Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Keeping Your Bernina 830 Clean and Oiled!

Instructions for cleaning and oiling the Bernina

I've been  a professional seamstress for 49 years, and this has been my main machine for the past 36 of them. I suppose she's had over 700,000 yards of fabric run under her needles in that time, and she still works great. Of course, my machine is used on a regular basis, but I've also taken the time to take care to clean and oil it frequently. The fantastic Swiss design features on this model, the last, all-metal machine made by Bernina, make these maintenance chores easy to achieve.

1. Open the door covering the bobbin area.

2. Press the second lever from the top on the left hand side to release the ‘door’ that holds the shuttle and the bobbin case in position.

The shuttle, which is the metal thing with the holes in it, will fall forward. The shuttle may still be holding to the bobbin case if you have not yet removed it.
The shuttle is the quarter moon shaped piece with the pointed tip. The bobbin case is in the center of the shuttle.

3. Using a machine cleaning brush, sweep away any lint or tiny threads in the area, moving the brush away from the machine.

4. Wipe the shuttle area clean with a scrap of sheet, or other material that does not have fuzz on it.

The bobbin case is on the left, the shuttle is on the right.
5. Turn the SHUTTLE itself upside down, wipe it off, and add a single drop of oil.

6. Using your finger tip, spread the machine oil across the outside bottom of the shuttle and around the outside ridges of it. You can also run your oiled finger around the metal chamber in the machine into which the shuttle fits.
7. Place the shuttle back into the casing, and close the door mechanism that holds it in place.

I’m pushing the ‘door’ that holds the shuttle back into place closed. It clicks audibly when in the closed position.
8. Next, using the lever inside this same area that is closest to the top of the machine on the left side, release the cover that forms the bed of the machine’s arm.

The arm cover will pop up and release. Pull it towards the left and set it aside.

9. Again, use the brush to remove any loose particles, dust or threads. 

10. Looking down into the arm, slowly run the machine for a few moments and visually note which parts move. Some will slide, piston-like, and others will partially rotate.

11. Add a TINY drop of machine oil at each point of movement of all the components of this section of the machine.
The copper-colored ‘rod’ you see here is a long tube that extends from my oil bottle to dispense a drop of oil on one of the contact points.
12. Replace the arm cover by sliding it from the needle end, in towards the right side of the machine, and pushing down on it until it clicks back into place.
13. Next, turn the machine so that the end that holds the needle faces you.

14. Open the door covering the mechanics above the needle. It hinges on the rear side of the machine.

15. Sweep or wipe away any dirt, fuzz or threads.
16. Run the machine for a few moments, noting which sections of the machinery move.

17. Place a TINY drop of oil at each friction and movement point on the machinery.
18. Wipe off any residual oil so it does not run down onto the needle.
19. Close the door.
20. Stitch for a few moments on a scrap of fabric, to make certain there is no oil remaining to stain your good fabric.


  1. This is soooooooooo helpful to me! Thank you so very much!

  2. What a wonderful tutotial - pictures and information are clear and precise! Thank you - you clearly know your stuff! I'm going to do this myself instead of spending the time trucking my machine to the shop and then cleaning the ooodles of oil that come out afterwards :)

    Two questions 1. how often do you recommend oiling 2. do you recommend any specific oil?

  3. Thank you for the detail. Do you have any suggestions how to disengage the clutch when the inner knob of the wheel is stuck? I was trying to retread a bobbin and it will not budge. I ended up just removing the needle and threading it with the clutch engaged, but I'm concerned something is seized up and could become a bigger problem.

  4. I was fortunate to purchase a Bernina Record 830, with case, presser feet and swing arm sewing table at an estate auction last spring for only $85.00! It felt stuck and gummed up, but I took a chance anyway. After cleaning and oiling, it works like a charm. Last week I made three tops for myself and a granddaughter. I LOVE this machine. I have owned some hand-me down machines in the past, purchased a couple of new relatively inexpensive machines ($200.00 range) but none can compare to the 830. I will use your instructions this afternoon to oil my machine. Thanks for the info and the excellent photos. A good how-to photo is worth a thousand words.

  5. Thank you so much!!! Very I didn't think I could do this myself.

  6. This is different than the manufacturer recommended process for oiling a Bernina 830 record machine. Manufacturer also recommends folding back the top of the machine and oiling three locations inside. There is no recommendation for opening up the side above the needle and oiling there. Suggest others look at manufacturer's recommendations and decide what they want to do.

    1. I agree that there are oiling points in the top of the machine that need oil. I also oil the top above the needle and oil there occasionally. It makes sense with the moving parts and my repair person told me that it was a good idea to do that.

  7. I purchased an 830 Bernina in the 1970s. It has been packed away for several years. I cannot get it to do a zig zag. Any suggestions?