Thursday, April 22, 2010

Review: Viking 6010 Sewing Machine



Price Paid: US $46 (Ebay)

Features:

* 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)

Likes:

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.

Background

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!

Features Detailed

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.

Dislikes:

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.

19 comments:

  1. Ahhh--what a treasure! I have a TOL Bernina, an older Bernina, a lightweight Brother, Singer Featherweight and a treadle. Of all of them, I like the older Bernina best. It will take anything I give it. Anything. Sometimes, the newer machines just don't have the gusto of their older sisters!

    My word verification is "defang", which I don't like, at all. I liv on water, where there are snakes, and I am fearful of them. I hope this is not a bad omen! Yikes!

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  2. great review ... i just schlepped my husqvarna 6570, bought new in 1981 in prince george, british columbia, to a daughter's home in the minneapolis area to sew with her ... left it back there b/c i'm going back in dec/jan for a longer stay ... i love this machine and, when my granddaughter comes to visit in the summer, she uses it and loves it, too ... the slower speed is great for beginning sewers .... i have an older, computerized bernina 1230, bought used last year, and i love it too ...

    again, debbie, thanks for the review, i'm already missing my 6570, which, btw, is burgundy in color (or coloUr as it's from canada!!!) and it's just lovely and has been very well loved ...

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  3. I just acquired a 6020 machine and the stitch width know won't turn. it is the bottom right one... is there a trick to turning it? or is it just frozen?. the manuel doesn't say anything...
    thanks,
    Carrie

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    Replies
    1. Hi, Grace, do u have the manual, I just got the 6020, without the manual, and I wonder if you could give me a copy of it, please, my email is jagevevarom@yahoo.com , thanks

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  4. Excellent Review! I just bought a 6360 and I LOVE it!
    I was wondering if you have a pdf. version on the manual? I am a novice sewer and mine did not come with the excellent manual you speak of. I would love to get my hands on a copy of something that would help me figure out all the fun things this machine has to offer.

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  5. I don't have much experience sewing... but I like to do simple repairs or projects. I have stumbled on a viking 6010 and thought it looked like the kind of machine that would work well...!?!? I like their chain saws (husqvarna).... so what the heck. I am looking for any imput as to the usefulness, reliability, and value anyone is willing to share. Thank you!

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  6. I got one of these machines at an estate sale for $5 and have had it for two years. My husband and I did some research and learned how to recondition it. I think it's a gem. It's much more powerful than my featherweight, and it's my only machine that does ZZ and 3ZZ. I'm a little scared of it because it feels kind of like operating a battleship, but we're starting to make friends. I got lucky, too. Mine came with a vintage monogrammer the original owner bought when she purchased the machine. I'm having so much fun with that silly thing!

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  7. Wow! You really know your Vikings. I am crazy about sewing machines, the way may husband is about cars. I have a brand new Janome, which I love, but it doesn't have a needle down option. I do alot of free motion quilting. I also have a vintage White 77 series, that does straight stitch only. I would love to get my hands on a Bernina 1130 or 1230, but I don't have upwards of $400 laying around. I see alot of reasonably priced Vikings and I'm leaning in that direction. Thanks for the info.

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  8. I have my mother's 6010 & all it's accessories and book, but I've ignored the machine. My mom was the original owner and didn't put much wear on it. I'm beginning to better appreciate the older machines, and found your post. You've inspired me to bring the Viking out and get to know her!

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  9. I have a 6010 which was my mom's. It has all the cams, book, etc., but I have ignored it too much. I'm starting to better appreciate vintage machines now. Your post, which I found through a google search, has inspired me to bring out the Viking and get to know her! Thank you.

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  10. I have my mother's 6010 & all it's accessories and book, but I've ignored the machine. My mom was the original owner and didn't put much wear on it. I'm beginning to better appreciate the older machines, and found your post. You've inspired me to bring the Viking out and get to know her!

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  11. hello vikingettes, i too have a 6010. shes been part of the family since the seventies. lately her reverse stitch button has been getting stuck and i cant get it to pop back out. does she need a shot of oil to release that button? any suggestions would be appreciated. thank you and i am so happy i found you

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  12. hello to my fellow vikingettes. i too have a 6010. shes a good old gal but her reverse stitch button has been sticking and is at the present time stuck in reverse. i was thinking a shot of oil might help. any suggestions on how to remedy my situation would be greatly appreciated. thank you very much

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  13. I have an original Viking 6460 from 1977. It has gotten a ton of use, I made a lot of money as a SAH mom in the '80s. I haven't needed to do all that much sewing in the past 15 years, but the bug is hitting again. This time I'd like to get into more decorative things, actually use some of the functions on my machine I never had time for before.

    I don't want any of these modern machines, I love my Viking! I've mostly only sewn garments (from baby clothes to wedding party gowns) and a few household drapes, tablecloths, etc. Now I want to get a bit more upfront and personal with all my decorative cams. I so enjoyed your "vintage" take on what was so modern to me, lol.

    PS: While my girls could have learned how to sew on a Viking, neither one would touch it. Why should they, they had Mom!

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  14. Thanks for this. Funny, I'll bet when you wrote this 3 years ago or so you didn't think it would keep having people come back to it. I have just borrowed my Mom's machine (mine is going to the shop) but I am finding I need a manual. Thanks for the information though!

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  15. I just purchased a Viking Husqvarna 6020 at the Salvation Army for $15.99. It has all of the original attachment feet, accessories, manual, extension table, carrying case, and cams A B C & D. When I got it home I discovered that the cam stack is broken and took it to a local Viking Husqvarna dealer/repair center and the repairs will cost about $250. I don't mind paying the price though because it is an excellent machine and will receive lots of love from me. Of course, I have 18 other sewing machines, mostly vintage, that I wont go into detail and list here. Suffice it to say that I'm an avid collector of sewing machines, both old and new.

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    Replies
    1. Melissa or anyone out there, I just bought a 6020 Viking and need the manual. It had a lot with it but not that ...Hope someone can send a PDF or a scan copy?? Kathy
      Rockester @ charter.net with no spaces, THANKS!

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  16. I have two of the 6020 machines--they are workhorses. I have made a ton of stuff with them, which includes canvas items for deck, historic costumes, repair of jeans and hunting clothing (barbed wire) and shirts (fly fishing tears) using 3-step zigzag which is a godsend, clothing items, aprons, sleeping bag repairs, drapery, upholstery, lingeré, baby clothes.

    Two negatives: 1) If the paper case falls over in the back of a station wagon, the "goose neck" piece that goes up and down above the needle can get broken--there isn't a lot of padding in the box 2) this is one heavy sucker so if you have trouble lifting, buy a Singer Featherweight instead. The bobbin holder part of the accessory case is usually broken in the ones I've seen, including mine.

    Be sure to clean out the bobbin area from lint every so often. Oil it lightly once in a while.

    Singer short-shank feet and attachments will work on it, including the green-box buttonholer, which will give you a keyhole shaped buttonhole.

    The purple marking on my knobs has faded so badly that it is hard to know what color it is.

    I have bought replacement cams and some cams I never had from EBay. Also the little table piece.

    Repair can be pricey and you might not be able to find a good repair person locally, There is an online group for older Viking Husqvarnas and they have a list of repair persons that posters have recommended.

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    Replies
    1. Great info! Does this model include a blanket stitch? I have a collection of vintage sewing machines but none of them can do a blanket stitch for applique. Thank you so much! Carrie

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Thank you for each and every comment. I appreciate them all, but I have to be honest and let you know that I'm usually bad about answering questions. I hope you understand that there just isn't enough time in the day to do everything I want to do.

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