• Sonni

Removing Tricky Bits From A 201

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

I doubt there are many people out there who would be so stupid as to want to do the following unless they're professional restorers or have a back-ground in classic cars or similar...however I am one of those stupid people and it's the fault of YouTuber Eric Wengstrom. I happened across his videos and that was it...when you get a moment have a look at the incredible work he does:

So here's me, a raw-ass newbie at this stuff, about to re-spray, re-decal and re-lacquer two of my 201's. And to make it worse the pair are technically my most 'precious' being very early examples with 'Y.......' and 'EA......' serial numbers. Both do indeed need this attention but it's maybe not a good idea at this stage in my journey. But then, I've never been very sensible, so why start now?

Anyway...I'm not going to go the whole hog like Eric has...for a start I'm not stripping them back to the metal (I've only de-lacquered using pure acetone...but more of all this later) and also the chances of me matching his finish is highly un-likely...I'll sincerely be happy if the just look better than before...however to even achieve a semi-decent result I've needed to do certain things, some of which were a right pain in the ass and because of this I thought I'd share them with you.

Eric first got right up my nose when I noticed that he'd managed to remove the gold Singer badge. He does say that this is tricky and should be attempted only if you're comfortable working inside the body...tricky??????? understatement of the year! And being stupid and lacking in sense I decided to have a go too...feel free to laugh your head off in private but for heavens sake, if you know an easier way, I DO NOT WANT TO KNOW IT BECAUSE I'LL BE TOTALLY HUMILIATED! lol!

The above picture shows the machine laying with the badge facing down and on the left. If you look inside you'll see two little brass pins sticking out into the inside of the body. To make this as hard as possible for you the lovely member of Singer staff has probably bent them over a little to prevent the badge being moved even by Superman himself. So, VERY gently and VERY carefully, with a screwdriver and a hammer, the first thing you'll probably need to do is straighten them a little to allow them to come out. Then to get the correct angle necessary I grabbed a block of wood, laid the flat side of the end of my large screwdriver on top of the pin then smacked down on the metal of the screwdriver with a hammer. If you've got the luck of the devil himself the pin will start to come out. And that's a whoppin' great IF. The pin on the left is not too bad but the pin on the right is more awkward due to the mechanics being in the way...unless of course you want to unscrew it all, or in my case IF YOU CAN unscrew it all. I just did my second badge tonight at about 1am and I'm all by myself and without a spanner that fits the nut correctly and in need of someone to hold the machine so I can exert the correct pressure with what tools I I just got on with it and after 10 or 15 sweaty, curse-filled hours I managed to get the right-hand pin moving too...and ended up with this:

But this is when it gets really tough. These tiny pins are made of brass, which is soft. And if you keep smacking them with a hard screwdriver/hammer combination two things are likely to happen...firstly they'll probably start to bend, meaning you need to keep futilely trying to straighten them, secondly the ends will start to squash/mash/peen...which means that you won't be able to get them out.

So now you get real, real nasty. You'll like this lolol

I reached for a narrow chisel...sharpened it right up...slid it up inside the body against the first pin and hit it with my hammer, slicing off cleanly the ramaining mashed nub...then repeated on the second pin. Then using a BLUNT pair of pincers (blunt so that you don't snip the decorative end off...and don't use pliers because you may mash the heads up)) I was able to pull the rivets out.

And here's a picture of the job done.

You can afford to lose a little of the length and even if you lose more than you'd like...I guess there's always superglue! Either way, to do a decent re-paint job it seems sensible to get the badge off if possible...maybe there's some sense in this sensible lark after all...?

The other bit I had trouble with initially was the thick metal sleeve that is in the head that the needle bar slides up and down in. Not only have Singer made the hole it goes into EXTREMELY snug but the fact that this sleeve has most likely never been moved since the day it was installed just adds to the difficulty.

But before attacking the main sleeve you'll need to remove the small silver cap that's on top of the's easy enough to do but I just wanted to mention it because if you stick anything even remotely pointy in to it from the underside to then whack it out you'll likely damage it and leave a raised bump on it where the pointy bit has dug in as it's made of thin metal...I stick a bit of thick leather into it first before whacking you can see the cap out, the piece of leather and the rod I use:

Anyway...the first time I tried to get the thick metal sleeve out by getting my largest screwdriver in from the top but the end was too wide to fit through the hole on top that's covered with that little silver cap. So, with the face-plate off I tried from angles and the corners of the screwdriver blade slightly damaged the inside of the sleeve...just ever-so slightly, meaning the needle bar wouldnt slide up and down...after half an hour of frustrating extra effort I managed to sort the problem out by filing off the tiny burrs with a hardened round file. Lesson learned.

Sensibly I developed a plan...I measured the hole on top of the head where the silver cap goes...went on ebay and bought myself a rod of stainless steel just slightly less in diameter...and now I can hit straight down on to the sleeve and damage is eliminated and it's much easier to do. But I will warn'll be surprised how hard you have to hit it to get it moving...seriously, if my machines still sew properly after the battering they've had so far I'll be amazed but again it seemed necessary to get this piece out in preparation for re-spraying. Oh, and don't forget to first loosen the little grub screw that's on the front of the head prior to hitting the sleeve!

I'd like to add one last thing because it's 3.35am and I'm knackered...I noticed in Erics video that he left this sleeve in, probably because he's cleverer than me and knows something I don't, granted...but I like to think that it's because it was too tough for him and that I've achieved something above and beyond haha!


Sleep tight,


...and if you need any help or advice or have any questions or simply want to laugh at me and the above fiasco's, feel free to drop me a line!

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