Posted in Sewing

Baby Blue FMQ treadle machine

November 25, 2014 - 3:48 pm

Today’s job was to get the Japanese 15 clone set up on the treadle and sewing. I managed to complete the first part of that, as well as a cleaning and oiling, this morning. Hoping to try to actually sew something later today.

Here’s the set-up:

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Rafiki and Figment are supervising: 

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This is my sewing machine toolbox, to give you some idea what I carry around to work on these machines:

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Maybe I’ll go through the contents in another post one of these days. Oil, rags, grease, tools, and a few common parts. The shop towels double as fabric for test sewing, by the way. There is one thing leaving the toolbox as of today:

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That bottle was most of the way full when I put it away. The tip telescopes out to make it easier to get oil exactly where I want it, but it also leaked terribly. Fortunately it was isolated in a compartment in the toolbox tray, so the mess was contained and easily cleaned up. I used the resulting oily rag to give the machine a good wipe down.

The biggest challenge to this install was the treadle belt. 

Traditional treadle belts were made of leather cord, and so that’s what many folks use today. They are frequently stapled, but can be sewn. I removed the old belt by prying open the staple:

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And then installing the shorter spare I had on hand and closing its staple: 

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I love these pliers for working on belt staples: 

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I quickly discovered I had mis-measured, and the new belt was too short. To get around this I discarded the staple and elected to sew up a belt with two splices. Fortunately I am the thrifty sort who keeps odds and ends rather than pitching them, so I had the remainder from shortening a couple belts on hand.

Sewing a treadle belt is easy, and I honestly prefer this method of finishing them. It only takes waxed nylon thread and a blunt tipped mending needle, as for sewing up a sweater. There is no staple to scrape and rattle, and the splice is far less likely to open up. The key to an easy job is to open the hole well enough that the needle goes through easily. 

So I made the first splice:

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Measured the belt to see how long it needed to be: 

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Note that I measured twice, and cut between the two measurements. Belts are stretchy. It should end up just tight enough not to slip, but not so tight that it puts strain on the parts.

I clipped it off, poked another hole, and sewed another splice:

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I tie surgeon’s knots and bury them between the ends of the belt, then clip the ends of the nylon thread a little bit longer than the belt is wide: 

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And so I have a double spliced belt!

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The machine was very much in need of a clean and lube. I thought I had done that when it came in; this machine was the last acquisition before we started packing to move to the new house. Short story is, it was NOT cleaned. I pulled out clumps of felted lint and thread that had wrapped itself around every part that turned. It cleaned up nicely, though! 

One tip for taking these machines apart: always put fasteners back in their holes. Notice that I’ve screwed the screws back in that hold the feed dog cover plate:

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Those screws are serving no practical purpose and might even be a bit in the way when I’m cleaning, but what they’re not doing is getting lost, or disappearing into a pile of fasteners that all look the same but are slightly different. I’ve had to try to sort out those piles more than twice. I don’t recommend the game. It leads to frustration and bad words.

This machine has a gold decal marking as a JA-6: 

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And a cast-in brand of J-C2:

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Here’s a full view of the underside: 

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It’s badged “Dressmaker Deluxe 2000,” and ready for testing!

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