The new-to-me Singer 411G came with spool pins in a horrible state. One was broken, the other one was sitting askew. A quick web search reveals that each pin consists of four parts – the actual pin, a rubber spacer, a plastic washer, and a spring nut. Replacing it requires removing the plate with the information on decorative stitches. The best description of the process and a list of alternative solutions can be found on this page. If you want to keep your machine close to original condition, then you can stop reading my article right now, and head over to the above link. I dislike the idea of replacing the bad design with the same bad design; I wanted steel spool pins.
I had a really hard time trying to remove the bottom bracket fixed cup from my friend’s Elvish French bike. I replicated Sheldon Brown’s fixed cup removal tool, although my local hardware store did not carry any 5/8″ bolts, so I had to resort to a 1/2″ threaded bolt. I believe that I have made two improvements to the tool, which I’ll detail below.