Is Your Sewing Machine Handwheel Hard to Turn? We Have Solutions!

Is your sewing machine handwheel hard to turn? Let’s take a look at why this might be the case. Unfortunately, there will be occasions when your sewing machines jams. Often, the problem will be caused by a hard to turn sewing machine handwheel. Also called the balance wheel, the sewing machine handwheel is used to control the movement of both the take-up lever and the needle. Both manual and electric sewing machines feature the handwheel.

Therefore, you need to keep a close eye on the handwheel and maintain to prevent it from getting jammed. If the handwheel gets jammed, then your sewing machine would not work, or it won’t work as efficiently as it should. It’s that simple.

Possible Reasons for the Jammed Sewing Machine Handwheel

A sewing machine handwheel can get jammed for several reasons. By finding out the reasons why your sewing machine handwheel is hard to turn, you can make it easier for yourself to solve the problem or maybe even avoid it in the first place. The following are some reasons for a sewing machine handwheel to become jammed.

Sewing machine handwheel hard to turn

1. Lack of Tension on the Upper Thread

Sometimes, tension is good. However, the type of tension we’re talking about is the tension on the upper thread rather than the emotional or mental strain that we often feel. When people find several threads beneath the fabric in a tangled mess, they are often quick to blame the bobbin for it. However, the problem isn’t with the bobbin; instead, it is related to the upper thread’s tension.

The problem here is that the sewing machine does not have adequate tension to pull up the thread through the fabric. The best thing to do in this situation is re-threading the needle as per the instructions of the manufacturer for your sewing machine; lift the presser foot to do this.

2. Clogged Machine

Another reason for a jammed sewing machine handwheel is a clog somewhere on the machine. This clog could be present in several forms including in the shape of lint or dust that can collect on the machine. The lint or dust can build-up to jam your sewing machine’s working mechanisms if you don’t clean out the gunk from time to time. To remove the lint or dust, you will have to switch off the machine, unthread it, and then clean it thoroughly.

These are two common reasons for a jammed sewing machine handwheel or a handwheel that is hard to turn. However, there could be many other factors being your sewing machine handwheel being difficult to turn.

The Steps to Fix A Hard to Turn Sewing Machine Handwheel

One of the most useful household appliances, a sewing machine has many practical applications and it can empower creative expression. A great thing about sewing machines is that they can last for a lifetime if maintained properly. On the other hand, a sewing machine can develop wear and tear if it is neglected for long periods, exposed to environmental pressures, and abused. Ultimately, the sewing machine will stop working.

Often, dirt, dust, lint, and debris get mixed with the grease and oils used for lubricating the sewing machine. Ove time, this leads to the sewing machine losing its viscidity. The machine dries and eventually fails to operate. Fixing a frozen or jammed sewing machine is no easy feat. Often, it requires help from a skilled technician experienced in fixing jammed sewing machines.

When we talk about jammed sewing machine handwheel, one of the most important things to remember is that you should release the handwheel in older models when wounding the bobbin; this will help to prevent needle movement when there is no fabric being sewn. How can you do this? You can do this by holding the outer wheel while rotating the inner one.

The basic rule of engagement for using the sewing machine with the handwheel is ensuring that the wheel movement is initiated in an anticlockwise way. If you try to spin it anticlockwise, then this can cause a lot of damage to the sewing machine which can be costly.

While you’re allowed to rotate the handwheel in a clockwise motion to unlock the bobbin, you need to do it in an extremely subtle way. Often, you will find it hard to turn the sewing machine handwheel. At this point, you must not apply any force on the wheel. If you do that, then the handwheel is likely to get damaged further.

There several different factors that can make a sewing machine handwheel hard to turn. Often, fixing the jammed handwheel is out of your wheelhouse. At this point, you would need the services of an expert technician who has experience in fixing jammed sewing machine handwheel or a handwheel that is hard to turn. However, there are many instances in which you can try and fix the jammed handwheel on your own. How can you do that? With the following steps.

1. Adjust the Inner Knob of the Handwheel

Most, if not all, old sewing machine models have a knob inside the handwheel. Often, this knob is locked which can make the handwheel hard to turn. Therefore, if you’re using an older sewing machine, then make sure to check the knob inside the handwheel and disengage it needed; this needs to be done in a way similar to when you thread the bobbin and then turn the handwheel.

To make sure your old sewing machine’s handwheel isn’t jammed due to how the smaller wheel is positioned inside it, adjust the inner knob of the handwheel as the first step in fixing a sewing machine handwheel that is hard to turn.

2. Re-Thread the Sewing Machine

One reason for the sewing machine handwheel being hard to turn is that the tangling of the thread may have caused some tension in the wheel. Therefore, to fix the problem of the handwheel not turning, the first step that you need to take is once again threading the sewing machine; this will release some of the tension in the handwheel and this making it easier to turn.

The handwheel is likely to become easier to move once you’ve performed this step. If the handwheel is still difficult to turn, then you should the next step to solving the problem.

3. Remove the Bobbin Case

If you have jammed handwheel even after re-threading the sewing machine, then another solution that you can try is removing the bobbin case and clearing the areas surrounding it. The first thing that you need to do here is to remove any built-up lint with the help of a brush; doing this is important because built-up lint can affect the movement of the handwheel.

To achieve the results you desire, two parts of the sewing machine that you should pay special attention to are the bobbin thread sensor and the race. Once you’ve performed the cleaning up act, check the handwheel to ensure that it is easy to turn and move. After this, put back the bobbin case.

Our Final Thoughts

As mentioned above, there are several possible reasons for the sewing machine handwheel being hard to turn. The good news is that, regardless of what has caused it, you can fix the problem of sewing machine handwheel hard to turn by following the three easy steps mentioned above. That’s how simple fixing this problem is.

About The Author

Scroll to Top