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Christy

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Reply with quote  #1 
I'm working on a Singer 185k and getting so frustrated!  I spent the morning cleaning it and the entire afternoon trying to sort out the correct tension.  The biggest problem I'm having is that the spool on top gets wobbling and wraps extra thread around the base or the thread pops out of the first thread guide when the spool backlashes.  It's not a cross wound spool.  It's a stacked spool--normal Coats and Clarke.  I can have good tension but as soon as I try to speed up at all, the wobble hits and my tension goes awry.  I've tried different spools, changed the needle, and tried adjusting the stroke on the tension piece.   So far, no luck.

Any ideas on what causes this?

DSC_0101.jpg


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  • Christy
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JonesHand52

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Reply with quote  #2 
This is a problem I have had to deal with for years. It's truly annoying. 

In the old days of wooden spools, this didn't happen as much as it does today. In the early 1970s when we started seeing those deplorable styrofoam spools it was really bad, but almost as bad as now with the lightweight plastic spools with ribbed, hollow construction. 

Most of the old spool pins were made for small to medium wooden spools, but today most of the spools we get are larger capacity and smaller spools are no longer sold. Add to that the new cross-wound tubes that are designed for end feeding and our old machines constantly jerk the spools, wrap thread around the spool pin under the spool, etc., as you mentioned. 

There is really no remedy for most of our old machines since the spool pins are too short to add a weight to the top to prevent spool jerking, most thread guides are open and spool felts to little to stop the jerking. 

I wish there were an answer, but the closest remedy there is would be to glue a steel washer to the base of the spool to add weight, or add one of those Singer 221 Featherweight style spool springs that are designed to prevent spool lash, or do like I did on a Japanese made Universal 700 Deluxe and add a Pfaff style spool holder and a 3 hole industrial thread guide that adds tension to the thread path. As far as the small Singer 185 goes, I think the washer glued to the spool bottom would be the quickest and easiest fix other than getting a Featherweight spool spring. 

https://singer-featherweight.com/products/spool-pin-spring
Universal 700 Deluxe - modified, front.jpg
An old chain stitch machine I have used a steel weight on top of the tall spool pin which was threaded to take a retaining nut. 
17. Spool pin replica retainer nut and spool weight 10-27-2018.jpg 
Just my thoughts and ideas. Someone else may have a better solution. 

- Bruce

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Farmer John

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Reply with quote  #3 
Christy, looking closely at the photo of your 185, the check spring appears to be at a stop at the 12:00 position.  The check spring should reach its stop position at about the time the needle enters the fabric.  The loop of my check spring is at about 10:00 position.  Also, you can bush up the spool pin with sections of plastic soda straws.  Slit and overlap the straw sections as necessary.  Many other items may work...perhaps a pipe cleaner wound around the spool pin.
Farmer John
100_2072.jpg 

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Christy

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Reply with quote  #4 
Farmer John,  I changed my tension spring to resemble yours, but that didn't help.  The tension spring is acting jumpy so I think I'll sort though my odd bits and see if I have a better one or if it has a catch that could be polished out.  

The spool pin seems pretty short.  It's a wider plastic one so I can't fit a FW spring over it.  I wonder about using a small piece of doweling for the spool so I can leave it taller.  Then I could just drop a washer on top of the spool.

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  • Christy
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Farmer John

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Reply with quote  #5 
Christy, I have run into several top tension springs that were way to powerful, going from no tension at one dial number and thread breaking tight just one or two dial numbers higher.  I like the soft springs that use the full range of  the dial, 0-10
     You may want to disassemble your entire top tension unit for a cleaning.
I have three 185's, two "K" and one "J".  They all run nicely.
John
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Christy

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Reply with quote  #6 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Farmer John
Christy, I have run into several top tension springs that were way to powerful, going from no tension at one dial number and thread breaking tight just one or two dial numbers higher.  I like the soft springs that use the full range of  the dial, 0-10
     You may want to disassemble your entire top tension unit for a cleaning.
I have three 185's, two "K" and one "J".  They all run nicely.
John


I've had it apart for cleaning but may need your help getting it set just right!  It's not like the usual tension pieces I've worked with and I am somewhat befuddled!

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Farmer John

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Reply with quote  #7 
Christy, my 185J manual doesn't contain the assembly instructions for the tension unit.  However, I believe that the unit is of the same construction as that of a 15-90.  Parts need to be oriented corectly...hope that this works for you.
100_2075.jpg 100_2076.jpg 
Text bottom of page23.....to test the amount of tension at the "0" position.  At this...

John

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JonesHand52

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Reply with quote  #8 
For adjusting the check spring, the Singer adjustment manual for the 66, 99 and 185 has these pages. 

- Bruce Singer manual page 9.png  Singer manual page 10.png 

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Chaly

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Reply with quote  #9 
Bruce and Farmer John,

Your info on tension adjusting is good for me as well, thank you both. I'd like to add that I've also experienced thread wrapping under the spool on several of my machines - and a thread stand or modification of the spool has solved the problem.  When my thread has wrapped like this I immediately notice that this causes a tight upper tension.  When the thread wrap problem is resolved so is the tension issue.  I'm suggesting that maybe Christy's problem is solely due to the way the thread unwinds and wraps under the spool?
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Christy

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Reply with quote  #10 
I got it!  Thank you guys soooooo much!  I messed with the tension first to be sure it was set up on the machine correctly and it DID need just a little tweaking.  I felt the thread while slowly making stitches and there was no pull at the tension, it was happening below.  Then I took the needle plates off and watched the stitches forming.  It turns out it was the small bit you lift to remove the bobbincase.  I had taken out the no-no screw that you are never to remove and didn't get the clearance right when I replaced it so the thread was getting hung up after making the trip around the bobbin.  Once I got that worked out, BINGO!  stitches! and the spool isn't giving me any problems at all! I did NOT love this machine from the start but it's sweet little self is starting to grow on me.

I recently sold a machine to someone who contacted me and said they had a friend looking for a vintage machine but they've never sewn before.  Generally I prefer to put up machines for sale as I shift my collection and then with any luck someone sees one and is coming specifically for that machine.  Every once in awhile I get someone asking about machines and I like to give them a couple options not knowing their abilities or price point.  I thought I might like to throw this one out there as a simple little machine that makes a nice stitch and wouldn't break the bank.

White thread is top and then flipped to show the gold thread in the bobbin.  Yay!

DSC_0103 (750 x 499).jpg


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  • Christy
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Zorba

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Reply with quote  #11 
I sew too slowly for this to ever happen... [frown]
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cfuzzy

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Reply with quote  #12 
My Featherweight thread spool wobbles so I put a plastic straw in the spool center and that solves the problem.   Learned from an 86-year-old quilter.


~ Carol 
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Christy

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Reply with quote  #13 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cfuzzy
My Featherweight thread spool wobbles so I put a plastic straw in the spool center and that solves the problem.   Learned from an 86-year-old quilter.


~ Carol 


For this machine, it was a poor adjustment in the bobbin area but I'm going to keep that in mind for future use!

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  • Christy
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Mrs. D

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Reply with quote  #14 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cfuzzy
My Featherweight thread spool wobbles so I put a plastic straw in the spool center and that solves the problem.   Learned from an 86-year-old quilter.


~ Carol 


Hi cfuzzy[wave].  Love the straw on the spool pin idea.  Fabulous.  Thank you!

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