50 Ways to Love Your Linker

I recently found a Brother KA-8310 linker for $35 on eBay ("working condition"!). I hear these things break more than work, but for the price, I figured, why not? The linker arrived, in clean condition, with original packaging and manual. I knitted up a test swatch, followed the instructions and.... sure enough, it didn't work. Parts moved when I turned the crank, but it did not advance on the bed of my Brother 940.

Then I realized my mistake. I hadn't let Dan tinker with it first.

So, I brought it home, set the box in front of him, and said, "Wanna fix this?" He picked up a screwdriver and I grabbed my camera. (Thus began another romantic evening at home...)

Underside of linker. Remove 3 screws to get the top off. Picture #2 shows the 3 screws removed (top right, bottom left and right).

The white plastic case can be removed when the handle is turned to the side like this. 

Frequently the oil in these old machines just freezes up. The secret to unsticking them (according to Dan) is a little oil and a lot of patience. 

When restoring an old piece of gear, start by identifying all the parts that look like they should move. For knitting machine carriages (and linkers), these parts are often mounted on pins

Dan uses a syringe to squirt Balistol into the base of the pin. He then works the metal part mounted on that pin, gently rocking it back and forth, which causes the new oil to flow down into the mechanism. Sometimes old dirty oil works its way to the surface, and is wiped away. Eventually, the pin loosens up completely and it starts to work like new. 

If you don't have a syringe handy, dip a sewing needle into the oil and apply drops of it with the needle.

Applying oil to a pin

Wiping away old oil 

Oiling between moving plates

After oiling all the parts that seemed a bit slow, Dan found this part that was completely frozen.

This apparently is the part that advanced the linker on the needle bed.

It looked like it had gotten stuck, and then someone kept using it in its stuck state, which caused the flat metal arm to get wobbly and bent. It needed a very thin washer to stabilize it-- so we cut one from a post-it book flag, disassembled the arm, and inserted it. Perfect.

The yellow arrow indicates the post where we added the washer.


Here's video of the mechanism that advances the linker, in its working state. Note how the metal tab only pushes the white plastic prongs going to the left. Going to the right, it "hops" over them. 

Follow up: Once the linker was working again, some parts were still a little slow. So Dan decided to revisit them with WD40. After spraying, he wiped away the excess, then added fresh Balistol oil.

9 responses
Super nice! Any chance of bringing this linker to Paillard e-textile summercamp????
Absolutely! So glad you asked!
Thank you for this I have a linker which is frozen I will give this a go when I get a moment!!
Thanks! These are such marvelously complex devices-- I hope we can return more of them to service!
Dear Jesse, Great to see this, as I´ve been trying for one afternoon to understand this mechanism at the Camp ! A shame that I didn´t know about your experience about it ! Basically I opened it somehow wrongly, and the spring on the right side left his screw position. I kept it (moving inside once I closed everything again) as I was not able to have a picture of how it should be placed. Now I guess I see it properly on your picture, so I´ll open it up again and try again ! It also seems that I have a similar frozen problem than what you had, I just can´t move it further to accomplish a full round... If you have any idea I take it, if I find my way with that tool I´ll let you know too ! Thank you for this article !!!
Hi Pauline, I just saw your post! Perhaps next year we should do a "DIY knitting machine repairs" session? (And maybe I'll have to bring Dan along!)
My Brother 8310 auto linker seems to work exceptthe stitch is not moving behind the linker needle latch so that the next stitch can pull through. I have to manually push the stitch behind the the linker needle latch.It almost appears that the linker needle is not moving far enough forward so that the stitch can fall behind the latch onto the stem. Is there an adjustment I can make so that the needle thrusts forward further?? Any help would be greatly appreciated!!
Hi Lynn, It's hard to say without seeing it. Is the spring running parallel to the needle latch arm still intact? If you could post photos, or better yet, a video of the linker needle in action, that miiiiight help.
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