I'm not very good at mechanical things, but John is, and he's been helping me clean and lube an assortment of nice, but used machines that have wandered into our lives.
There's nothing elegant about turning my kitchen and dining room into a knitting machine hospital. I find myself cooking in a tiny corner while my 6-foot kitchen island is covered in junk. However, it's also an indescribable feeling, so wonderful to get one of these babies running like silk. Later, we hope to find them homes.
There were two Brother Profiles donated to our knit club. These are older, push button machines, and they are very cool. They both needed sponge bars, then one needed cleaned and oiled, and the other needed quite a bit more work, but now every button is unstuck, every needle lubed. We even whitened the plastic a bit! There's a ribber and knit leader I haven't even looked at yet. I've knitted a bit on each, and they're terrific, but of course, you have to think more when you're pushing buttons to make a pattern.
Then there's a Brother 890 John and I purchased at a garage sale, a 24-stitch punch card machine This baby was in pretty good shape, but it needed the plastic treatment, a sponge bar, cleaning and lubrication.
They always need sponge bars. I keep ordering more sponge bars!
This is the bed from yet another acquisition, a Brother 900 found on Craigslist. This is the only 900 I've ever seen. Perhaps they were more common in other countries. It's an electronic model, preprogrammed with just 50 patterns, but you can put in more with the input keys. Patterns are only 24 stitches wide. We tested it at the seller's house, and it worked pretty well, despite having a totally flat sponge bar and a stuck button on the carriage. John is currently putting the carriage back together, after getting the center buttons unstuck and everything cleaned and lubed, and I'll get to play with it a bit and see what I think.
The 270 we worked on has found a marvelous new home with Bev, who read a blog post where I mentioned it.
The biggest problem we've seen with second-hand machines is missing parts. When you buy one, be sure and compare the machine parts pages in the knitting machine's manual to the items being included with the machine. Parts are expensive, and sometimes, you can't find a particular item at all.