Sunday, June 3, 2012

Kenmore 1680

This machine is not mine. It is my friend Judy’s. She asked me to check it over for her, and to clean and oil it. This machine just had a birthday last month. It was purchased new for her mother, 31 years ago on May 2, 1981. Her mother has now passed it down to her and she would like to sew on it.

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Her mother hasn’t sewn for a number of years now, so it has sat idol. That is not a good thing for sewing machines. The oil gets stiff, gummy, and after a long time, basically turns to varnish, making it pretty much impossible for things to move. That causes problems. In this case, the mechanisms for the reverse lever were ‘stuck’ and the lever just ‘flopped’. The feed dogs were not moving frontward and backward like they were supposed to either, and they were not lowering and raising to advance the fabric. I tried to free the problems with the knowledge that I had, but alas, I didn’t have enough knowledge!! Lots of oil and patience, but no knowledge.

My new friend Elizabeth suggested I use heat to those parts when I asked her for advise. I did just that. I got out my handy hair dryer! Rolling on the floor laughing I took the top off the machine, pointed it at the offending parts, held it there for a few minutes to get it good and hot, and the heat got the old oil moving again! I kept moving the lever, and soon it felt strong and tight like it should. Next I went after the feed dog area. Those were a bit more stubborn. I finally asked my sweetie to come look and see if he could see anything I was not. He pressed down on the feed dogs with a screw driver while I turned the hand wheel, and finally, the pressure and heat freed the feed dogs too! I was so happy, I had to call Judy and interrupt her changing her clothes from church to tell her the good news!

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I tried out all the stitches, and they all work beautifully. I did NOT have to adjust the tension at all!

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I know…I know…you will have to enlarge the pictures to see the stitches sewn on my paper towel, especially since I used white thread, but she sews some nice stitches!

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Thank you, Elizabeth, for helping me, and thank you, Judy, for trusting me with your machine. I did NOT want to give up. By freeing this machine, I have learned some more about fixing sewing machines!

11 comments:

Hazel said...

Girl you should think of this hobby as a way to supplement your income when you retire I think you are pretty good at repairs
.

That corgi :) said...

I hadn't thought about a sewing machine having to be used or the effects it would have on the motor, etc. Makes me wonder about the one we sold of hubby's mother; of course we did say we didn't know if it worked or not, but I'm sure it hadn't been used in years. Very fascinating! And great you were persistent to get this one up and running again!

betty

kath001 said...

My machine was purchased by my mother in April of 1976. How do I remember this? Because while finishing up the dresses for my wedding, her old machine blew a gasket or something, and she couldn't wait for the repairs to finish, so she had to buy a new one. :) She did get the old one repaired and handed it down to me. It was much loved. I eventually passed it on, and took the 'new' 1976 model. I am TERRIBLE about letting it sit idle for WAY too long these days. Right now it's not going into reverse. You gave me an idea to try!

Suzan said...

I think I shall just start calling you the "Sewing Machine Whisperer"!

Packrat said...

Thank you to you and Elizabeth for the hint. My mother's old New Home is "froze up", so I will try this. (Thank goodness it is all metal.)

Elizabeth said...

Hi Michelle

Isn't it so GREAT when you can get a machine moving again ? I love it. I use Tri Flow as my lubricant of choice. It is synthetic and won't get sticky, so "they" say. Congratulations!!

Connie said...

Great post Michelle and a wonderful tip on using heat! I haven't been by in a bit and just had fun looking at all the machines you've been working on!

Anne said...

I know your friend was happy that you were able to get her mom's sewing machine stitching again. I bought that same model Kenmore Tuesday, June 25, 2013, from a woman who'd advertised it on Craigslist. The seller was so nice. She drove 25 miles and delivered the machine to me. She didn't know where any of the accessories were. The seller even stopped by K-Mart on the way to my house and purchased a package of plastic bobbins and a spool of thread, so she could show me how it sewed. The machine powered up, but it stitched in one spot. When the seller adjusted the the stitch selector, the needle hit the presser foot and broke. I paid $40 for the machine. It, however, still won't advance the fabric. I tried your trick with the hairdryer, but I still cannot get the feed dogs to advance the fabric. Guess something related to the feed dogs is amiss. I am disappointed, but at least I didn't invest much money. I haven't decided whether or not I want to pay a repair expert to fix this machine.

Patty said...

Hey Michelle!!! Just came across you when I googled Model 1680 Kenmore sewing machine!! I must have bought this sewing machine somewhere in the late 1978's because my children were born after that!! I sewed some of their clothing for the first five years or so, and then totally abandoned this lovely machine! I still have it right here with me today, and was going to use it to stitch on cards & scrapbook pages!! I still have the owners manual, and I will take a healthy look at it in the New Year. Do you have any tips for my on how to use the "fancy" features such as zig zag etc?

Kevin said...

Oh Michelle, I just picked this Kenmore model up at a garage sale for a steal. I've spent all night combing the net looking for the manual, and gave up finding one. I only had one question and perhaps you can answer it?

What is that panel behind the feed?
It looks like some sort of extender panel, yet when I open it up I run into a tiny cog and some levers that I have no idea what that part does? Can you give any assistance on this?

Michelle said...

Kevin,
It is for a button hole attachment that you must not have gotten with the machine. If you send me your email address, I think I may have scanned the manual, and maybe I can help you.

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