Daffy's Stitchy Friends

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

A Singer Model 404 Sewing Machine

In addition to needlework and quilting, I enjoy vintage sewing machines.

I picked up this dirty Singer model 404 off Facebook Marketplace a few weeks ago and have been working on restoring it. I take pictures with my iPhone and document carefully what everything looks like before and after. This post is only about the beginning of my restoration.

The machine is in really nice condition under this filth. Mostly it's just been neglected instead of abused. The serial number puts it manufactured in April of 1959. It's a straight stitch only, heavy duty, beast that could sew circles around any machine made today. And look better while doing it. It's my favorite Singer model.

Poor rusty tension unit. 

All these parts get taken off and put into little ziplock bags that are labeled with the proper name. I love the part names and enjoy learning what each thing is called.

Here is a little bit of abuse, the "arm top cover thread guide" has been smashed flat and has a rough cut in the metal. I will have to repair this so it doesn't snag the thread.

Presser bar parts. Once I am finished, this presser bar will be smooth and shiny so it will glide through the bushing with ease.

This wasn't as bad as I thought it would be and yet so much worse! You can't see in this view how dirty the rotating hook is under all the parts.

Once I removed the bobbin case and the bracket that holds it I could see the deep layer of dirt and grime. Oh my!

The kitchen table fills up as all the parts come off.

This was definitely the most difficult part! These are the "throat plate clamps" and they were glued in place with varnished oil. I thought I'd never get them loose!

Oh gosh! Look at that rust on the "stop motion clamp nut!" Will it clean up or is it too far gone?

Taking off the "handwheel" gives me access to get the "bobbin winder" parts off. You can see it's all greasy where I've sprayed it down with WD40 so I can get the screws out.

I take out the motor and all the electrics. This is not scary to me anymore! I will be taking the motor apart (first time) for cleaning too. That's a little scary...but I can do it!


Once I have everything off that I want to take off. I start cleaning! Small parts get soaked in a degreasing cleaner and scrubbed with toothbrushes. Here you see my "feed regulator" parts, internal and external,  getting cleaned.

I also give some things a soak in a rust remover. Once the parts are cleaned I blow them dry with a hairdryer. If they are tarnished, I buff them clean with polish and if more is needed I will use a Dremel tool.

I will save the rest for another post! The machine is clean and I'm putting it back together.

Anyone can do this. I am not mechanically inclined. Everything I am doing in these photos can be learned by watching Andy Tube videos. You can do it too.

*waves to Andy* 

Thank you for visiting my blog today!


Terri Patillo said...

I could NOT do that. I can barely thread my own needle.

Carol said...

Wow! I am impressed, Sharon! And no--I could not do this. I have no mechanical abilities whatsoever. Really interesting post :)

Pamela said...

Amazing! I'd be afraid the parts would not go back together.

Jo said...

Fantastic job.
It's amazing how you can get everything back in the right place and get it working.

Uglemor said...

Thiose old Singers were made to last. I have a '53 model, which had seen loads of un-use before I got it. It's a hand crank sewing machine, which I'm sure will last my lifetime and more with just some cleaning, a drop of oil and a new needle now and then.

butterfly said...

Well done ,some of the older machines are the best .
I have a new one but I hate it I should have not got rid of my old black singer it was dream machine. Good Luck .

Julie said...

DH says doing stuff like this is therapeutic, he loves to tinker and take stuff apart.
Looking forward to seeing her after the makeover.

TinaTx said...

Wow! I'm impressed. I would never get it back together - or I would have extra parts! I have a Singer that belonged to my great-grandmother. It was a treadle machine that my great-grandfather had converted to electric and I need to have the motor worked on.(he bought it used) Someday I would like to find a pedal for it since the original is missing. It was the only machine she ever owned and she sewed many a mile on it.

moreofhim said...

I love old sewing machines, too! I'm so impressed that you're taking it all apart and putting it back together. It's going to be a beauty when you're done!

Blessings - Julie

Khristine Doiron said...

You are the coolest! I can't tell you how much I love that you are restoring these machines!

Marilyn said...

Those older machines are the best ones, especially because they are made of metal, not plastic!
I have an old metal Kenmore that I will never get rid of.
Looks like they neglected it and left it in a garage. YUK!
I have to give you credit for doing this, you are brave!
Best of luck With it! Pretty soon it will be purring away! :)

diamondc said...

Sharon: I love old sewing machines, I have an aqua colored vintage Singer Sewing machine with case, I have a great treadle machine I just love, I have four more sewing machines which all work, I am like you I take them apart and clean them and use them.


Faith... said...

Not sure if I could do it or not; I suppose if you have lots of patience!

Hope you get it put back together and it works for you!

Jackie said...

I so admire that you're jumping in and learning and succeeding at reconditioning your sewing machine finds! Totally awesome!

Sue said...

Good on you, Sharon. It is a really interesting post.

Boyett-Brinkley said...

I have two of this exact same machine sitting in a closet right now. They are both relatively clean, I think, and in decent working order but I threw them over for my Bernina. Not sure that was the best decision! I might pull one of them out again.

Astrids dragon said...

OMGoodness, that is a hot mess of dirty! I can't wait to see the end result of you giving it the love it deserves.

rosey175 said...

YES, save them all! Or don't and let us hoard them all. :) I feel like I could probably take stock in rubbing alcohol and Q-tips for how much I used cleaning out the 201-2.