ALTHOUGH sewing machines are extraordinarily efficient, they are not made to stand rough treatment. Because a machine does not go quite so well as usual it is not necessarily the fault of the machine. It may be that the user has neglected to treat it properly. Adjustments may often be made by the mere twisting of a screw, or possibly the cotton is too coarse for the material. The needle may be of the wrong size, or the stitch too small for the thickness of the material. These are things which give trouble quite frequently.

TENSION I HE thicker the material, the coarser the cotton needed and the larger the needle. The size of the stitch also depends on the material. For thick fabrics a fairly large stitch will be required, while for silks a much smaller one. To alter the tension of the upper thread adjust the screw near where the needle 9 s is threaded. The Iawer thread is regulated by loosening or tightening the screw in the shuttle. The slightest touch of these screws will have effect.

First try the stitch on a double piece of the material to be used so as to make sure that the stitch is the right size and that the tension is correct. Sometimes loops of cotton appear on either the right or the wrong side of the material. This means that the tension is wrong. If it is wrong on the top of the work alter the screw on the machine, and if underneath the work the screw on the shuttle.

WHEN THE COTTON BREAKS FOR working on thin materials it is advisable to put a pioce of tissue paper under and sew through it. This will tear off easily afterwards and will prevent the material from puckering. When machining over a thick seam it is necessary to go slowly and to help the material along with the left hand. Most machines are provided with various attachments such aa hemmers, tuckers, etc., and these are Very useful and save much time, though with some materials and for certain garments it is more satisfactory to do the hems by hand.

A blunt needle, or one with too sharp a point, wiU make the work seem difficult, and alse spoil the material. At times the cotton breaks easily. This is not necessarily proof of inferior quality. First see that the needle and bobbin are threaded correctly. If these are satisfactory, it may be that the tension is too tight or the needle-point bent and rough, or perhaps the needle is not in securely. Possibly the machine is dirty or lacks oil, which is essential for even running. Uneven stitches, and jerky running also indicate that an application of the oil-can is needed.

It is an excellent rule to tack everything before machining. Pins are time-savers, but care must be exercised when they are used to see that they do not get into the machine or in the way of thp needle and thus cause it to break.

It is a common but erroneous belief that when the machining is finished all that is necessary is to cut the two threads. By doing this the work will not be secure. The reverse is the firmest way of finishing off. Turn the material and work over the previous stitches. With some materials, however, it is better to leave sufficient cotton or silk to fasten off by hand or to tie on the wrong side. Certain things, such as hemming a cross-way piece, etc, are better done by hand.


The oil-can is the most important accessory to any machine, and should be applied regularly. Wlnle it is necessary to put oil in all the little holes provided for the purpose, it is injurious to put too much because it will clog the works or overflow. To oil inside and underneath the machine, the screws which attach the metal part to the wooden base must be unscrewed. The top will open liko the lid of a box. Leave the oil to soak in, and then clean thoroughly.

Sheds, Tool and Cycle. It measures 2 feet 6 inches in depth, 6 feet in height to the eaves, and 7 feet in length. The roof has a rise of about 2 feet. The back is attached to two uprights of 3-inch by 1-inch batten (A, in the end view of the shed), supporting a ridge-piece, B. All three are nailed firmly to the wall.

The front posts are of 2-inch by 2 ½-inch stuff, sunk 6 inches into the ground after their bottom ends have heen well creosoted. Should the shed be erected on a cement or other hard surface, the front posts are connected with the back posts by battens. And in either case there will be a batten joining the front posts for the doors to shut against. The parts are held together by skew-nailing. The top bar of the front, above the doors, 18 shouldered at each end to fit over tlw tops of the posts . When the four or five rafters needed have been fixed, the framework is ready for the roof of weather-boards, or of match-boards covered with felt. The boards should overhang the shed a coupb of inches at each end. The joint between wall and roof is made watertight by scraping out the mortar between the nearest courses of brick to a depth of an inch, and cementing in a strip of zinc

The doors are made of match-boards. The boards should have about ½ inch spare at each end, and a door be reduced (b) extending a few inches over the roof. If the ends are weather-boarded, the boards should not extend quite to the front, to allow their rough ends to be hidden by beading .

To its final length by saw-cuts following ruled lines. This will ensure the top and bottom edges being straight and neat. The boards of a door are nailed to ledges set in 3 inches from the ends. All nails are put in from the front and clinched on the ledges.

A door is prevented from sagging by a brace notched top and bottom into the ledges. Note that the bottom end is nearer than the other to the hinge edge of the door. Cut the brace first and mark out notches from it. A close fit is needed for the brace to do its work properly.

The doors are hung on long cross-garnet hinges; and the vertical joint between them is made weatherproof by a strip nailed to one and overlapping the other. If a floor is desired, the boards are nailed to 2-inch by 2-inch battens, a foot or so apart. It need not be fixed to the framework.

Shed with Gable Roof. It has a gable roof and a door and window at one end. If, as is advised, such a shed is so designed that sides, ends and roof have separate frames scrowed or bolted together, it will be easily transportable. Construction will, however, be quicker if the shed is assembled as a permanent fixture.

The posts and studs (intermediate uprights) are of 3-inch by 2-inch deal. The sides are stiffened by a central stud c and two braces, D D, notched into stud and sill.

The roof has at each end a centre post A. notched into the plate at the bottom, and itself notched at the top for a ridge-picce B , to which the upper ends of the rafters are nailed. Fit one pair of rafters very carefully, and work off all other pairs from them. Then nail the two end pairs, beginning at the lower end, and add the others. The ridge is made watertight by a capping of zinc.

The bottom frame of the shed should be raised at least 3 inches above the ground on bricks or wooden joists so that there may be free circulation of air under the floor and framing.

Assuming a ready-made window to be fitted, this should have been purchased from a builder beforehand, to ensure that the design shall admit of its insertion. A quite serviceable window may be made out of an old oak picture-frame, with a sheet of glass puttied into it.

Sink Traps. These sometimes become blocked with grease, tea-leaves, and other small rubbish which finds its way through the grating. Boiling solutions of soda or salt are useful for detaching grease. Hydrochloric acid mixed with twenty times its bulk of wtiter may also be tried,

Should the grating be removable, a stubborn blockage may be shifted by rolling a cloth up into a ball large enough to fill the trap, and tieing it round with string the end of which will be used to withdraw it. The trap is filled with water, and the ball is inserted and pushed down suddenly with something which fits the trap loosely. The pressure will drive the obstruction clear.

Every trap under a sink or fixed basin has – or should have – a screw-plug at its lowest point. The removal of this gives access to the inside, and a hook can then be inserted to scrape any accumulated matter into a bucket or pan placed beneath. When the plug has been replaced it should be tested for watcrtightness.

Soldering. Many people regard soldering as requiring a great deal of skill and beyond the capacity of the ordinary householder. This may be true of hard soldering, for which solders containing silver or brass and the intense heat of a blow-pipe are needed. But to make satisfactory joints with soft solders – mixtures of lead and tin – is easy enough, jouicd together. The beginner is, however, provided that certain necessary precautions advised not to pit his skill – or lack of it – be observed. Against articles of tin, pewter, or zinc, as

It is with soft soldering that we are these metals melt at a low temperature concerned here. By means of it parts and require the use of very fusible bismuth made of brass, copper, or iron are easily solders.


The three essential items of soldering outfit are (1) a bit for melting the solder and drawing it along a joint; (2) a solder which melts at a reasonably low temperature, say 350° F.; (3) a flux which assists the solder to adhere to clean metal.

The head of a bit is made of copper, and held in an iron shank fitted into a wooden handle. For ordinary household repairs it fa advisable to select a bit with a large head containing a pound or more of copper, and another of much smaller size for the more delicate operations. Though slow to heat and clumsy to handle, the large bit retains its heat a long time, which is an important quality in many cases – as when a long joint has to be run.

Solder should be bought in the thin stick or wire form, which is preferable, as regards convenience and economy in use, to thick sticks.

Perhaps the most widely-used soldering flux is chloride of zinc, made by dissolving scraps of zinc in spirits of salt – com-mercial hjdrochloric acid – until gas ceases to come away. The acid is then said to have been killed, and is ready for use after it has been strained through calico. The killing should be done out of doors, as the gas given off is very noxious; and the bottle in which the liquid is stored should be labelled Chloride of Zinc, Soldering Flux, POISON.

For copper and brass this flux is excellent, but it corrodes iron if the acid is not neutralized after the soldering operation by a good washing with a solution of washing soda. So for general use the reader may wisely invest in a bottle of non-corrosive soldering fluid such as Bakers, obtainable at any ironmongers.

For very small work, mixtures of powdered solder and a flux, sold ready for use, come in handy. But wherever possible a joint made with stick solder and separate flux should be preferred.

Other useful items of the outfit are: ft rag for cleaning bit and work; a coarse-cut file on winch to brighten the tip of the bit; and two old cups for holding soldering fluid.

Using the Bit

We will begin with a very simple operation – the stopping of a hole in the bottom of a kettle. A newspaper is spread on the table, and on it are placed the bottle of flux, the two cups, cleaning rags, file, and solder. Flux is poured into the cups to a depth of half an inch or so, and the bit is thrust into a clean fire, or placed over a burner of the gas cooking-stove, to heat.

The hole in the kettle is now enlarged till sound metal has been reached all round, and a circular patch is cut out of tin – otherwise tinned iron – large enough to cover the hole and extend beyond it at least f-ineh in all directions. The metal round the hole is then scraped bright over an area rather larger than the patch.

This part of the work cannot be done too thoroughly, as the slightest suspicion of dirt is sufficient to prevent solder gripping the metal. Improperly cleaned surfaces are the most frequent cause of soldering failures. To make things more certain, scrape also the side of the patch which will be in contact with the kettle. Next, moisten the patch and the scraped part of the kettle with soldering flux, applied with the end of stick of solder.

By this time the bit should be hot enough for use. The usual test is to hold it near the cheek. A little practice will tell you when the warmth felt indicates that the bit has been heated sufficiently. Rub any adhering soot off the tip by brushing it smartly with the rag, and quickly file the tip bright all round.

The simplest way of doing this is to have the file flat on the table and move the tip over it. If the metal darkens again at once to a purplish black, it is too hot, and must be left to cool till it remains bright after filing. Then dip the tip into one of the cups, which will be reserved for this cleaning operation, dip a stick into the other cup, and at once apply it to the bit, till a small blob gathers on the point. When dipped into the acid again the tip will be covered in a moment with the solder, or tinned, and be ready for use. An untinned bit is of little, if any, use.

The metal round the hole must now be tinned in turn, by melting solder on to it with the bit and spreading it about. The patch is then laid in place and pressed upon with the bit until solder exudes all round its edges. If a doubtful spot is noticed in the joint, melt on a little more solder, and draw it right round the edge of the patch. As soon as the solder changes in appearance from bright to dull after the removal of the bit, it has set, and the joint is completed.

Long Joints

If the mechanically folded joints of a tin canister have to be made absolutely watertight, the metal is scraped bright on both sides of the joint and the point of a bradawl drawn along the crack to dislodge any dirt. After the application of flux small blobs of solder are melted on at intervals, and the bit is drawn slowly along to distribute the blobs evenly in the joints.

Assuming the metal to be clean, and the bit hot enough, the solder will follow the bit very obediently, and no difficulty will be encountered.

Filling Cracks

In cases where metal has been split by a blow or hard usage, the edges of a crack must be very carefully cleaned before solder is applied. It may be necessary to enlarge the crack by driving in a wedge-shaped tool – such as a screwdriver – till the edges are turned up sufficiently to be got at. When they have been scraped, they are beaten flat again.

If there remains a gap too wide for the solder to bridge, it should be bridged by a piece of bright brass wire of the proper size to fill it when driven in.

Soldering without the Bit

The flame of a spirit lamp or gas burner can be used to supply the necessary heat in many cases. A patch on a kettle bottom, for example, could be affixed by inverting the kettle over a spirit lamp while it is being tinned and the patch pressed down. Small parts may be joined by tinning the surfaces which will be in contact, and clamping them together for heating in a flame till the solder runs. The lead-cum-tinfoil used for wrapping sweets, tobacco, etc., comes in handy as a solder if sandwiched between flat surfaces that need soldering together.

Where a joint has to stand a heavy strain, the solder should be run right through by heating till it shows on the farther side.

General Hints

If the solder becomes ridgy, the bit has cooled too much and must be re-heated.

Do not attempt to solder small pieces to a large mass of metal until the latter has been heated to the solders melting-point.

Parts are joined meet oaaily if tinned separately before hand.

Parts can be tinned very quickly by dipping them first into flux and then into a vessel containing molten solder.

The flame of a spirit lamp, directed by a blow-pipe on to the joint, is vory useful in some cases, especially where delicate work has to be done.

Staples, A The tiresome business of driving small staples is made simple enough if the little tool to be described is provided.

Procure a bar of steel as large through as the width of a staple. In one end cut, with a hack-saw, a slot $ inch deep. Red-heat the end and drive into the slot something which will widen it sufficiently to admit a staple easily; or open it out with a very thin jewellers file. The slot is then closed in at the edges by surrounding the end with a well-fitting piece of brass tube I inch long, soldered on; if this is not available, by winding wire round it, and soldering. Magnetise the end by stroking the bar with one pole of a permanent horseshoe magnet, all strokes being made in the same direction.

For driving, a staple is slipped into the slot, in which it will be held by magnetisation while the projecting points are brought against the wood and forced in by a blow on the back end of the bar. The bar is then removed, and driving is completed in the usual way.

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