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jplowrey

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Reply with quote  #1 
First post to the VSS.  A couple of weeks ago my niece (AKA my sewing machine scout) sends me a link to a fresh listing of an "old industrial sewing machine" for sale about 2 1/2 hrs away.  Recognized it as a Singer No. 3 Standard, and immediately broke out in a cold sweat.  Didn't take any chances on missing out, and had the machine in the back of my car (with help) a few hours later.   Machine appeared complete, with an original boat shuttle and one long bobbin.     The pitman has been remade, but done reasonably well.  

Back in the workshop, was able to find the serial number stamped on the underside of the slide plates - 96272 - issued in 1863.  Holy cow!  Suspected it was old when I picked it up, but was still surprised.  Machine head never has had a Singer badge on it either.  There is a faint ghosting of color on the head, but the decals / paint are largely worn off, or still covered with dirt of the ages.   

Fast forward a couple of weeks.  The machine would have originally taken a 3X2 needle, but I couldn't find any information or dimensions on the 3X2, much less any needles for sale.  If anyone out there has the dimensions for the 3X2 needle, sure would appreciate hearing from  you.  Anyway, found that a 129X1 needle, which is still available, will work.   With the needle sorted, I could pick up the bobbin thread to begin.  However, the needle thread was too tight to allow that loop of thread to form just above the eye of the needle which is what the shuttle catches. Played with upper tension, but that made no difference.  Finally, after watching the machine work for a while, had an "Aha!" moment, and realized there was something missing.  There were two grooves and a washer and screw at the top of the needle bar, but whatever was there originally was long gone.  Fashioned a "staple" out of 14-ga copper wire and fastened it at the top of the needle bar.  Made all the difference.  Now when the needle bar descends, the copper "staple" pulls the take-up lever down at the same time, creating the slack needed in the needle thread.  

It sews!  OK, so stitch length is not always consistent (wheel feed and early type of walking foot), and upper and lower tensions aren't always balanced, but those are things to work on.  Still, am just amazed this old war horse sews.  One other thing I've discovered is that the presser foot lifting lever is missing.  Have tried a couple different levers from my spares, but found nothing that works well yet.  If anyone has a similar machine, would appreciate the dimensions, or maybe a tracing of the lever.  

Looking forward to continuing to clean (with smo and soft cloth only) and play with this outrageously cool machine.  Pictures follow.

Regards,
John in IL

(P.S. thanks for all the great work in making this forum happen.  Am enjoying it immensely.)


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John
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SteveH-VSS

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Reply with quote  #2 
Fantastic!!  Welcome!  I had an opportunity to get one of these beasts (HUGE) but decided that since I was only going to be able to show one of that series, I'd rather it was a #1 if possible.

I have the opportunity for one, but it is in Florida, and I have not been able to make arrangements to get it picked up yet...

Here are two shots of the head area of my 1864 Singer Letter A (Domestic version of the #1,2,3 series). maybe it will help with the routing and bits ID
20170904_213600.jpg  20170904_213608.jpg 



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Mavis

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Reply with quote  #3 
Are those diamond shaped pieces mother of pearl?  Stunning.
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jplowrey

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Reply with quote  #4 
”Fantastic!!  Welcome!  I had an opportunity to get one of these beasts (HUGE) but decided that since I was only going to be able to show one of that series, I'd rather it was a #1 if possible.

I have the opportunity for one, but it is in Florida, and I have not been able to make arrangements to get it picked up yet...

Here are two shots of the head area of my 1864 Singer Letter A (Domestic version of the #1,2,3 series). maybe it will help with the routing and bits ID.”

Steve, thanks for your welcome, and for the photos of your Letter A. They’ve given me some ideas about thread routing, and for padding at the top of the “staples” on the front end which interact with the take-up lever.

Awesome Forum you have here.

Regards, John

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pgf

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Reply with quote  #5 
What a spectacular find!  And welcome!
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SteveH-VSS

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Reply with quote  #6 
Those are thin oak tanned leather
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kndpakes

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Reply with quote  #7 
John, I am in awe of your "new" machine and your ability to figure out what part was missing and to figure out a substitute.

Steve, thank you so much for the photos of the threaded Letter A. That is not exactly an intuitive thread path, and the manual instructions are not easy to understand. This will be a big help when I play with the one I got for Christmas.

Kelly in PA
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HelenAnn

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Reply with quote  #8 
 I agree with Kelly, a copper staple, amazing. Glad you had help to get it.
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jplowrey

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Reply with quote  #9 
Kelly & HelenAnn - thanks for your comments!  
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Brokenfeather

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Reply with quote  #10 

I too am the proud owner of a Singer #3. I'll give you some pictures and can help with the. Needle information that I have with the needle I have. Also the presser foot lever. 
BTW were you located in IL? I'm in the Sheridan area.   
My dad bought this back in the 50's to repair harness for his team of ponies. It's been buried under our staircase for years. Couldn't believe it actually worked. Does have to be played with to get it working right. By any chance do you have any information about the threading of the bobbin?

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Brokenfeather

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Reply with quote  #11 

I too am the proud owner of a Singer #3. I'll give you some pictures and can help with the. Needle information that I have with the needle I have. Also the presser foot lever. 
BTW were you located in IL? I'm in the Sheridan area.   
My dad bought this back in the 50's to repair harness for his team of ponies. It's been buried under our staircase for years. Couldn't believe it actually worked. Does have to be played with to get it working right. By any chance do you have any information about the threading of the bobbin?

B1AF99D9-B6F6-4EF2-B6EF-1F4C54EBA79A.jpeg  3EC23614-D115-4D37-99AB-9AF3B617F5A2.jpeg  0800345C-6AE6-4A48-8B2E-F8DE6F86295B.jpeg 

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jplowrey

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Reply with quote  #12 
Brokenfeather, welcome and thanks for your post and offer of help with the #3 Standard. I’m located in Waterman, IL, only 25 or so miles north of Sheridan. I’ve got my #3 stitching with a couple different needles which are currently available, but would sure like to get a look at the needle fitted in your #3. Have also found a presser foot lifting lever which works on the machine - not original of course, but it works. On threading the shuttle, I’ll send some pictures when I get home this weekend (traveling now). For now, here’s a link to a PDF of the manual for the #2 and #3 on Needlebar. This is the source of information I used to try and figure out how to thread the shuttle.

http://needlebar.org/main/manuals/singerstandard/index.html

You’ll have to copy and paste the link.... I haven’t been able to figure out how to paste an active, html-coded link into this post working from an iPad.

Thanks again.

Regards,
John

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John
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Brokenfeather

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Reply with quote  #13 
Wow waterman. Been through there many times. Thanks for the link. I’ll get u some information on the needle.
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Brokenfeather

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Reply with quote  #14 
The needle that came in my machine is a number 25 needle with 3 flat chisel point. I'm going order needles and number 277 thread.
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jplowrey

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Reply with quote  #15 
Hi again Brokenfeather.   Here are some images of the boat shuttle for my #3 Standard threaded as per the instruction manual downloaded from Needlebar.org.   Thread comes off the bottom-side of the bobbin, exits the first hole (nearest the blunt end of the shuttle), then snakes back and forth through as many of the 5 holes needed to establish the correct lower (bobbin) tension.  I've got it going in and out of all 5 holes (out #1, in #2, out #3, in #4 and finally out #5).  Instructions say you always have to use the #1 and the #5 holes (#1 being closest to the blunt end of the shuttle and #5 being closest to the sharp end of the shuttle).  If by chance your thread is running into the shuttle on #5, you can pass it back out through the slot below the 5 small round holes. Finally, in all cases, pass the thread under the tension spring on the shuttle and pull toward the back, or blunt end of the shuttle.  You might notice a single round hole below the long slot.  Instructions don't say what that's for and I haven't a clue either.

Shuttle threading - inside view.jpg 

Shuttle threading - outside view.jpg 

I'm using Tex92 thread - mainly because that's what I have on-hand for my Singer 29K62 patcher.  I've gotten two different needles to work in my machine.  Currently have a 129X1 Size 22 needle fitted.  Here's a snap of the labels of the needle packages.  Good luck getting yours stitching again!

DSC_0188.jpg


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John
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pgf

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Reply with quote  #16 
Interesting that the thread comes off the bottom of the bottom.  It almost always comes off the top on other machines -- I think including the Singer model 12, which has a very similar bobbin.  I guess most machine have a bar of some sort on the far side from the holes that it goes over first,   
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Brokenfeather

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Reply with quote  #17 
I'm in need of some bobbins for this machine. Any one know of some one that sells them or are they even available?
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jon

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Reply with quote  #18 

I'm in need of some bobbins for this machine. Any one know of some one that sells them or are they even available?[/QUOTE

Most likely the bobbins would need to be made.  I have 129x1 size 14, 16, 18, 22, needles for cloth and size 23 in leather.  They are all in partial boxes of 100 and made by Schmetz, and Singer (US & Great Britain).  Cheap.  Any interest shoot me a PM.

Jon

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pgf

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Reply with quote  #19 
If you can find longer bobbins with the same (or similar -- could be quite a bit smaller?) diameter, you can likely pop an end off and trim the length to match.  But I'm guessing these are pretty big bobbins?
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