Singer 66 and Singer 99 maintenance – that weird oil hole on the top


I was in the greenhouse yesterday afternoon taking some pictures of the underneath of a 99K, as you do, when it occurred to me to do a quick post about that weird oil hole next to the spool pin …

Picture of oil hole on top of Singer 99K

There’s the hole in question, and to its right is a chunky sort of threaded plug with rust on its slotted end.  That’s what that oil hole thing with the slot in looks like if you manage to unscrew it, which in the normal scheme of things is something you’d be ill advised to do.  And in case you’re wondering how come that one on its side is so rusty, it’s because it came from a scrap machine which sat outside the bike shed for a couple of weeks waiting for me to get round to taking it down the dump.  And it rained lots.

Anyhow, why am I rabbitting on about this?  Well, it’s actually quite important that that hole gets its fair share of oil every now and then along with the other oil points indicated in your instruction book.  That’s because there’s a metal shaft runs up to it from the bottom of your machine, and the cup-shaped top end of it mates with the conical bottom of that plug thingy, which acts as a bearing.  Which needs a film of oil on it.   Unfortunately, although that hole is 4mm wide at the top, it’s 13mm deep and only 2mm wide at the bottom – and it’s very often full of crud.  Fluff, bits of matchstick, grot of ages – you name it, we’ve pulled it out of these oil holes.

So what’s to do with it on your machine?  First thing is to realise that although there’s a small hole at the bottom of it, that’s pretty much closed off by the top of the shaft which mates with it.  There’s just enough clearance for oil to seep through, but not enough for the crud to get into the works.  The crud can stop the oil getting where it’s needed though, so the best thing you can do is clear it out, and that calls for some ingenuity on your part.  We use one of our collection of dental probes, but it’s got to be possible with a bent paperclip, hasn’t it?  End straightened out, then about 2mm bent at right-angles?  Or something?  Maybe even poke about a bit to loosen the grot then Dyson it?

Whatever you use, it’s certainly a job worth doing.  So too, come to think of it, is checking with your instruction book while you’re at it that your spool pin is where it should be i.e. that some muppet hasn’t bashed one into an oil hole.  And yes, that really does happen.


I did it.

I got to the end of a post about oil holes and I haven’t said a word about horrible 3-in-1 oil and how it’s evil and despite what they say on the tin it’s anything but ideal for sewing machines and …


2 responses

  1. If I had a ten pound note for every old Singer I’ve seen with a spool pin in that oil hole, I’d be a very happy Sid 🙂

  2. Thanks for this post. As a matter of fact, I just purchased a Singer 99 off of craigslist and there was not a spool pin included, and when i put a spool pin on the machine, I put it in that oil hole. Now I will remove it and put it in the right place and make sure I oil it.