Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Presser Bar Removal

Today, boys and girls, we are going to remove the presser bar from Ms. Rusty.   What is the presser bar you ask?  Well, it’s the steel bar that attached to the presser foot of course!  The presser bar is the tall bar with the spring around it on the left in the photos below.

Front End     Front End close-up

Here we go!  First step is to remove the screw in the presser bar guide bracket

Presser bar guide bracket

Then it’s necessary to remove the presser regulating thumb screw.  Because the name of this part is so confusing, it may help to clarify that the function of this thumb screw is to regulate the pressure that the presser foot applies to the fabric.  (Can you tell I had a hard day at work today?).  The next two photos show the location of the presser regulating thumb screw and what the front end of Ms. Rusty looks like with out this important piece of hardware.

Presser regulating Thumb screw    without thumb screw

Inside this screw is an oiling wick which may look to some people like a build-up of lint.  In fact, this wick serves a very important function of providing a steady supply of oil to the presser bar.  The photos below show the thumb screw with the wick intact and after removal.  Not surprisingly, the Ms. Rusty’s wick was very dry and was practically oil free.  I removed this prior to cleaning the screw.  I’ll have to soak it in some sewing machine oil prior to putting it back in the thumb screw, but we’ll cover that in a future post.

Thumb screw    thumb screw and oiling wick

According to the Adjusters Manual the presser bar should easily slide out of the top of the machine.  Right.  Ms. Rusty apparently has a rebellious streak an doesn’t like complying with the Adjusters Manual. 

So I moved to the next step which was removing the spring washer.  The next two photos show the washer sitting on top of spring and me removing the washer.  I have to apologize for the fuzzy photo as it is hard to take a photo in one hand while holding onto a washer with the other.

washer on top of springremoving washer

Now is just as good a time as any to mention that the disassembly process has been made much easier by using a pair of bent nose pliers (shown in the photo above).  It is able to grip most small things easier than using my fingers or a pair of regular pliers and are much stronger than tweezers.  It also helps to pick out little screws that fall behind crevices as you are removing them (ask me how I know!)

The next step was removing the presser bar spring with my handy-dandy bent nose pliers (by the way, you can get a pair for ~$7 on Amazon).  Again, my apologies for the fuzzy photo.

removing spring

Then I was about to tackle the presser bar and realized I forgot the remove the thread cutter from the presser bar and the and needle clamp and other doo-dads from the needle bar! (see below)

bar attachments

Now that everything was off, theoretically the presser bar should have slid out.  However, there was too much rust for the bar to even budge!  Ms. Rusty is insists on living up to her name.   At this point I applied Brake-Away penetrating oil to all joints on presser bar.  I also lubed up the needle bar for good measure since that was in similar condition also likely to be difficult to remove when the time came.

After letting the oil penetrant sit for well over an hour, and after several additional applications, I still could not get the presser bar to budge.  At this point I decided to take more aggressive measures.  I hammered that bugger out!

Don’t get me wrong, it was actually a gentle approach which I’ll try to describe here. Ms. Rusty was turned upside down and I placed a longish wooden dowel (~5/16” diameter, ~8” long) through the empty bobbin case area and set it onto the on the business end of the presser bar (where the presser foot would attach).  Then I very gently tapped the wooden dowel once.  The bar budged just a little so continued with the gentle tapping on the dowel until the bar was finally set free.

Unfortunately I couldn’t take pictures of the process as one hand was holding the dowel, one hand held the hammer, and I was holding Ms. Rusty upside down between my legs.  As you can imagine, it was quite a sight, and unless a grew a third arm there were no appendages left to do the photography. 

Here is Ms. Rusty after the bar was removed.  without presser bar

The last step was removing the bracket from the slot in machine arm.  FYI, the adjusters manual says this shouldn’t be necessary, but to do so bring the needle bar to the lowest position by rotating the hand wheel.  Since I’m stripping Ms. Rusty to the bare bones to powder coat her I need to remove everything possible, including this bracket.  The photo below shows the removal of the bracket and attempts to show the slot where the bracket normally sits.

removing guide bracket

Now wasn’t that fun!  Next time we’ll have just as much fun removing the needle bar.  Stay tuned!!


  1. Oh that was fun. I can't wait for my vacation so I can try some of these things out on my 201

  2. Love it! Thank you! Just what I was looking for. I have a 'doorstop' of a 66, Red Head!, just for the purposed of learning on. I think I can honestly say this is the first machine that looks to be in worse shape, so I'm holding out some hope for mine! I haven't seen anyone else NEEDING to hammer our a presser bar! This is perfect! Thank you, again!!!

  3. Can you please tell me more about the oiling wick? Does it have a reservoir of oil to draw on? (Or point me to the right post. I'm reading through your blog chronologically in preparation for the arrival of my 201k23. You are filling me with a. Fear at what could be wrong with her and b. reassurance that even if she's in horrendous nick, she'll be fixable. Even if she's in good working order, there are parts that I'll probably strip down, clean, replace rubber bits etc etc.

  4. would I use the same process on my model 27?

  5. In regards to the oiling wick, I believe you just add a drop to the top now and then. It seeps down through the wick to do its job.

  6. I was wondering if that was an oil wick in the top of top of the presser regulating thumb screw. Mine looks like the accumulated grot of ages. Sadly I think that mine has been wicking water and the presser regulating thumb screw has jammed, adding oil to it caused rusty oil to leak out, hopefully it'll unstick soon!