Toyota 950 Punchcard
After some consideration I thought I would take out a machine I positively hated and to think this was my first punchcard after forever, I liked it because of its colour and the ribber 506 did Simulknit, what more could you want and well it did lace and I had never experienced at that time a machine that did knitted lace – the old magazines were full of it and the lace was beautiful in the patterns and the machine was a Toyota. How could I fail?
I have so much more experience now and wondered if it was just me that made it such a problematic machine. Taking it out of its case after quite a few years ie 2013 was the last time I tested it and put it away as for spares.
To start with I took a look at the sinker plate, a huge problem on this machine if you do not know how to fit it and now it’s an even bigger problem as you cannot buy the rubber gear wheels for love nor money, I have seen the star shaped ones but not the ones that are an unusual shape, mine are completely done in ie they have been eaten alive by the operation of the carriage in my early days. I had intended to buy a load of these but you know how it was in those days, I just thought I had plenty of time.
Back to business, the machine was totally gummed up with old oil and the punchcard was not selecting, it was seriously heavy to push and felt like the worst machine ever. I pity anyone who bought this as their first machine; it would have put them off for life.
I then decided to give it a clean and oil and it took forever to get it going again, all the cams were gummed up and kept stopping in the middle of row – one cam gave me extreme trouble so I put a little petrol on a brush and cleaned as best as I can. In France the cleaner of my choice is dearer than whisky ie surgical spirits – it’s a serious problem to a machine collector that needs litres of the stuff.
Toyota plain lace sample
On my fourth day, it eventually loosened up and gave me an opportunity to really get to know it. It has the strangest needle selector I have ever seen, but it was supposed to be an innovation, however not a very good one. Unless I was unfortunate and bought the worst model ever and I may add it was from a reputable dealer in Edinburgh – I pity anyone who has the problems I have encountered. Eventually after taking the back off and cleaning and oiling the parts, and working them hard with the carriage without the sinker plate on and slowly but surely the punchcard started to operate. First it missed loads but eventually it worked on every row. Next problem was needle selection – and it was haphazard thanks to the sticky cams gummed up with grease. Once this was free and it took me a couple more days to get these operating next came the part I always hated with this machine and that was getting the carriage to set properly. It is very difficult to seat and if not seated it just does nothing but give you hassle – I can see that with the damaged rubber gears.
Once it was loosened up and seated properly I was able to use the punchcards – simple enough, but another oddity is that you cannot select the first row from the right hand side – it stated to start it from the left however, I assumed it would do the same from the right but no joy. You also have a dated system of end needle selection ie you have to turn a brass screw with your tool to ensure the correct selection.
I knitted tuck stitch, slipstitch and fairisle with little problem and even lace but just the plain type, with the lace cams on. When it came to fashion lace with its multiple transfers I had absolutely no joy, it needs the weaving brushed down and even with this it dropped stitches all over the place, I personally think it was the fault of the 4 badly damaged rubber gears – by the way it would not work without them.
So its loosened up now, and does a variety of stitch techniques but I still stick to my original thoughts of this machine, do not buy it now as most are second hand and its almost certain that the rubber wheels will be caput, there are so many better machines out there and my choice of Toyota would undoubtedly be the Toyota 901, a seriously good quality machine with a separate lace carriage and it still works with the
506 ribber to do Simulknit. The Toyota 950 even when working well is a heavy to push carriage with a dreadful sinker plate and more importantly it’s a very difficult carriage to seat - replacement parts including needles are getting scarce even if still attainable.