Proper Bernina 1000-Series Maintenance: Part 2

Rotary Hook

Rotary Hook

In the first post of this series, Proper Bernina 1000-Series Maintenance: Part 1, I breifly described servicing the head frame of a Bernina 1000-Series sewing machine, and a couple of the common problems I see while servicing that group of parts. In this post, I’m going to give you a little information about what is one of the dirtiest parts in any sewing machine, the hook.

The Hook

There are 2 main classifications of hooks. The first is a rotary hook, and the other an oscillating hook. A rotary hook spins in one direction, while a oscillating hook moves back and forth. A hook, regardless of type, is what is responsible for picking up or catching the upper thread, forming a stitch. When the needle has fully penetrated the fabric during sewing, and the needle is on its way back up, a loop is formed on the back of the needle, and this loop is what the tip of the hook must catch, or the stitch will be skipped.

Oscillating Hook

Oscillating Hook

Hooks can have various types of damage, and a broken hook tip or any burrs made by needles striking it can render a sewing machine completely useless. However, damage is not usually the problem. Most often, if there is a problem related to the hook, it’s that it is dirty, dry, or both.

Hooks need constant lubrication. In almost any sewing machine, even brands that are not Bernina, if the hook lacks sufficient lubrication, it can sound very loud when it runs. Sewing machines have very precise adjustments and settings, and a hook that is not lubricated may cause stitches to look funny. The machine will usually sew, but it just won’t form a perfect stitch.

Hooks need to stay clean. Even between annual services, your sewing machine needs to have the lint removed from the hook area on a regular basis. When lint is allowed to accumulate, the lint can get packed into dense “lint nuggets”, and obstruct the free movement of the hook, again effecting the quality of the stitch. If the lint accumulation gets really bad, the machine may not sew at all. Bernina rotary hook machines seem especially prone to poor stitch quality when the hook area gets dirty, so owners of these machines should pay close attention to lint build up.

An oscillating hook type machine has a major benefit over a rotary hook machine, in that it is possible for the owner to remove the hook and clean the place where it came out of, the hook race. Since removal of a rotary hook involves throwing off the timing of the machine, it’s not recommended that owners of these machines try to remove them for cleaning. So then why have a rotary hook at all? I believe Bernina says their 9 millimeter stitch width is only possible because of the rotary hook.

Bernina had a series of machines that came out with half plastic / half metal hooks. I’ve seen a few model 1008 machines with this hook type, and if your 1008 has one of these hooks, be advised against using mono-filament thread in the machine. This type of thread can cut grooves into the plastic part of the hook, and the hook may be damaged beyond repair. The good news is that the replacement hook has an all metal body.

I hope you learned something about hooks and cleaning your sewing machine. Come back soon for part 3 of this series.

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Reader Comments (14)

Hester on 5/5/14 @ 3:10am

I have a problem. ( Bernina 1000 Designer) my machines motor works but it doesn't feed the thread

b.gottier on 5/6/14 @ 1:24pm

Hester, it sounds like you have your feed dogs dropped. If they aren't dropped, then you should go visit your local Bernina dealer. Or, you best option, buy a Janome!

Grace on 9/4/14 @ 4:25am

The timing on my Bernina 1000 is markedly off. Can I adjust this myself?

Des griffiths on 8/30/16 @ 11:25am

Timing model 1008 needs to reset ,where do I adjust

b.gottier on 8/31/16 @ 9:34pm

Des, this isn't something you can do. You'll need to bring the machine to your local sewing machine technician.

frank cawley on 4/18/17 @ 11:57pm

Is it straightforward to remove the plastic covers so as to gain access to the innards of a Bernina 1008 for deep cleaning / lubricating.

b.gottier on 4/18/17 @ 11:59pm

It is if you've already taken apart some sewing machines. If you're looking for "deep cleaning" and lubricating, there's really no way you can do that without proper training. Even with videos and classes the 1008 can be a struggle for beginners.

Tracy on 6/13/17 @ 1:42pm

I have a Berninia 1000 . When I make a hem the other size thread is looped and the finish has a lot of extra thread in it.

b.gottier on 6/14/17 @ 10:51am

If you're sure that you're threading your machine correctly, try changing the needle, try different thread, and if all else fails try bringing your machine to a qualified sewing machine technician.

Kristine on 1/4/18 @ 11:41am

I found a vintage Bernina 1000 Designer at a thrift store. I had hoped to clean it up and give to my daughter. The needle immediately broke when I started sewing. After examining the hook and needle in action, it appears that the needle is going down at the wrong time...or the rotary hook is at the wrong place of rotation when the needle is down. Do you think this can be an easy and inexpensive fix? Thanks.

b.gottier on 1/4/18 @ 3:38pm

If all you need is a hook retimed, we would do it for $39.00. It would be difficult for you to do it correctly by yourself. If you take the cover off the back of the arm, you'll see a white gear that is driving a black pulley. There are two screws on that white gear, and once loose the gear slides to the left, and you can position the pulley as needed. Once in the correct position, the white gear would need to be slid back into position, then tightened. The problem is that hook timing is only one of the timings in that machine, so if for instance the actual hook is loose, or if the drive gear is loose on the other end of the carrier, then as soon as you set the timing it would go out again. Your best option is to bring the machine to a qualified technician and have them do the job.

Heather Carleton on 3/14/18 @ 7:51pm

My Bernina 1008 gets a lot of use. recently it started sewing slower but sounds like its racing faster. could the belt be loose?

b.gottier on 3/16/18 @ 8:17am

It's not likely that the belt is slipping, because the belts on a 1008 have little notches in them, and if they were slipping you would hear a bad noise. It's likely that your handwheel is loose, or that your handwheel star-type washer is inserted incorrectly. If you've never had the machine serviced or handwheel removed, just try tightening the handwheel lock a bit more.

Dan Erickson on 10/24/18 @ 9:27am

Thank you for posting all this information. I work in a university theatre prop shop and we have a Bernina 1000 which appeared to have a timing problem as the needle was crashing into the hook. The nearby Bernina dealer which maintains our machines had said these models often develop timing problems when we got it back a month ago. After looking inside I eventually found a loose screw, which keeps the rotary hook from sliding outward and thus hitting the needle. I now wonder if the service technician failed to tighten that screw. Anyway, thank you for the info and images you provided, as I had never worked on a sewing machine (I'm the cabinetmaker, but have good mechanical skills).

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