Saturday, November 18, 2017

Bernina 530 Record

Here is yet another Goodwill find, this time a Bernina 530 Record free arm.  It is the older brother of the 730 Record I purchased a couple of years ago.  The two are very similar in design and performance; both are very good vintage sewing machines: solid, fast, precise, good controls, fairly good stitch selection, and their prices are very reasonable.  (The 730 was $60, the 530 was just over $50.)

Although I certainly don't need another machine, I like these older Berninas for their charm.  The design reminds me a little of the Pfaffs from the same era, although these Swiss machines are lighter on their feet (literally and figuratively).  The rounded corners, Bakelite switches and dials, and in the case of the 530 the color scheme of almond white and light forest green is classic and handsome.  This 530 has the same 0.95 amp power and smoothness but is lacking just a few of the 730's stitches.  They are basically the same machine.   In fact, this 530 is even more similar to the 540 Favorit but made purely for domestic use rather than with the industrial pretensions of the *40 series machines.

What's particularly nice about this 530 is that it's a fairly complete package: machine, case, bed extension, 15 presser feet and a few other attachments, the stacking tray that is sometimes missing from these machines (and can be very expensive to replace).  The manual is a free download and all that is missing is the power cord, a simple 2-pronged affair that is easily and cheaply replaced.  The feet alone are probably worth well over $100.  No foot pedal was included but these machines were often sold with only the knee lever.  This machine's knee lever operates flawlessly. 

The machine runs very well.  It does hesitate a little on occasion and I think the belt may be slipping, not surprising considering the machine's age.  (I assume the original belt is powering the hand wheel/main shaft.)  I've given it an initial oiling avoiding the two nylon gears that I can see.  These gears drive the cam stack and the feed dog drive from the main shaft.  They appear to be in excellent condition.

Despite the obvious signs of use (this machine was well-used and shows it), I am happy to add it to the collection.  I may paint the bed at some point -- or not.

I also picked up some other odds and ends including 6 patterns and 3 good-sized pieces of yardage: a textured cotton canvas in black (great for bags!), a seashell-themed cotton batik print whose fabric is extremely smooth and soft and will make a great shirt, and a brocade.

All in all, a great day of thrifting!