1972 Bernina 830 Record – All Ready To Sew!

I admit it! I didn’t really see all the hype about the Bernina 830. I thought it would be another ‘soul-less’ machine (see my post here for my thoughts on this matter), but I bought it anyway.

Bernina 830 Record

It was a great deal, even if I didn’t end up keeping it, and I really do enjoy working on the old machines, so I thought that even if I ended up getting my value from it by playing around with the inside of it, it would be worth it.

Bernina 830 Record

Through working on it and testing it out, I can definitely say this isn’t a soul-less machine. It is an all-metal, mechanical machine. It performs very well, and I can see why there is so much demand for them.

Bernina 830 Record

It’s funny, it seems that people either place very high value on these old sewing machines or next to no value on them. There doesn’t seem to be much middle ground.

Bernina 830 Record

Working on the Bernina 830 has brought up on thing that doesn’t make sense to me. Why is there comparably so much less demand for the Bernina 730? The only real difference is the outside. Both machines are able to do the same things!

Bernina 830 Record

Really they’re the same machine in different outfits.

Bernina 830 Record

For the inside of the machine I didn’t use anything other than my standard kit supplies – q-tips, sewing machine oil, white lithium grease, screw drivers, WD40 (not as a lubrication), paper towels, and stiff bristle brushes.

Bernina 830 Record

When cleaning the outside, I used Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Magic Soap (I also used this to clean the feet/bobbins/accessory cases), a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser (these work like a dream for getting decades old grime off the body of a sewing machine), WD40 (for grime removal – there was some hardened grease/oil on the body of the machine), and metal polish (for all the metal bits that had gone dingy over the years).

Bernina 830 Record

I also downloaded a manual for the beast! Bernina offers their out of print manuals for free on their website. Just go here (thanks Tamara for finding it after the Bernina site remodel! For some reason it’s hard to find where they are on the Bernina site unless you’re following an outside link.

Bernina 830 Record

You’ll notice that I completely forgot to put a presser foot on the machine for this little photo shoot.

Bernina 830 Record

The bobbin area actually didn’t take much work to get in working order – just a little lint to remove and some oil.  Surprisingly, this machine broke my streak of finding a ton of errant thread throughout.  I found none at all!

Bernina 830 Record

To the right, the little switch allows the machine to sew at half speed.

Bernina 830 Record

Even the little measuring markings haven’t been worn off.

Bernina 830 Record

I was so happy to see that the plastic pieces had limited discoloration. The side panel and motor cover are both plastic, but the side panel hasn’t discolored at all.

Bernina 830 Record

All the dials are working smoothly. That bottom one is the feed dogs up/down dial and that was seriously seized.  All fixed now.

Bernina 830 Record

The lettering is all there and in great condition.  Frequently the letters end up scratched to oblivion, so it’s a real treat to find the letters in pristine condition.

Bernina 830 Record

The numbers sung by angels!

Bernina 830 Record

To the right you can see all of the stitch options.

Bernina 830 Record

Bobbin winder. It had what looked like rust on the base of it, but I used a little metal polish and it came off, so I don’t think it was rust – just discoloration. Phew!

Bernina 830 Record

Under the hood.  You can see the pattern cams to the right, with the pattern selector gear in front of it.  That shiny metal thing in the middle of the picture is the tension assembly.

Bernina 830 Record

Above is the underside of the bobbin winder.

Bernina 830 Record

Behind the nose cover of the machine.  It was pretty clean in here – surprisingly so.

Bernina 830 Record

Above is another view of the pattern cams (these aren’t gears, so remember not to grease them!).

Bernina 830 Record

And above you can see the gears – the top gear is metal and the bottom gear is nylon.  I did grease these with white lithium grease, because apparently it doesn’t degrade the nylon.

Bernina 830 Record

So, there it is! It really cleaned up nicely, but that was about 2 days of work on it to get it to this point.  Everything was absolutely filthy (my ‘before’ pictures kept coming up better than what I was looking at)!

I can’t wait to get some real sewing done on this soon!

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32 thoughts on “1972 Bernina 830 Record – All Ready To Sew!

    • Thanks! I spent most of yesterday getting the tension to behave…but I think I finally managed to get it. It’s making some nice stitches!

  1. I was lucky enough to see one of these in a local goodwill. I swear I dropped everything when I saw it! It’s not as good of a condition as yours. There’s minor scratches and the dials (especially the stitch width) are really hard to turn. Anyways, I was still happy to get it for $18! I’ve been trying to figure out how to get the top cover to open for a while now. Can you please let me know?

    Thanks!

    • Hello – if it has not been opened in a long time it’s just stiff. There isn’t a catch to press on the outside. use a piece of plastic like old credit card to check the gap round the front edge is clear then just hold firmly and pull up towards the hinges – it will come eventually!

  2. Jonathan, if it’s like the 807 (which I think it is) then you open the compartment on the left that contains the light (It swings out to the left – can’t remember off hand if there’s a catch for this), then there’s a catch inside that will release the top.

  3. HI!,

    I have one of these, it was my HS graduation gift and it was used then! (That was 34 yrs ago!). I just had it in for service but now the feed dog isn’t feeding! It has dropped below the plate. I really don’t want to take it in again, is there a way to adjust it myself. When I turn the knob on the bottom the feed dog barely moves. Any help would be great!

    Thanks,

    Laura

  4. My OLD machine!!!!!! I purchased mine right out of college. I was a Home Ec Teacher. I haven’t used it for 30 years and am cleaning my sewing room ( haven’t done any sewing in 20 years – long story but was hit by a student and have hernitated two discs so have lost feeling in one hand) and if you guys are or were like me, you have tons of fabric, thread, other supplies. We built our house and I designed this sewing room off the kitchen – it is the same size and has as many cabinets as my kitchen. So, for the past 20 years I have not touched any of it AND it is time I either try to get back into sewing or use the room for something else.
    So, back to the machine: I had two other Elna’s and a gear broke on the Bernina – got busy with other things and never took it in to be fixed. From your pictures (wow – great job and thanks for posting them), it looks like it is the pattern selector gear -white gear in front of pattern cams. I have been searching all day and the only gear I have found is called a Bernina gear cam – it comes with the shaft. Mine broke in half so I have no way of knowing if that is how it originally came or if it was attached to a shaft. I still haven’t located my manual – found all of them from the other machines. IS there a parts number for it with any of your information?
    Thanks for any information you can give me.
    Sandy

    • Hello – I’ve just acquired an 830 with the same problem with the pattern selector cam. Here in the uk I can get one for £25.75 (about $40??) from http://sewingonline.co.uk. The us website ‘sewing wishlist’ might give you a link to one. They are quite easy to get in the uk and replacement by an engineer costs about £50.

    • I hope you are able to sew again. You might enjoy a yahoo group I joined: berninathirtysomethings. It’s an amazing group of women who, like myself, adore their older Berninas. There is a wealth of knowledge and comraderie there…best of luck to you!

  5. My Mom got one since it came out in about 1972-73, It was a very expensive machine then. And I remember I learned at primary school in Switzerland on the same type of machine how to sew etc. They were made for a lifetime and beyond. We still use it nowadays and although we live some time now at a beach town, the saline has still not made a single rusty spot on it and is in the same condition of yours.
    marianne:)

  6. So excited to see the Bernina on your web.I demonstrated this machine way back in the late 70s!Mainly in schools and colleges as they were supplied to schools then.I still have mine after all these years and wouldnt part with it.So sad that sewing isnt taught in school these days ,it gave me so much pleasure!

  7. Hi — I have this machine and would love to download the manual, but the link here in your blog just takes me to the Bernina website where, just like you say, it’s very hard to find where the manual is, and any time I search 830 (“record” or otherwise), it just takes me to their new 830 electronic machine. Beautiful machine, but not the manual I’m looking for. Do you have any more suggestions for finding that manual online? Thanks so much. Great blog – great photos!

    • Hi Linda, It appears that Bernina USA has redesigned their site, and may not have links to the old manuals anymore. I had a look and couldn’t find it either. I would get in touch with Bernina and ask them if they’re still available via pdf. Perhaps they’re not done updating their site yet and the manuals will be made available again in the future.

    • I have the entire manual for the Bernina 830. I have my original in a box somewhere and a pdf file on my computer if anyone would like a copy contact me at lcm6591@gmail.com and I will be glad to forward it to you. When I downloaded it a few years ago it came in 6 sections that completed the entire 60+ pages cover to cover.

    • If you still need it I have the entire manual for the Bernina 830. I have my original in a box somewhere and a pdf file on my computer if you would like a copy contact me at lcm6591@gmail.com and I will be glad to forward it to you. When I downloaded it a few years ago it came in 6 sections that completed the entire 60+ pages cover to cover.

  8. Lovely job! I have this machine that I bought a few years ago, but it didn’t get the cleanup job that you’ve done. I’m inspired to try and dress it up a bit. :-) I don’t have a manual either, and have done quite a bit of searching, with a note into the Bernina website folks. If I get a PDF I’ll post a comment.

    berninanorthwest.com has a bunch of out-of-print manuals, but the one for the Record 830 contains only 11 of 60+ pages; kinda weird.

    • If you still need it I have the entire manual for the Bernina 830. I have my original in a box somewhere and a pdf file on my computer if you would like a copy contact me at lcm6591@gmail.com and I will be glad to forward it to you. When I downloaded it a few years ago it came in 6 sections that completed the entire 60+ pages cover to cover.

  9. I have been given an attachment which I think is for a Bernina Record 830. It seems to be for sewing circles. It has a pin (with a protective cover) which can be moved along an arm – this to determine the diamatre of the circle. I cannot, however, work out how to attach it to my machine or to use it. Can you help? Can this item be used on newer Bernina Machines.

  10. Hi there, I just acquired an 830 record and I was wondering if you could tell me how to make the pattern stitch operate? All dial move freely but it only stitches straight or zigzag. The man I bought it from said all stitches work well and he included the sample swatch, he is a sewing machine mechanic. There is no manual either, I tried the link but it won’t come up for me. Thanks so much!

    • Hi Penny, I’m not sure of the problem if everything is moving freely. I updated the link to the manual recently – and I think it’s posted in one of the above comments.

      • Thanks for that. I played with it some more and eventually I figured out that I needed to adjust the width dial to make the stitches look like they do in the diagram! Fiddled with all the knobs sort of in a sequence then at last…beautiful stitches! Thanks again for the post and link.

    • I would suggest a thorough oiling behind the buttonhole area on the inside of the machine. I don’t really know if that’ll work though, since I don’t have it in front of me. Perhaps consult the Bernina group on Yahoo Groups?

  11. Thanks for all the info and the great picture with all the gadgets. I just purchased the BR830 on ebay and the feed dogs seem to be moving along all right on the machine, but the drop feed control is stuck. I can’t lower them. How do we fix this???

  12. My mother just gave me this machine because my big fancy-shmancy broke down in the middle of a project. There is something very nostalgic about sewing on a machine that’s the same age as I am! :) Love it! “His” name is Bernie…and I love spending my weekends with him! Haha!

    • Hi everyone, i just bought a Berrnina 830 Record at a thrift store today. I am so excited because i have been searching for one since last summer when i helped my daughter alter bride’s maid dresses for my granddaughter’s wedding. She borrowed a sewing machine from a friend and i have been looking for a Bernina since then. this was there just in time for me to buy myself a birthday present. Now the hunt for the accessories !

  13. I feel guilty posting this, but while dropping some things off at my local Salvation Army today I saw a sewing cabinet sitting next to the truck loading bay. Sitting on top were three drawers from inside the cabinet. Curious, I looked in and saw the manual for the Bernina 830. I asked the guy why it was sitting outside and not inside the store. He replied that they don’t take sewing machines anymore. I asked if I could take it. He said, ‘sure’. They helped me load it in my van and off I went (except they jammed the cabinet in too fast and broke some of the molding, which can be re-glued). I unloaded it at home and found an amazing array of presser feet, bobbins, needles, and other accessories. ALL FOR FREE!. I plugged it in and it WORKS like a charm. I have not tried to thread it and wind a bobbin yet but I am amazed at how it purred when I stepped on the pedal. Just 2 months ago my husband bought me a brand new Pffaf Creative. What to do, what to do? Keep or sell? Any suggestions on what is the best way to sell it if I decide to?

    • Check with a local bernina sales/service shop. The one in Renton, Washington has a “wait list” for vintage machines of these types that people use to trade up to newer machines. I myself kinda like the “feel” and quality of these older mechanical machines. Any way you decide, these are great sewing machines. Let me know if you are gonna get rid of it, as I may be interested, if in the US. Best of luck.

  14. Hi, some of the bobbins in your accessories box aren’t Bernina. Just use bobbins with 7 holes around the rim. I hope your Bernina 830 is as reliable as mine- it’s a great find.

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