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  1. #1
    Senior Member HitchHiking's Avatar
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    Sewing machine- Treadle or electric

    I have a option now to pick up a fantastic old sewing machine. I have a choice of two. They are to do a bit of heavier work I have planned.

    one is a late 1940s singer Treadle (model99k) Its in great shape and looks fantastic and of course works.


    The other is a 1950s singer (201k) electric one good shape and works.


    any one use a treadle and love them over a electric for any reason?

    Im leaning to the second choice but jsut thought I would see what others had to say.


    Cheers
    www.terrarosagear.com

    Australian made tarps and custom gear.

  2. #2
    Senior Member pedro's Avatar
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    The 201 has been described as the best machine Singer had made up to that point, possibly the best machine ever made, period. Make sure that it runs well and snap that thing up!

  3. #3
    Senior Member Ramblinrev's Avatar
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    Be very cautious of the treadle if you plan to use it extensively. Don't get me wrong I love treadles. You can really regulate the speed when it is a treadle. The difficulty is the bobbins and bobbin cases may be very hard to find if they ever need to be replaced. Plus the needles are not you normal modern sewing machine needles. A treadle is a super machine although it may not be as heavy duty as you think unless it is hand cranked. The belt can slip rather extensively if it not adjusted just so and you hit some really heavy fabric spots. The plus side is you stand absolutely no chance of plowing a motor by over using it.

    That electric is bomb proof and should still have parts available for it reasonably easily. They are still used in some third world manufacturing plants if I understand correctly. You may want to get it to a dealer to have it checked out and serviced. Chances are if you do the dealer may offer to buy it off you so you can get a more modern machine. If that's the case he knows a collector who will pay top dollar for it. DON"T SELL IT>
    I may be slow... But I sure am gimpy.

    "Bless you child, when you set out to thread a needle don't hold the thread still and fetch the needle up to it; hold the needle still and poke the thread at it; that's the way a woman most always does, but a man always does t'other way."
    Mrs. Loftus to Huck Finn

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  4. #4
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    Hey guys, I just thought I'd jump in on this thread...

    I recently picked up an old electric Singer 99K sewing machine. I bought it because I am making a soft top for my old Landcruiser BJ40 and my research suggested that it was one of the toughest, smallest and least expensive of the old Singers available to me here in Oz.

    I had read reports that with the right needle you could sew through fully 12 layers of canvas with it so that was the clincher for me. If I can do a canvas soft top, I can do just about anything nylon - including the HH clone I designed years ago from looking at the HH patents.

    I haven't had much time to play with it as yet, but I set it up last night with a view to repairing the dodgy soft top I already have on the 40. I cut a few vinyl patches out of an old spare wheel cover and tested it.

    Using a #14 needle I was able to sew through 4 layers of the vinyl easily. It gave a perfect 6 stitches per inch. I gave it a go on 8 layers of vinyl and although it punched through easily enough, I found that the needle was flexing and threatening to break while the vinyl was moving forwards.

    Try doing that with a modern domestic Brother or Janome.

    If you get one of these old Singers, as Rev says hang onto it. Modern stuff just cant hold a candle to em for straight stitches.

    Cheers

  5. #5
    Senior Member HitchHiking's Avatar
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    yeah I had a play with a 99k It whent through 4 layers of webbing and and leather. that was the very limit though. Mine was very old. No reverse. that was the decider to move it on for me.
    Im heading to inspect the 201K tommorow. looking good though
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  6. #6
    Senior Member Ramblinrev's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HitchHiking View Post
    No reverse. that was the decider to move it on for me.
    Reverse is handy to have but believe it or not... not essential. Many industrial machines did not have a reverse until relatively recently. So if you find a machine that fits your bill but lacks reverse here is the workaround.

    Sew a few stitches forward and stop with the needle up. Lift the presser foot and pull the fabric back toward you to the beginning of the line. Lower the presser foot and sew over the stitches youjust made. Contiue on as normal. At the end of the line repeat the process to lock the line off.

    Once you are adept at the workaround it is amazingly fast. It can be done in less time than it took to read the directions. Some folks can do it as fast as they can push the reverse lever.

    Also make sure there really is no reverse. On the older machines the reverse was often activated by lifting the stitch length lever all the way up. I don't know specifically about the 99K but I have seen that on several older singers as well as other brands.
    I may be slow... But I sure am gimpy.

    "Bless you child, when you set out to thread a needle don't hold the thread still and fetch the needle up to it; hold the needle still and poke the thread at it; that's the way a woman most always does, but a man always does t'other way."
    Mrs. Loftus to Huck Finn

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  7. #7
    Senior Member HitchHiking's Avatar
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    yeah I gave that trick a go. worked fine but I couldnt get the rythm of it. I prefer the switch in honesty. If the 201 fall through today then I may stick with the 99.
    www.terrarosagear.com

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  8. #8
    Senior Member Ramblinrev's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HitchHiking View Post
    yeah I gave that trick a go. worked fine but I couldnt get the rythm of it.
    It is awkward until you get used to it. That was FYI only. It was not intended to suggest you made an unfortunate choice. I'm sure there are others who may be in the same bind.

    Edit: It appears you are correct in that 99K does not have a reverse stitch. But it's a beast.
    I may be slow... But I sure am gimpy.

    "Bless you child, when you set out to thread a needle don't hold the thread still and fetch the needle up to it; hold the needle still and poke the thread at it; that's the way a woman most always does, but a man always does t'other way."
    Mrs. Loftus to Huck Finn

    We Don't Sew... We Make Gear! video series

    Important thread injector guidelines especially for Newbies

    Bobbin Tension - A Personal Viewpoint

  9. #9
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    If the 201 is built anything like the 99k, you should be very, very happy with it - these things are built like tanks. Enamelled cast iron body and tool steel. They sure don't make em like they used to.

    My 99k must be a later model or something because it definitely has a reverse mode.

    Here's a photo:



    And here's the 4 layers of heavy vinyl it punched through...



    And here's the elusive reverse switch -



    Just push the lever all the way to the top.

    I'm working on designing a treadle system for mine. You can just unbolt the motor. Also, the 99k was designed for hand crank operation as well. I'm designing a bolt-on flywheel with a handle off an old hand drill. We'll see how we go.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Ramblinrev's Avatar
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    My 99k must be a later model or something because it definitely has a reverse mode.

    [snip]
    Not all the 99's were so equipped.

    I'm working on designing a treadle system for mine. You can just unbolt the motor. Also, the 99k was designed for hand crank operation as well. I'm designing a bolt-on flywheel with a handle off an old hand drill. We'll see how we go.
    My advice to you is to make the crank a removable option. For at least two reasons. If you are running by motor you don't want that handle flying around looking for you arm to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. That would be straight out ouchie. It may never happen... but then again.....

    Secondly I am concerned that you would throw off the balance of the flywheel. It probably wouldn't matter if you are hand cranking it. But being run by a motor I am concerned you would throw some vibration into the system and create a problem down the line. It was indeed designed to have a hand crank. Check the existing fly wheel... it may be drilled to accept the crank as a factory option.
    I may be slow... But I sure am gimpy.

    "Bless you child, when you set out to thread a needle don't hold the thread still and fetch the needle up to it; hold the needle still and poke the thread at it; that's the way a woman most always does, but a man always does t'other way."
    Mrs. Loftus to Huck Finn

    We Don't Sew... We Make Gear! video series

    Important thread injector guidelines especially for Newbies

    Bobbin Tension - A Personal Viewpoint

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