Trying to restore Singer 66-18 sewing machine

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Forum topic by livewire516 posted 10-15-2018 05:04 PM 1298 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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110 posts in 668 days

10-15-2018 05:04 PM

Topic tags/keywords: singer sewing antique restoration

So I picked up this 1948 Singer 66 for $25 yesterday. It runs fine, but the seller couldn’t vouch for its state of service, since it was his aunt’s.

I’d like to restore it (strictly mechanically, I’m not concerned about its cosmetics or the cabinet at this point in time). I’ve worked on cars, and I’ve tinkered with various consumer products, but never a sewing machine. Has anyone done something similar, or know of any good resources where I can develop a checklist of everything I need to clean/lube/inspect/replace before I can feel good about using it?

It’s evident that the seller’s aunt took excellent care of it, and she was using it up until only a few years ago! Although this is mostly a low stakes tinkering project as an end it itself, I’d hate to somehow ruin the thing.

Any direction/input would be greatly appreciated.

Side note: I have the original tabletop, I just removed it because there’s a lot of play in its swing-out under-brace and it’s stressing the wood at the point of the hinge.

8 replies so far

View therealSteveN's profile


5958 posts in 1382 days

#1 posted 10-16-2018 12:04 AM

I’ve bought and sold a bunch of them to people looking for a piece of history??? Never did look into working on them because if you pumped the treadle, all of them sewed real nice. Really simple works, play with it a bit and you will see pretty much all there is.

Any knobs and gizmo’s just do adjustments on thread play, stitch length, and possibly a zig zag, back then you were limited to stitch.

-- Think safe, be safe

View MrUnix's profile


8162 posts in 3007 days

#2 posted 10-16-2018 12:31 AM

That looks to be in fantastic shape, so hopefully all that is needed is a good clean/lube/adjust. Does the motor run? I’ve rebuilt a couple of sewing machines, although all were much newer than that one. There really is not a lot to them, and even less on those older ones, so you should be able to figure it out easily. Remember to take lots of photos if you do any disassembly.


-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View livewire516's profile


110 posts in 668 days

#3 posted 10-18-2018 02:00 AM

Thanks, both of your input are reassuring. Amazingly, the motor runs fine! I don’t know the underlying circuitry for its pedal/speed control, but even that works as good as I could have imagined.

I will start with a thorough cleaning/lube as directed by a copy of the Singer 66 manual I downloaded

View AlaskaGuy's profile


5871 posts in 3117 days

#4 posted 10-18-2018 07:03 AM

As Brad suggest “hopefully all that is needed is a good clean/lube/adjust”. Once that is done try sewing 2 pieces of Alder veneer together. If successful you should be good to go.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View GR8HUNTER's profile


7672 posts in 1521 days

#5 posted 10-18-2018 01:56 PM

this question is best suited for sawingjocks NOT lumberjocks :<))

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5295 posts in 4769 days

#6 posted 10-18-2018 02:04 PM

Not related to the mechanics, but I cleaned (exterior) an old treadle Singer with GoJo. Did not harm the decals, and sure did make the machine look like new.

-- [email protected]

View livewire516's profile


110 posts in 668 days

#7 posted 10-18-2018 10:23 PM

Tony – haha I’m sure you mean Sewing Jocks. They’ll surely send me back when they realize I’m mostly just interested in upholstering Roorkee and Tripolina-style chairs. Also, I grew up in Bucks, not too far from you, relatively.

Bill – Thanks, I hadn’t considered the exterior yet but I had been concerned about maintaining the integrity of the decals through all of this. That’s reassuring.

View jeffdeluca's profile


8 posts in 663 days

#8 posted 10-18-2018 11:17 PM

Congrats on your find! I also just picked up a 1948 Singer 15-91 from a nice older lady – this belonged to her grandmother! It was locked up as the lube all dried out. I used Zoom Lily White oil and just doused all the moving parts and little by little freed it up. After much research on the Tube… would have used some kerosene first to loosen it up… let it dry out then lube it up. I’m in the research mode for the proper lube to use in the grease pots where the wicks reside.
Then I found a 1951 Singer 301. Again beautiful condition.
not sure why…. I have this all-of-a-sudden interest!

Here’s is a great resource I use…

-- Jeff DeLuca

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