I went to Bernina’s New Dealer Technical Training in October of 1999. That was the first time I had ever taken apart a sewing machine. In fact, the only thing I knew when I went to that training was that a sewing machine had a needle! I’m not one of the old timers that can tell you how they used to file parts by hand in the factory, but after working on sewing machines for 11 years, I can tell you a thing or two about properly servicing most Berning sewing machines.
I do a very complete service on Bernina 1000-Series machines, and so I’m going to share some information with you about these machines. This is the first of a series of posts about 1000-Series Bernina maintenance, and will cover the head frame of the machine.
The Head Frame
The head frame is the group of parts that contains the need bar, the presser foot bar, the take-up lever linkage, and depending on the exact model, there may be a few other components. This group of parts should come out of the machine every once in a while, because there is some cleaning and lubrication that can’t be done properly while inside the machine.
The take-up lever is one of the primary parts in the head frame, and I see a lot of machines that have frozen or near frozen take-up levers and/or take-up lever linkage. If a machine has been properly maintained, which includes cleaning and oiling the take-up lever and linkage, then they should never freeze up.
Another common problem with head frames would be that the basting mechanism freezing up. The head frame in the picture doesn’t have a basting mechanism, but many 1000-Series machines do. A basting mechanism de-couples the needle shaft and creates an extra long stitch (a basting stitch). If the basting mechanism isn’t properly cleaned and lubricated, it can get stuck in the de-coupled state, and the needle bar will no longer move up and down. This slightly hinders your sewing efforts, but don’t panic, I can fix it.
When I first started servicing sewing machines, I tried to do the cleaning and lubrication of the head frame without taking it out of the machine. I could do a half decent job, but taking the head frame completely out of the machine is easier, and allows for a more thorough cleaning.
At Temecula Valley Sewing Center, we recommend that you have your sewing machine serviced annually, and if you do, I take the head frame out of your machine every other year, and on the other years I take out the carrier unit. I log which came out last by marking inside the machine. Keep in mind that this is an added value to our standard annual service, because you will find that a lot of technicians don’t remove the head frame or carrier unit at all, and charge the same price that I do (or more). I’ll be discussing the carrier unit in the next post of this series.
If you’d like to have both the head frame and the carrier unit out during a service, we call this a complete service, and the cost is an additional $25.00 to the standard annual service. The current price for a standard annual service is $89.95, which makes the complete service $114.95.
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