Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Oiling the Shuttle Race on a Long Bobbin Machine

This morning I nipped in to Cordial and Grace and oiled the shuttle race on Maria's Jones CS machine - the one thing I had forgotten when I cleaned it up.  Too much tea and cake must have been distracting me.

To the left of the shuttle there is a little round well stuffed with old felt.  

On some machines the felt has disappeared, on others it is so grimy and mucky it needs replacing, in which case you can stuff a tiny wad of cotton wool or fluffy cotton knitting yarn in there in its place. This picture shows one of my Singers where I have used cotton yarn.

At the base of the oil well is a tiny hole through which the oil gradually seeps, keeping the shuttle race lightly lubricated.  This prevents friction and wear on the side of the shuttle and eases movement.  On this photograph of Maria's machine I have used a long pin to show where the hole is.

The wad of felt needs to be kept soaked with oil.  Just let a couple of drops fall onto it, wipe away the excess, and the job is done.


  1. Wow, that is a tiny hole. How do you get the oil to go in there?

    1. Mary Ellen,

      Imagine a bath with a sodden blanket in it, and there is no plug in the plug-hole. Gradually the water will trickle down the hole. It's the same principle at work here.


  2. This is a great post. I have a hand crank Singer 185 I just purchased from UK. And I noticed that the red felt is missing. So this post is very timely. I will look for a piece of cotton yarn and stick it in.
    The machine is in perfect shape except a few scratches on the edge of the base. But I am hoping to sew and take care of this baby!
    Thanks, great job!

  3. Thank you so much for this post. I was just reading in Donna Kohler's book Treadle Sewing Machine Clean and Use and Iron Lady about this very thing!! And here you are with photos showing me just where to take care of things. I looked at my three Singer 127's and NONE of them had the wick remaining. Went to the stash of wool wadding (I usually call it batting) and proceeded to poke a bit into each sewing machines oil hole and oil liberally! Many thanks to you BOTH! Donna can be found at www.TreadleLady.com.

  4. I have been trawling the Internet to find this and finally alighted on your page. Simple and very very clear. Thank you so much.



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