craft business, Kid's Sewing, sewing machine repair, Vintage machines

Replacing Retractable Sewing Machine Spool Pins

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Janome JW5622 from Wal-Mart

My sewing club kids worked the sewing machines over this past school year!

One of the machines, a JW 5622 from Wal-Mart, wound up with broken and bent spool spins. (Well, they are made of plastic, so what else do you expect when a dozen 9 & 10 year olds use the machines over the course of 28 weeks?)  I decided to replace the the plastic pins with metal ones.

Normally, this would mean taking the machine to the repair shop and shelling out $90 for a basic service and less than 2 minutes of time to swap out the spool pins. Not this time. Mechanical machines I can do. I rehabbed a Singer 99K and maintain my Featherweight. Both run perfectly. Parts were available online, so I decided to DIY.

But first, I needed 2 things:  a service manual* and 2 metal retractable spool pins. (* This one was free from Janome and is a basic service manual for several variations of this model available through online retailers and big box stores. Service-Manual.net is a reliable resource for purchased sewing machine service manuals. Most are about $10 and include the parts list.)

Surprisingly, there was no mention in the service manual on how to replace the spool pins. That turned out to be the easy part. Getting the cover off the machine was another matter entirely. The service manual was a huge help with dismantling and reassembling the machine.

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Machine apart with new metal spool pins installed.

Here’s the machine taken apart with the spool pins replaced. (See the red felt?) Loosen the tiny screw between the spool pins just enough to release the tension on the wire, slide in the new spool pins in place and tighten so that the spool pin catches the wire on the indention near the bottom of the spool pin.  FYI – the end with 3 lines is the top of the spool pin. Test the spool pin (move it up & down just like you would normally) and adjust the tension on the wire as necessary. That’s it. Now, reassemble the the machine!

Helpful hints:

  • Enlarge the machine diagram from the service manual on the copier and tape the screws to the page as you remove them.
  • Use a magnetic tip screwdriver.
  • Have a pair of tweezers handy to hold screws in tight places.
  • If the machine disassembly diagram instructs you to loosen the set screw, that’s what they mean!  Do not remove the screw completely. There is a reason for this!
  • On this model, there is electrical wiring that needs to be tucked BEHIND the spool pins and the tab to the left of the spool pins (the white box thingie) before you re-attach the rear cover.

This repair cost me $12.00 for parts and took about an hour to complete. Most of the time was spent figuring out how to disassemble/reassemble the sewing machine.  The sewing machine cost $149.00 when I purchased it and it was worth it to me to attempt the repair myself. Worst case scenario – I would take the machine to the repair shop in pieces and pay the money to have them fix my screw-up.  By DIY, I saved $75 plus gas and the 90 minute round trip to the sewing machine repair shop.

Vintage machines

Love those vintage machines

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Can you believe I bought this beauty for $7.97 + tax at the Smyrna Thrift Store two weeks ago?  I bought the machine to use as a decorative piece in my studio. My thinking at the time was that it would be a bonus if she actually worked.  (Note that the case in the picture is a temporary one. The original wooden case is in my garage awaiting restoration.)

The machine is a Royal DeLuxe straight stitch machine from the mid-1950’s. She is also known as a Class 15 Japanese clone (a sewing machine modeled after the Singer 15-30), which became popular after WWII. She was made in Japan, most likely by Toyota. All she does is a straight stitch, but her 1 amp motor allows her to deliver that beautiful straight stitch FAST!  I am very thankful to the collectors and lovers of vintage sewing machines who generously share their knowledge on the web. Special thanks go out to the Mary Jane’s Farm stitch & crafting room board plus the Yahoo Japanese Vintage Sewing Machine Group for their help. Although my machine came without a manual, there’s a generic manual available at no cost on the ISMACS site. Some web sleuthing made me realize that my machine was very similar to a Morse 300. I was able to obtain a pdf copy of an original Morse 300 manual here for a nominal fee.

All it took was little TLC in the form a liberal dousing of sewing machine oil to get her running. A $1.00 replacement belt and bobbin tire set from Hobby Lobby improved her stitches. I also borrowed the electronic foot control & power cord with motor block my husband rigged up for Ruthie, my vintage Riccar 707. Those in the know state that a cog style belt will work better than a stretch belt on this type of machine, so I will be looking to purchase one as soon as I figure out the size. I also plan to purchase a new electronic foot control similar to Ruthie’s for this machine once the original case is restored.

I took this 45 pound behemoth to school last Friday to demonstrate a pulley system for my 4th graders who are studying simple machines. Needless to say, it was a big hit with them and my afternoon maker club. Only a select few were allowed to experience stitching on this lovely machine. 🙂