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Tiffany

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Reply with quote  #1 
I know this is a long shot.  I just purchased a Willcox $ Gibbs sewing machine with glass tensioner.  The tensioner is pretty chipped.  I am looking to buy another one.

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Guy Montana

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Reply with quote  #2 
If its not chipped too badly you might be able to wet sand it??
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Guy Montana

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Reply with quote  #3 
Post a picture of the bad spots?
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Tiffany

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Reply with quote  #4 
Pics of chipped glass thread tensioner pic 1 and 3 shows deep chip inside tensioner and chipped edges. Pic 2 shows chipped edges on opposite side
I had thought of wet sanding but chip on inside is deep 1/8" across and about 1/8" deep

Attached Images
jpeg 15493008361226399069239637641516.jpg (131.09 KB, 18 views)
jpeg 15493011128984559309739761109509.jpg (122.75 KB, 7 views)
jpeg 15493012051441954852027121518083.jpg (119.90 KB, 18 views)

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Guy Montana

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I doubt replacements will be easy to find. However, if your willing to gamble a suggestion would be to to to AutoZone and get their windshield chip self repair kit., or their rear iew mirror glue. Fill the chips in and let it cure then see about wet sanding it. Unless there is a different glass glue that is sandable when cured I don’t know. I think with the right tools and patience new ones could be made.....
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Tiffany

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Reply with quote  #6 
Finally got pics to download I hope.  Here goes.  I am new to this W&G glass 1.jpg  W&G glass 2.jpg W&G glass 3.jpg
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Guy Montana

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Reply with quote  #7 
Yeah Those are pretty cracked up. I would gently take them apart and try the glues I mentioned above. Or a glass epoxy if you can find some. Then have patience and sand and sand and buff and buff and polish and polish. A glass epoxy would be best I think...
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Tiffany

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Reply with quote  #8 
Thank you Guy I believe I'll try the chip and sand routine. I had to buy a 1871 W&G and treadle base with a glass tensioner with issues. At $70 I had to add it to the herd. The needle/cloth plate is rusted. What metal polish works best. How would you clean the machine body (no decals). The turn shaft is also rusted.
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SteveH-VSS

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Reply with quote  #9 
Tiffany,   Please feel free to open a new topic in the main area so we can all get involved in the repairs/updates.!

Steve

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Tiffany

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Reply with quote  #10 
Ok
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Tiffany

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Reply with quote  #11 
Can you please be more specific about what category to post in. I couldn't find the main category. Thanks
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SteveH-VSS

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Reply with quote  #12 
No Stress.  http://www.victoriansweatshop.com/?forum=501752  is the main discussion starting point
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JonesHand52

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Reply with quote  #13 
I have a glass tension W&G (1870) and was lucky enough to have a good set of glass discs on it. Still, I pondered what to do if they ever do get broken. I inherited my father's rock saw with diamond cutting blade that he used to cut various rocks and stones to make cabochons for decorative belt buckles and bolo ties. It dawned on me that something like the thick glass base of a clear glass wine bottle could be cut on one of these saws to make slabs, drill the holes with a diamond coated drill (or whatever glass drills are made of), then cut out the discs using the saw and glass grinding tools such as the Glasscrafter I have for stained glass work. It's like the diamond saw, but set up as a router table with rotating cutting head.

If you check in your area for stained glass workers, rockhounds and others who make jewelry from rock cabochons and the like I bet you could find someone who can make a new set of tension discs for the Willcox & Gibbs.

- Bruce,
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SteveH-VSS

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Reply with quote  #14 
Bruce,

You'd think so, but Nope.  I have spoken to several different glass companies and I have an open invitation to do this work posted on several local Lapidary groups, and the silence is deafening 

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JonesHand52

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Reply with quote  #15 
The fact remains that glass tension discs can be made from glass at home. There are so many jewelry makers, so many diamond cutting burrs and glass crafting tools for stained glass that it is not only possible, but basically a simple job. 

The problem is nobody wanting to do the job. Even if one did it at home it would require an investment in tools and time, which many do not want to mess with, but it can be done. 

My father was a rock hound and into lapidary work. I inherited his diamond rock saw, so I know the base of a wine bottle could be cut for a blank. There are diamond tipped burrs and bits that can drill a hole in glass. I have a "glass crafter" for stained glass that is basically a table top router-like affair that uses a diamond grinding center piece (used with water). So, a blank could be cut, a hole drilled, the disc shaped and then polished by hand using emery paper glued to a flat surface. 

Problem is getting the need and desire to do it. 

-Bruce
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SteveH-VSS

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Reply with quote  #16 
I am very familiar with lapidary equipment.  I have literally all of the tools you have mentioned and and a fair bit of experience with them.  Cutting glass that thin, centering, drilling, beveling, and polishing can be done but would be very difficult.  Imperfections, heat, vibration, uneven cooling are all very real issues and the stated reasons that most of the firms I spoke to were unwilling.  I offered to pay for the upfront setup/tooling costs as I am sure I could market the disks once made.  NOBODY wanted to take on the job.  Even a place called "precision custom glass" lol

This is on my list of things to attempt myself once our Jewelry bench is set up.  If I have any success, i will document and post.  Sounds like you have the tools as well, give it a try!

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SteveH-VSS

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Reply with quote  #17 
1 good disk.jpg 

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JonesHand52

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Reply with quote  #18 
I have considered making a set of glass discs for my 1872 Willcox & Gibbs just to have a spare "in case". Most of the commercial enterprises won't take on this job, I would bet, because A, the pieces are small and take more care in handling than a regular commercial job, and B, the work will have to be done slow and careful, something they would probably not want to do. As to temperature problems, that shows they want to use high speed equipment since even lapidary guys know not to let the work build up heat that can shatter the work. It needs to be ground slowly. Water will not only cool it, but it carries away the slurry and debris from the grinding. Anyone who has done lapidary work could handle this, but as we both know, most won't. Seriously, if doing it for one's self, it's worth the effort. If doing it for pay, the cost would be prohibitive in the extreme. 

I have some pieces of glass cut decades ago for glass shelving that I could try making some discs from. It would not be something that would cost much, and certainly would take much more work than cutting a glass wine bottle, but worth a try. I don't know how much more work it would be overall, though, since the shelf glass is about 1/4" thick, thicker than the glass discs. I suppose it could be slabbed off with the saw instead of just ground away. Either way will be time consuming work. 

- Bruce
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Guy Montana

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Reply with quote  #19 
Ok, guys here's another avenue.  When I was little about 6-7 my dad took me to the guy that he rented a space in his building to.  Walman's Optical.  Neat chap.  Took me all around his shop.  Back in the early 80's they made glasses by grinding and honing the glass lense blanks into the correct curve for the patient's prescription.  Fairly specialized equipment that is very rarely used as most lenses aren't even glass any more.  Maybe somebody who knows somebody who knows somebody, still has some of the equipment?  I would like to think it would take a little less tooling and other upfront costs to modify the brackets etc to hold a considerably smaller lense.  One that certainly would NOT need the precision that a glass lense would need...... any way just a thought.  Boy its been a while since I even thought about that on the spot tour of that lense making factory.  The Walman's Shop I think is even still up there in Kalispell, MT area.  
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Zorba

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Reply with quote  #20 
Being completely unfamiliar with the machine and situation, I'll just ask the obvious - and probably stupid - question: Does it have to be glass? I get that its desirable as it would be original, but in the absence of a practical way to make these, could they be 3D printed or machined from metal or plastic? At least the machine would be usable.

I was probably the last person on the planet who still wore glass lenses, but that was many years ago! Still prefer them.

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ke6cvh

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Reply with quote  #21 
Hi Steve,

  Have you tried to offshore source it?  I know that Kirkman's lanterns in California doing offshore production of the lantern chimneys using the original molds.  Possibly they can help you find someone willing to do it offshore.   I met a Chief once who's brother had a business making custom aluminum CNC parts for dune buggies.  His comment was it was almost the same price for the CNC machined part as it was for the aluminum sourced in USA.  I'm a big believer in going USA first but if nobody wants to bite on it then maybe a small run could be offshore sourced.

  I know you mentioned posting on forums that specifically work with glass but what about other forums like practical machinist.  Here is a thread where someone was talking about it.  Practical machinist has an area where folks can post to ask for jobs to be done.

https://www.practicalmachinist.com/vb/cnc-machining/working-machining-glass-233489/

Best regards,
Mike
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SteveH-VSS

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Reply with quote  #22 
Interesting options!  

Zorba, in fact my W&G Glass tension treadle that I sold, came with one original glass disk, and a pair of metal disks from a typical tension assembly.  It worked fine.  You are correct, the only real driving force behind this is the desire for originality.

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JonesHand52

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Reply with quote  #23 
Willcox & Gibbs glass tension discs are about as distinctive as Wheeler & Wilson glass foot inserts and a main feature of these early sewing machines. The glass tensions went the way of the West when W&G introduced their Automatic tension model in 1875 (I should say 1875 "or so" as there is always some armchair expert telling me I'm wrong about something). 

These early Willcox & Gibbs machines were of the design and configuration used during the War Between The States (American Civil War to our UK and Yankee friends) and are highly sought after. So sought after that they are being dumped at Goodwill, which is where I got mine (Shopgoodwill.com). 

Here is an original listing photo from SGW so you can see the difference between the glass tension models and all later models of the W&G chain stitch machine. Scroll through the rest of this thread for other photos of these machines. 

-Bruce 1.jpg

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pgf

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Reply with quote  #24 
Just for completeness:  I happened to measure my disks last night.  About 3/4" diameter on the larger outer face, 5/8" on the smaller inner face.  1/8" thick.  The center hole is about 1/4".  They're really very small.  

(I think Steve has more accurate dimensions in another thread -- I'm just posting these to give folks an idea of what would be needed.)

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JonesHand52

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Reply with quote  #25 
The W&G glass tension disc discussion is taking on a new hue - what size are the discs? I copied the information on the discs that Steve (?) published before, but my copy does not show the dimensions properly when I brought it up - all blurred. I may have used a Snipping Tool to copy them. The dimensions from pgf of 1/8" thickness seemed a bit thin to me, so I measured mine - 1/8" (4/32") for the back one, 5/32" for the front one. The manual just says discs "Z" and I would assume they would be the same, but mine are not. It could be that there were manufacturing variances, source variances or replacement variances over time (my machine being 148 years old) but it's anyone's guess as to why they are different. However, it does encourage us since the difference means that there may not be a 100% "set in stone" dimension for these, plus it means that it may be possible to use double strength window glass to make a pair, or other glass plate that is at least 1/8" thick.

The manual says there is a "cloth" and metal washer under the thumb nut but they are only there to "reduce friction". 

The project starts to take on a different complexion and the possibilities of success increase the more I think about it. Perhaps it would be worthwhile to dig out the glass tools and get wet. 

- Bruce SIL10-39-39a.jpg 

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pgf

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Reply with quote  #26 
Thanks for posting that manual page -- I now know that my spring and brass cup (the "ferrule") are installed backwards.  :-)    FWIW, I'm pretty sure my disks are the same thickness.   (Is the rest of the glass-tension manual online somewhere?)

And Steve's dimensions are here.  I can't read the numbers on my screen:  https://www.victoriansweatshop.com/post/show_single_post?pid=1307559362&postcount=14&forum=501752

And finally:  we should probably move this out of "Wanted", and perhaps over to here, where we first talked about how to make replacements:  https://www.victoriansweatshop.com/post?id=9606853

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SteveH-VSS

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Reply with quote  #27 
and poof, it moves!

Face.jpg  Side.jpg 


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JonesHand52

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Reply with quote  #28 
I couldn't read the dimensions on my screen either, so this new one is better. 0.15" equates to just under 5/32", so we are on the same page now. I need to dig out my Glasscrafter (for grinding glass to shapes for stained glass work) and go to a local shop I know and get a glass drill. I dug into my stack of materials and find I do have a sheet of 1/8" window glass, so as long as my Glasscrafter still works (it's been in the attic for 30 years!) I can cut some blanks and give it a try. I figure I can make one by drilling a hole in the glass blank, then rough it out using the Glasscrafter, then put the piece on a mandrel and spin it in my drill press (with water and brush handy) to true it and bevel it using sticks with wet/dry emery cloth glued to them. A ball grinder than de-burr the center hole. 

This will depend on my getting all the tools together and getting some blanks cut. If it turns out the Glasscrafter is dead, I can work up a jig bowl for use with the drill press and do equivalent work, but that will require making the jig bowl and sealing it so it will hold water and give me a surface to work on with a rotary sander center that will handle being wet. 

RE the glass cabochons for jewelry making posted earlier,  I saw those today when surfing the web for blank material. I think they would be more work than they are worth, frankly, There is also a company that makes glass tubing rods that are almost exactly what we need but we would have to cut the discs off. That could be done here with my Dad's old diamond saw, but a real pain since I would have to grind the surfaces flat. It's easier to make them from the flat glass, I think. 

More on this later, if things come together. 

- Bruce
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pgf

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Reply with quote  #29 
The measurements I gave earlier were made with a tape measure, so the 1/8" wasn't exact.  Using my calipers, one disk is .136" thick, and the other .144" thick.  The outer (wider) faces are ground, not polished.  The inner faces are smooth and polished.  Presumably the thickness varied depending on how much material was taken off of either side.  With a thumbnut and spring pushing on them, the exact dimension wasn't critical.

But clearly the new task is to find a sheet of glass that's 9/64" thick.  ;-)

The other dimensions (3/4" and 5/8", and the 1/4" hole) are pretty much spot on, and agree with Steve's measurements.

paul

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pgf

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Reply with quote  #30 
Maybe using a diamond hole saw would help.   https://www.amazon.com/Diamond-Hole-Saw-Extractor-Porcelain/dp/B076X52RN4

That set is metric (even though they list decimal inches), and assuming they're right that the wall thickness is 1mm, it looks like you could get a disk either .71" or .79".

paul

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SteveH-VSS

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Reply with quote  #31 
I suspect that the key manufacturing points of these are:
Tension surfaces flat
Tension surfaces polished
Tension surface made so that the breakpoint between the tension surface and the beveled portion is exact.

Regardless of the thickness or diameter of the units I have seen, that edge is a match point for both disks.  I think unless that occurs the thread would be cut/worn.

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Guy Montana

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Reply with quote  #32 
I don't know if my lens grinding idea would even work or not.... But I did find this: https://www.ebay.com/itm/ANTIQUE-AMERICAN-OPTICAL-LENS-GRINDER-GRINDING-MACHINE-/392241774362  It might could work?   Anyway its just an idea.
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Guy Montana

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Reply with quote  #33 
Or maybe this glass milling company?  https://www.swiftglass.com/glass-milling
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pgf

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Reply with quote  #34 
Someone on FB just posted pictures of their machine fitted out with a pair of tension disks made from plexiglas.  They did a nice job -- their picture attached.  They used slices from a 3/4" rod, turned (and probably sliced) on a metal lathe.

Steve -- her machine is s/n 415753, and it's the 2nd glass disk machine she owns that was made post 1875.  You have one of those too, right?

paul

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SteveH-VSS

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Reply with quote  #35 
Correct.
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JonesHand52

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Reply with quote  #36 
The glass tension discs will work and last for ages. Plexiglass is way too soft to last long before the thread starts eroding them. Even a hard, tempered plastic would not last. Aside from glass, tensions discs are made from hardened steel. Even so, I have steel tension discs that are grooved from years of thread abrasion. However, for display and limited use, Plexiglas is an acceptable standby for missing vintage W&G discs. Optical grade plastic would be a reasonable alternative if one could get it. 

- Bruce
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