can catch up here.

I took NO photos during the clear coat process, sorry about that.  But I do have critically important information about the products you might choose.

For the zillionth time I will remind you that I am NOT an expert.  I am an experimenter.  I report the results here so that you can avoid the mistakes that I make.  And I usually analyze the mistakes in detail for that reason.

The exception to the "report all mistakes in detail" policy clicks in here: this machine is a gift to a 6 year old girl (her twin brother will get a machine also).  She has been following the photos on the blog and maybe reading the posts too.  So I don't want to point out every tiny problem that arose and spoil her enjoyment of this beautiful machine.  And the problems WERE tiny and the machine IS beautiful.

However.  You knew there was a "however" coming, didn't you?  I tried something different on these machines.  It worked wonderfully on Nellie's machine.  On Clinton's, not so much.  And I do have to tell you about that.

In the past I have used a spray-on clear coat. specifically Rustoleum Acrylic Lacquer Crystal Clear, gloss (image from .  No problems with this, but I am good with a spray can if I do say so myself.   Technique is everything.  Lots of light coats.

But I really prefer brush-on paint.  I like the control.  So this time I used a brush on acrylic lacquer.   I put one coat on Nellie's machine, which had been freshly painted with hammered paint.  Worked great, looked terrific.

I moved on to putting it on Clinton's machine.  There will be future posts on that one.  I took a decent looking black Spartan (Singer model 192, the budget model of the 99) and applied temporary jewelry decals for some dragon-y bling.  Again, more later on all that.  Then I brushed on the acrylic lacquer.  It had some tiny bubbles and a big wrinkly area.  I sanded it off on the bed, reapplied the dragon, and tried again.  Same wrinkly area plus another one.

bubbled bed

I was now officially too terrified to apply a second coat to Nellie's machine.  I considered taking my other black Spartan and starting over, but it wasn't as nice as the first one.  I'm still thinking it over, but for now I think I will just quit while I am behind.  Emily says it is not that bad.

This is the first time I have applied an acrylic lacquer clear coat over an existing finish.  I am guessing that this is the problem.  On another, much older machine, I applied a wipe-on poly to protect the fragile decals, and that worked well.  However the original clear coat on that (I'm assuming shellac) is a different beast than the original clear coat on a 1960 Spartan.  So (never forget the NO EXPERT part) I have no recommendations for anybody about anything if you are working with an existing finish.  There may be more experiments in the future.

 Chime in if you have any experience with this.

Meanwhile, back to the pictures of Nellie's finished machine.

 Tensioner reassembled, easy peasy if you took photos as you disassembled it.  which I did.

Bobbin winder.  Way more complicated to reassemble and I inexplicably did NOT take photos as I disassembled it.  And the Spartan and 66 bobbin winders that I had on hand for comparison are different.  So this took me an hour to figure out, but here it is.

By the way, when you replace the solid hand wheel with a spoked hand wheel, the bobbin winder may no longer engage with the wheel.  The Singer 99 was made for decades and there are different versions of the bobbin winder and I have not seen all of them, but the ones I have seen all have this problem.  There are several "fixes" for this.  Simplest one is to buy a Sidewinder.  As usual no one pays me to recommend products.

image from
I am now the happy owner of not one but TWO Sidewinders (thank you, Heidi!).  One for upstairs sewing in the antique machine museum, aka the living room, and one for the downstairs studio.  I find winding a bobbin on a hand crank machine very tedious.

Another simple fix is to remove the top screw that holds the bobbin winder in place.  This allows you to slide the bobbin winder down to make contact with the hand wheel.  You have to hold it down with one hand while turning the crank with the other hand.  A tiny bit awkward but it works just fine.  (This is the fix I was just telling you about Lynda).

screw removed


The single thing I did not paint pink is the black plastic piece you can see here, which protects the gear inside.  I was certain that the paint would not stay on the plastic.

This concludes the paint-along folks, but is not the end of the posts on painting machines.  Eleanor has sent me more photos of the Husqvarna she is repainting and you will be seeing that.  And I blinged up Clinton's black Spartan in some interesting ways that I am looking forward to sharing with you!