Stay Calm and Get the Hair Dryer

A few months ago, Lara spiffed up one of her vintage sewing machines with new rubber leg cushions.

The cushions on my 1960’s Singer had deteriorated and flattened over the years, to the point where I had to pry the bottom of the machine off of them to get to some of the oiling points. This was annoying. Even more annoying, the machine was basically resting on the screws that hold on the cushions, so I was getting a little shimmy from the machine when I ran it at high speeds. Those cushions have a function (damping vibrations), and these more-than-50-year-old cushions were unable to do that job anymore. This machine is very fast, so this was A Problem.

I added replacement rubber leg cushions to my most recent order with Sewing Parts Online at https://www.sewingpartsonline.com/ (not affiliated, but I have been a happy customer of theirs). All together, the four feet were less than $15.

The parts sat in my sewing basket for about a month, then this weekend I decided it was Time To Do This Very Easy Thing.

I was so confident that the old cushions would pop right off, I didn’t even lay a towel down on the table. I rested my machine on its side, then unscrewed the little nut that holds the base together and pried off the base. I unscrewed the first leg’s attachment point and carefully put the screw aside.

Then this happened.



The old, rotten rubber just tore in half in my fingers. The years of compression and general advance of time had made the rubber stiff, sticky, and friable!

Choice words were said.

I took a breath and texted Lara and a few of my friends. My friend offered his dental tools to help extract the old feet, but I was in too much of a panic even to go to his house and get them.

I was so worried I had messed up this machine, which has sentimental value as a wedding present from my husband’s grandmother on top of its value as The Machine That Helped Me Learn To Enjoy Sewing.

Lara advised me to make a cup of tea and post to a Facebook group we are both on for Vintage sewing machines. The suggestions and commiserations promptly poured in. Of the many ideas, the one that did not require new equipment was, “Dump a lot of sewing machine oil on it, then run a hair dryer on it, and pry it out with a blunt tool.”

Honestly, on these Vintage machine groups, I’ve yet to see someone mention that they REGRET trying that first.

So, I carefully oiled all four feet with a cheap paintbrush, then let it sit for a few hours on a towel while I took my daughter to her afternoon play date.

I got home, found my oft-ignored hair dryer (which may be nearing Vintage status itself…I think my mom bought it for me in the very early 1990’s), and set a timer. Three minutes of steady heat per foot got me the result I wanted. This time I expected them to crumble and put down some paper towels.



None of the feet got out in one piece, but they all came out eventually!

The new cushions installed easily, and now my machine runs rock-solid, even at speed.

This weekend’s lesson: Stay Calm and Get the Hair Dryer.



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