Thread Number: 34545  /  Tag: 50s/60s/70s Vacuum Cleaners
My Kirby 518 restoration! Lot's of pictures!
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Post# 373463   6/8/2017 at 14:43 by Stark (Tazewell Va)        

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Many of you know me from the vacuum groups on Facebook and this thread is dedicated to my first vintage vacuum restoration and my first thread here on VacuumLand. I have another restoration (Heritage II) that I will be putting up later on.

This machine was posted up with 7 other vintage 500 series vacuums on the Facebook group Vac U Friends. This 518 stood out to me more than the others as it was in very bad condition and I figured it would be a fun project. This restoration took me around 4 weeks working on something everyday, I am still waiting on a couple other parts to come in from a fellow collector that has new old stock grey wheels and a few other things.

The bag is not original obviously but the seller on eBay did not have any of the correct style in stock anymore so this one was the second best looking. Everything was cleaned and polished using a bench grinder with brown, white and red rouge sticks after wet sanding each part with 320-2000 grit sand paper.

The bearings are good and the motor brushes are around half used and still usable. I put in a new belt and ball bearing 13 inch brush roller too. I have to give a shout out to Kent at Kirby Needs for having most of the parts that I needed for the project.

This vintage Kirby is going to be retired and will continue to be cared for meticulously by myself as it resides next to his younger Kirby brothers (Sentria II and Heritage II). If this machine could talk about its 58 years I would love to hear the stories... it saddens me to think the original owner has probably passed away. Anyway enough talk... here's the before photos.

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Post# 373466 , Reply# 1   6/8/2017 at 15:17 by Stark (Tazewell Va)        

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Progress photos (since I'm a new member I have to wait 30 minutes to post more photos)

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Post# 373469 , Reply# 2   6/8/2017 at 15:57 by Stark (Tazewell Va)        

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Post# 373471 , Reply# 3   6/8/2017 at 16:58 by portable (Tucson, AZ)        

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Wow, what a beautiful job you did! It looks amazing. I personally like the first bag better. But, I guess it would be hard to get now. Congratulations on a spectacular job. The old girl looks great.


Welcome to Vacuumland.

Post# 373473 , Reply# 4   6/8/2017 at 17:37 by electrolux137 (Los Angeles, California)        

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You really did a fantastic job! It's hard, hot, dirty, dangerous work but it's sure worth it when you step back and admire the finish product! Congratulations!

Post# 373475 , Reply# 5   6/8/2017 at 17:49 by Stark (Tazewell Va)        

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Thank you portable! I liked the original style bag too but unfortunately disaster was underneath that tape. The bag was ripped, torn, dry rotted and caked in hard thick clumps of muck. There was no way to save it. I kept the original bag and just put it in storage.

Thank you Electrolux137

How do I quote someone's reply on here?

Post# 373476 , Reply# 6   6/8/2017 at 18:42 by vac-o-matic (Saint Louis, Mo.)        

Stunning transformation! You are truly a dedicated and talented restorer!

Post# 373478 , Reply# 7   6/8/2017 at 19:10 by Stark (Tazewell Va)        

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Thank you vac-o-matic!!! 😀

Post# 373479 , Reply# 8   6/8/2017 at 19:12 by vacuumlad1650 (North-East Illinois)        

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Stark Said-
"How do I quote someone's reply on here?"

You highlight it, copy it, and past it in Quotes. Mention who said it. If you are upgraded, italicize it. Very simple.

Post# 373499 , Reply# 9   6/9/2017 at 00:11 by gottahaveahoove (Pittston, Pennsylvania, 18640)        
Wow! Welcome

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Excellent skills there.... and I'm all HOOVER.

Post# 373505 , Reply# 10   6/9/2017 at 01:51 by hygiene903 (Galion, OH)        

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Excellent work! It's beautiful!

Post# 373526 , Reply# 11   6/9/2017 at 12:01 by s31463221 (Frenchburg, KY)        
That Kirby is absolutely........

s31463221's profile picture
STUNNING! That is an amazing transformation. I know it's not original, but personally I like the new bag on me it just sets the entire vacuum off.....all that shined up metal mixed with the red and black trim......that's a machine that I would PROUDLY display anywhere......and I'm not even that big of a Kirby fan just to be completely honest!!! Your work is fantastic!

Post# 373537 , Reply# 12   6/9/2017 at 14:26 by Stark (Tazewell Va)        

stark's profile picture
Thanks everyone!!!! Today I was able to finalize the restoration with nos grey wheels and a red emptor tray. The tray isn't Kirby however but it was new and ties everything together. The collector I got the parts from included some other rare items in red that Kirby no longer offers. I will be keeping them put up and in a safe place for any future projects.

Here's that final pictures showing the 518 100% complete.

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