What is Sewing Machine Oil Made of?
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Here is a link for making a substitute. Don't try this while smoking.
Posted at 11:14 am Mar 9, 2008 EDT
For oiling fine mechanisms like watches and sewing machines where less oil is better than more, I use a hypodermic needle to just put out the tiniest drop and let it wick onto the area that needs the oil. You should hardy see the oil at all. Excess oil in a sewing machine (or other instrument)attracts lint and dust, turns to paste and gums up the machine.
3 in 1 might not be the best choice as I've heard of it being gummy. You want an oil that doesn't have components that turn to varnish. Likewise you don't want an oil with detergent additives or anything else besides sweet light oily goodness.
Posted at 2:24 pm Mar 9, 2008 EDT
a 3 in one type oil is the most common sold as for sewing machines. Personally I have switched to a full synthetic for almost all of my oiling needs. I buy mobil one full synthetic in the auto dept of wal-mart for about 4.00 a quart. then transfer it into the small plastic botles that often come with the sewing machines.
Look for 'holes' that seem to go nowhere to oil it. Generally your manual will say. Newer machines have fewer places to oil if any. But logically, where ever 2 pieces of METAL move together it needs a DROP or 2 of oil, not drenched just a drop or 2. If it is an older machine, you can generally tip it up out of the case and see all of the gears underneath. (there is usually a small catch on the right front that keeps it from opening)
There are also several excellent sites that cover basic sewing machine care. I'd add the link but lost all my bookmarks a while back. Just do a search for "sewing machine maintenance" and also check about.com
This is very easy stuff not worth quitting sewing for!!! and if you learn basic maintenance you can save yourself 1 100.00 a year minimum, plus costly repairs down the road. Kind of like a car, just a little care checking the oil and keeping things clean makes all the difference
Posted at 2:40 pm Mar 9, 2008 EDT
I come from a long line of seamstress' that has been using 3 in 1 oil for nearly 100 years. I would certainly follow your machine's owners manual, but if you have an older model and are not sure, I recommend 3 in 1. Yes, it will stain fabric!! After you clean your machine and oil it, run some scrap fabric through it and then wipe it down. Then store it with scrap fabric under the foot.
Posted at 8:51 pm Mar 9, 2008 EDT
I'd avoid using bike oil, mainly because of the color, unless you have clear bike oil. I've had drips hit my fabric, which can ruin the project if it's not clear, or if it's dirty and old. Sew a few minutes on junk fabric after oiling, to move the parts and work out any drips on something unimportant.
Some newer high end machines shouldn't be oiled. The dealer said NOT to oil my Viking Designer 1. They put a little deep inside when servicing, but I never add oil. Definitely check the specifications for your machine.
Posted at 8:59 pm Mar 9, 2008 EDT