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Old 15-05-2010, 22:01   #16
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I use a Pfaff 130 semi industrial machine that can be used with treadle, motor or hand crank. It has particularly strong needles and does just about any stitch I want including zig-zag.
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Old 19-05-2010, 10:00   #17
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I wish I had a Sailrite with zig-zag option... they are so expensive, though! Roughly $750? In two years, I have borrowed a friend's Sailrite on two ocassions: once to sew the subrella back onto the foresail and once to reinforce the bimini's sunbrella stitches that were unstitching. So, I guess I don't really NEED a Sailrite... especially if I can borrow one.

For other sewing, I have a 1980's Viking (Husqvarna) that works on our inverter (very important!). Bought it used and it was fairly cheap. Sews through thick canvas, but doesn't like really thick seams on the Sunbrella or the tips of the sails... just not powerful enough. Great for doing small jobs and other repairs, though!
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Old 19-05-2010, 21:21   #18
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I constructed our dinghy chaps from scratch using sunbrella fabric completely with the Viking sewing machine... no problems... except I hated the task! There's a photo of the finished product here: Dinghy Chaps | Expaticus

The foresail was a different story. The Viking did great along everything... until we reached the tips. No Way! It would not budge! I had to borrow a friend's Sailrite and was so grateful! We spread it out on the malecon outdoors and stitched away. Here's a pic: Windfall's Projects | Expaticus
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Old 25-05-2010, 23:42   #19
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Hello everybody. I'm setting forth to "take the plunge" at sewing my own sails. I purchased a Selway-Fisher boat design and also their Sailmaking For the Home Builder book. The sail area would be roughly Hobie 16 sized main and jib. I think my 30' X 10' sized basement is large enough of a work area. Other than material and hand tools yet to be purchased, I'm going to need a decent new portable sewing machine with a walking foot and I want the zig zag feature. I've got my eye on this Family Sew FS-388Z Zigzag with 5x9" Arm.

My questions are:
Would I run into situations where it's 5" x 9" clearance really make that much of a difference compared to other slightly smaller arm clearances of portables at it's price bracket?

If I took the time to learn how to properly fine tune the machine's adjustments, is there any real difference in the quality of the stitch compared to other machines 2.5 times it's price?

Is there anything else as a first time buy I should consider before buying a machine in the $300 to $500 bracket?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 27-05-2010, 08:25   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobg3723 View Post
Hello everybody. I'm setting forth to "take the plunge" at sewing my own sails. I purchased a Selway-Fisher boat design and also their Sailmaking For the Home Builder book. The sail area would be roughly Hobie 16 sized main and jib. I think my 30' X 10' sized basement is large enough of a work area. Other than material and hand tools yet to be purchased, I'm going to need a decent new portable sewing machine with a walking foot and I want the zig zag feature. I've got my eye on this Family Sew FS-388Z Zigzag with 5x9" Arm.

My questions are:
Would I run into situations where it's 5" x 9" clearance really make that much of a difference compared to other slightly smaller arm clearances of portables at it's price bracket?

If I took the time to learn how to properly fine tune the machine's adjustments, is there any real difference in the quality of the stitch compared to other machines 2.5 times it's price?

Is there anything else as a first time buy I should consider before buying a machine in the $300 to $500 bracket?

Thanks in advance.
for the type of work you will be doing on your sail, an inexpensive machine will probably do the job, for the first time.. thats why people are going to the older heavy weight machines, they are gear drive with metel parts.. all your newer machines foe family use are built of plastic..
plastic is OK in boats but not in sewing machines, they break...
Just yesterday we added another machine to the bunch.. along with the singer 221 featherweight, and the new juki 1181N, we've purchased a PFAFF 130 that will allow us to do zig zag work on sails.. they can be bought on e-bay for between 250 and 700.... we were lucky and got a really nice one for 250..
Sail cloth needs to be sewn with a zigzag stitch if possible to keep from work hardening the cloth.. and its difficult to find anything short of a few hundred to do the work proper..
The distance in the under arm area is not an issue when first building the sail as you can always roll a panel up to go thru, but to repair the sail, you might have to roll half the sail to get it throu the space..
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Old 27-05-2010, 09:11   #21
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Not all new machines are plastic. They may have plastic COVERS to protect the electronics.
Here are some pics of current model Berninas on my service bench.
The last 2 pics are of the Big Kahuna, the 830.
If you want to be blown away, google for Bernina Series 8

BTW if you want an exceptionally powerful, cheap machine for heavy work, look for a Viking Husqvqarna 6000 series, the 6400 6500 series is the best.
They have a low gear which will give exceptional punching power.
The problem with most of them is they were sold as never needing oil! NOT!
As a result, a lot of them are in various states of seizing up.
If you can find one with all the knobs turning easily, buy it.
The ones with a RED body have needle up/down stops.
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Old 28-05-2010, 07:55   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by senormechanico View Post
Not all new machines are plastic. They may have plastic COVERS to protect the electronics.
Here are some pics of current model Berninas on my service bench.
The last 2 pics are of the Big Kahuna, the 830.
If you want to be blown away, google for Bernina Series 8

BTW if you want an exceptionally powerful, cheap machine for heavy work, look for a Viking Husqvqarna 6000 series, the 6400 6500 series is the best.
They have a low gear which will give exceptional punching power.
The problem with most of them is they were sold as never needing oil! NOT!
As a result, a lot of them are in various states of seizing up.
If you can find one with all the knobs turning easily, buy it.
The ones with a RED body have needle up/down stops.
The 830 was one of the first machines we concidered due to its quality, althou it is quite pricy, but what turned us off was the under-arm area for working sails and canvas, its one of the smallest on the market..
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