About this Guide:
I have written this guide to help you make a sound judgment on how much to bid when buying a second hand Brother Knitting Machine. Time and again we are having machines sent to us for service that have been in an online auction and the buyer has paid far too much for the condition of the machine.
I must make it clear I have written this guide from my memory, it may not be 100% accurate. I am giving you my opinion, I accept that others may not agree. I accept no responsibility for any mistakes what so ever. The age of these machines given is very approximate and is based from the date of writing this article 26th March, 2007.
I have been a machine knitter for over twenty five years. I have been selling & servicing machine knitting since 1985 when I started my first shop. My husband is a Brother trained Knitting Machine engineer and does all of our repairs & servicing. Now I specialize in supplying and servicing the range of Brother Knitting Machines. I have probably the largest range of spares and second hand refurbished Brother Machines in the UK. I have designed and published nineteen pattern books for machine knitting.
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Above is a knitting machine purchased via an auction. As you can see from these photographs it was in very bad shape, the instructions, punch cards, most of the tools, the spares were missing & the machine did not work, it had probably been left in a garden shed for a year or five. The client thought that they where getting a bargain they had paid just under £40.00.
Below is that same machine after it had been sent to us and put through our workshops. We striped out all of the mechanical components, then we thoroughly cleaned & serviced the whole machine. There was damage to the machine caused by water contamination so we replaced the items that were no longer viable, we serviced, re-timed, adjusted, reassembled and tested the machine. It took just over three hours of our time, cost to the client £75.00 plus the components supplied at £18.00, plus repairs £15.00 the freight & insurance costs came to £20.00. The total bill for refurbishing this machine came to £128.00 plus the purchase price of the machine of £40.00
It is essential when you are bidding on a machine in the auctions that you don’t loose sight of the true value of the machine you are bidding on. Most of the Brother range of machines are over ten years old and some are considerably older but there should be plenty of years in them yet. Most of the Brother punch card machines are not a problem (see our guide KNITTING MACHINES - THE BROTHER RANGE EXPLAINED) but allow for the fact that all of these machines now need servicing. One of the most common statements made by sellers is that this machine is working fine, don’t be suckered in by this, you wouldn’t run your car without a service waiting for a clatter under the bonnet before you take it in to the garage for maintenance. You should allow at least £75.00 plus parts at around £20 plus carriage to and from the workshop at £20. One other thing to remember it costs as much to service the older and cheaper machines as it does the later more expensive models. (The above pricing is not a quote on servicing an individual machine it is only a rough idea of costs. Your machine may have extra problems. Date 26th, March, 2007)
Below I have given a template of questions you should ask the buyer before you bid. Let’s look at some of the values of the popular Brother punch card range of machines:
GP: Guide Prices for a machine fully serviced with all of it’s components and a three month guarantee purchased from HKC Knitting Machines a plus or minus figure for cosmetic condition must be allowed:
SBP: Suggested buying price, maxium to allow for the necessary work to be carried out to refurbish, and pay for the carriage (UK only). This is subject to all of the major components, tools, books & punch cards being included and no damage or broken componets. Don’t forget that it is unlikely that you will get any guarantee when you make a bid in an auction. Below is a suggested template of questions you should ask before bidding.
PUNCH CARD GUIDE PRICES:
KH830 GP: £129.00 SBS £14.00
KH836 GP: £159.00 SBP £44.00
KH840 GP: £139.00 SBS £24.00
KH860 GP: £169.00 SBS £54.00
KH890 GP: £199.00 SBS £74.00
KH881 GP: £179.00 SBS £65.00
KH891 GP: £225.00 SBS £110.00
KH864 GP: £215.00 SBS £100.00
Before you start bidding on a machine you should read very carefully what the seller is saying. Look at the photographs, no pictures don’t bid, poor pictures should raise your suspicions. If the eBay listing page is shabby & lacks information then it’s a strong possibility that the seller will not take care when packaging and dispatching the goods promptly to you. I would ask the following questions:
1. Do you have the original instruction book & punch cards? 2. Please look in the front of the instructions and you will find a list of all the original equipment that was supplied with the machine, please tell me what items are missing? 3. Is there any damage to the machine and if there is please supply the full details? 4. How long have you owned the machine and when did you last use it? 5. How have you stored the machine since you last used it? (If it is claimed that the machine has been serviced ask) 6. Who serviced it, when was it serviced, do you have the dated receipt for the work carried out? 7. In the case of an electronic machine ask the seller to switch the computer on for at least two hours to warm the unit up then ask them to test the machine by running card 1 or pattern 30 this is a one by one needle selection across the whole bed. They should be able to confirm that all the needles select a one by one pattern. WARNING: this is a very basic test and is not 100% guarantee the computer is working but it gives a very minimum idea of it’s condition. Any seller should be able to run this test.
If they don’t give proper answers to these questions I would press the seller or not bid, there are plenty of good machines coming up for sale. If the machine is damaged then find out how much it is going to cost to repair it. If items are missing find out how much the replacements are and are they available. A missing sinker plate could cost you £45, a carriage £90 to £130 so don’t treat this lightly. If this machine has just come into the hands of the seller then watch out there are a lot of eBay traders out there who are not specialists & in truth don’t have any real knowledge of what they are selling. There are not many Brother trained knitting machine engineers still working, the number of times I have had a machine on my bench that is supposed to have been serviced only to find that at best it has been cleaned and not very well. Rember the seller is looking to get the highest price possible whilst the buyer is looking for a bargin.
BROTHER ELECTONIC MACHINES:
The Brother electronic machines are wonderful and truly give you some spectacular pattering opportunities but remember that whilst the mechanics of these machines are in essence the same as the punch card models and are easy to repair and service. The electronics on the other hand are not, there are no more new replacement computers being made and to the best of my knowledge there have not been any made for some considerable time. As I have said in previous guides the electronics wear out with age not just use and as a consequence my advice is to realise that once the electronics die then the machine is in essence finished. When I sell an electronic I always keep at least one backup computer on my shelf for the model I am selling. The price you pay should reflect this. So I would remove up to £100.00 off the SBS price when making a private purchase.
KH910 WE DON’T SELL THIS MODEL, we think it is way past it’s sell by date.
KH950 GP: £350.00 SBS: £235.00
KH950i GP: £379.00 SBS: £264.00
KH940 GP: £350.00 SBS: £235.00
KH965 GP: £425.00 SBS: £310.00
KH965i GP: £450.00 SBS: £335.00
KH900 GP: £249.00 SBS: £134.00
KH970 Not many of these were made, we don’t sell these at the moment because of the shortage of spare parts. We have seen these being offered as new but to the best of our knowledge they have not been made for over five years. So be very careful with this one.
Additional information 08,May,2008:
It has been drawn to my attention that there are some electronic spares still around from when Brother were still selling Knitting Machines in the UK. I understand that these may be available from one or two retailers but a word of caution, I guess this stock will be at least the same age as when Brother stopped marketing and distributing machines, some time in the late 90s or early 2000, most of this stock is almost certainly considerably older. You should be aware that electronic components age as well as wear out so the clock is ticking on any electronic stock on the shelf the same as when it is installed in a machine. Electronic components of any type have an undetermine shelf life, they do not have to be used for them to deteriorate and become time expired, a lot depends on how they are stored, I frequently see machines that have been in store with very little or no use but the electronics no longer work. As any computer engineer will tell you PC components suffer from the same problem.
We sell a wide range of fully refurbished Brother knitting machines, ribbers, accessories, books & spares.
Why not take the gamble out of purchasing a knitting machine from an auction. If you want a knitting machine or ribber that works, is complete, comes with a guarantee arrives properly packed & has after sales telephone support then buy from us. Unless otherwise stated in the listing all of our machines have been fully refurbished & tested by our resident Brother trained knitting machine engineer. Take the worry & disappointment out of the purchase, we have the expertise to look after you with a reputation for good after sales service. Please read our feedback.
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Happy Machine Knitting
Carol Callow HKC Knitting Machines
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