The eagle has landed.

For my birthday last month, my kids got together and bought me a small Adler class 8 sewing machine. “Adler” is German for “Eagle” - hence the tagline for this post. Dürkopp-Adler is the company that made the machine. “Class 8” is the model. It is something over ninety years old.

I don’t make things out of cloth, but I do occasionally make (or want to make) small items out of leather. I have (the remains of) a half a cow hide that I bought over twenty years ago that I make thingies from now and again.

The one thing I always hated about making things from leather was sewing pieces together. That used to involve a hammer, a punch, a (thick) needle, a (thick) thread, a pair of pliers, and lots of cursing. I learned to do it that way (minus the cursing) in a course in high school a very long time ago, but I never really got good with the needle.

Those days are over. The little Adler does a wonderful job - but it isn’t quite “ready for prime time” yet.

It needs a cleanup, and it needs a new base. I haven’t yet decided if I want to use the motor that came with it or just crank it by hand. In any case, since documentation has been hard to come by I’ve decided that I will write up what I learn about operating and maintaining it, and collect what documents I can find in one place.

This is a list of all the things I do with and discover about the Adler:

  1. The Adler Class 8 sewing machine - Initial state - In a word - filthy.
  2. The Adler Class 8 sewing machine - Clean up - Shiny and black is hard to photograph.
  3. The Adler Class 8 sewing machine - Planning the base - Simple is where it’s at.
  4. The Adler class 8 sewing machine - Not doing what I had planned - Red crayons for better legibility.
  5. The Adler class 8 sewing machine - A new base for the Adler - Looking good.
  6. The Adler class 8 sewing machine - Building the base for the Adler - Lots of woodworking.
  7. The Adler class 8 sewing machine - Sorting a box of unobtainium - An embarrassment of riches.
  8. The Adler class 8 sewing machine - Refurbishing some unobtainium - Not like new, but at least functional.
  9. The Adler class 8 sewing machine - A problem with the thread tension - It’s the little things that make life difficult.
  10. The Adler class 8 sewing machine - The thread tensioning mechanisms - A lot simpler than it looks - but still complicated enough.
  11. The Adler class 8 sewing machine - Adjusting the thread tension - Thread tension from scratch.
  12. The Adler class 8 sewing machine - Threading the machine - Almost - but not quite - entirely like threading other machines.
  13. The Adler class 8 sewing machine - Modern consumables for a hundred year old sewing machine - Just screwing around a bit.
  14. The Adler class 8 sewing machine - A look at an original Adler sewing machine table - Resisting temptation.