Think your VS shuttle is broken? Maybe it is just gunked up. It is super easy to clean them. I have never met one that did not need to be cleaned, btw.
|dirty, crusty, slightly rusty shuttle|
(Shown is a Singer VS shuttle. The VS shuttles for the VSII, 27, 28, 127 and 128 are all similar. There are earlier ones that may also be similar but these are the models I have had my hands on. I have also cleaned shuttles from other brands and they were also similar).
|shuttle cleaning kit|
- a dirty shuttle
- a very tiny screwdriver. these were original equipment with your vintage sewing machine so you may have one.
- a magnetic parts bowl (optional, but if you lose the tiny screw you are, well, screwed)
- cotton swabs
- alcohol (either rubbing alcohol from the drug store or denatured alcohol from the hardware store
- 400 grit sandpaper
- a small flashlight (or the flashlight on your phone)
The shuttle only has three parts: the shuttle, the tiny screw, and the spring on the top. Use the screwdriver to remove the screw. Do this inside the magnetic parts bowl if you don't want to lose the screw.
Remove the screw.
And the spring lifts up and off. Two tiny tabs fit into two tiny slots at the top of the shuttle. These will be shown in more detail below when we put it back together.
Here we have the two dirty, gunky and rough-ish parts.
Normally I would drop these into a pill bottle containing alcohol and let them soak overnight. Alcohol does a great job at dissolving old dried up sewing machine oil. But today was a "do it quick and take pictures for the blog" day.
The screwdriver points to the main area of gunk build up.
I used both the cotton swabs dipped in alcohol and the tiny screwdriver to remove the gunk.
Use small pieces of the 400 grit sandpaper to remove rust and corrosion from the outside of the shuttle and from both sides of the spring. 400 grit is very fine.
The surface should feel very smooth to the touch when you are finished. It is not necessary to sand it down until it is bright and shiny, just smooth.
Update: Cindy Peters wrote to tell me: "New springs are available for Singer shuttles and may work on others. A bit expensive at $8 but still cheaper than a whole new shuttle!!"
Cindy Peters, Stitches in Time
914 No High Street, Lake City, MN 55041
Roll up a piece of sandpaper to clean the inside of the shuttle. A flashlight will show you what is going on in there. This was the most time consuming part because I had to keep looking to see what remained to be done.
Smashing down the lower end of the paper will sand the bottom of tubular inside of the shuttle.
Also sand the groove that the thread goes through. then turn the sandpaper and sand the other side of the groove.
This particular shuttle still looks funky but it is now nice and smooth. Time to reassemble it.
With the tabs in the slots, the spring will lie flat against the shuttle.
Replace the screw.
The screw also allows you to adjust the bobbin tension.
Fiddle with the shuttle tension until it feels just right: not too loose, not too tight. This is not rocket science.
Follow your owners manual or find a good YouTube video if you need help loading the shuttle. I always think a certain amount of magic is involved.
This particular shuttle works beautifully now in the Singer 28 that you will probably see in the next blog post.
Do you regularly clean any shuttles that come your way? Do you have any additional tips for us?