Saturday, April 25, 2015

Rewire Willcox and Gibbs Motor - Part 2

Continued from:
Rewiring a Vintage Willcox and Gibbs Sewing Machine Motor - Part 1

Cut two seven inch pieces of the TFFN wire.  Strip 3/4 inch of insulation from one end of each wire.

Stablize the motor side of the wire with an alligator clip on a stand if you have one.  The alligator clip will act as a heat sink protecting the motor windings.

Wrap the motor wire and the TFFN wire about each other in an end to end orientation making sure that the wrap is tight and that the ends are not sticking up.

Brush a small amount of flux on all surfaces of the exposed wires to clean and facilitate solder flow.

Tin the connection making sure that the solder is smooth and even with no globules.

Slide a three inch length of heat shrink tubing over the solder joint, through the hole in the motor housing, and all the way to the windings in the armature.

It should look like this.  Then shrink it with a heat gun.

Note that the heat shrink tubing runs all the way to the armature windings.

Cut a couple of 2 inch lengths of a slightly larger diameter heat shrink tubing and run it over the first installation of heat shrink and all the way to the armature windings.

Cut a couple of 1 1/2 inch lengths of a slightly larger diameter heat shrink tubing and run it over the first two installations of heat shrink and all the way to the armature windings.  Use a heat gun and shrink them.  The goal with the multiple layers of heat shrink is to protect the wire from the edge of the hole in the motor housing and to protect the wire in its most vulnerable area.

Okay... the motor wiring is done!!!

Take some alcohol on a q-tip and clean up the grease tube ports.  Be careful not to get any alcohol on the paint.

Clean any remaining grease from the interior of the grease tubes with a q-tip.

This is what he springs and wicks looked like before going into the Dawn bath.

And after the Dawn bath.

Cut the new felt into one inch lengths and screw them into the larger end of the spring leaving about 1/4" of the felt exposed.  This is the same felt I use for the Singer 15-91.  You can use thinner felt the same as the original, but I didn't see any reason to buy additional felt since I had this on hand.

Pack the grease tubes with Singer sewing machine grease or 100% vaseline. Screw the tubes back into the motor.

Dry fit the motor to the base and determine how long the wires will need to be to nest into the junction bay while not pinching any of the wires.

Strip the wires and make the connections.  It does not matter which motor wire connects to which cord wire.

Seat the motor in the base and run the screw back up into the nut at the bottom of the securing ring.

Take a moment to clean the commutator by lightly holding a piece of 600 wet/dry sandpaper against its copper surface while hand turning the drive disk on the other end of the motor.

Take the cleaned brushes and securing thumb nuts and place them back into the appropriate side of the motor as noted by the drawing earlier in the process.

Note the curvature on the end of brush.  It conforms to the curvature of the commutator.  After installing each brush, turn the drive disk away from you.  If you hear any clicking, remove the brush, flip it over, and reinsert.  That should take care of the click.  We are trying to get them back the way they have been run for the past 60 or so years.

There it is.  I took the opportunity to clean all of the parts as I went through the process.

Plug the motor into the foot controller and test the unit.  If all is well, it is time to reinstall the sewing machine to the base.

Next... I'll rewire the foot controller... what a mess!

Hope this helps,

Don't attempt the techniques explained in this article if you don't have electrical experience or are not certified in electronics.  Doing so may result in electrical shock and/or death.  If you decide to act on these techniques, you are doing so at your own risk.  It is recommended to have your work checked by a licensed electrician or certified electronics expert.


  1. I am missing one of the carbon brushes and screw cap on my machine. Do you have any idea where I could order these?

    1. I would contact the folks over at I'm sure someone there either has a donor machine or can steer you toward a supplier. I'd also check ebay for parts or a donor machine.