Tuesday, December 21, 2010

How To Clean A Serger: Brother 1034D

Howdy, and Happy Holidays, y'all.  Hope you're having a good one.  I've been procrastinating making a new hat for myself; the weather keeps yo-yo'ing here.  Some days, 50F and windy, then back to 75F and sunshine.  Gah!  And alla y'all up in Canada...I know.  My man commutes to there for work!

Anyway.  So my serger--a Brother 1034D--needs a good cleaning.  Been working with a lot of fuzzy materials lately that produce a ton of lint.


I've had a couple Singer sewing machines that needed constant babying oiling and cleaning.  It was stupid design.  I love Brother sewing machines because there's no oiling involved, just cleaning out the race (I'll cover that in another post).

Sergers, on the other hand, do require some TLC.  If you serge a lot, clean and oil it once a week.  If not, once a month, at a minimum.  This may seem like a lot if you don't serge much, but be good to your machines and they'll be good to you.

There's a debate about using canned air versus vacuuming the mess out from inside the machine.  I'm firmly on Team Vacuum on this one.  Canned air or anything pressurized just pushes the crap further back into the machine.  That's like putting your garbage under your bed instead of out at the curb.  Yes, it takes a bit longer and more patience to vacuum it out and get it cleaned out instead of blasting it with air, but you reap what you sow (or sew...yeah, I'm so punny).

I have a few handy tools to help me on this task.  First off is a special vacuum my neighbor loaned me, designed for cleaning out computers.


It had an attachment with a very small tip.  That's what I needed because my regular vacuum cleaner and hand vac didn't have a tip anywhere near this size.


Also, The Huz went to IKEA, and picked up this way awesome lamp for me!  It's about 2 feet long with a LED at the end and can bend any which way, like Gumby.  Super for extra light when sewing!!  It's the JANSJÖ lamp, only $10!


So this is the reason why the following pictures have some fucked up lighting.   Not because I suck at photography or anything....

Looks okay from the outside.....


But the inside looks like a damn crime scene!


And, ideally you should unthread the whole machine when cleaning it, but...well, I'm lazy. I admit it.  Although if the machine is unthreaded, you can clean out the tension discs while you're at it.  I'll cover that subject another time.  But I will say this: take good care of your tension discs!!


Brother includes this little brush, which is semi-useless, but I try.  Since all the parts inside the serger have some oily residue on them, the brush gets pretty oily and gross pretty quickly. I need to get a stencil brush with longer bristles, that would work a LOT better.


First I use the brush to loosen up as much debris as I can reach


Then I go after it with a big vacuum brush to get the easy bits.


Next, I use the detail attachment to attack the inside.


And whatever is leftover, I use a Q-Tip to try to loosen it up.  While Q-Tips do shred, they're nice for wiping up excess oily residue.


Looking better!


I also pick up the machine and give it a good shake.  And don't forget to clean underneath. 


Next, I wipe the whole thing down with a slightly damp lint free cloth...which I made here.  (sobs)


Don't forget to remove the free arm cover to wipe off any dust and lint that gets inside of there.   Don't forget to wipe out the trim trap too.  Although you could rinse that off with water too since it's plastic.


I clean off the brush by rubbing it vigorously with a damp lint free cloth.  The brushes are nylon so nothing really sticks to them.


And this is as clean as I can get it!


Now comes the fun part - oiling it. 

I like using Zoom Spout Sewing Machine Oil.  I think I got it at a Hancock Fabrics store a million years ago. 


I do remember when I was buying it, the cashier kept telling me how great it was.  This was back when I had a shitty Singer that needed TLC and oiling.  But check out the spout on this thing!!


Here are the oiling points for this particular serger, a Brother 1034D.  Consult your manual for the correct oiling points on your machine, if you have something else.  I put a drop of oil on the joint, then crank the wheel forward a few times to get the oil spread out.  My manual actually recommends oiling just below the top circle, but I find it easier to oil above it because, duh, gravity.  The oil is going to get down there anyway, might as well start at the top!


After oiling, I like to use a Q-Tip to remove any oil that may have dripped off or run off over time.


And there ya have it!  Do this weekly if you sew a lot, monthly if you don't!

6 comments:

  1. Thanks so much for posting this! I've had my serger since December and haven't cleaned it yet even though I've been using it a lot. This really helps and is way more detailed than the manual that came with the machine.

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  2. I aim to please...and offend the hell out of people, apparently!

    Look for posts on threading sergers and more serger goofiness soon! "Soon" being like...when I get off my ass and do it, soon.

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  3. Thank you for the awesome explanation on cleaning my serger. Especially oiling... I had no idea how often or where to oil. Forget the chicken scratch instructions that came with the machine, this is so much better!!!!

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  4. this is so helpful! thanks for taking the time to go through it in such detail :)

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  5. Thanks so so much with such detailed instructions!

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  6. Love your attitude and casualness.........makes me feel right at home!!!! Gonna follow your blog as well from now on!!!!

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I love comments and I read them all. But don't bother spamming me and telling me to read your totally unrelated blog because yo, I'm not a billboard. But I am tech savvy and I can find you. Be nice.

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