How To Fix a Crank

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Hand Cranks to Buy

Fettling is Important...

Hand cranks, that is, the winding-handles to make your machine go, are getting harder to find, and many need a little tlc..
Herewith a Howto, so you can do your own fettling

Note: All of this is shown on a Singer crank, but the principles should be very similar for other makes

Tools needed - Two sizes of flat-bladed screwdrivers, one small, one fairly large; sewing-machine oil and grease (Vaseline will do for the grease); rag or kitchen paper; wire or stiff bristle brush; newspaper to work on (this is Dirty Work); cleaning solvent; (I am fond of lighter fluid, but WD40 will do. Don't use water...
You may like to use rubber gloves...
Optional, chrome cleaner (I use Autosol) or fine steel wool for the shiny metal parts

First, remove the crank from the machine. There is usually one large bolt beneath the wheel. Use your big screwdriver
Note the typical fluff

Open the handle part to expose the centre screw and the little ring screws (top and bottom here)

Using your small screwdriver, remove the ring which covers the gear.. Don't lose the screws!

To get the big bolts out you may need to clamp the crank firmly. Use your big screwdriver here and remove the bolt at the top which holds the smaller gear..

..and the one which holds the big gear

Shown removed

If struggling, a biggish man is useful.
These can be very tight and clogged with old oil, sometimes a gentle tap can help; or oil, then leave somewhere warm, return the next day

The two bolts are different lengths - usually the longer one goes at the top on the smaller gear.
Clean everything as you remove it, using the wire brush only on the gears, not the painted parts.. Clean the painted bits with a rag and sewing-machine oil, and the visible chrome or steel parts with metal polish. You can use fine steel-wool and wax on the wooden handle if you wish.
If the wooden handle does not turn freely on the shaft, drip a little oil down the shaft and let it soak in, then work it gently to and fro until it turns - DON'T force it

Wooden handles are the most fragile part and hard to fix at home - we can do this for you, with new wood, nice bolts and metal linings. Please email for details

Dirty work, as I say

Note the thread - remove this, please

Polished paint and decals - don't use water, anything abrasive, or too much effort on these, as they will rub off

Re-assemble in reverse order, putting just a little grease onto the big bolts and wiping off any excess. Use a little between the gear-teeth too.
In use, you will find that there are oil holes at the top of the crank and near the "finger"; an occasional drop of the lubricative stuff makes all working easier...
One of the bolts will be slightly eccentric - you will find that you can adjust the gear teeth fit for least crunchiness and no slop with this...
(See what I mean about dirty work?)

Lastly, put the crank back on the machine, having taken the opportunity to clean the area around the big wheel and underneath the bobbin winder.. Now Sew!

Fixing a Tingting...

One of the commonest faults on cranks is that irritating ting ting noise caused by the padding on the "finger" having worn away. This is my method of fixing this

Start by taking the whole thing off the machine (see above)

Remove the old worn padding; sometimes this has a staple, which you throw away, or a screw, likewise

Cut a narrow strip of chunky leather (I've used red so you can see it here, but black is neater)

Use heavy thread (buttonhole thread is good), and a large-eyed needle, thread doubled as shown. Punch a couple of holes in each end of the leather

Start the sewing by pulling the thread through one hole, then put the needle back through the loop. This cannot slip or come undone

Holding the leather in place (with a dab of glue if desired), sew round as shown (think shoe-lacing)

Like so

And sew

Back up to the top...

Finish by making a couple of over-stitches

Run the thread back under the leather

And trim the end
Replace the crank assembly on your machine and revel in the quietness...

Too much stuff for you to find? HC123 is our little repair kit, with ready-punched leather (in your choice of colour), needle, matching thread, and instructions
£1.50 plus postage...
Additional leather bits (if ordered at the same time) 25p with the thread

My address is:-
Helen Howes
Helen Howes Sewing Machines
4, The Raveningham Centre, Beccles Road, Raveningham, Norfolk, NR14 6NU. United Kingdom
01508 548137
From outside the UK dial:- 0044 1508 548137
I'm open 11 till 5 every day except Tuesdays and Wednesdays