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How To Take Apart A Brother Punch Card Knitting Machine

brother-knitting-machine-disassemble-3Whenever I find a used knitting machine, I like to take a peek inside to make sure its clean and able to function as best as possible.

Below is a detailed photo tutorial on how to disassemble a Brother Knitking KH840 punch card knitting machine.

You’ll find that the steps are fairly similar to other makes and models as well.


brother-knitting-machine-disassemble-1Place the machine on its back.

Locate the two brackets that hold the table clamps.

Unscrew it.


brother-knitting-machine-disassemble-2Set the hardware to the side in a bowl and remove the other bracket.


brother-knitting-machine-disassemble-3Turn the machine back over and set on your work table.

Unlatch the lid clasps and remove the lid.

Set it aside.


brother-knitting-machine-disassemble-4Remove the carriage and set aside.


brother-knitting-machine-disassemble-5Using a pusher, push one end of the sponge bar and pull it out from the opposite side.

I like thick bamboo scewers since they won’t damage anything if I slip on the plastic or metal.


brother-knitting-machine-disassemble-6You need to remove all the needles.

Start at one end, and pull the needle all the way towards you until its butt hits the end of its channel.


brother-knitting-machine-disassemble-7Make sure that the latch hook is closed.


brother-knitting-machine-disassemble-8Push down on the latch end and simultaneously lift up on the back end of the needle. Pull it out towards the back of the machine.

Continue across the bed of the machine, removing all the needles.

You may need to lift up with slight force towards the back for the needle to carefully clear the plastic housing.


brother-knitting-machine-disassemble-9Remove the lid on the built in accessory box and set aside.

Locate the screw holding this section of plastic housing in place.

Unscrew and set the screw aside in a bowl. I like to keep the different sections of hardware in separate collection bowls. It make reassembly less confusing.


brother-knitting-machine-disassemble-10Move to the adjacent section of plastic housing and locate its screws.

Remove the screw and add to your collection bowls.


brother-knitting-machine-disassemble-11This section had a total of 3 screws. The last two were on each side of the punch card reader.

Remove the screws and add to your collection bowls.


brother-knitting-machine-disassemble-12Grab the plastic decorative top on the selection lever and gently pull it off.

It will catch and fly off when you go to remove the plastic cover if you don’t take it off now.


brother-knitting-machine-disassemble-14Here it is removed.


brother-knitting-machine-disassemble-15Lift off the cover and set aside.

Please note that one side of the plastic cover usually lays on top of its neighbor where they meet in the middle. Your machine may be different.

You can only remove the top cover first.


brother-knitting-machine-disassemble-16On this knitting machine, the punch card mechanism cover set on top of the accessory tool box section.

Therefore, you must gently push the accessory tool box section to the side to get if out from under the case edge.


brother-knitting-machine-disassemble-17Lift off the section and set aside.


brother-knitting-machine-disassemble-18The punch card pusher button will be loose. Before removing the machine from the case, lift it out and set aside.


brother-knitting-machine-disassemble-19Locate the three screws securing the right side of the metal bed.

Remove the screws and add to your collection bowls.


brother-knitting-machine-disassemble-20Locate the three screws securing the left side of the metal bed.

Remove the screws and add to your collection bowls.


brother-knitting-machine-disassemble-21We’re almost done.

Locate the screw to the left of the center back, attaching the metal bed to the case.

Remove the screw and add to your collection bowls.


brother-knitting-machine-disassemble-22Locate the screws in the center back, further attaching the metal bed to the case.

Remove the screws and add to your collection bowls.


brother-knitting-machine-disassemble-23Lift the knitting machine out of the case and set it on your work table.

Before cleaning I usually take the machine outside to blow it out with compressed air. You won’t believe how much fluff and junk will come flying out. My husband’s compressor works wonders!

Once de-fluffed, I wipe down as much as possible. I use Simple Green, a degreaser, on the plastic parts and case, and denatured alcohol on the metal bed and needles.

Don’t use water based cleaners on the metal bed parts. It will seep into the cracks and potentially rust.

When it’s all squeaky clean and totally dry, reassemble in reverse order and have lots of fun knitting.

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May 12, 2010


1 Liz aka FiberGeek { 05.12.10 at 2:29 pm }

Great Post. I am so glad to see this documented in ths day of shade tree knitting machine mechanics!

2 Robin Myers { 05.13.10 at 3:33 am }

This was very informative…thanks for taking the time to post this. I have a Brother 970 and have been a little apprehensive of taking this apart for cleaning due to the electronics. I am hoping I can use this demo to take apart my machine. Thanks again. Robin

3 Laura { 05.13.10 at 8:51 am }

This is fantastic! The photographs are so helpful. Will definitely refer to this the next time I need to take a apart a machine. Thank you!

4 Dave Sanderson { 07.28.10 at 4:38 pm }

This post was very helpfull. I have a KH-910. It was a little bit different but close enough to get it apart. The most surprising part was that as I was taking it outside to clean out all the crumbly debris inside, it tilted in my arms as I opened the kitchen door and a part came flying out. I caught it and it was a second “sponge bar” below the needle selection bed. I’ve never heard of such a thing existing. the debris inside was from a completely decomposed sponge. the needle bottoms ride against. When I pressed the sponge with my finger, the sponge completely collapsed.

So I’ve replaced the sponge just like on the “known” sponge bar.

In retrospect really, the most surprising part was that I was able to get the thing back together with no left over parts and it actually works.

5 Mandy Bengeyfield { 08.22.10 at 1:11 am }

This is a really useful guide – thank you! I have recently got back into machine knitting after many years and have had to buy second-hand machines. It’s comforting to know how to get them apart to clean them and check them over properly.

Just one thing – what bits need to be oiled and do you just use the standard machine oil like for sewing machines etc?

6 T. Gwathmey { 08.27.10 at 7:17 am }

This was most informative and quite straight forward. Thanks so much for sharing and using the excellent pictures.

7 eve young { 11.18.10 at 3:55 am }

Hi Have just your page on takig apart a knitting machine and found it a great item. I wonder if you can help me further. I have Brother 950i and have tried to delete some mylar sheets from the programmer On the lid of the electronic pat it gives various numbers one of which is 888 to delete all. I did this and now can no longer use the programmer except for the built in patterns.
Can you tell me how to rectify this.
Eve Young

8 Mary { 12.14.10 at 11:26 am }

Thank you thank you thank you. I was looking for a place to have my machine fixed and cleaned (I have a Knitking) and just as soon as I typed in “knitting machine blog” up you came, with all the information I needed to do my own. Thanks again and I will be watching you now for more info as I go along.

West Virginia

9 Sandy Seila { 01.13.11 at 1:28 pm }

Is this pretty much how the ribber is cleaned as well? I can’t seem to find any info on it, and I just bought a used one that is pretty grimy. Any help appreciated!!

10 zia { 03.09.11 at 10:53 pm }

hi, thanks so much for all this wonderful info – i love looking in on you from time to time and always leave your site with more knowledge!!

this post of yours is brilliant – thanks.
someone gave me a KH 840 with the ribber and i have a couple of “problems” with it – the main bed carriage is quite stuck and even though i’ve managed to finally loosen up the knobs to all turn to all the settings, it won’t really knit and jams on the ndls.

the other problem is that on the ribber the knob that moves from P to H and back is really really stuck – gummed up from years of not being used i suppose. do you have some advice fro how i could get in there to clean it up and get it moving? the ribber actually looks most unused and is in really good shape, so would love to get it going

thanks for any help you can give (btw i do have a new sponge bar in and also have cleaned and oiled everything)


11 Wendy { 05.04.11 at 10:24 am }

having a hard time finding a manual for this same machine. I don;t know what all the knobs on the carraige are used for. Getting frustrated. Could you please tell me where i could get a manual and what the knob settings are for? Thank you and have a great day>>>>

12 eileen shepherd { 05.08.11 at 6:11 am }

hi there what a smashing review what is simple green degreaser does it take oil off thanks eileen

13 eileen shepherd { 05.19.11 at 5:58 am }

how do i fix a mainbed carrriage on a brother 260 the metal piece under the magnets are broken and bent could this be stopping the carriage selecting the needles its ok on plain but not on fairisle thanks eileen

14 Malcolm { 05.29.11 at 10:33 am }


Thank you for your very informative guide to take apart and clean an old punchcard Brother. I have the KH 860 which I have taken apart today and has not been cleaned with alcohol yet. Do I soak the needles in a jar of it?(pour it into jar containing needles) and if I do, do I have to re-oil them. I was thinking of putting them back without cleaning as they seem in good condition, no stuck latches etc. I also have a KH 965 I have just obtained, is the proceedure more or less the same? Thanks again for taking the time to put this up for me. :)

15 Marlene Cowling { 06.11.11 at 2:10 pm }

I have inherited a brother k-970 knitting machine . The carriage has a spring that is not connected causing the carriage to knit one row and then draw the wool across on the next row. I can see the spring dangling through a hole in the back of the carriage and can also see where it needs to be connected . However I do not know how to remove the necessary parts to reconnect the spring. Do you have a parts manual for the k-970 carriage. Would this help or could you recommend a service center to have the carriage fixed?

16 lorrwill { 06.25.11 at 10:38 pm }

Thanks for taking the time to post this!

VERY HELPFUL for the KH-910 I picked up today. It had been sitting in a garage for a very long time (years, probably) and needed some seriously cleaning. Now I need to buy both sponge bars. Everything else looks swell.

(Thanks also to Dave Sanderson for his post about his KH-910)

17 lorrwill { 06.29.11 at 10:39 am }

Wait! Never mind, I don’t have to buy the the sponge bars. You have a great post on how to make the upper one right here on Knittsings!

KH-910 owners, I found out that the lower sponge bar is for noise reduction. It can be left out if it is disintegrating – and given the age of these machines (production was from 1980 – 1987) the sponge is probable closer to dust than sponge at this point.

Since I bought supplies to refurbish the upper sponge bar and I have the lower one taken out anyway, I replace that piece too.

GREAT SITE! Extremely informative, very clear tutorials, thank you very much.

18 Rose Bradley { 07.29.11 at 8:46 pm }

I have a Knit Leader that is broken. I would like to know how to take it apart and perhaps fix it. This is a hardly been used item. Its a shame not to save it. any information you might have would be of help thanks much. rose bradley

19 nargis razvi { 10.13.11 at 3:40 pm }

Please can you help explain why dosen’t the knob on the carriage for kh910 run to the MLB position?

20 Kristina Goodwin(new comment) { 01.31.12 at 1:04 pm }

I have a Brother 260 Bulky and having a same problem as it is described by Eileen Shepherd, post # 13. I would like to know the answer to her question. Or would you mind to forward this email to her so that she can email me with your answer. Your web site is really fantastic! Thanks, Kristina

21 Sheila Simpson(new comment) { 02.20.12 at 4:00 am }

I am due to retire and have an old Brother KH836 with a KR850 attached. I’ve dug these machines back out of the attic as knitting is scheduled to return as my retirement hobby, and this website, which I have just found, is so going into my favourites.
I found the site when searching for why, when the ribber and knitter are attached, the needles catch on the plate, meaning the carriage cannot move. Maybe it’s because the needles sit too high because the retainer sponge bar is dead. I’m going to try your renewal tips and hope for the best.
Superb site.

22 jan c(new comment) { 02.25.12 at 8:38 am }

I would to ajust & line up my brother 260 ribber

23 Ingrid(new comment) { 03.26.12 at 7:17 pm }

Love your site. Inherited Mum’s machines. Absolute Newbie but promised her on her deathbed to look after them and learn to use them. I’m a Newbie on Internet too, and getting instructions at Local Library. Ingrid

24 Cathie(new comment) { 04.18.12 at 10:38 am }

What a brilliant tutorial, just what I need, having ‘volunteered’ to have a look at a machine that’s been stored in a loft for 20years. Couldn’t believe how much blakened fluff is coming out & convinced there’s more to come!!! Thank you.

25 Dee(new comment) { 06.18.12 at 1:38 pm }

I am so impressed w/this site as it has answered questions before I even ask them. But, now I have a question………..can anyone tell me about a knitleader problem I have been having. The mylar sheets will not move after a few runs w/the carriage. It seems to be okay on some rows and then it absolutely gets stuck. I’ve taken it all apart and it looks like the wheel part w/the cogs might be the problem…….do you think there might be a replacement part available?

26 Rhonda Mills(new comment) { 06.25.12 at 11:18 pm }

Dear KatrinAa:
I’ve visited you website a few times, but your spongebar replacement directions were fabulous. I am basically a Passap knitter but needed to fix my old 910, which I never really used over the years to make quick to knit stuff for an upcoming show. I get tired of spending money for a lot of crap and I am handy as you are. I wanted to share that I purchased the 3/8th foam here in NYC..I will send pictures of my venture. I worked perfectly. It’s already sticky on one side where you lay it in put I just put a little bit of plain old Elmer’s glue. I also cleaned out this 20 odd years of gook (sponge had never been replaced) in less tan 15 minutes with water soluble “Citristrip”. All were available in my local hardware stores but I’m sure that they are around in the depot hardware. The Citristrip was so fast and clean and no odor; no bent “bar” and I was so excited about not having to shop that I was beside myself.

I didn’t have any binder for the other side, so that took me longer because I had not patience to cut the strip that thin. The fusible binder that I had was old so it wasn’t sticking so well after light pressing. Just use the spray adhesive very lightly on a finger ( gloved or ungloved) and tact it in the unsticky places. Have a glass of wine and get to knitting. Let me know if you get this and I’ll take the time to upload photos of the stuff for your other guests.

Kindest Regards

27 Stacey(new comment) { 01.04.13 at 5:35 pm }

I am so thrilled to see your information on the web!! Thank you so much for taking the time to do this! I have had 2 brother knitters for over 20 years, inherited from my grandmother. I took classes then but they have been in storage since. I want to get them in working order again yet noticed you did not mention putting any oil anywhere. Shouldn’t I put some somewhere? My carriage seems to get stuck on a few needles yet I have not noticed if they are always the same ones. I have checked them and replaced the ones that appear damaged yet still have some problems with the carriage jumping a few needles. Ideas?
Thank you

28 Jay Greengrass(new comment) { 03.17.13 at 6:53 am }

Hello! Thank you very, very much for putting this clear and instructive tutorial online. My husband and I have just spent a happy (and grimy) hour dismantling and cleaning an old Brother KH-840 machine that we couldn’t get serviced anywhere. Hopefully I can now add a whole new dimension to my knits…


29 Kathy(new comment) { 03.27.13 at 3:18 am }

I have 1 miserable screw that won’t undo. I am so annoyed.
I bought this machine fully expecting to need to clean it and replace the sponge bar, but the drive belt was totally stuck, and the punchcard reader moves the card 3 times in the same row.
I have the drive belt moving but stiff and noisy so I need to strip the whole thing down and play around.
I haven’t had this much fun since I stopped building computers.

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