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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Really they’re the same machine in different outfits.
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.
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).
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.
You’ll notice that I completely forgot to put a presser foot on the machine for this little photo shoot.
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!
To the right, the little switch allows the machine to sew at half speed.
Even the little measuring markings haven’t been worn off.
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.
All the dials are working smoothly. That bottom one is the feed dogs up/down dial and that was seriously seized. All fixed now.
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.
The numbers sung by angels!
To the right you can see all of the stitch options.
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!
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.
Above is the underside of the bobbin winder.
Behind the nose cover of the machine. It was pretty clean in here – surprisingly so.
Above is another view of the pattern cams (these aren’t gears, so remember not to grease them!).
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.
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!