In their heyday, the sewing machine factories were enormous concerns which made all or most of their components. In particular, the Singer Kilbowie factory (Singer models with the prefix "k") produced its own nuts and bolts, with thread pitches unique to themselves. If you lose nuts and bolts, or strip their threads, you cannot replace them except by cannibalising another machine. Trying to replace nuts and bolts will quickly lead you to a fine appreciation of how frequently subtle changes were made to sewing machine designs.

On old machines, many of the nuts and bolts were tightened at the factory by hairy armed Glaswegians raised on a diet of porridge, Irn Bru and racial stereotyping. It is all too easy to strip the threads or mash the screwdriver slot. Penetrating oil (Rocket WD40 or GT85) and patience are your friends. Be liberal with the spray on all nuts and bolts of a "new" machine, then go away and forget about it. After a few hours or days, it will have worked its magic and the bolts will undo easily.

Be organised when you dismantle a machine. Have a tidy workspace to start with. Use a plastic tray of the sort supermarkets put fruit and veg in to stop small parts from rolling away. Line up bigger parts in the order you remove them from the machine on kitchen roll or old newspaper.

Big fat disclaimer: I've written this website for fun and to record what I've learned about my machines. I hope you find it helpful and interesting but I make no claims to expertise - or even to knowing the proper names of things. You are responsible for your own actions and I do not take any blame for anything you break or disfigure as a result of following the ideas on these pages. If in doubt, don't do it, or work really gently so the energies involved are small. Wrap pliers jaws in bits of rag to stop scratches