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Old 10-08-2016, 13:05   #31
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Re: Sewing Machines

I was wondering if you had any issues with your machine when first bought. I've been trying to get some info on these cheaper walking foot portables,but very hard to find first hand reviews. The general gist I've been getting is the casting is very rough (cosmetic?] and often the assembly and adjustment is poor. People have said that once they battled through the adjustment/tuning issues (not sure what these entail) the machines performed reasonably well.
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Old 11-08-2016, 02:44   #32
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Re: Sewing Machines

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Originally Posted by CGirvan View Post
I was wondering if you had any issues with your machine when first bought. I've been trying to get some info on these cheaper walking foot portables,but very hard to find first hand reviews. The general gist I've been getting is the casting is very rough (cosmetic?] and often the assembly and adjustment is poor. People have said that once they battled through the adjustment/tuning issues (not sure what these entail) the machines performed reasonably well.
I've only done a few small pieces so far, but no issues with tuning or adjustment. It doesn't sing acapella like a Panzer. More like the KV-1 above. Exposed welds, an oily spot on the packaging, etc. By contrast, the 65 year old Universal next to it has nice polished chrome hardware, all precisely crafted to feel good in the hand.

But I don't need pretty. I need ZIg-Zag and a walking foot!

The Rex came with a pack of big honkin' size 22 needles and works well with V-92. I haven't tried the Tenara thread yet, but I think it will be fine also.
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Old 11-08-2016, 04:21   #33
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Re: Sewing Machines

Singer 201 is a very solid straight stitch machine that was very popular. Most were direct drive so no belt to slip. Very common on Craigslist, just be sure it is a 201 as the 66 and 99 are look alikes.

For a zigzag machine I have a Necchi BU Mira. 1.1 amp two speed motor with the light built into the sewing head so it isn't ever in the way. The local consignment store had a Sailrite Monster wheel for $20 so I added that to the Necchi. It works fine on the Necchi but you have to hold the bobbin winder in to wind a bobbin. I have seen these Necchis modified with step down pulleys to give them even more power.

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Old 11-08-2016, 05:16   #34
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Re: Sewing Machines

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Originally Posted by CGirvan View Post
I've been trying to get some info on these cheaper walking foot portables,but very hard to find first hand reviews.
There is a thread on the Sailrite Forum that is primarily Tuffsew but others are mentioned. Tuffsew Machine - Sailrite Forum - Page 1
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Old 11-08-2016, 08:04   #35
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Re: Sewing Machines

the heavy duty brother has been sworn by by a friend on another boat, and they sell in mexico for 6900 pesos or less. peso is 18.3 to one usd right exactly now, so it is a good deal.
i miss my necchi 544 ....

ps 6900 pesos is less than the price of a new samsung J7.
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Old 11-08-2016, 17:57   #36
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Re: Sewing Machines

Careful with the sailrite look alikes. Years ago i bought one on Ebay(Alpha sew). Looked identical to a LSZ-1. Lasted a month before pot metal parts exploded! I did put it to the test. At the time i was in the middle of a job making emergency rudder bags for a windvane manufacturer. .Good thing i had several table machines handy.

For small onboard portables ive had a pfaff130, Singer 20u, and Kenmore 158. Currently have an old sailrite sailmaker which is a gem. Be aware that some machines are more finicky than others and need constant attention. . If your looking for a cheap and easy to use basic canvas machine the 80s vintage Kenmores(Japanese) are great. Ideal for beginners and kids. For minor sail repair, canvas, sheet vinyl -sailrite lsz1 works ok. .dont expect to go thru many layers of sail cloth >5oz, like corners. .
If your into thread, check out Coats Helios P. They make a v138 equivalent which is awesome.
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Old 16-08-2016, 11:53   #37
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Re: Sewing Machines

I used the Rex last night on a small project - a canvas cockpit cover for the sea kayak.

It greeted the fabric with a drop of oil on the end of the needle. But the sewing went quickly and flawlessly. Sewing curved edges with a bungee edge really brought home to me the advantages of the walking foot!
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Old 26-11-2016, 16:44   #38
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Re: Sewing Machines

good morning all,

anybody used for canvas/sail repair works the portable Reliable Barracuda ??
thank you for sharing your experience.
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Old 26-11-2016, 17:36   #39
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Re: Sewing Machines

Not to interject out of turn, but this thread has me interested! I have a Singer 347 that says "Made In Great Britain" on the case below the hand wheel and on the body, and it appears to have been made in the 60's perhaps, maybe later, but is in stellar shape, not a scratch or ding on her, and as it appears she is original and in the portable case, she's hard for me to put a date on with any certainty. But for styling and externally the minor dirt/wear on the outside case lid, she could have come from the store last week. I think I got her for maybe 5-10 bucks at an auction in Tennessee a few years ago. I was amazed that only one other person bid on her, but too many people toss things I would rather repair, so I should not have been surprised at all, I suppose - disposable society prevails everywhere even moderately industrialized, evidently.

I want to take a Bimini top I recovered from the woods at a boat yard (the fabric appears shot) and reverse engineer the patterns from the original top. After I mark the pieces for relationships to one another, and then rip the thread patterns loose, I want to transfer everything to new Sunbrella or similar canvas, and rebuild the thing on the bent frame I also found in that woods trash pile. I have two canvas assemblies that I believe are the top and the dodger, and then the frame. If I can confirm they will mount to Eclipse, would the Singer 347 of Great Britain production vintage be able to handle the new variants of canvas fabrics? Are there some to stay away from for this or any other reason, to include high cost (a real problem for me, now I keep falling into the hospital these days - I am NOT giving up though!!!).

How about repairing sails for my Hunter 27? There are some minor chafe areas I want to cover, but also I want to add some reinforcement patches where the spreader tips would rub the jib. I am also considering the possibility of making a genoa and a couple smaller jibs/storm sails and maybe a steady sail for anchoring use.

The last thing I am considering with this machine is making new cushions and mattresses for this Hunter, using the old ones for patterns again, and also some far lighter work (curtains for the Admiral, a vent chute for the forward hatch, and maybe a spinnaker if I get really adventurous, considering the far lighter fabric used for that, who knows, maybe I will even attempt some house-wrap Tyvek material for alternative sail experimentation).

I have already used this machine to make clothing and it does quite well with effortless work on clothing fabric up to at least three layer denim (assuming I use denim needles for the denim). I have not attempted leather (yet).

So is this machine likely up to this use set, and if so (if marginal as well) what are some pointers that we novice tailors could use to make for best use of these old machines in accomplishing this sort of task load? How would she behave on a small inverter, and how many watts would be ideal for this thing? The British nameplate rates it as ".95 amps, 110-120v, CY:50-60" (assume this is cycles in the power grid?). The plate also has a UL symbol on it, if that helps date her.

The fact she is portable makes me want to use her on the boat issues listed, especially if cruising, but even on land when not. I just don't really look forward to breaking her if she is not up to the task of what I would consider less than major work. Breaking a needle I can deal with, but breaking the machine would be a shame if someone who has attempted such a thing has already suffered that fate (I won't hold anyone liable, I only want to know if I am wasting my time with thinking about this), Especially if durable replacement parts are going to be an issue. Any idea how much of which heavy materials or thread types I could use with this machine without royally screwing her or my projects up?

Guidance ideas??
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Old 26-11-2016, 19:19   #40
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Re: Sewing Machines

Somger 347. NOooo !

As a professional sewing machine tech, I can understand your questions and efforts to use a machine without guilt of throwing it in a recycle pile and finding a gem.

Sewing Machine Greenbank, WA - S & J Sewing Machine Services

I service machines all the way from ones like yours to $10,000+ commercial machines, so please believe me when I ask you find another machine.
That machine is properly priced at $25 at the top of its market.
It might sew ok, but it's the equivalent (IMHO) if it was a car, it would be a Ford Pinto.
I agree with the previous answers for sewing machines, so do some searching.

A Singer 301 or 401 is a much better machine than what you have. 301 is straight stitch only, 401 has lots of other stitches.
Any Bernina is a good start, but if you want to repair sails into the corners, your choices will narrow pretty fast. Look for a Sailrite or other commercial type machine for that.
I've seen enough copy cats of good commercial machines to not want to ever work on them.
The casting quality of their parts makes me shudder.
Buy the REAL THING and you won't be sorry.
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Old 27-11-2016, 12:51   #41
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Re: Sewing Machines

Sailing Fan, if you go back earlier in this thread, senor mechanico listed a whole bunch of machines that would do most of what you want to do.

For chafe patches, you can use sticky-backed sailcloth. Wipe the sail with acetone to remove any grunge, and slap the patch on. You will have to re-do them from time to time, but it is easy.

Other than actually creating a heavy sailcloth sail, one of the metal innards, straight plus zig-zag machines will do all the other work you listed. You'll need #18 (110) needles and V92 UV treated Dacron thread, or [what I prefer for exterior] ptfe thread.
My previous machine was a Pfaff 130 which had been in the family since 1950. But senor mechanico has convinced me that others are just as good as the Pfaff, and I sewed a dodger for our first Insatiable with it, and all our canvas work for her and for this boat. I am using WeatherMax80 now, in preference over Sunbrella: however, it may be that for some applications the Sunbrella is better. It is heavier and less chafe resistant than the WeatherMax. No affiliation with either company. With Sunbrella, the most long lived seems to be the old royal blue color. We only got about 10 yrs. out of the dark red on our old mainsail cover on this boat, compared to 18 yrs. for the blue.

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Old 27-11-2016, 13:00   #42
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Re: Sewing Machines

I hope it goes without saying that clothes from a good thrift store cost several times less than the materials to make them. You are doing this because you enjoy it, not to save money.

Sometimes I'll by a thrift store bug bar or canvas, often unused, just for the material.

Depends on finding a good thrift store.
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Old 27-11-2016, 13:18   #43
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Re: Sewing Machines

I bought a new domestic sewing machine from a large chain store (spotlight) because it was on special (under $200 now i see them as cheap as $120) thinking "'i'll hammer this thing and if it breaks i'll chuck it" that was about 3-4 years ago, I've used it for sail repairs, canvas work, leather work, clothing repairs pretty much anything i've needed to do it cant get through the multi-layers of sailcloth commonly found around clew/foot/head cringles but it gets pretty close. So far it hasn't broken, but when it does i'll happily go buy another one the same.
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Old 27-11-2016, 13:26   #44
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Re: Sewing Machines

Quote:
Originally Posted by senormechanico View Post
Somger 347. NOooo !

As a professional sewing machine tech, I can understand your questions and efforts to use a machine without guilt of throwing it in a recycle pile and finding a gem.

Sewing Machine Greenbank, WA - S & J Sewing Machine Services

I service machines all the way from ones like yours to $10,000+ commercial machines, so please believe me when I ask you find another machine.
That machine is properly priced at $25 at the top of its market.
It might sew ok, but it's the equivalent (IMHO) if it was a car, it would be a Ford Pinto.
I agree with the previous answers for sewing machines, so do some searching.

A Singer 301 or 401 is a much better machine than what you have. 301 is straight stitch only, 401 has lots of other stitches.
Any Bernina is a good start, but if you want to repair sails into the corners, your choices will narrow pretty fast. Look for a Sailrite or other commercial type machine for that.
I've seen enough copy cats of good commercial machines to not want to ever work on them.
The casting quality of their parts makes me shudder.
Buy the REAL THING and you won't be sorry.
SM what do you think of the Elnastar?
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Old 27-11-2016, 13:50   #45
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Re: Sewing Machines

For over 40 years I had a Bernina (I think '831' is the model), did all canvas work effortlessly, nice compact in a plastic case, has been on the boat for 15 years, running off an inverter. Never tried it on sails. In Australia they can be bought for $100-$200 2nd hand.
Now I have also a Sailrite LSZ-1. A heavy beast.

Bernina photo borrowed from internet
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