I have wanted to be able to sew outside under the big ol apple tree for quite some time, and my mind was made up! I am going to do this, this summer!
Yes, this was years in the making. I probably could have bought a handcrank by now, but they are so darn expensive.
I already had an old 128 with spoked handwheel. [check]
and I had purchased a replica hand cranky thing [check]
I started trying to clean up the 128 machine head, with rough, silvered decals [something that happens when people clean it wrong], and found it needed parts. About $50 worth of parts, and this wasn’t going to be a pretty machine. The more I looked at it, the more I didn’t want to look at it. I figure if I am going to handcrank stuff, I would be looking at the machine a lot, and I just didn’t want to look at this one that much.
So I looked for a better candidate.
I found “Joy”
Joy is a Singer 99k with motorised knee pedal in a well-used bentwood case.
Oh the stories the Grandaughter, and Son, told me about the remarkable woman who took care of her family with this machine! How could I not name her after the previous owner?
I got her home, and after admiring her in the sunlight, I brought her in, where I had the spoked wheel ready.
I had already sanded off the glaring declaration of my thriftyness [made in china] from the replica hand crank, then painted over it. I had to. The gold lettering was right on top, accusing me of spoiling one of Singers finest before I even started!
I carefully removed all the motorised parts, and stored them for safe keeping.
Now, the thing with coverting a Singer 99k to a handcrank that wasn’t orginaly a handcrank is, the diameter of the part that engages the bobbin winder on the spoked handwheel is smaller. There is a web page detailing the swap, where he says he removed the bobbin winder entirely because it wouldn’t work. Well, mine is going to work because I said so!
When I installed it all, and adjusted it all the way, I could see that I only needed about a quarter inch for the tire to make contact with the handwheel. If there is one thing quilters know, it’s a quarter inch!
I was going to see if I could just drill and tap a second hole where the adjustable part of the bobbin winder screws in, but found the metal too thin where it needed to be.
Ok, so what if I increase the diameter artifically? I think a vacuum cleaner belt would close some of the distance.
Hoover #49 turned out to be a nice, tight fit, bringing the diameter up to 3″
Now to elongate the adjustment slot where it bolts up, and I think we may have a winner. I sure do love my dremel – with an extensive array of accessories – my dremel is my best friend. Wanting to remove only as much as I needed to, it took 3 tries, but I got it. Joy now has a working bobbin winder!
A new bobbin winder tire was also applied. I had purchased it for a 29-4 cobblers machine I have [but didn’t use yet], and it turned out to be the size I needed for this one.
Pay no attention to the wonky thread path. I hadn’t read the manual yet. I always read the manual after. It makes more sense to me that way.
I am not quite done polishing, but I couldn’t wait to test her, so I oiled her everywhere. The first stitches were on paper towel to get everything moving again, adjust the thread tension, and the stitch length while letting that oil go where it needs to.
Now, after the first bobbin wind test, the vacuum cleaner belt did want to come off, so I removed the wheel, and applied some gel type super glue under it. I have since wound quite a few bobbins, and the belt has not moved.
So, for those you may want to try this, You may already know that to remove the hand wheel, you simply back off the little stop screw as much as neccessary [tip :place old towel under it so if it falls off, it won’t roll off the table], then unscrew the large hand-nut, and stop motion washer will probably fall off at this point. Then the big hand wheel should ease on out.
To re assemble, you first need to know what position to place the stop motion washer [or clutch], and I can tell you as long as the two inside fingers are sticking out, you have a 50/50 chance of getting it right.
The tricky part is that the 3 outer fingers are in different positions. One way will work and the other way will not.
Start by orienting the two notches in an “east – west” postion. This makes it more likely to stay put while you screw on the big hand nut, and it will help if you have to turn the stop motion washer.
Simply screw on the large hand nut, and see where the little stop screw hole lands. You want it to land right in front of [or on left side of] one of the outer fingers.
If it does, you are done, go ahead and screw the little bolt in. If you can’t peek, the just try to screw it in anyway. If it won’t go all the way, you are probably lined up with one of the fingers.
If it doesn’t end up on the left side of the finger, remove the large hand nut, then remove the stop motion washer, and carefully turn the stop motion washer 180 degrees. [position 2 shown above] Then screw the large hand nut back on.
Now test it!
One more * gasp * thing. Mine did not effectively disengage in either postion – until I used the stop motion washer that went to the spoked handwheel. These machines are a mechanical marvel for their time – and ours. They are finely tuned, and this one wanted the washer that went with the spooked wheel. So if you do this swap, you want to use the washer that belongs to the handwheel you are using. The difference is slight, but it can be enough to cause it not to work properly.
Singer 99k Threading directions:
This bobbin winding diagram shows a model that does not have a thread guide on the bed. Some later models will, and that will still be #2 in your thread path, but on the bed near the serial number instead.
Because the bobbin hides what really goes on, I removed it and enlarged the picture.
The bobbin drops in nicely. If it doesn’t, don’t force it. It could be the wrong one, or an inferior copy.
Ready to sew? This machine uses a standard needle, and I use the “microtex” type for everything, except knits. The microtex is very sharp, and doesn’t put big holes in your fabric. I put a size 80/12 in and got very good results.
Just sew you know, I bought some new Singer brand class 66 metal bobbins, and the first one I tried got stuck. It didn’t drop in nicely, and I had to push a little. Big mistake. I had to pry it out, in a manor which wouldn’t damage the machine. It did damage the cheap piece of crap bobbin however. Remember if it doesn’t fit, you must quit!
The bobbin below is a Dritz brand metal class 66 bobbin, and it fit nicely and sewed nicely. Buy vintage if you can, or buy the Dritz brand for now. I hope they don’t change to whoever made those new cheap singer ones!
While we’re at it, see the smaller hole near the center? That is what you want to incert the little post [see enlarged bobbin winding picture above] into when winding the bobbin.
This should get you going, and on to having fun!
As I write this, I can’t wait to get under that apple tree again,
– with fabric this time!
#JoyUnderTheAppleTree #HandCrankConverstion #Singer99HandCrank