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  #11  
Old 09-06-2012
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Re: sewing machine advice

GREETINGS EARTHLINGS:-Well then what are you waitting for tarrarrr ofF to the shop you go ! Then buy some DIFFERENT TYPES of colth and start to practice on your house jobs before moving onto the inportant Boaty Jobs. There are loads of books and stuff on youtube that show you how to make covers and stuff above all GO SAFE.
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  #12  
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Re: sewing machine advice

Based on you objectives, a strong straight-stitch home sewing machine might be a good start. I started with a craigslist Pfaff 130 -- popular among sailboaters -- that also had zig-zag but never used it. Next I moved up to a craigslist Singer 111W155 and now a new Juki 1508 -- both straight stitch. Although I've never sewed sails, apparently zig-zag is important for distributing the load for sail making and sail repair, especially for large sails.

Sailrite.com has good videos on marine sewing projects.

The following books are worth consideration, especially the Casey Book:

The Complete Canvasworker's Guide by Jim Grant (Sailrite book)
Canvaswork & Sail Repair by Don Casey
The Big Book of Boat Canvas by Karen S. Lipe
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Re: sewing machine advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by TejasSailer View Post
Based on you objectives, a strong straight-stitch home sewing machine might be a good start. I started with a craigslist Pfaff 130 -- popular among sailboaters -- that also had zig-zag but never used it. Next I moved up to a craigslist Singer 111W155 and now a new Juki 1508 -- both straight stitch. Although I've never sewed sails, apparently zig-zag is important for distributing the load for sail making and sail repair, especially for large sails.

Sailrite.com has good videos on marine sewing projects.

The following books are worth consideration, especially the Casey Book:

The Complete Canvasworker's Guide by Jim Grant (Sailrite book)
Canvaswork & Sail Repair by Don Casey
The Big Book of Boat Canvas by Karen S. Lipe
If you were to recommend just one of those books for a complete beginer which would you recommend most. I have read some of Don Casey's other books and found them to be some of the best how to manuals around.
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Re: sewing machine advice

Oh yeah. Has anyone called on the sewing machine that mentioned earlier? I was just curious.
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Old 09-09-2012
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Re: sewing machine advice

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Originally Posted by SeaQuinn View Post
I was on your quest a few years ago and ended up buying a sailrite. One of the big reasons is the support. Plus it was new and guaranteed to work. It has definitely earned its keep and been a great experience as I have used it for sunbrella and leather. I have a couple of other home sewing machines that I use for lighter fabrics.

We also bought from sailrite and would do it again in a heartbeat. I don't care whose machine you get at some point it will get out of adjustment and/or you will need parts. If you can't get either then you are dead in the water.


I have a friend that lives west of Springfield and he picked up an industrial machine at a very good price, but hasn't used it much. It is just too fast and he has to have another friend that worked at the factory where the machine came from over to set it up and get it working. I would not buy any industrial machine unless you have access to the resource to keep it working and parts.

We have used our lsz-1 a ton and it has worked great for everything we have done. I can't post links yet but google ( ruth canvas mods index ) to see what that machine is capable of.

I know it will seem like a lot of money but it is worth it. We started with an older industrial singer that works pretty darn good, but no walking foot or zig-zag. For most projects you don't need the zig-zag, but it can be nice. Lots of sails and other items were sewn before it became available,

Sum

Last edited by Sumner10; 09-09-2012 at 08:19 PM.
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Re: sewing machine advice

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Originally Posted by MarkCK View Post
If you were to recommend just one of those books for a complete beginer which would you recommend most. I have read some of Don Casey's other books and found them to be some of the best how to manuals around.
The Casey book.
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Re: sewing machine advice

Sumner10,

Most commercial machines seem to be set up with a clutch motor, and I agree with the comment about an industrial machine being just too fast for us DIY folks. However, a servo motor can be set at various maximum speeds and be readily controlled within that range. Typically, I dial the lowest maximum speed, and at that setting can usually single-cycle the needle.

BTW everybody, Sumner10 and his wife Ruth are real talents. Do visit the Web site.
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Re: sewing machine advice

I own a Sailrite LSZ-1 and I it works great for me. The only thing is that if you want to sew any kind of lightweight fabric's it wont work very well. The gap between the feeding foot and the plate are to big and it will eat any light weight fabric.
The accessories available work really well. I added the heavier fly-weel for more torque when sewing at lower speed and it makes a huge difference. I highly recommend it.

Also I would consider purchasing multiple bobbin's as well as a variety of needles.
One other thing I have found that when using household sewing thread you have to be careful the machine works best with industrial thread.
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Re: sewing machine advice

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Originally Posted by MarkusM View Post
I own a Sailrite LSZ-1 and I it works great for me. The only thing is that if you want to sew any kind of lightweight fabric's it wont work very well. The gap between the feeding foot and the plate are to big and it will eat any light weight fabric. ..

We kept the older Singer and use it on the light stuff. I will add this....I was having some problem can't remember what at the moment, but Matt or Grant at Sailrite suggested that I go through the sequence of adjusting everything on the machine as if it was new (we had done a lot of projects up to this point). They have a video and I went through all of the steps and the machine is better now than even when it was new.

We can get a lot more material under the foot, yet it still sews fine with just two thicknesses, the feed is better, it is just nicer to use all the way around. I'd suggest going through these adjustments to anyone using the machine. You will also know the machine a lot better and be able to diagnose problems easier.

When we started we felt that having a machine that could go through 3-4 layers of sunbrella was all that is needed. Wrong you will at times find yourself sewing through over twice that many layers of material and sunbrella is woven so tight to make it 'kind of' waterproof that it will really push a machine. The Lsz-1 can handle that situation and after going through the maintenance procedure it does it easier than ever before. As I said before there are good deals on industrial machines out there, but I'd only buy them from someone that specializes in them and can help you down the road. If you start sewing many projects you will need that help.

The most common problem is the needle striking parts under the table top, the retaining cap or the shuttle hook with the Lsz-1. You know it when the thread starts to unravel every now and then. If you see any nicks on them you need to take them out or replace the parts. I've found that a jeweler's file and some 400-600 wet sand paper does the trick.

I also made an adapter that is simple to make for the foot control that gives you stitch by stitch control like TejasSailer mentioned. When I can link on here I'll give a link to it,

Sum
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Re: sewing machine advice

I forgot one other detail. Before buying any machine think about how you will use it in the future. When we bought the Singer and then the Lsz-1 we had one sailboat. Our MacGregor that lived at home on the trailer. The boat was at home, we were at home and the sewing machines were at home. This worked great as it is easier to do boat projects when everything is the same place.

Then we went and bought a second boat, an Endeavour 37, that is 2200 miles from our home. We made a number of canvas mods for her at home (that you can see if you google Ruth's stuff that I mentioned above) and took them to the boat with us when we returned. We also took the sewing machines to make alterations. We ended up making some. If we wouldn't of had a portable machine this would of been a lot harder to do.

The yard where the Endeavour is has a large sewing table in the community room and a hole to drop you machine in. I noticed that last spring as a lot of cruisers came in to put their boats up for hurricane season they had sewing machines with them and made repairs. We will take our Lsz-1 on the boat with us also for repairs there or ashore.

If you are lucky enough to live near your boat then the above is not a concern. If now or in the future you might find yourself in our situation then I'd think seriously about a portable machine,

Sum
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