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By Student
Help please!

A couple of years’ ago, I rescued a dilapidated sewing machine table from the attic of our daughter’s home in France. I then spent some time removing all the rust from the frame and treadle before spraying them with black Hammerite. As the top was not worth rescuing, I removed it, got some nice oak which I planed and jointed, and made a new top. The finished article was given to my daughter-in-law as a Christmas present so that she could put her sewing machine and other kit on it. The finished article was this:

Sewing table Mk 1.jpg

Last year, on another trip to the attic, my wife spotted another sewing machine table, probably a bit more dilapidated than the first.

Table 2.jpg

I’ve removed the top as it wasn’t worth restoring and, as before will make a new oak top.

Table 2 frame.jpg

However, whereas all the screws and bolts on the first machine came out without too much of a problem, this latest one is proving more awkward. All the screws holding on the top and drawer compartment came undone easily, not bad for something 80 or 90 years’ old and dumped about 50 years’ ago. The problem lies with the four bolts holding the frame together. Two came undone without any problem. However, one is rusted solid and the fourth has the nut missing. This is a picture of the bolt with the missing nut.

Machine bolt.JPG

As can be seen, it has a conical head with a plain top, no slot for a screwdriver, allen key etc. I cannot see any means of removing the rusted bolt other than using an angle grinder or similar to cut off the nut as there is no way of holding the bolt whist trying to undo the nut. The thread of the bolt is just over 9 mm in diameter, it’s 34 mm long of which 19 mm is threaded (what sort of thread, who knows).

So, if I cut off the nut, I will be looking for two bolts and nuts as replacements, possibly four so that they all match. I am aware that countersunk machine bolts are available although my search on google didn’t throw up any results for M9. However, I did find these ... chine+bolt

The question is, would they work?
User avatar
By Trevanion
On a machine that old it is definitely not metric threaded so you can pretty much throw that out the window. If it's little over 9mm it'll more than likely be a 3/8ths X 16tpi UNC. It could be a more obscure size though such as a Whitworth thread or even something completely unique, which I have encountered before. It'll be worth taking it to your local nuts, bolts and more shop and see if they have a nut which will match. On the one which is rusted solid, have you tried soaking it in oil/penetrating oil overnight then trying? It's amazing what a difference it will make. If it still won't come you can try heating up the nut and letting it cool which should free it up. If it's still stuck by all means cut it off.

If you need a new taper bolt made up I could make one for you, or you could take it to a local engineering firm and see how much they'll want for making it.
User avatar
By Eric The Viking
Try applying heat to the nut before doing anything dramatic.

Heat, Plus Gas, repeat.

Then If desperate, peen the outer edge of the taper (other side from the nut), with a centre punch, just so it grips.

I suspect it's supposed to be an interference fit, probably for some good reason I haven't guessed.

You should find a Whitworth nut to fit in due course. They were used in the USA (Singer) as well as here, but it might be UNC - hard to tell.
By xy mosian
This seems appropriate:-

Sewing machine thread? :) ... hread.html

By Student
Sorry for the delay in replying and thanks to all for your advice.

As the machine was sold in France, I naively thought that all the nuts and bolts would be metric but, being a Singer, it was probably imported from the USA and, as such, have imperial sized bolts. The previous machine that I restored was a German make so that may well have had metric bolts but not this one.

I'm off to France, where the machine currently resides, and will work on it during my stay with my daughter. If I have no more joy with the dismantling, I'll bring it back to the UK with me when I return and work on it here. At that point, I'll decide how to go forward but I make take Trevanion up on his kind offer if I can't find anyone locally to manufacture some new bolts. However, as the table isn't worth much, I'm not going to go overboard in trying to restore it.

User avatar
By t8hants
I am fairly sure that Singer used their own threads, ensuring that you had to buy their spares.
User avatar
By AndyT
This page confirms that Singer seemed to be on a mission to use every different thread possible...

However, on a more positive note, if you appreciate old sewing machines, settle down with a cuppa and watch this tremendous old documentary about how they were built.
The Singer factory in Kilbowie, Glasgow was huge and made 36 million machines in its long life, with everything done on site, from casting the bodies to making the needles and the cases.
User avatar
By toolsntat
No need to wreck the bolt but just replaced the nut.
Three options
1/ Drill into the side of the nut and unscrew/peel it away.
2/ Drill into the top edge of the nut and unscrew/ peel it away.
2/ Hacksaw the nut down the edge of the thread once or twice.

For a replacement bolt you could rework a bolt head into a suitable taper or have a look at Rawlbolts etc to see if one of those could be reworked and utilized.
Cheers Andy
ps anyone collect sewing machines?
User avatar
By Sheffield Tony
toolsntat wrote:No need to wreck the bolt but just replaced the nut.
Three options
1/ Drill into the side of the nut and unscrew/peel it away.
2/ Drill into the top edge of the nut and unscrew/ peel it away.
2/ Hacksaw the nut down the edge of the thread once or twice.

4/ Use the tool made for the job, if you can get access.

For reworking a standard bolt to fit, I have made "specials" from a standard bolt without a lathe by clamping it in a pillar drill and applying a file and a lot of patience. The trick of winding copper wire round the threads of the bolt to prevent damage to the thread by clamping came in handy.