Despair, today thy name is Bernina. *sob*
My 740 has a cracked vertical gear. It was fine just days ago. Totally fine. I have no idea how it broke since I’ve hardly used this machine, but I noticed it today turning over the balance wheel by hand. It’s a slight catch, like when thread is beginning to jam or there’s some issue with a bobbin. It took me a few minutes to realize that the vertical gear in the Bernina was cracked completely through. There’s a gap in the teeth, and when the teeth of the other gear get misaligned because of it, that’s when there feels like there’s a catch in the machine.
On the plus side, I might be able to fix it. Eventually. I’m signed up for Ray White’s super legendary awesomeness SEWING MACHINE REPAIR CLASS next month. I had no idea the White Sewing Center is but a two hour drive from my humble abode so I will be revisiting my former life as a commuting student and driving back and forth for the three glorious 8 hour days with fellow obsessives. I am beyond excited about it. I only signed up for the basic class, which likely will not cover the mad drama and heartbreak of taking apart a machine to replace a gear, but it will definitely teach me enough about the interconnected systems of the machine to be able to adjust the timing and any other things I might mess up in the process. I don’t want to undertake this repair till after the class, but when I do, I will be documenting it extensively (because abandon all hope, ye who attempt to dismantle any part of a sewing machine without photographic help retracing your steps) and will share my progress.
I was considering selling the 740 in order to make room in the collection for a machine I *thought* was too good to be true–a Bernina 540 in exquisite shape complete with table and a dazzling array of vintage accessories. “Sews great.” they said. “Should be in a sewing machine museum,” they said. Should be in the ever growing museum of stupid mistakes I’ve made re: sewing machine purchases. When I received it, it was frozen. A few hours and some TriFlow and some BlueCreeper and some Singer lubricant and a whole lot of f-bombs later and it sort of turns, but something is still so bound that the entire machine sort of heaves forward at a certain point in the rotation of the handwheel. The motor turns but only while emitting a banshee-like screech and of course it doesn’t actually engage the machine because the belt is completely disintegrated and I don’t have a replacement that fits it. The seller was super nice and most likely shipped it at a loss, so I feel almost bad for him–I don’t think I was deliberately misled but think the seller doesn’t sew and doesn’t know the first thing about it. Like that the machine actually needs to turn. *sob*
Since there’s jack crap on the internet as far as in depth information on the favorit, I took some photos of the 540 as I tried to nurse the ol’ girl back to functionality:
A view from above. The silver toothed gears are the decorative stitch cams; my lever is frozen at the moment so even if the machine ran, not usable. Visible close to them is the dirty looking white-ish gear–it’s one of three or so that is nylon/silicon/some kind of mystery crap sixties plastic prone to breaking. I do love that the oil points are clearly marked in red.
Another top view. Under the main shaft is the vertical gear (I think), another plastic gear. This is what cracked in my 740. It’s interesting that the needle position selector in this one is a wider pin and moves very freely; this is bound up on some of my other Berninas and not TriFlow nor BlueCreeper nor sailor names has pried it loose yet.
Oh, look, my cracked hand wheel. No one knows how to pack sewing machines except sewing machine obsessives. It’s sad. I’m not even mad about it, because luckily there is a metal core like a common metal stop motion knob which will keep it functional even if all the plastic crumbles away. Behold the disintegrating belt. It feels like a cloth covered elastic hair tie, which is interesting and a bit different than the other belts I’ve seen on machines of the era..
Front view. Cosmetically, she ain’t bad. I like the avocado green, though, because I’m stylistically perverse like that.
Interesting details that differ significantly from the Records and other Berninas I’ve seen. No buttonholer lever, but a toothed setup instead.
The decorative stitches it can do. Theoretically.
The back view, where the dust is a bit more obvious. It has a three pin connector power cord/speed control pedal. I have a flatbed Husqvarna and a Pfaff 130 that use this same somewhat uncommon setup. It took me forever to find a cord that would fit this shape.
Underside. The machine looked pretty clean so I was surprised to find it so bound up, but it was dry as a bone and so dusty. The Favorit models I’ve seen all have these covers on the underside obscuring the gears. I’m not sure if it’s because the Favorit hook system is supposed to be faster and more heavy duty than other Berninas and they felt a need to have an extra protective layer over them, or if these are more like oil pans, or what exactly. But the black cover houses the hook gears which are metal on metal and need lubricant.
I removed the stop motion knob and the balance wheel and oiled the main shaft here. The clutch washer and stop motion knob work just like a typical Singer’s.
Here’s the hook gear.
Here’s the third nylon/plastic gear with its cover removed.
The middle cover removed. Not a gear, but grooved metal parts that move against each other. Not sure why this cover is held on with a spring, either.
So ends the tour. We’ll see what the BlueCreeper does overnight. The Necchi facebook folks turned me on to the wonders of this penetrating lubricant. I wouldn’t use it for oiling a sewing machine but it’s great at breaking loose stuck parts–apparently it’s used heavily in the logging industry to loosen rusted screws and a billion other things. I have been very impressed by its ability to un-stick what TriFlow couldn’t on another machine. It seems to need a few hours to really get in to all the cracks, so we’ll see how it works tomorrow.
Today was not a good day for hoarding.