Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Vintage Sewing Machine - Brother Galaxie 221A - problem found and cleaning

The first thing to do when you get a used sewing machine is to clean it.  It's a painstaking job but will usually fix most problems.

This is a job I absolutely love.  Given the chance, I will spend hours cleaning lint and dust from each and every tooth of each and every cog.  Be it typewriter, sewing machine, or any mechanical device, I don't care.  There is something about obsessing over detail that puts me in a state of calmness.  I imagine that's what mediation is like.

This Brother Galazie 221A has enough dust and guck in it to keep me happy for a month.  It spent it's life teaching sewing in the schools, but I don't think anyone ever bothered to learn how to oil or clean it.  You know something is odd when the bit you thought was metal turns out to be felt...over and over again.

I found this interesting panel on the underside of the machine.  It looked out of place, so I decided I needed to see what's in there.

Ewe!  Looks just like ear wax, don't it?

Grease.  Someone very thoughtfully provided a whole bunch of it.  What I did was cleaned off the gear and the parts of the grease that where black with bits of metal.  then redistributed the clean grease so that it generously covered everything that could possibly move.

While I'm slowly cleaning everything, I discovered what's wrong with the Zig Zag function.

See this plastic cog?

Broken.  There are two plastic cogs in the machine and both of them are broken.  This is putting the timing out.  Where on earth am I going to find replacement parts?  Who on earth thinks to make such an adorable machine (with goose shaped stitches) and then puts stupid plastic cogs that will wear out quickly?  Shakes head in dismay.

(edit to add: it's actually the hidden plastic cog that is making the zig zag timing off, but the damage is very similar)

The hunt for replacement parts begins!  Not sure if I want to keep cleaning this if I can't find the parts to get it fully functional.


Josiane said...

Oh, you were able to find the problem - yay! I hope you'll be able to find the replacement parts you need.

I wish we lived close enough from each other that I could invite you over to teach me how to clean and care for my adorable Pfaff! I know my grandmother took wonderful care of it, but during the last few years of her life, the machine has been left at my aunt's place, and she's not nearly as careful as grandma was... It's too bad I don't have your knack (nor your patience!) for getting to know old machines by myself; I'd need a teacher.

Anonymous said...

I too have a Brother Galaxie 221A with the same plastic cog and the same crack... and preplexed as well - all funcitional parts made of metal and two plastic cogs (??? what were they thinking???) I love this machine and have used it for sewing for many many years but finaling it will no longer make a good stitch, so ... did you ever find a place for parts?? Sure would like to know if my precious old machine could still have more life. contact: ararcher@clearwire.net

Anonymous said...

Did you end up hanging on to the old Brother machine? I'm in need of a replacement bobbin tire for mine but am very new to these machines and don't know what size I would need.

Anonymous said...

I just replaced the bobbin winder tire on mine. The part number is "15287".