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Industrial sewing machines? Confused

Discussion in 'DIY and Traditional crafts' started by spandit, Jul 14, 2016.

  1. spandit

    spandit Bushcrafter through and through

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    Being a typical bloke (OK not that typical, this is a post about sewing machines) I like to work with thick canvas & leather rather than diaphanous materials and so I've found my domestic sewing machine doesn't fulfil my needs (it's a Toyota RS2000 and has plastic gears inside which skip and destroy the timing).

    Anyway, like an idiot I've ended up buying 2 machines on eBay, neither of which are going to suit my purposes (being specialist machines, although the overlocker could prove useful). I've heard talk of a walking foot machine but are these specifically for leather or will most industrial machines (i.e. the ones mounted on a table with the motor underneath) have this feature or should I not worry (it's pretty thin leather I'm looking at sewing - ended up with a huge amount of PU coated furniture leather after another wild eBay session :D)?

    Must dash, got to drive to pick up my latest waste of money...
     
  2. C_Claycomb

    Mod

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    Not all industrial machines will have walking foot top feeds. Being "industrial" doesn't mean a machine is designed for sewing heavy or thick fabric, just that the machine itself is designed to sew whatever for a long time without wearing out or breaking down.

    If you are serious, there are new machines that are designed for the purpose, but they run about £600. There is a very good sewing machine and repair shop in Luton which imports them. I bought an old domestic machine there with metal gears that can handle a couple of layers of 1000d Cordura at a push as well as thin fabric.

    Luton shop
    http://www.theobaldsewingmachines.co.uk/bigfoot.html

    There used to be a great forum called DIY Tactical
    http://www.diytactical.com/discussion/forum/riggers-loft/sewing-circle/
    but they seem to have re-jigged their software recently and I don't think it has done their usability any favours.

    http://www.diytactical.com/sewing-machine-primer/

    http://www.itstactical.com/intellicom/diy/so-you-want-to-sew/

    Good luck.
     
  3. mountainm

    mountainm Full Member

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  4. spandit

    spandit Bushcrafter through and through

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    Thanks, that's very informative. Will hopefully stop me wasting so much money on other industrial machines. Still, just picked up my overlocker which should be worth the price I paid for it in scrap alone - heavy old beast (the table and motor assembly anyway!). The blind stitcher is less useful, frankly, but again, the motor alone should be worth the money.

    Don't need to sew thick leather - for the odd knife sheath etc. I can do that by hand, it's mainly for thin upholstery type leather and canvas. An industrial machine is likely to be better than my domestic anyway so might look at buying one just so I can sew normal stuff too
     
  5. bilmo-p5

    bilmo-p5 Maker Plus

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    For the materials & sewing you describe, a good semi-industrial such as a Singer 201 will suit your needs. With the correct needles it will easily cope with a few thicknesses of upholstery leather and a couple of thicknesses of 12 or 15oz canvas to boot.
     
  6. C_Claycomb

    Mod

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    A lot of the guys sewing multiple layers of Cordura manage with old domestic Singers.

    There are also some tricks that help a lot. For instance, when I bought my machine from Theobald's I took samples of the material I wanted to sew and it handled them fine in the shop. They sold me some No100 needles and a huge cone of heavy(ish) nylon thread suitable for sewing medium weight packs and gear. When I got it all home I could not get that heavy thread to work for love nor money. No amount of tinkering with thread tension would prevent the thread from starting to fray in the needle eye and then making a huge egregious mess on the underside of the fabric. After a bit over a year I took the machine back to try to understand what the problem was....

    Simple...I had not been mounting the thread drum on a separate stand that allowed thread to peal off the top without resistance. With stand, the thread tensions could all be reduced and it handled the heavy thread and fabric without a problem.

    Another thing I found is that the nylon fabrics blunt the needle quite readily, so I use a little hone (fine ceramic or hard Arkansas + leather strop and compound) to keep the needle scary sharp. Sharp needle = less force needed from the machine. I have some glovers needles for hand sewing leather that have triangular section tips, are there such needles for a machine, if not, would grinding such a tip on a No100 help you?

    I am sure there are other tricks and tweaks for other machines that will expand what can be achieved on a given machine.

    From what I have read, "industrial" machines are often aimed at sewing a certain type of material well, to the detriment of sewing other types of material. Domestic machines are designed to sew a wider range of fabrics. If you buy an industrial machine for upholstery be prepared that it might not like anything thinner than denim.
     
  7. Kerne

    Kerne Maker

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    I use a Singer 201K that is over 50 years old. it goes forward and back - no zigzag, no buttonholes, no fancy embroidery... I can get through half a dozen layers of canvas or up to 1mm leather with little trouble. Highly recommended machine often found on eBay.

    When I was looking for a machine I investigated "industrial" machines and found that what you often get for your money is only extra speed. Frankly, I can't handle a machine punching out 750 stitches a minute (I also drive very slowly - and in the middle lane...:)) The singer is sedate and reliable and suits me down to the ground.
     
  8. R.Lewis

    R.Lewis Full Member

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    750 stitches a minute.... That's slow!!! our Brother industrial does 3000, scares the hell out of me.
     
  9. ozzy1977

    ozzy1977 Full Member

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    When going full chat my singer 95-01 does 3500 stitch a minute, i cant control the thing but it sounds like a machine gun which makes me smile :)
     
  10. spandit

    spandit Bushcrafter through and through

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    My over locker apparently does 5,500 spm! It's not even the fastest one in the range! It came with 1/3 of the necessary threading instructions so no idea how to do the rest...
     
  11. bilmo-p5

    bilmo-p5 Maker Plus

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    Google is your friend. :)
     
  12. spandit

    spandit Bushcrafter through and through

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    Gosh, why didn't I think of that??? :rolleyes:
     
  13. Angst

    Angst Full Member

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    hi...there are two singer 201's for sale in my traders section....i sew up to 2mm (4mm total) suppler leathers for my possibles pouches and 80 ounces of canvas with mine no problem whatsoever, yes 80 ounces......if youd like more info drop me a pm mate,

    regards

    s
     
  14. Macaroon

    Macaroon A bemused & bewildered

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    One of Sonni's 201's would do you very well for what you need, and you won't get one better fettled than he does them, he knows 'em inside out now. A great machine and I'm sure you'll get a more than fair deal :)
     
  15. spandit

    spandit Bushcrafter through and through

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    They do look good. Just holding off for a wee bit as have an old hand cranked machine at my father's house & want to see if it will suit me before I add to my collection!
     
  16. Insel Affen

    Insel Affen Settler

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    I assume that this could also cope with webbing type materials? Or would I need to look for something a bit heavier?
     
  17. bilmo-p5

    bilmo-p5 Maker Plus

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    Yes, I should say so. The bulk of the stuff I make; with canvas, leather, webbing, is done on a similar machine.
     
  18. bigant

    bigant Tenderfoot

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    oh dont worry about been a bloke and having a sewming machine... i shock plenty when they find out i have one :p donst fit into the 7 foot tall bearded giant image lol

    i got mine from these
    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/SUPERB-JA...156125?hash=item464e869f1d:g:eP8AAOSwY0lXRH41

    really good customer support super helpful and honest.

    i have a big old jones machine that will sew basically anything i can fit under the foot.

    the 201ks will do all your asking of them though and well will last forever!
     
  19. Robson Valley

    Robson Valley Full Member

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    Over the past 40 years, I have had reason to use several different upholstery shops which make custom interiors
    for hot rod cars and boats. One woman as a receptionist out front. All men on the sewing machines in the back shop.
     
  20. Jordash

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    I've now got a couple of industrial machines. Most recently a singer 211, its a touch on the fast side, but I'm getting into it now. I've made a couple of leather tool covers and a vinyl padded seat so far. Soon I shall be reupholstering my camper.

    Sent from my ONE A2003 using Tapatalk
     

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