Price Paid: US $46 (Ebay)
* Built-in ZZ and triple ZZ
* Embroidery Stitches (with cams)
* Free Arm
* Adjustable Stitch Length and Width
* Adjustable Presser Foot Pressure
* Non self-oiling
* Reduction (Low) Gear
* & More (read below)
My favorites include the low gear setting, the interchangeable snap-on presser feet, and the overall familiar feeling of the machine - me being a Viking girl nearly my whole life. The best feature for me is the ability to use heavy topstitching thread both through the needle and the bobbin, for topstitching jeans and other heavy materials with perfectly matching threads and stitches.
Other features are detailed below.
My mom had (still has) a Viking 6430 that she bought new in 1971. That was the machine I learned to sew on, even though I did very little sewing until I was in my late-30s. When the sewing bug finally bit and I went new machine shopping a few years ago, I headed straight for the Vikings and wound up with a Rose and then later sold that and bought a Designer 1. The D1 is my current go-to machine.
Last year, the vintage machine bug bit and I bought a Singer 66 treadle and a Featherweight. The bug has still been biting though and I thought it would be fun to find a machine like mom's. These old machines are great to sew on, wonderful to look at in my sewing room, and just plain addicting to collect.
I decided to do some reading and research on the Viking 6000 series machines before plunking down any cash and learned that it was quite common for the permanently lubed, self-oiling models (from the 6030 onward) to "freeze/seize" since the original lubrication materials would harden if the machine had been left unused and unserviced for long periods of time. There are plenty of reconditioned series 6000 machines available that have been torn down, cleaned and relubed with more modern materials but they were probably going to be out of my price range for what I had decided I would be willing to spend. But worse, there are even more machines that look beautiful on the outside but have *not* been reconditioned and do have usage problems. I didn't want to end up with one of those.
However, I also learned that the 6010/6020 models were the last two TOL (top of the line) Viking models before the self-oiling feature was introduced, which means the freezing/seizing problem would not be an issue. A 6010 or 6020 would also be a darn-close match to mom's 6430 in both features and looks. Of course, there are still potential age/wear problems with any vintage sewing machine so you do have to be careful and/or lucky when shopping. I bought the machine via Ebay and I was lucky. ;-) It did incur minor cosmetic damage during shipping, which was unfortunate because it would have been cosmetically perfect otherwise. The seller offered to take back the machine or refund me half of the purchase price. I chose the latter. So for $23 plus a reasonable shipping charge, I can definitely overlook the few blemishes. I did have to spend about an hour cleaning her up. You should have seen the huge wad of lint jammed into the bobbin area!
Adjustable Stitch Width - up to 4 mm, with micro-reductions available between whole numbers
Adjustable Stitch Length - up to 4 mm, with micro-reductions available between whole numbers
Adjustable Foot Pressure - Inside the hinged side plate, there is a numbered dial for adjusting foot pressure, which means you always know where you started/ended and can easily go back to a precise setting.
Instant Foot Pressure Release - In addition to the dial for adjusting foot pressure, there is also a red-tipped lever to instantly release all foot pressure.
Quick Drop Feed Dogs Button - Engaging the button on the front of the machine will quickly drop the feed dogs. Releasing the button raises them again.
Snap-On Presser Feet - One of my favorite Viking features. My Designer 1 feet also fit on the 6010, which is great because my 6010 did not come with all of the feet included with the machine when new. The machine will also use standard low-shank presser feet.
Reduction (Low) Gear setting - A great feature, and one for which the series 6000 machines are "famous." The reduction gear allows you to use the machine's full power, but at a lower speed for sewing heavy materials such as thick denim, leather, etc. I tested it with eight layers of heavy denim and various stitches. It works extremely well.
Reverse - The Reverse button is located on the front of machine in the center of the stitch length knob.
Built-in Stitches - Straight, zigzag, 3-step zigzag
Cams - Called "stitch formers," the 6010 came with 4 cams (4 stitches per cam) for additional utility and decorative stitches. All series 6000 cams will work with all series 6000 machines, which means the 7 additional cams which were introduced with later models will work with the 6010 - if you can source them. Note that the cams have 3 "prongs" on the reverse side. If any of these prongs is cracked or missing, the cam will not work.
Narrow Free Arm - Viking free arms are noted for being some of the narrowest available on home machines, which is handy for those sewing children's clothes.
Thread cutter - Integrated thread cutter on the back of the presser bar.
Extension Table - The included enameled metal extension table fits into the machine with a lip and retractable catch. It can be kept in place and moved upward to access the bobbin area.
Oiling Points - The oiling points are clearly marked on the machine exterior and/or in the manual for the oiling points inside the side plate. No gymnastics or semi-disassembly required.
Four-step Buttonhole - There is a special tension setting/mark for buttonholes, and each leg and bartack of the buttonhole is a setting on a dial so you just sequence through each as you go.
Front Loading Bobbin - Metal bobbins inside a metal bobbin case are loaded at the front of the machine, behind a little door which easily flips open even with the extension table in place.
Bobbin Winder - Bobbin winding is easy, with the separate spindle and winding area at the rear/side of the machine. Although not technically a "through-the-needle" bobbin winder, I believe one could wind a bobbin without unthreading the needle. I'll have to remember to try it! But since this machine is so easy to thread, it's not really a big deal either way.
Lighting - There is a bright incandescent light on the arm of the machine with an on/off switch. The light (inside the lamp guard) can be swung downward for close-up work.
On/Off Switch - There is none. You must unplug the machine to turn it off.
Carrying Case - The 6010 comes with a hardshell plastic case. (My mother's 6430 comes with a "suitcase" which I prefer.) Unfortunately, the carrying case for my machine was damaged during shipping. I'm not too upset as I don't plan on transporting this machine.
Accessory Tray - An accessory box which fits around the free arm and holds 6 bobbins, the stitchformer/cams, presser feet and other accessories/tools is standard with the 6010. My "pre-owned" machine did not come with its accessory case. It's easy enough to use another plastic box for the accessories.
Foot pedal - Very substantial and will not easily slide around the floor.
Instruction Manual - Very thorough and well-illustrated with photos and line drawings. Spiral bound. Easy to get up and going on this machine and all of its features with only the manual. Additional information on why and when to use various stitches, including extensive darning and mending instructions, zipper insertion instructions, and various accessory feet instruction. This is how manuals should be.
More photos and accompanying anecdotal comments are here.
These are NOT major dislikes, just slight annoyances because I'm quite used to a more modern, computerized machine.
1. No on/off switch. This came in later models.
2. The needle plate is not marked in fractions or even in millimeters. Instead, it's marked with lines and 1, 2, 3. Not very intuitive, although it's easy to measure and get used to - or, what I did, mark with a fine-point Sharpie.
3. No multiple variable needle positions, but there is a left needle position so that's something.
4. No needle/up down setting. This came in later series 6000 models.