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Thread: Singer 15-91

  1. #11
    Detail Man's Avatar
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    The 15-91 is a good machine for gear making since it has reverse, as opposed to a Singer 66 which does not. This particular machine probably isn't ready to sew as is. It will need a good cleaning and lube, and a going over to put it in working order. It may need some parts, or not. Because you're new to sewing, this may not be the best first purchase. One of the additional hobbies that can develop from making your own gear is rehabbing old sewing machines. When you're first starting out, don't get sidetracked into another hobby. Unless of course you thrive on your ADD.

  2. #12
    WV's Avatar
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    I'm happy with my 15-91.

  3. #13
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    15-91 has done everything I asked of it so far, which has included sewing tree straps

  4. #14
    New Member Tazred's Avatar
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    Singer 15-91

    Found a treadle for $80. How do I know which models have reverse?
    http://stlouis.craigslist.org/atq/3894070622.html

  5. #15
    New Member Tazred's Avatar
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    Singer 15-91

    I should also say that I currently reside in an apartment where space is at a premium, I plan on moving in the next month or so. Keeping that in mind I've also been looking at the brotherxl26001. But the old singers and treadle machines appeal to my 'survivalist' streak. The more I know the more questions I have. 😖

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tazred View Post
    Found a treadle for $80. How do I know which models have reverse?
    http://stlouis.craigslist.org/atq/3894070622.html
    That's a model 27, uses a shuttle and bobbin (can be a hard to find), is missing the front slide plate (hard to find as they are frequently lost) and does not have reverse. This is not what you're looking for.

    I would also suggest learning how to sew with an electric machine and then get a treadle if you like...learn one thing at a time.

    Singer models 15-90 (external motor), 15-91 (potted motor...motor cover looks like a pot), 201-2, 301, 401a, 403, 404, 501a and 237 would all be good candidates. I'm sure I missed a few. Many Kenmore and other machines from the '50's and '60's are good machines with all steel gears...I'm just not familiar with them to make any recommendations.

    Identify Singer Sewing Machines

    Here's a few examples...I'm not attesting to condition or price...

    Singer 237

    Singer 401A

    Singer 301

    Singer 15-90 with a lot of attachments you will never use

    I haven't used a Brother XL2600I but here are my general thoughts on inexpensive modern machines....consider them as disposable and if you're lucky, will do a fair job out of the box on lightweight materials....until they break. Buy from a local big box store (with a generous return policy just in case). They don't need cleaned up or refurbished to get you going. They may have thread tension problems that drive you nuts or they may be fine. They will not last for decades, let alone centuries.

    I'd rather pay $100 for a cheap machine than $300 for a cheap machine with a lot of stitches no one needs.

    The throat area on these machines is small making it more difficult to pass large amounts of fabric through when needed (think synthetic quilts).

    With that said...I have a cheap Singer bought from Walmart when I needed a quick replacement. It has sewn several hammocks, a couple of quilts and a few tree straps and I feel I've gotten my money's worth out of it. It will last for a few years of light work, break and be thrown away.

    My older, quality machines are a pleasure to use in comparison, didn't cost any more than the cheap machines, but required additional effort to put them in good working order.

    The choice is yours.

  7. #17
    Detail Man's Avatar
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    You can learn a lot about old Singers here http://ismacs.net/home.html The serial number chart can help you identify the machine.

  8. #18
    New Member Tazred's Avatar
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    Singer 15-91

    Update! Bought the 15-91 and found its original manual in a drawer. Plugged it in and it sounded like power was getting through but it was either stuck or there wasn't enough power to get it to turn over. I replaced the old power cord with a lamp cord, oiled it as it said to in the manual, cleaned and polished the bobbin assembly, tension assembly, and the other shiney parts so they don't hang up on anything. Now it turns over with a little assistance and goes once it has started. Tried it out mending some torn jeans and it did the job... But it looks like the motor is smoking. I'm guessing the wiring needs to be replaced? The power cord was naked in places and the rubber dry rotted. Safe assumption? How important are the grease wicks in this?

  9. #19
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    Virtually guaranteed the motor wiring needs replaced.

    The motor smoking is most likely oil on the motor brushes/commutator and is common. This will also contribute to the low power you have noticed. Easy to clean up as you rewire the motor.

    The grease wicks are very important. They provide the only lubrication to the motor bushings.

    Most everything you need to know...http://vssmb.blogspot.com/2011/12/ho...rt-1-wire.html. The only change needed to these directions is use vaseline for the grease wicks...Singer has recently changed their grease specifications and it is no longer usable for the wicks.

    This is a 20 part tutorial so don't forget to click the link at the bottom of each page to advance (later you can use the links on the lower right under "Blog Archive" to navigate to any section you want). It may seem a bit intimidating on the first read, but is not that bad going step by step.

    I predict you will have a very smooth running 15-91 once the motor housing is cleaned out and greased.
    Last edited by gmcttr; 07-08-2013 at 10:08.

  10. #20
    Senior Member squidbilly's Avatar
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    A treadled Necchi BF Mira is my go-to machine for most of my simple sewing.
    (although I have several other old machines: I hear ya Detail Man!).
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