Saturday, February 9, 2008

Servicing your machine(s)

I was posting today in a thread over at Patternreview and the topic of servicing machines came up. I thought this was very interesting because there seem to be different views on maintenance. So my question is, do you service your machine yourself? What do you do with it? Or do you take it to the dealer for servicing.

I have a Janome Memorycraft 3000 sewing machine, one of Janome's low-end electronic machines. It does everything I want it to do, but the dealer (a big shout-out for Pocono Sew and Vac) said not to oil it. It should never need oiling. Same with my Janome 300E embroidery machine. However, I know a few people have highly recommend oiling the 300E. My Pfaff serger, ancient by today's standards, is a 1991 or 1992 mechanical Hobbylock. Great machine, but it does need to be oiled and the manual is very specific about it.

The issue came up about teaching a prospective sewing student about oiling/preventative maintenance on their machine. I hesitate to make recommendations for specific machines and personally like to bring my machines in for servicing on a regular basis. I would recommend this to anyone, especially ones using an older machine that hasn't been used in a while. It just seems like common sense to me. One wouldn't learn how to drive on a car that hasn't been started in several years, would they? Why would someone want to learn how to sew on a machine that hasn't been serviced in what seems like forever. I would like to give sewing lessons. Not lessons in sewing aggravation. Starting on a new or newly serviced machine is what I would insist on for any student. And I would want proof (for an old machine) from my dealer that it has been serviced as they are the only dealer in our area that meets my high standards for quality and dependable service. They will let a customer know if it's not really worth it. They're not pushy, rather they state the facts and let the customer decide what to do.

There are the simple things every user should know like vacuuming/pipe cleaning lint and flossing thread tensions. But beyond that, I hesitate to make recommendations for things like oiling. Different manufacturers recommend different things and I'd like my students to hear what needs to be done from a reputable dealer.

If anyone thinks differently, I like to hear about it and why. If you teach sewing classes, what do you include about machine maintenance?


Tamara said...

What a great question. My dealer also told me not to oil my machine (I have a Viking Platnium 770). I take my machine to my local dealer to be serviced about once a year. I wouldn't do anything myself for fear I would mess something up. I do routinely (after every project or 2) vacuume out my machines. I am amazed how much of a difference this simple thing makes. When my machine isn't stitching as well as I would like I check the bobbin case and sure enough there is a bunch of lint. As soon as I clean it out my machine stitches beautifully again.

Cennetta said...

I take my machine(Singer DSX) to the dealer to be serviced. The manual only advises cleaning. So I routinely vacuum and remove lint. My machine is an older model and I haven't had anything major problems. (However, last year I purchased another less expensive machine as a back up just in case.) The best practice is to have it serviced by the dealer, and do routine cleanings at home.

Robin said...

I agree with Tamara - I have a Viking Platinum 735 and was also told not to oil it. I also have an old Viking (960, from the 80s) and I don't do maintenance on it myself either. For both of those machines, I take them into the dealer once a year for maintenance. For my Viking 936 serger that I got last year, I have not done anything to maintain it yet, as I just really began using it a few months ago. On that one, I was told to oil it, but haven't done so as I wasn't really sure how.