Ray White Sewing Machine Repair Workshop

Ray White is highly regarded as one of the most knowledgable vintage machine repairmen still around today. He is truly from a different era--heralding from the days when companies actually took pride in their craftsmanship and offering superior customer service--well before planned obsolescence was invented.

You can imagine my excitement when I discovered that he'd be traveling to Orangevale, California to teach a weeklong intensive course on sewing machine repair!

And what good is a attending a repair class without a handful of machines? Nine will do. I drive a tiny Prius C and boy did I notice a difference in gas mileage schlepping these babies.

 My vintage sewing machine family.

My vintage sewing machine family.

The lady hosting the class, Cathy, is an avid sewing machine collector and refurbisher with a 'herd' that dwarfs my own.

 This is just one shelf of many in Cathy's garage.

This is just one shelf of many in Cathy's garage.

The classes are divided into two parts. The first 3 days constitute the beginner class in which Ray teaches the basics of how sewing machines work with heavy emphasis on why things work the way they do. He's a big advocate on something he calls the tracing method, which if used properly, can help you diagnose the majority of machine problems even on machines you have never worked on before!

 Everyone was so excited to see each other's machines.

Everyone was so excited to see each other's machines.

We learn how to service and do basic repairs like re-timing hooks and recalibration of tension to factory settings on mechanical machines. Armed with this knowledge, Ray estimates graduates of his beginning class can perform 80% of all mechanical problems in sewing machines.

 Ray running a demo for the class.

Ray running a demo for the class.

The advanced class is also 3 days and is where we get to dive into all the fun stuff, like cracked cam gear and flat friction wheel replacements, motor rewiring to really obscure problems. I'll go into some specific demos and how to's in a future post.

Interested in taking Ray's class? Visit the White Sewing Center here.