Jan 13, 2014

1927 Singer Model 66 Restoration Pt. 2 - Cleaning the Face Plate and Beyond

Freddie Mae Gets a Face Lift!

Remember how I got an 1927 Singer Model 66 I for Christmas?

Well, it's time to start cleaning the old girl up, and of course I've got to start with her face.  Since I first laid eyes on her, that intricately designed face plate has been calling my name , begging me to release it from all that dirt.

So I did.  
I also took off the back plate and gave it a good polish.  What a difference a good clean and polish can make!

With the face plate off, it's a perfect time to tackle the moving parts behind. They may not look that bad in this picture, but trust me, there is a fine layer of dried on oil on almost every part.

After taking off the Thread Regulator and Pressure Bar, I removed the Thread Tension Assembly for cleaning.  You can see the crud better in this picture.  

All the metal bits above and below should be shiny silver.  The yellow/brown color is from dried sewing machine oil and filth.  Luckily, the metal polish dissolves it easily.

The picture below shows the pressure bar position bracket set screw.  It also shows the state of the finish.  That isn't pix-elation of the picture, that is the texture of the finish highlighted by the flash.  

At this point, I've already wiped the surface down with oil to remove any loose dirt.  When Freddie Mae was new, she would have had a nice smooth shiny black finish.  Over the years, something happened to make it rough like a fine sand paper.  

I suspect this is either a layer of crud and machine oil that has built up, or this is a result of the machine being kept in less than perfect conditions causing the varnish to fail/craze/become rough and sand papery.  There are places with obvious crazing, and I know she was in storage for a while so I'm leaning toward the later explanation.  

If this roughness is the varnish, then I'm in a pickle, because if the varnish flakes or chips off, the pretty decals go with it.  I'll have to do a bit of research to see what I can do about this.  

In the meantime, I'll clean what I can.  Hmm.. might have to go back and do a bit more work on the needle bar.  

Still, after taking out all the  easily removable parts, cleaning them and putting her back together, Freddie Mae is looking much better inside and out.  Her former beauty is starting to show again.

Coming Soon!
Part 3 cleaning the bobbin winder assembly and balance wheel

Got an old Machine you want to know more about, or possibly refurbish yourself?
Check out these links that have been a huge help to me.

http://www.treadleon.net/ -All about treadles.
http://www.ismacs.net -International Sewing Machine Collectors Society
http://www.mysingerstory.com/ - Look up your singer by model number and find when it was manufactured.


  1. This looks AMAZING!! I used to play with this sewing machine when I was little & I'm just shocked at how much better it looks. You're right about it being stored in less than perfect conditions. Granny kept this machine in a small room on the top floor of her house. Bats used to get into this room frequently, so obviously it wasn't well ventilated. You have done a phenomenal job with Freddie May! I'm really impressed! Jenni Gohmann

  2. I tried a similar project and got some success though not as good as yours. Posted a youtube video too.


  3. Jessie R.6/27/2016

    I know this is an older post but I'm hoping you remember what type of metal polish you used on the faceplate?

    1. I used Brasso metal polish.


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