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Thread: Old Belvedere Adler Sewing Machine

  1. #1
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    Default Old Belvedere Adler Sewing Machine

    My wife has retired this machine after developing a severe dislike for it for her applications (primarily quilting) and I'm wondering if it'll work for sail covers and canvas bits. From what I can find it's Japanese made, probably late '50s early '60s vintage and was manufactured by Riccar. So far I've been unable to find any instruction manuals or the like. I'm still in the "cleanup" phase and need to attack it with a vacuum and probably a pinpoint oiler, but everything seems to go 'round when moved by hand and nothing goes "graunch". Anybody got any feedback?
    IMG_4444.jpg

    Control Panel:
    IMG_4445.jpg

    Mystery Buttons:
    IMG_4447.jpg

    Business End:
    IMG_4449.jpg

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Old Belvedere Adler Sewing Machine

    That machine seems to have zigzag stitches, which is essential, and it seems to be robust, which is good. Clearance under the arm is not enough to fabricate big sails, but manufaturing small sails (up to 10 sqm?) might be possible. Does it have enough power to punch through a number of dacron sheets? A big heavy turnwheel might help.
    The machine has a half foot. A complete foot would be much better, because it would apply pressure over both of the toothed pushcombs, and thus, transport the dacron more reliably, resulting in more uniform stitch lengths.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Old Belvedere Adler Sewing Machine

    Riccar has a good reputation. I use a 1962 Japanese machine to make covers and repair sails. It slips if I try to go through too much heavy sailcloth, but does well on covers. Oil it, check the belt and bobbin winder wheel, read up on setting tension. Let us know how it goes.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Old Belvedere Adler Sewing Machine

    Quote Originally Posted by johngsandusky View Post
    Oil it, check the belt and bobbin winder wheel, read up on setting tension. Let us know how it goes.
    I've been looking or info on oil points and adjusting to no avail. I've seen general instructions but nothing specific to a J-A-18. Any pointers? I'm a complete novice in this stuff, but hope to learn

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Old Belvedere Adler Sewing Machine

    There are forums for old sewing machines. Quilting Board has a pretty active sub-forum Vintage Sewing. You might find a youtube video. Generally a couple of drops of oil at every hole. Lift the cover off and look for oil points, often painted red. Many of the machines of the same era were quite similar. Mine and other Japanese units threaded left to right. Two suggestions: never run it threaded without cloth, nor turn the wheel away from you threaded. You might find a manual online, or on ebay.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Old Belvedere Adler Sewing Machine

    It will be very similar to any similar Singer machine, once you know what does what the instructions will all be alike to some degree.

    I have a beautiful 1942 Singer that works like a dream & it cost 20 ($30)

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Old Belvedere Adler Sewing Machine

    The oiling points are usually well marked. Just open it up and take a look. Add a drop to just about every bearing you see.

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    Default Re: Old Belvedere Adler Sewing Machine

    Thanks Gents! I'll check out that Quilting Board site. I'm figuring if it slides or rotates I'll give it a drop of oil. Haven't figured out how to thread it yet...one thing at a time. There was a lot of carbon under the motor cover so I'm guessing I need to look at the brushes petty soon, but so far it seems to run fine.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Old Belvedere Adler Sewing Machine

    Adler is a premium brand and should work like any other all steel jap home machine. Lube points are common sense...oil where parts move. Use straight stitch on covers and zig zag for sails. Change the presser foot to a standard foot and pay attention to foot pressure. Most home machines like this need it (the spring) screwed down to the max for best results...or heavier spring installed. Use bonded V92 thread and if that gives problems go down a size to V69. I use V92 on machines like this and have no issues sewing sunbrella. Learn to use it with the stock hand wheel. Heavy wheels can overload the machine, cause slipping clutches and make it way easier for a novice to break needles or machine parts. I probably has an old carbon pile foot control so take the cover off and spray with electronic cleaner.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Old Belvedere Adler Sewing Machine

    Following this. I've just bought myself an old Singer machine, for sail covers, hatch covers and the like. In fact I bought 2. The first one was a dud, motor was pretty much burned out and a replacement would cost about 5 times what I paid for the machine. So I bought another one. Needs a new foot, then I'll see if I can thread it up and sew something. Don't hold your breath though, I'm also planning to learn to play the guitar. That's a plan I've had since I was 16 or so, and that's 40 years ago.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Old Belvedere Adler Sewing Machine

    I had an Adler that I bought used in 1973. It was very heavy duty and did a good job on pack repair etc. I'm pretty sure mine was German, so it was probably older than yours. It looked a little more vintage, but it worked very well.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Old Belvedere Adler Sewing Machine

    Thanks BillP! I hadn't even thought about the foot control yet. I don't think it's original as it's stamped "MADE IN USA", unless that's the old city of Usa on Kyushu. I always thought that was a myth, 'til I actually saw some of the manufacturing down there.

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    Default Re: Old Belvedere Adler Sewing Machine

    It's pretty hard to over-oil a sewing machine, as long as you don't oil things that work by friction and it isn't dripping oil on the fabric. This machine was built for Adler by contract. It is entirely possible that the same machine might also exist out there re-badged to be a different brand, so keep your eyes peeled when hunting for manuals, parts, etc. You never know what you might find.

    Sunbrella and some other acrylic or polyester cover fabrics tend to needle pucker. Each stitch tends to pull yarns a tiny bit and the end result is that a long finished seam can be substantially shorter than it was before sewing. For this reason, you generally sew these fabrics with the longest straight stitch your machine can make (ideally 4-5mm). Minimizing the number of needle holes minimizes the amount of needle puckering. Where you might sew a raincoat or a sleeping bag using eight to ten stitches per inch, a boat cover will be more in the 5 stitch range. The biggest problem with using V-92 thread is likely to be that your bobbins will be small and not hold a lot of it. Do a little sewing and keep track of the 'mileage" you get from a new bobbin, so that you have a feel for when they will need to be replaced. Most of the boating fabrics leave a trail of permanent needle holes if your bobbin runs out and you don't notice it immediately and you keep sewing. Those trails are ugly. V-69 will also work reasonably well on covers and may be less problematic on some machines. Cover seam durability is nearly always more a matter of UV lifespan for the thread than actual tear strength. Also, by the way, if you find yourself sewing through more than three or maybe four layers of cover fabric, there is probably something wrong with your design. When planning these things I draw the limit at three layers for everything other than edges wrapped with commercial double-fold binding.

    Especially in cases where you are pushing the limits for thread and needle size for smaller machines, you may want to invest in a bottle of Clearco or other liquid thread lube. Running your thread over a small pad of fabric taped to the machine and dampened with lube can make things run smoother. They even have thread lube reservoirs which can be attached to the machine to do it. Certainly not critical, but that sort of stuff can be helpful and generally doesn't cost much.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Old Belvedere Adler Sewing Machine

    The foot pedal may be original. Many imports used American motors and controllers. Mine does.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Old Belvedere Adler Sewing Machine

    Thanks Todd! I'd never heard of "thread lube" other than wax for sail twine and leather sewing. Once I get it running I'll try that out. My first project will be a new tiller cover. I'll keep this thread going as projects develop.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Old Belvedere Adler Sewing Machine

    Thread lubes:

    Industrial size - dunk the whole cone of thread
    http://www.clearcoproducts.com/sewin...ubricants.html

    Consumer size - small bottle for fabric pad or thread lube attachment
    https://www.amazon.com/Collins-COL21...36352853&psc=1

    Sailrite's thread lube attachment (they also sell the lube)



    If you are sewing Dacron sailcloth and using both seam basting tape and thread lube you may notice a little bit of "oil" spotting forming around the needle holes or along lines of stitching from the lube reacting with the adhesive in the tape. This is not a big deal and it will evaporate away. Tanbark and other dark-ish shades of sailcloth seem to show this the most. You can see some of it on this sail along the seams next to the label.

    tack corner copy.jpg

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Old Belvedere Adler Sewing Machine

    Thanks Todd,
    I've been looking for someplace I can get the V-69 (I think I'll start with that) here in Portland. I just got off the Sailrite website and if I can't find it locally I'll go with them. Cool lube application system! I suspect that'd cure some of the problems Murn' had with the machine.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Old Belvedere Adler Sewing Machine

    I buy most of my thread for the leather machine from eBay, and these folks also carry the lighter stuff. For sails, covers and even hot air balloons at least 90% of the thread I have used in the last 35+ years has been Dabond from Hemmingway & Bartlett - either the UVR or their anti-wick varieties. Free shipping and no tax with a pretty good price.

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Dabond-Poly...gAAOSwEzxYbpt3

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Dabond-UVR-...sAAOSwopRYbrPP

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Old Belvedere Adler Sewing Machine

    Thanks Todd. I just ordered some. Eager to start playing with this thing Got it all cleaned and lubed and ready to feed some fabric through it. Figured out the zig-zag and I think I understand how the stitch length adjusts. Now it's a matter of getting tensions right. I even found a double presser foot for it instead of that single shown in the pics.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Old Belvedere Adler Sewing Machine

    Don't forget, the thread should feed vertically off the top of the thread cone for industrial thread, not by spinning the spool as most home sewing thread does. There are commercial thread stands available, or you can make one, just as fancy (or not) as you want. My old one is a piece of plywood, a dowel upright, a couple carriage bolts with brass tubes over them for the cones to sit on and a bent piece of a coat hanger crosswise at the top. It's worked fine since 1980.

    thread-stand-1.jpg

    thread-stand-2.jpg

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Old Belvedere Adler Sewing Machine

    Many thanks again, Todd! That'll give me something to make while I'm waiting for the thread to show up Plywood and doweling I have in abundance, but I'll have to fight my wife for the coat hanger

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Old Belvedere Adler Sewing Machine

    A cross-dowel with a couple of screw eyes on the ends also works. The plywood base also makes a readily available back up pad for hot cutting pieces of webbing when needed, as you can see on mine.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Old Belvedere Adler Sewing Machine

    +1 on Dabond by H&B...it's the best, sews the easiest and the "bonding" gives major UV resistance compared to others. There is some crap thread out there and its hard to tell sewability until using it. Buy the best and help yourself. I made a yellow 10'x14' Sunbrella awning that has been exposed outside on many boats, cruised the Bahamas, etc and in the sun at least 1/2 the day for 25+ yrs. It looks like hexx but the V92 thread is still good and the Sunbrella still strong...amazing that it lasted this long outside in the tropics but it did. On the flip side I've seen blue Sunbrella totally rotted from UV in 1/2 that time.

    Thread...V92 is much stronger, more UV resistant due to thickness and longer lasting than V69 if that matters. I personally have no issue with the sewing length of V92 in a class 15 bobbin. Concerning exposed needle holes and puckering with shorter stitches. Needle holes in Sunbrella (from over running a bobbin) disappear once the fabric is exposed and puckers smooth out as the fabric and thread relax in use. Pucker shrinkage, etc isn't an issue on 99.99% of the Sunbrella covers you will make for a boat. I punch through 4-5 layers of Sunbrella with V92 and shorter stitch home machines. Larger needles and thread are helpful for punching though thick layers.

    Also, you don't need a special gizmo to lube thread. A fresh spool won't need lube and you can tell because it will feel damp. On old spools I spray the spool with teflon or drip sewing machine oil on it. Neither stain or stay on the fabric enough to see or do damage.

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