Jan 15, 2014

1927 Singer Model 66 Restoration Pt. 3 - Removing and Cleaning the Balance Wheel

Now that Freddie has had a face lift, it's time to turn my attention to the other end of the machine.  Here we find the: 

Balance/Hand Wheel - Large black spoked wheel which can be turned by hand, belt, or motor to raise and lower the needle bar.

Stop Motion Clamp Screw/Clutch Knob - Smaller silver wheel set inside the hand wheel, used to disengage the needle bar from the balance wheel when winding a bobbin so the needle bar won't move. 

Removing the Stop Motion Clamp Screw/Clutch Knob

To Remove the Stop Motion Screw/Clutch Knob
  • First, loosen the screw on the Clutch Knob.  You don't have to remove it completely.  
  • Next, unscrew the clutch knob to remove it.  Ewwww!  Lots of dirt. 
  • There is a oddly shaped washer behind the Clutch knob.  You can see it still on the shaft in image 2, and detached in image 3.  Pay attention to it's position as you remove it.  If you install it incorrectly, after cleaning you'll kick yourself.  
  • However, if you've already messed it up.  You can find details on how to reassemble everything so your clutch actually works, and understand how it works by checking out this fabulous entry on the "Old Singer Sewing Machine Blog."

To clean the metal parts, I used a metal polish.  I let it set to dissolve the old oil, then wiped away the grime and polished with a cotton rag. Above, I tried to cleaned half the clutch knob, but unintentionally cleaned the "dirty side" a little bit.  In the Before and After below you can see just how dirty that clutch knob was.  If I was truly obsessive, I would have gone at it with the polish again. 

To Remove the Balance/Hand Wheel

  • Gently Pull.  On Freddie Mae, that didn't work. 
  • If a gently tug doesn't work, liberally apply liquid wrench, WD-40 or something similar, and let it set.  Just be sure to keep it away from the decals for now.
  • Wait a bit and try again.  If it'll turn, but won't pull off, just work it back and forth until it does.
  • Once the wheel is off, clean the shaft and wipe away any residue.

To clean the Hand Wheel, I used metal polish, but was very careful on the painted areas. 


  1. I am working on an old Singer Red Eye, finding your tutorials helpful, thank you for the time and effort to document the restoration.

  2. Anonymous2/21/2018

    I am about to start working on a very similar model to yours. an August 1927 66k model. Seems that they are in a very similar condition so I am finding this such a fantastic resource!!


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