Sunday, July 31, 2011

Project: Singer Featherweight

Here is the story. This Singer 221 Featherweight came into my life in the last week. My mom gave it to me and she bought it at a garage sale for a very good price. It would be silly to turn down a free machine.

so here is the machine and you are probably looking at it thinking what's wrong with it. Machine-wise is it in great condition. It just needs a new bobbin case carrier as it's current one is missing an important element. It runs and the needle moves and it's working. Now if you are looking at it you can see that the decals are well missing in places. The finish on the machine is pretty much gone and the black paint below is rough, chipping, and in general sad condition. My goal is to take the machine apart and repaint it.

Now you are probably thinking can you repaint them? Aren't they old and rare? The singer 221 is not a rare machine. Old yes but there are lots out there and so repainting it is not going to decrease the value any because it's current finish is bad. I wouldn't even think of repainting had it's finish been in excellent condition. Yes, you can repaint them. You can pay to have it repainted which can set you back between $300 and $500 or you can do it yourself for under $100 probably even under $50 and just put in time.

One of the things I learned is that automotive paint is the best choice. When I was working on the restoration of my 1971 VW bug, back in the later 1990's, I found out that you could get auto paint mixed into spray paint cans for touch up work. So that is what I am going to get. It will cost more than a regular can of spray paint but you get many more color choices. Plus it is base coat/clear coat application. I haven't decided on the color. So many choices. I will after I pay a visit to the auto paint store in town.

Today, I have taken the pics you see of the machine in it's current condition. I have also made a list of all the parts that I need to replace like decals, the rubber feet for the bottom, the felt pad of the pan, the bobbin case carrier. This is a good time to take stock of any parts you will need and get them order. Might as well only tear it apart once. If you are thinking of starting this type of project I would highly suggest that you do the same.

Which of course brings me to books and manuals. If you are interested in doing your own servicing, repair, and heck repainting of your singer featherweight you must get David McCallum's book "The Featherweight 221 and I" which you can get on his website along with some common parts and things needed for servicing your machine. The book is very well written and will walk you through step by step on maintaining your machine. Things learned it it can be applied to other vintage sewing machines.

In the coming weeks you will see me take this machine apart enough for painting. I am actually planing on building a temporary paint booth in my garage so I can get a nice clean finish to my paint and I really want to do a nice job with this. In many ways it reminds me of vintage car restoration only not as costly.