Sooner or later, the belt on your machine will wear out and break. Sometimes you can get a bit more life from the old one by cutting off the broken end (they almost always go at the join) and remaking the hole. But the belt is probably very brittle at this stage and you can easily fit a new one yourself.
For domestic machines, the belts are around 1/4 inch (5mm) in diameter, but I have run a Singer 15k for many years with a much heavier (8mm industrial) belt, as I sew for 8 hours a day and I was getting through them about once a year.... For most users, the standard belt is adequate and will last for years, but my Heavy Duty belts are now somewhere between as I find them better....
You will need a sharp knife or heavy scissors, pliers, a felt-tip pen, a fine drill or an awl, and two clothes-pegs.
You may like to take the opportunity while the belt is off, to adjust and oil/grease the treadle mechanism...
Look at the new belt - it is made of round leather, and has one end with a hole and a metal staple, and one plain end. It will be too long - there is no standard length, so you must cut it to fit.
Pass the belt around the wheel, making sure it sits in the groove and goes through any holding loops at the back and through the belt-shifter loop at the top of the dress guard. Take the ends up through the belt-holes in the table and clip a clothes-peg on to each end to stop it falling back down through the table.
Take one end over the wheel, making sure it sits nicely in the belt-groove. Overlap the ends and mark the belt with the pen where the ends meet.
Mark the plain end!
When you are sure you have it all measured up correctly, cut off the plain end with your knife or scissors.
Using a block of scrap wood or the like to lean on, drill a hole about 1/4 inch from the plain end of the belt and work the staple through the new hole to join the ends. Close the staple with the pliers a little. Now try the belt - it should run nicely without slipping on the large or the small wheels and should feel comfortable to treadle. When you are happy with the fit, close the staple so that it lies along the belt and does not click as it goes round.
It is easy to make a belt shorter - if it slips, cut off the new end at the hole, and make a new hole - you may have to do this once or twice to get it just right. If you have cut off too much, you can stretch the belt a little with your hands until it eases. Most belts will need adjusting after a month or so as they stretch and settle, then they should be good for many years of regular use...
If the machine works heavily, you may find that the belt is too tight - treadling should be as easy as riding a well-maintained bicycle on the flat, and almost as amusing
(Added in October 2012, courtesy of Patience from Treadleon, to whom, thanks)
Something to add to Helen's instructions. To make it easier to create the
hole in the end without the staple you can use a hammer to flatten it a bit
then it doesn't try to roll.
And as Helen writes, try it out and don't
close the staple until you are happy with the fit.
Some folks use dental floss rather than the staple to eliminate the noise.
I find I can generally run my machines fine when the belt is a tad loose
rather than too taut (or tight).
Sometimes the belts are slippery when
Violin rosin works and I had several bottles of neatsfoot oil
compound left over from the days when I had a horse and found that worked
You'll be a pro in no time!
I have tried to answer the commonest problems and questions I get, but if you need more information, please Email Me
Now read on.. "How To Treadle"