Today I am introducing Constance – a 1960’s Husqvarna Automatic 21e (also known as Husqvarna Viking 21 series). She arrived in our home brand new when I was about 6 – I’m guessing Mum thought that trading in her old hand crank machine might make it a bit easier to sew all the curtains and bedspreads required in our new house, and I’m also guessing that Dad being Dad would have insisted that if she was going to get a new machine, she should get a good one that would last. And last the machine has done. I was already very familiar with her (having been dressmaking for myself from the age of about 12) when she came to me for my 21st birthday with her original case, box of accessories, instruction manual and stitch card and pattern cams, and a label that I still have showing that she had just been serviced at Lloyd Duckworths, “on the sunny side of Emerson St, Napier (New Zealand)”.

I used her very regularly until a few years ago, when problems with the tension assembly made stitching a lot less reliable but her motor was still going strong.

That tension dial stayed a problem as I couldn’t find anyone to fix it. But needs must, and if I couldn’t pay to get it done, then I needed to have a go myself. Enter the “Husqvarna Automatic/Viking 21a” facebook group. https://www.facebook.com/groups/287898237884/

My questions to the group resulted in: close up photos of parts; the exact measurement of a missing tension release pin (and suggestions of how to replace it), a downloadable copy of the service manual and best of all, a youtube video (over an hour long) giving a complete walkthrough of dismantling, checking and testing my exact model of machine.

So, Constance now has a refurbished upper tension assembly that works,(including a new tension release pin cut and shaped from a nail), and I even found the confidence to open up the motor compartment to check for wear on the brushes. I also discovered a few more service oil points that would not likely have needed any attention in her first 25 years or so, but do need a little lubrication now (at 56 years old). My stitch samples look great and the machine purrs away happily. You can’t imagine how pleased I am to have my dear old workhorse back in operation.

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