Copperhead, HELP

  • Topic
  • dianeinthevalley #56375

    My daughter has an old Citation Wizard sewing machine and she has lost the presser foot. I’ve searched the net but am coming up blank. Any idea where I could get one?

  • Discussion
  •  Anonymous #86445

    I’m on another board with a lot of info about machines. I have recruited my DGKs to ‘help’ me clean and repair machines. It is a hoot when they ‘help’

  •  Anonymous #86442

    Copperhead, you really need to start a blog about fixing old machines. You know so much about the history and how they work!

  •  Anonymous #86434

    You can get free sewing machine manuals at!!!

  •  Anonymous #86433

    The Singer 15 is distinguished by the nose – the tension is always back there. It is nice because you can see what you are sewing. The Japanese 15 clones came in many colors and ‘body’ styles but the distinguishing feature is always the location of the tension. Some of the nose plates are very ornate. One of my favorite was made by Happy for Montgomery Ward. That nose plate has little 4 leaf clovers. The machine itself is a very nice piece. The marking for ‘Happy’ was on the bottom casting under the machine. Needless to say I named the machine ‘Happy Go Lucky’ ‘>D

  •  Anonymous #86432

    Ok I know – pictures – these are the before pictures – after will be some time down the road. The missing slide plate is in the plastic bag. The machine won’t need as much tinkering as you would think. There are parts for these machines available – Singer produced them for 50 years then the Japanese got the rights to Singer’s patents and they were made for another 50 years or more. Parts are still available! Regular low shank attachments fit. Even bobbins and bobbin cases are available. They take a regular every day sewing needle! Amazing! I just looked up the date for the machine 1892. WOW!

    Jillruth – I would be happy to have any old machines nobody wants – I like them best when there isn’t rust but I can’t be too picky now can I?

  •  Anonymous #86431

    I found a Singer 15 the other day – 8 hour round trip including a walk around IKEA and a couple extra stops – it is from 1880s or 90s – I still have to research. The guy I got it from said he had calls from all over from people wanting to re-purpose it. I want to repair/restore it and I got it with his blessing – good deal, too. Nope it is not worth big bucks at all but it is one of the best machines to sew thick materials on. You can’t afford a new one that will do the same. The older Singer 15s have bigger hand wheels and that gives the machine just a bit more moxy than normal. That machine was in the same family for generations. The lady going into the nursing home told him it was her great great grandma’s machine. How accurate – not sure. None the less it is a well used old machine. I have found that I like the well used machines better than the barely used ones. The well used machine has a looseness the not so well used machines are missing. The well used machine has pits, pin rash scratches, wear from where material was pulled through – missing decals, oil deposits, etc – I count each of them as merit badges. Was the machine a gift to a young girl? Was it a wedding gift? Did she save up her hard earned money to buy it or did she take advantage of Singer’s time payment plan? Maybe the Great Great Grandma got the machine to sew her wedding dress then some baby clothes? Maybe she taught her daughter to sew by making doll clothes out of scraps. I wonder how many quilts were made on that machine? How many holey old overalls were mended? Did it sew her daughters their every day dresses? remake an old coat? some prom dresses? Each merit badge is a story if the machine could only talk! Yes it is missing some of the decals but the ones still there will be preserved by doing French polishing technique I recently learned. The machine will not only sew just fine but it will look very nice when I get it done. My DH has been figuring out how to glue the front drawer back together like a jigsaw puzzle. Keeps him very happy with a challenge. Nope not a real fine antique piece but it will for sure be a neat functional old machine when done. Some times you can not put a real dollar value on a useful but beat up old item. People seem to put more value in looks than in function for some reason. Some times they overlook the function for greed.

  •  Anonymous #86430

    Copper I wish you were closer and I’d bring you a couple of machines! That is a beautiful machine you are sending off!

  •  Anonymous #86425

    That machine will be made to work and it will look like museum quality when he is done with it. It was not expensive. It will be. It might be worth $50 turned into a lamp or a table but it could be worth thousands restored.

  •  Anonymous #86424

    I’m hoping I can post a pic of the machine going to California:

  •  Anonymous #86423

    I have an antique machine (1860s)in here packed up to go to California. The guy out there makes new parts! His stuff goes in a museum when he is done. I’m more and more impressed with the old machines. He has taken a machine that was rusted and drawn around the rust line to make a new part! If they can be made to run they should not be re-purposed. I am amazed at what CAN be repaired. A friend came up here from Huntsville and we restored one very rusty old sewing machine. I was surprised at how easy it was to get it working – there was rust but under the rust was a good coat of oil. I try REPAIR first and re-purpose when repair doesn’t work. Once the old machines are repaired many of them will go for a very long time. I have bought out another repairman’s vintage parts stash so I’m good for a while longer. There is a lot of info on line for fixing the old machines. They work better than the new plastic wonders – well worth the effort! When the old stuff is gone, will there be better new stuff??? I wonder what else could be repaired?

  •  Anonymous #86225

    DH made some boxes to hold old sewing machines out of some old poplar shutters we found in the trash. I set up 4 derelict old sewing machines for kids to ‘sew’ with for next time we go camping at a festival. I’ll sell junk, too but I have the machines for kids to try out. These were rescued from the garbage. None of them worked. They looked awful. There were no working motors, treadles or what ever. I cleaned off the lint, rust and dried cakes of oil. I put knobs on so they can be hand turned. Then I prettied them up as best I could with chrome polish on the shiny parts and sewing machine oil on the painted areas. They look really pretty good considering. Two actually sew. Two have odd sized needles that can’t be found anywhere. Kids will get to test out old sewing machines. Oh I put finger guards on them so nobody gets vaccinated.

  •  Anonymous #86224

    Again, Thanks! We are going out today so I’ll look for some. You sound like you have a lot of fun with your grandkids. And they are learning some valuable skills, TO FIX THINGS!

  •  Anonymous #86222

    Some of those old Kenmore’s are a ton of fun. She might need to buy some Tri-Flow oil at a bicycle shop. Then oil one drop on every moving part of the machine. The Tri-Flow will make the machine move as it should and free up dried oil. On the Kenmore machines the buttons seem to stick. They get oiled from inside behind the button or knob.

    I need to buy stock in Tri-Flow oil… My DGD and DGS were over a couple weeks ago. Wilbur loves to oil things. I had an old black sewing machine that would not move at all. I gave him a brush and bottle of regular oil and let him clean and oil. He baptizes… Lovie and I carefully cleaned then oiled up another stuck machine. She loves to clean out the lint so I let her go to it while Wilbur and I oiled the other one. She cleaned and then she pulled a thread out of the bobbin area so I asked her if the machine moved yet. No so we used T-F then she tried it and her eyes got huge – the machine was turning. She fixed it! That Tri-Flow works wonders. Wilbur’s machine never did turn until I cleaned off the oil he poured all over it and re oiled with T-F. I use that stuff on everything. I had a machine that was rusted up solid – I used bicycle chain oil on that one and freed it up. The tolerance are very close on those old machines. If there is a little rust it is on the surfaces – the contacts are too close for them to be too bad… So many people replace rather than repair.

  •  Anonymous #86221

    So DD2 was in Goodwill, (her favorite store) and found a kenmore machine for $20. She called me and asked if I thought it was a good deal, When she brought it home and started opening it up her mouth dropped. It had 3 seperate boxes full of cogs, buttonholers, and all kinds of presser foots. It even had about 30 bobbins with it. I think she got a good deal!

  •  Anonymous #86220

    I agree with you Copperhead.I hate to see things thrown away! I have always believed that if something can be made, then it can be repaired!

  •  Anonymous #86219

    You know as far as Junk Revolution goes, it doesn’t all have to be re-purposed. Some of it can be repaired. I was looking for a supplier for sewing machine belts a few days ago. I got sent from one shop to another. The funniest part of it was the last place I went is 1/2 mile from my house. I did not know the place was there. It is a hole in the wall. The guy there rebuilds old appliances. He has old tvs, radios, toasters, blenders, coffee pots and mixers etc that he has made to work again for another 20 years. I’ve seen people make the blenders into lights and others into robots or what not. Why not REPAIR? What ever happened to that? It is ecological to repair and refurbish. Maybe nobody knows how – I sure never thought some of the stuff he was repairing could be repaired. I may haul that old green push button blender over there and see if he will check the wiring. Now won’t that be a conversation piece?

  •  Anonymous #86203

    Those old Japanese machines are pretty cool. Think about how well old Hondas are built. There are some old Japanese machines I’ve seen that I don’t like. They are the ones with the camstacks or built in stitches. The ones that to straight stitch or zig zag are just fine. I also don’t like the ones that have the needle set to the left. I prefer the ones where the needle sets in the center or can be moved left right or center. I’m glad she got it going and I hope she has a ton of fun with it.

  •  Anonymous #86201

    Copperhead, so my daughter got tired of waiting on me and took her machine, ordered the part and says it runs like a champ! Thanks for all the help and info.

  •  Anonymous #86169

    Those 403s are the best- my ‘go to’ machine. I love it – very simple – easy to use and maintain. You can get a free manual at in the manual section just type in the number. Fantastic price. I refurbish those.

  •  Anonymous #86168

    Just picked up a Singer 403, with the cabinet, for $60. My Mom wanted a machine that actually worked, have gone thru so many with her lately. The lady asked 50 but the ATM only gives 20’s and it was well worth it. Purrs like a kitten.

  •  Anonymous #86150

    All those tables are setting in the living room of the ugly cottage… They need to be matched up with their heads. LOL A friend is suppose to come up from Alabama and help late this summer. Things are on hold anyway. The stupid Health Department (known by me as the Gestapo) thinks it is more important that we paint the house.

  •  Anonymous #86149

    I am sad to say, that fixing my DD2 sewing machine has not been the top of my list, and since she is 3 hours away and not bugging me face to face, no I have not fixed it. ­čÖü

    BUT (everybody has one, tehehe) I am trying to get my craft room set up, (was the DD1 room) and once I have that set up NEXT WEEK, maybe if I put it in caps it will motivate me more, I will have a place to work on it. What have you done with all the tables?

  •  Anonymous #86148

    just wondering if you got the machine running?

  •  Anonymous #86089

    Those tables all seem too tall for by a bed or a couch. I’ve seen them cut off but I’m wondering how you would get them square. I have a perfect place for a good set of shelves. I also have a truck load of cut off plywood – all real nice birch. I’ve been thinking I may cut them the size I want and use to cover a wall. I’m thinking about some colored stains or something.

  •  Anonymous #86088

    They are doing so many of those little play kitchens from endtables and old tv entertainment centers, I bet you could do that with the tables. I like the idea of stair spindles, and shelf, from the legs. Do you have someplace in the fixer upper you could use them? I found a really nice cream and painted an old dresser for a tv stand. It had 3 drawers down and 3 across, I took the top 3 out and added thin plywood and painted the inside brown and the top brown. It looks really good. I have an old sewing machine cabinet I bought for $4 and have moved it all over the house. Haven’t quite figured out what to do with it. Too tall for and end stand.

  •  Anonymous #86087

    I have a true hoard of sewing tables with out machines. seriously… I am in no way a painter. I wish I could have painting lessons. I’m very chicken to paint. In the past I tried to paint and got paint all over me and everywhere else. I wish I knew what colors and how to make them look really nice. I must not have a paint gene.

    I also have 40 or 50 stray sewing table legs. When we bought out the hoarder we threw out some of the tables but kept parts and legs. I have thought about cutting them off and making a shelf with the legs between boards for up rights. Any ideas how to get the legs cut straight?

    I don’t know if the legs would work for stair rails… They would probably need to be cut for that to stand straight… Maybe they could be all wonky one up and one down. They aren’t all the same length. Any ideas?

  •  Anonymous #86085

    Tensions are actually easy to adjust if you know how – I’m thinking there are some Utube videos on it somewhere.

  •  Anonymous #86084

    I think I know why she said that… We went camping – just got in the door. I took an old Singer 99 I had put a hand crank on. I had kids lined up to sew. They were having a ball. I had to keep from laughing though. One kid wanted to look inside the machine – he looked it over inside and out. He knew what kind of name for each mechanism. By the time he left he could sew a straight line and a curve and he could stop and start and turn a corner. I could have put him in my pocket and taken him home. He is so much like my oldest son was at age 7.

  •  Anonymous #86083

    LOL I can remember my home ec. teacher saying “Don’t adjust anything, I will take care of it”

  •  Anonymous #86082

    I rebuild the tensions in about 10 minutes. I can send you some instructions how to do it. When I have a machine to clean up and re-sell, I pull the tension apart clean it and put it back together. It is almost easier to do that than try to just adjust it. People do stupid things to tension. Tensions get dried up oil and dirty with lint then don’t work right. A tension has to have just a little friction – not too much. Once you understand you can do it by feel in a very short time. Tension can change by changing thread color. We weren’t taught how to adjust tensions in school – we were taught to LEAVE THAT TENSION ALONE… for tension repair – you will need to find the same type you have. Some owner’s manuals have a sequence picture but this has the technical info to put it back with the springs correct. I think if you can follow a pattern you can do this with these instructions.

  •  Anonymous #86081

    You are defenitly passionate about your sewing machines! I do try to save things also, but alas, nothing is made to last forever. I always had problems with the tensioner. It’s sort of like a carborater in older cars,they always seem to be the problem. If it wasn’t tweaked just right nothing ram smooth and it was always a pain in the butt.

  •  Anonymous #86078

    The Cinderella machine was missing the slide plate, a foot control and a cord. I was able to get all at sew-classic. The machine was pretty filthy when I got it. I got it all cleaned up then a friend told me that was the shellac that was coming off. He said there is a way to French polish it and restore the finish – his stuff looks really nice – I’m not that good with it. It amazes me how crappy a machine can look and still be restored.

  •  Anonymous #86077

    Maybe I’ll post another one some time if anybody is interested. The case for that Cinderella is in bad shape. Some time I’m thinking it would look nice painted up like a pumpkin or something.

  •  Anonymous #86076

    I’m hoping this picture shows up. It is my Grand Daughter’s favorite. It is a very small machine – may have been meant for little girls. They sure think it is cute. It is not great mechanically. This machine was made with some of the same parts as the full sized machines.

  •  Anonymous #86075

    I do sometimes sound off… It amazes me to look at the engineering in the old machines. They were so intricate and yet they have held up over such a long time. Each of them is different in how they work. It totally fascinates me. Then I look at an old Japanese straight stitch. No nonsense there. It is so amazing how these are put together!!! You sure don’t see much when you look in the new plastic and stamped metal machines – is it any wonder they don’t hold up and you can’t get anybody to repair them??? I guess I can’t bear to see the old vintage machines discarded by the same people that talk about everything being ‘green’… Wanna go green? Get a vintage sewing machine and learn to use it – the cost is less than ONE service call for your newer machines and with the internet you can probably find a service manual and fix anything that would go wrong. Almost every city seems to have someone who is buying machines at yard sales, fixing them up and selling them if you aren’t comfortable doing the repairs or don’t have the time.

    I have bought out a couple hoarder’s stash of machine and then repaired most of them. There are always a few that are not worth fixing for one reason or another. On the other hand I have learned a lot doing just that.

    There is absolutely so much info these days… I can fix almost any vintage sewing machine that is not all rusted out or missing a lot of pieces. Even if a couple pieces are missing they can some times be saved.

    But I do have some limits… Then again parts have to come from somewhere. I hope you don’t think I am contradicting myself. Most machines can be saved. I have friends that save even the old rusted up pieces of junk. There is a guy in California who took an 1800s machine that was rusted up and made parts from the profile in the rust. For me, I fix most but I draw the line at rust, too much time and too many parts that I can’t afford.

    Some time I need to figure out some kind of garden pond fountain or something with really dead sewing machines – yes some do die. At this point I’m keeping some that don’t work for parts. I have over 100 sewing machines most workable. I sell them at enough to pay my time and materials – I do not get rich nor do I charge an arm and a leg. I just hate to see them hit the land fills when they are so much better than anything you can buy new.

    I should do a picture show of a few favorites.

  •  Anonymous #86074

    Again, Thanks! There is a ton of info in there. It’s funny, I’ve been sewing since I was old enough to thread the machine, but there are some things that I just took for granted, like threading the bobbin, if it was lopsided I just used my finger to make it go even. Didn’t realize there was an adjustment that could be made. I learn something new everyday!

  •  Anonymous #86073

    I think she picked a fairly good solid machine. Here is a free manual. It is just generic but there is not a whole lot of difference between one old Japanese zig zag machine and another:

  •  Anonymous #86072

    Wow! I knew you were the one to ask! I’ll make sure to order the manuel. The machine is in pretty good shape, it just needs some tweaking. DD2 was actually using it, but lost the presser foot in a move. It’s a straight and zigzag, with the lever to adjust the width, no cams. She just graduated with a Theater degree and loves doing the costumes and is working over the summer in a couple of productions. She has gone from a starving college student to starving artist. Thanks!

  •  Anonymous #86062

    does it look better than that?

    If it is like that it probably takes low shank feet.

    I love CL ads – especially ones by people living a fantasy….

    That machine is made in Japan probably 1960s or 1970s

    They are not a great as the European machines but they are usually well built and once cleaned up will sew nice. Use some Tri-Flow on every moving part you can find.

    One time my DGS Wilbur was ‘helping’ me oil a machine. I gave him an old empty bottle of oil and with my oil bottle, I dropped oil on the moving parts of the machine and he dropped ‘oil’ on the moving parts of the machine. Before I knew it he was squeezing the oil bottle with two hands and pouring what oil was left in the bottle all over the machine. I explained to him he only needed one little tiny drop on each crack or moving part. We turned the machine and listened. We ran the motor and listened. One side needed a bit more oil – then another place… He took it to heart. The next day he was sited in the living room – he had a bottle of Dawn and was oiling his rocking horse and rocking the horse. Well, he baptized the horse – every crack and hole… I guess that horse won’t squeak.

  •  Anonymous #86061

    Another thing you might think about. If the wiring is cracked, and it often is, you can replace the little outlet and it’s cord with one from Sew-classic. (You will have to wire the foot control to it though) – this might give peace of mind. I can go crazy ordering from that place. If you order enough stuff you get free shipping. {;>)

  •  Anonymous #86060

    Oh that is sew easy! Sew-classic has all kinds of quality presser feet. Jenny is a very sweet lady and very helpful – orders come quickly, too. From her site, you will need to determine if it is a short shank or a long shank foot. By the way, you can get all kinds of parts for the vintage machines from there. The bobbins I get from there don’t fall apart. Here is a link: If you order you can also down load a free manual – it is on the bottom of the left hand column – you have to do that when you order – so do that first. Be sure to order a bottle of Tri-Flow oil or you can buy it at a bicycle shop. That stuff is the best oil out there for the old machines. 3-in-1 oil will make the machine freeze up – Tri-Flow will free one up. Liquid Wrench will melt off paint/varnish. Is the machine straight stitch? Straight stitch + zig zag or is it one that has cams or a camstack and does fancy stitches? I know where you can get generic manuals for the first two. The Wizard machines were made by Brother and badged. Wizard was badged for Western Electric. What does the front of the machine look like?

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