featherweight buying advice

I've been away from this group for a while. I'd like to say I've been
too busy quilting, but that's only been a small part of it. My computer
keeps going on the blink, and my son just started college, so while the
computer is working and I'm moping around, I've got a question for you
all about buying a Featherweight.
Is there a difference whether to look for one of the older ones or does
the year not matter? There is one in a local vintage shop that has an
AG serial number indicating it is from 1946 or prior. It runs well and
is in relatively good cosmetic shape, but the box and handle are
somewhat damaged. I like the look of the scroll plate, but what I
really want is one that not only looks great but sews great. This one
is very quiet. The foot pedal looks a little worn. They want $319 for
it. I've looked on E-bay too. I'm a little wary of buying one sight
unseen. Since this is the first one I've seen, how do I figure out
which one is the right one for me? I need this like I need a hole in
the head, but what the heck!
It's great to be back here.
Susie in Austin, Texas
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=46Ws are fine little machines. Once I got my first one, I wanted another.... I do all my piecing on a FW or a Singer 301. The FWs are indeed quiet, reliable stitchers. I like sewing on the oldest one (a 1936) best....
You can use a different case or bag for it to save wear on the existing one. My 1936 was the least expensive eBay machine at $225; it's also the oldest and the case handle was shot requiring a replacement, and the wiring also needed work (which I did myself). I have to admit, though, my centennial FW was only a $50 local purchase from an elderly woman; it's beautiful, with all the bits, and I rarely use it to keep it that way :)
Age really doesn't matter, it's the useage over the years and how well the machine was cared for and stored. Keep away from anything that has a WHITE powdery spot...this can be aluminum rot, and there is no cure! It is common for machines that were near costal areas and stored in =20 a damp area (basement or garage).
More info, and additional reading to whet your whistle:
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Another great machine to consider (and is less expensive) is the Singer 301! A little heavier than the FW, but it has a built in handle, is gear driven (no belts, so it's strong) and the feed dogs drop! I love my FWs but my 301s are my favorites. Use the same bobbin as a FW, bed flips up, but has more 'umph.' If you'd like to see what a 301 looks like:
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-------------- You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.=20 --Mae West=20 --------------
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Get the Nancy Srebro-Johnson book. Sign up for Featherweight Fanatics. Really look at the Ebay listings. Something as simple as 'it runs nice' won't cut it. Running (the motor) and making a good stitch is different. If you have quilting friends try theirs out. Check out local sewing machine repair shops. Make sure your the wiring is safe. The cord sets are an easy fix. Good luck and welcome back! Taria
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Susie- The AG series can be from 1941 to 1947. If you're particular about the date you need the full SN and I can date it for you. As to difference, it's kind of subjective. A real trashed out early or late one would not appeal to me, even if it's sews well. I have 3 right now. My 1st is a 1953 with the striated face plate. I did have to rewire it and replace the lock hasps on the case. I got it locally for $200. I love to sew on it. I didn't intend to own more, but I found a nice 1941 FW w/ the scrolled face on Ebay. I guess you can say I'm obsessed w/ them now. LOL I don't intend to keep it, I got it so someone at my LQS might have it. There are lots of ladies that tell me the same thing you are saying about owning one, but don't know how to go about buying one. Guess you can say I'm just trying to share the fun. The 3rd one is a Centennial edition and I found it on Ebay, too. I don't have it yet, but if it is nice I will have to decide on which one to keep or sell.
As far as the one at the vintage shop goes, I'd ask if they've had it serviced. Ask them if yiu can test sew some fabric with it. Featherweights are easy to work on yourself and there are affordable sewing machine service people that will go over a machine for you. You can keep looking for the one that "calls" to you and get it. :-) There were quite a few of them made and you might find one real cheap at a yard sale or thrift shop. Original and repro parts are available from lots of sources. Gina in Colorado
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I bought both of mine on e-bay, bid on the centennial model, knew that someone else would out bid me. So I bid on the 1935/38 model year. The next day I owned both! They are both in nice, not perfect, condition, and no I will not part with either. I'm just glad that I had the money at that time. Couldn't afford it now.
Bonnie, in Middletown, VA
On Tue, 30 Aug 2005 15:30:42 GMT, Taria wrote:
Reply to
Bonnie Patterson
Please get the book "The Feathweight and I" by David McCallum. I got my copy at Connecting Threads online, I think and it is one great book. Yes it costs about $30 but it tells you how to completely service the FW yourself. And a lot of the info can be used with other machines. When looking, I look to see how much is included, attachments, oilcan, manual. These all are not necessary but if you try to get them separately, each will cost you at least $10, that adds up. Check for bobbin case and how many bobbins included, too. The design didn't change much over the years, making many parts interchangeable. Good luck and let us know what you do. kathy
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I think around $300 is fair for a good FW if you don't have time to look for bargains (I don't). I have two of them, one prettier than the other and with a better case. Like Irene, I also have a 301. I love all of them! I tend to use a FW for piecing, and the 301 for machine quilting.
If you aren't sure about buying one locally, google Featherweight Fanatics. There are several very reputable dealers who post there, and plenty of people who will give you feedback on their purchase from those dealers.
Reply to
Carolyn McCarty

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