Replacing/Restoring Hinges on Singer VS1 and VS2 Fiddlebase Machines

Recentaly I have picked up a couple of fiddlebase Singers that have been removed from their treadles by taking off the back, or bolt, part of their hinges. I also got a request for help from a lady who had acquired one that had actually had its whole hinges removed, even the part that was riveted to the base. I send her some pictures and advice on how to replace or restore the hinges and it occurred to me that if there were two of us in this position, there either are or would be more, so I am putting the entire correpsondence and response here.


I read something about a work-around for hinge-less heads on your 'dropping multiple heads in a table' page.  Baby, the VS2 fiddlebase was brutalized where the hinges/hingepins go, and I don't know whether to look for an original cabinet, or just go with it, and do the thumbscrew thing like on the portables...can you elaborate?  And what cabinets will she fit to do the thumbscrew thing on?




there are no cabinets that the VS fiddle base heads will fit into
properly, but their opening is quite straight forward. i can send you
a pattern if you want to make a top. Now as to the hinges.... send
me a pic of the brutalized hinges and I'll see what I think might work....
usually, all they did was remove the pin and the back half of the hinge....
if it's worse than that, I need to see what you're
dealing with. I can think of one way to handle it pretty easily, but
I'd rather see if there's a way to save the hinge function.

Dick Wightman
aka: Captain Dick


Second Response

thanks for the reminder... i do get behind at times sorry about that. Here comes your help... I am enclosing a lot of pic files. Hopefully, your server will allow them all through in the same format i set this up in. if not, you may have to interpret a bit and put the pix with the explanations...
Here are three pics of a machine with the original hinges as they are meant to be installed:

As you should be able to see, there was/is an actual hinge part installed on the machine... usually riveted. The hinge pin goes through it and then through the top of a shaped bole that drops through the top of the treadle and has a nut underneath.







Here are some pics of a hinge on a machine that isn't in a treadle, so you can see how it was made and how it was meant to work. In the second pic, taken from underneath, you can clearly see how the hinge part was riveted to the base of the machine:







Now, in the pics you sent me, it appears that the original hinge part was removed by someone grinding off the rivet head and then prying the hinge off:





So, what restoration/repair options might work?

1. if you have access to someone with some modest mechanical abilities, you can do a fairly accurate restoration. Find a set of hinges, preferably steel, though brass would work, that are the right size to fit the gap where the original was. Drill holes in one piece, the one with the outer hinge ears, so that it will fit over the rivet remainders, then peen the remaining rivet mass over to hold them on. alternatively, the remaining rivet mass could be ground off, the surface polished to remove the paint and the hinge could be brazed on. Another alternative, which I would prefer to brazing, would be to grind the rivet mass off, fit the hinge piece, then drill and tap holes to fasten the hinge piece on with bolts. This would result in through holes that would be visible on the top of the base, but but would work. You would want to be sure to make the new bolts a length that did not protrude above the top. Note that in one case, the bolt would be under the rear slide plate.

Once you have new hinge parts attached to the base, your next step is a way to put the hinge post on... that's the bolt that dangles from the hinge. Careful selection of a suitable sized bolt that will fit between the outer hinge ears will be necessary. Drill a hole through the head of the bolt so that a hinge pin can be inserted through the hinge piece and the bolt head. Some work with a file could re-shape the bolt head so that it resembled the original pictured above. Then it would just be a matter of making a treadle top and installing the head. If you decide to go forward with this, I can supply a pattern for the cutout for the new treadle top.

Instructions for making a treadle top can be found in The Wood Shop on the Treadle On web site.The above sounds more complicated than it really is, or should be, for someone with, as I said, modest mechanical skills and tools. You could also get a quote from a shop, but I suspect they'd charge more than your head is worth.

2. You could simplify the above a bit by finding the appropriate size hinge, as described above, grinding off the left over rivet mass, and going for an "all surface" method of installation. This would involve installing the new hinge, again as described above, but using the whole hinge, installing the second part of the hinge, that would correspond to the dangling bolt, on top of the treadle, where it is visible. This would be a workable, but less esthetic approach.

3. A third and easiest workable solution would be to make a new treadle top, with the appropriate opening, set the machine in it, and hold it down with two of the swinging metal fingers that are normally used to hold a portable machine in its base. In a typical application, only one of these fingers is used, at the front right corner, since the hinges secure the back. In your case, you would need one installed in front of the pillar, as far to the left as you can have it without it interfering with the flow of fabric, and a second behind the pillar, again, as far to the left as is workable. Given the weight of the head, these should hold it in place for treadling if you don't make the belt too tight.

I hope that helps, and isn't too intimidating.

Finally, I thought you might like to see the machines whose hinges were pictured in this explanation:





Captain Dick