Friday, June 29, 2012

Köhler Sewing Machine

Well's as done as it's going to get for now!   I love this machine!  It's quiet, smooth sewing, easy treadling!   Or at least it was until I broke the  belt three it's too short, and I don't have a leather bootlace to sub for it right now!

Anyway...What I did:

1.  I cleaned and oiled the machine, and got every part of it working right. (With a bit of help from the spousal unit!)
2.  I touched up the paint on the machine where it was scuffed and chipped.  I considered trying to do gold leaf over the decals for the work "Köhler", but can't bring myself to try it.
3.  I waxed the machine and polished it.  It doesn't fall into the "fix the shellac" catagory, because the clear coat on the machine is NOT shellac!  I'll have to figure out something else....or just live with it, which is most likely what I'll do. :)
4.  The cabinet got worked over.  It was taken apart, cleaned, stripped, sanded, stained, and shellac was applied....many coats of shellac...  I had to re-glue a strip of wood to the base of the cabinet that the lid attached to...some goon had opened it and let the lid fall, breaking that strip of wood loose.  Also had to re-glue the front legs...they were separating.

I think it looks MUCH better now...LOVE this machine! :)

The machine is very similar to my Singer 115, or to a Singer 15.  Some differences of course, but it takes a 15x1 needle, a class 15 bobbin.  The faceplate and the slide plate are identical to the 115, the bobbin winder is pretty close too. All in great feats of German engineering on this one, not like the little Vestas or my friend Muv's wonderful machines, (which I would LOVE to get my hands on!!)  but still a nice one, and it will still get used often and loved lots!

Friday, June 15, 2012

My Anniversary Gift

My husband and I were married 13 years on May 30th.  I can't think of a better "BFF" to have...he's so good to me!

It was a special day.  We went to "town" and while there, stopped at the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store.  They had this beat up old girl...normally I would have let him talk me out of it.  Something though, told me that I didn't want to go home without her.  She's a Köhler, made in East Germany, either shortly before the end of World War II, or shortly after.  My bet is on "after".

She's beat up, missing decals, and her cabinet is in terrible shape!  The place on the body of the cabinet where the lid attaches via a piano style of hinge broke off.  The finish looks like it's sat outside for a spell.  Dirty, and presenting as a "challenge" piece.  The decals that remain are pretty though, and the cabinet has potential.

William pointed out the "Angel" in the woodgrain of the door. It didn't take me long to see "her"

I need to say once again, William did NOT want me to bring this machine home.  He doesn't always see the same beauty in them that I do, and he knows how much work and inconvenience is involved when I tear into one of these "projects".   We don't have a shop to work in, so these things "happen" in our dining room.  He knows that the machine will never look as pretty as she did new, like some of our other machines.  I HAD to have it, even though I didn't exactly know why at the time.  I've let him talk me out of others in the past, not this one.  This one was a MUST have!  I think maybe I have a sort of "sixth sense" about them...when I "had to have" the 115 in the drawing room cabinet, I had no idea that it was one of the earliest known machines of that model...and I had no idea when I "had to have" this Köhler, that not many of these machines made it out of Communist East Germany.  I just knew that these machines needed to come home with me.

William didn't want me to post pictures of the Köhler until it was finished, but I couldn't wait.  I have started on the cabinet, and most of it is done, just waiting for it's finishing coats of wax that it will get after the shellac cures.   In the meantime, I should be working on the clear coat that's on the's cracked and flaking, but it scares me a bit!  I think I need my friend Skip to come fix it for me!  LOL!!  I will tackle it in the next day or so, I've touched up the chips in the paint, polished the steel plates, and oiled the machine.  William was able to get the lever to drop the feed dogs to move, and was able to take off the stop action knob so that I could clean the post and oil it so it works again. (For those of you that don't know what that is, the stop action knob is the part you turn to keep the needle from moving up and down when you wind a bobbin)  I've tested the machine just by turning the handwheel, and she makes a nice stitch, forwards and backwards (YES!! She has a reverse!).  I'm looking forward to getting her back in the treadle and really stitching something with it!

I will have photos soon, of Liesl (that's the machine's name) in her newly refinished cabinet.   Bear with me, as impatient as I get to have these projects done quickly, you just can't rush it.  My attempts to do so in the past have resulted in "starting over", and if anything turns the air in this household blue, it's the knowledge that I've messed up and have to re-do all of my hard work!

Wish me luck!  Hopefully this cabinet will turn out as pretty as I'm hoping that it will, and that Liesl will look awesome sitting in it!