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Old 21-01-2010, 13:23   #46
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We ahd a look at an interesting machine yesterday. An English chap sailed out from the UK with a sewing machine onboard that he has now got for sale. It was an very old industrial table zig zag unit that had a small 240v motor attached so the unit became portable. It was so heavy that we could hardly lift it off the floor of the boat, so we declined the offer. But it would be a great machine for someone who needed extra ballast and could put it in an accessable position. Not a bad idea thouugh to convert an industrial unit for portable use. It was a long arm model, so it was even heavier than a conventional length arm.
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Old 21-01-2010, 14:21   #47
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Hey SteveB!

Hello fellow Whidbey Islander

I need some new covers for my cushions and also a new sail cover for my Cape Dory Typhoon. Not sure how much it will cost. If it is too much I am considering buying a machine and trying my hand at doing it myself.

Can you recomend anyone on the island? Do you have any machines for sale?
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Old 21-01-2010, 14:34   #48
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Hey Tim- My boat is in Bellingham. The local guys here want alot for my dodger- thus I think I am going this way. Should we start a Co-Op?
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Old 21-01-2010, 14:41   #49
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Without specifying a particular machine, you want to avoid belt driven and find one that is gear (not plastic!) driven. All the power in the world will not drive thru heavy loads if the belt begins to slip.

The larger the throat (opening between the needle and the body of the machine) the easier it will be be to work on heavy stiff large loads.

Walking foot adapters are available for most machines, but of course some work better than others.

The size of the stitch pattern is the difference between machines that easily handle sail work and produce good results, and those that don't. The typical zig zag stitch has two dimentions. The stitch width is determined by the needle shaft and it's horizontal movement, which sets how wide the stitch is from side to side. The stitch length setting is determined by the feed dogs, essentially teeth that grab the fabric and move it along under the needle and foot, and determine how deep the stitch is vertically.

Wider and deeper is better. A machine can not make a stitch any wider and deeper than it is designed to do.

I use an older model Bernina from the early 90's and it is a work horse. The throat is not huge, but I can do heavy duty sewing with it and can do all but the stiffest parts of the sail repair we need with it. It's been thru the mill a few times and with the super thick multi layers the alignment becomes a problem and needles start to break. Batten pockets and blown out seams are no problem. I have done commercial work on cushions and canvas for years and had no problem at all.

With practice you can do two layers without a walking foot, by keeping the tension set with your fingers, but for more than 2 layers there is no way to control it manually and you need the walking foot for nice smooth results.
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Old 21-01-2010, 14:53   #50
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But Sara, won't seam basting tape allow stabilizing multiple layers without the need for a walking foot?
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Old 21-01-2010, 14:57   #51
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Sara, is your old Bernina an industrial table model or a portable domestic model ?
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Old 21-01-2010, 15:06   #52
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last non computerized model they made, tabletop, not commercial. I have owned commercial machines that were not as reliable as my trusty bernina.

And yes seam tape will work. if you put a layer of seam tape between each layer of fabric. pretty soon you have such a thick wad to stitch thru it becomes an issue of how high your dog foot rises. If you offset the seam tape so it isnt in the actual line of stitching you still will have an issue of how high the stack is and a rolling factor as the stitching compresses the layers and the outer ones slide to a narrower allowance than the middle layers. That one is hard to explain, but it happens, matter of geometry. and seam tape will get pricy with the yards of it you would have to use.

one more thing, BINDER CLIPS are good for holding thick stacks tightly.
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Old 21-01-2010, 15:14   #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by s/v Beth View Post
Hey Tim- My boat is in Bellingham. The local guys here want alot for my dodger- thus I think I am going this way. Should we start a Co-Op?
How would that work?

You live in Utah and come to Bellingham to use your boat? Thats a long trip
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Old 21-01-2010, 15:15   #54
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ship the machine from place to place!
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Old 21-01-2010, 15:30   #55
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We've always carried 3 or 4 different machines on board to do work, including an older sailrite sailmaker (brother machine) but the machine that gets the most workout when underway is a singer featherweight 221 that dates back to the 1920s.. I've run thread up to 138 throu it without any problems.. not the best for sails but I found if needed, I repair the sails by hand.. trying to get one of my sails through a machine is pretty tough..
Due to the fact, that you are in the land of Oz.. check out the featherweight "221K" as its a freearm and was only distributed in the UK.. it was built in Scotland.
even in our shop, the featherweight gets a good workout..
Now for myself, I putting together a new hi-bread.. A JUKI DU-1181N with a remote DC motor for use on the boat.. but we have the extra room to store the unit..
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Old 21-01-2010, 15:38   #56
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Something else to think about when it comes to these industrial machines.. you are only paying for the head as most are designed to set on a table top with a cluch motor under the table... Befor you go our and spend any money, make sure its all self contained and portable..
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Old 21-01-2010, 17:25   #57
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Surprised that no one has mentioned the venerable Pfaff 130. This was a household machine sold in the post war era... all metal, pretty heavy, quite robust. These were often found on cruising boats a few years ago, we've had ours on board our two Insatiables for 23 years now with no rust or other problems beyond the usual adjustments.

Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II lying Broken Bay, NSW Oz
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Old 21-01-2010, 17:41   #58
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Look at rochfordsupply.com for venture tapea(for sewing applications) and discount marine textiles. Coastguard is sunbrella.
Also miamicorp.com or manarthirsch.com(only one that may not retail items w/out trade account).
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Old 22-01-2010, 17:33   #59
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Tim H. The PNW is really the closest I can get for my sailing habit. I am not rich, but make enough to make the trip 5-6 times a year. I have a smaller boat for here on the lakes and the Great Salt Lake. If you want to start a shipwright Co Op I will be up there next week and would be willing to talk about it.
Jim Cate- how about the Pfaff 230? I have seen a few of those for sale. Are they as good?
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Old 22-01-2010, 21:43   #60
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Is something like this good for canvas or is it strictly for leather?

Pfaff 545 ultimate leather sewing machine - $1400 (Bothell, WA)

Date: 2010-01-18, 11:55AM PST
Reply to: sale-kbmby-1558743515@craigslist.org [Errors when replying to ads?]



The ultimate heavy industrial sewing machine because it's Walking Foot, Made in Germany, High Lift (9/16") presser feet, large bobbin, has 3:1 speed reducer, and Consew electronic servo motor.

Pfaff 545 sewing machine overview:
- Made in Germany (top quality)
- Walking foot with needle feed (feet are clamped on material and needle pierced when feed takes place)
- High lift feet (about 9/16")
- Large capacity top loader bobbin
- Reverse and stitch length adjustment
- All metal lower shaft/gear drive (newer pfaff 1245 has rubber belt that can require replacement)

A couple key additions on this machine:
- Speed reducer (about 3:1) - 3x the effective motor torque, and 1/3 the top speed
- Electronic servo motor (Consew CSM 550) - Spins only when you are sewing, silent otherwise, brake, adjustable top speed, precise speed control and start/stop

Here's a video showing this machine in use:
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