Cleaning and Adjusting a Bullet Shuttle

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Cleaning and Adjusting a Bullet Shuttle

They don't make shuttles any more, and the one you have may have to last as long as its machine.. Originally these would have been as replaceable as needles, and fairly cheap, but now you need to keep yours happy.

So, I made a little story for you to help...

Here's a dirty shuttle, typical of the ones I find in machines.. This is from a Jones machine but Singer and Frister and Rossmann and Vesta and other ones are very similar..

Assemble your tools - small flat screwdrivers of suitable sizes, fine steel wool, sewing-machine oil..
Make sure you work in good light and over a dish or on a tray

Poke the inside with something to dislodge the fluff

Take the little screw all the way out using the screwdriver.. if it won't move, use a little easing oil (Plus-Gas or Kroil or similar) and wait a day. Work over a dish to save losing the screw

Use the fine steel wool to polish the body of the shuttle, removing old oil and tarnish.. If the shuttle is rusty, you can use a little oil and very fine wet-and-dry sandpaper.
It's important that the outside of the shuttle is smooth, as the thread needs to slip round it cleanly without catching in order to make a good stitch

This is the inside of the spring before cleaning

And afterwards.. Note the groove where the thread has started to wear the metal - a good reason only to use cotton or silk thread, by the way. If this groove is too deep the shuttle may (will) stop working altogether
Edited to add - I have been looking at some "new" shuttle springs which I have managed to acquire - these all have a little groove, so I think that the current passion for polishing these right out is Wrong..
Re-assemble all as before and adjust the tension - when you pull the thread it should feel that there is just enough resistance to be noticeable, not enough to cause the thread to break.
Look after it, please.. Remove the shuttle from your machine (if it does not have a shuttle-lifting button) by pushing down gently on the sharp end, NOT by lifting the spring..
And it's a good idea if storing the machine, to take the bobbin out, as cotton thread attracts damp and can cause rustiness..
My address is:-
Helen Howes, 4, The Raveningham Centre, Beccles Road, Raveningham, Norfolk, NR14 6NU. United Kingdom
01508 548137
helen@raindropkites.co.uk
I'm open 11 till 5 every day except Tuesdays and Wednesdays