Featherweight Hook Timing

This tutorial is for setting the basic timing of the rotating hook. This tutorial assumes two things. 1. The needle bar has not been moved in the needle bar clamp. 2. The needle bar bushing has not been raised or lowered. I am not saying that the average person cannot correct the timing if this has happened. It is just beyond the scope of this tutorial.

If I get enough requests, I will work on a more in depth tutorial on timing adjustment.


Tools needed to set the timing on a Featherweight. All of these tools are high quality professional grade tools. Use the best tools that you can afford as this makes the job easier and avoids damaging the screws.

The small screwdriver is for removing the gib hook screw. The right angle screwdriver is for removing the throat plate and feed dog screws. This allows being square on the screw head so the slot doesn’t get damaged. Be very careful when using this to tighten the screws. The lever handle allows for a lot of turning force without realizing it. A screw can be broken or the aluminum threads stripped. The long screwdriver is for removing the rotating hook setscrews. This screwdriver doesn’t need to be this long, just my personal preference.


The upper and lower needle bar timing marks in reference to the needle bar bushing.


This is where the lower timing mark should be when checking the position of the rotating hook in reference to the needle.  The needle bar must be on it’s upward stroke.


With the lower timing mark at the bottom of the needle bar bushing, the hook should be on the centerline of the needle, just above the eye of the needle.  This shows a properly timed Featherweight.  The throat plate, feed dogs will need to be removed.  The gib hook and folding bed have also been removed for clarity.


There are two setscrews holding the rotating hook on the rotating hook shaft.  They are located 180 degrees apart.


There is a flat spot ground on one side of the rotating hook shaft.  The most common problem is someone has removed the rotating hook and not reinstalled it properly.


The setscrew on the side where the two hooks cross should be located on the flat spot.  This setscrew should be located over the flat spot on the rotating hook shaft.  The rotating hook must then be pushed onto the end of the shaft as far as it will go.  This setscrew MUST BE TIGHTENED FIRST.  This will center the setscrew on the flat spot.  This sets the timing if nothing else has been tampered with.  Then tighten the setscrew on the opposite side.  Now recheck the timing with the lower timing mark at the bottom of the needle bar bushing with the needle bar on its upward stroke.  The timing should be correct.


If the timing is still not correct, there are still two things to look at.  Look at the needle bar clamp screw in the second photo.  If it has been tampered with you will most likely be able to tell.  This screw is very tight and will probably have some sign of damage if it has been moved.  If the needle bar clamp screw has not been touched then lets move on.

First I would like to say, I think it is unlikely that these setscrews have been loosened and the shaft moved.  That being said, this adjustment should be a last resort.  So think about it before you do this.

Loosen the two setscrews shown is the photo above.  With the lower needle bar timing mark at the bottom of the needle bar bushing on the upward stroke, hold the balance wheel and rotate the hook to the proper position shown in the 4th photo.  Tighten the setscrews.  Recheck the timing again.  Reassembly is the reverse of disassembly.

I did not go over the needle to hook gap which should be about .005 thousandths of an inch.  This gap is determined by the bronze bearing behind the rotating hook.  As long as the rotating hook has been pushed all the way onto the shaft.  This gap should be ok.  I am saying this because the bearings are a press fit and held with a setscrew.   These bearings must be driven in or out with a hammer and punch (not recommended) or adjusted with a puller.

If there are any errors, please let me know and I will correct them.  This is the first in a series of tutorials that I am planning.