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This blog is filled with the things I love. Family, Nature, gardening, my pets, cooking in the fireplace, all things vintage, and the simple pleasures in life. Being a farmgirl at heart, I consider myself a 'Modern Day Laura'

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Singer Featherweight Belts -They are NOT created equal

I own two Singer 221-2 Featherweights, a black one & a 'white' one. (They say the white ones are really green). Anyway, the belt on my black machine worked perfectly, whereas the belt on my white one was another story. However, it would be a long time before I even realized that in fact the issue was the belt.

Ever since I purchased the white machine off eBay I noticed that the belt seemed to slow the motor down considerably, and no matter how I tried to adjust it, nothing helped. So I bought a new black belt, then a black stretch belt, and neither made a difference. So I put the machine away, only to visit it maybe every 6 months. I recently pulled the machine out for its usual drop of oil here and there so it didn't petrify in storage when I decided to try again. I just couldn't give up on this little machine. Quitting is not in my blood. So, in my new research I read that an orange toothed lug belt was suppose to be better for this model machine, so I bought one of those.

Well, all this orange toothed belt did was slip! It was not soft like you think it should be, it was a hard plastic, no gripping to it at all. No amount of adjusting helped whatsoever either. I was stumped; I simply did not understand what was going on here. At first I thought the belt was not long enough. So I made a belt out of a new treadle belt, which was too wide and didn't work. At times I felt like sending the machine airborne. I didn't understand what the issue was. I mean it's not hard to adjust the belt. There is even a great video on how to do so, in which I watched over and over, thinking I missed something; but I didn't. In fact I've never had this issue with any machine I've ever worked on. I even thought about selling this machine, but I couldn't sell it like this, every machine I sell has to work perfectly… so selling it was not an option.

Three belts down and no closer to an answer. They are:

1. Black belt stamped with the part #194144

2. Black stretch belt

3. Orange toothed lug belt

ALL reproduction belts.

So, in my desperation I contacted an expert on Singer Featherweights. His name: Dave McCallum, and after many emails back and forth, he was unable to identify the issue. Dave suggested I contact Glenn Williams, which I did. I had purchased parts from Glenn before.

Well Glenn and I went back and forth with the emails as well, to no avail when he asked me to call him. So I called Glenn. I told him I had these two machines, and that I had never had this issue with the black machine. So while still on the phone with Glenn, he asked me to remove the belt off of the black machine and put it on the white one.

Then something happened.

As soon as I removed the black belt from my black featherweight I immediately noticed something, the black belt was softer and more pliable than the new black belt that had been on my white machine. The new belt was harder, stiffer. Side by side they were the same size. With Glenn still on the phone, I placed the softer belt onto the white machine.

With the motor bolt still slightly loosened, I simply let the weight of the motor gently rest on the belt, and then I tightened the motor bolt. The moment of truth…I sat down and ran the machine, and it was perfect! I could now completely tighten the motor bolt, finally securing the motor to the machine without a loss of power from the belt. I just couldn't believe it.

It was then that Glenn explained to me that there is an issue with reproduction belts, they simply do not work, and he was right!

In all 3 reproduction belts I bought, not one worked! They were all too stiff, being made out of who-knows-what. Before, I was never able to fully tighten the bolt on the motor because it would slow my motor down too much. So if I wanted to sew, I had to leave the motor loose and wobbly, which is not something you want to do at all.

Glenn told me he had some used original featherweight belts available if I was interested, well yeah! I bought two.

I hope this article has been informative. I know I've sure learned something.

Both Dave and Glenn are very helpful people, and I highly recommend them both.

If you'd like some original Featherweight belts, you can email Glenn Williams or call 813-988-1970.

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