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  #1  
Old 08-07-2008
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Sailrite Sewing Machine

Hello: I'm planning on buying a Sailrite sewing machine to make all the necessary covers, cushions, etc. for our boat. I would like to know if there is any needed attachments to make these items, other than what comes with the machine. I'm planning on getting a LSZ-1. So far I know I will need a light. Thanks for any ideas.
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Old 08-07-2008
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Why would you get a Sailrite machine when there are plenty of machines that could the same work for a lot less money?? A look on craigslist will generally yield an old Pfaff 260/360 that can do the work for far less $$$$. These machines were built during the heyday of the sewing machine and are built like TANKS.
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Old 08-08-2008
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I agree with SD. I bought a heavy duty Singer that was on line. It does zig-zag which is a must and it has enough "oomph" to go through several layers. So far I have only made jacklines and a tether but it went through several layers of webbing like butter.
BP
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Old 08-08-2008
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About six years ago I ordered and recieved the Sailrite LSZ-1 plus the upgrade kit that includes the wooden case, the monster wheel kit, the light, the electronic variable speed, and a few other things. At the time, with tax and shipping, it cost me right around $1000 - and worth EVERY PENNY!!

The thing is heavy and strong, and the monster wheel gears it down so it easily punches through anything you can fit under the foot. The walking foot feature is invaluable and greatly enhances operation for an amateur like me. Since then, I have bought about $250 worth of additional gadgets as well as spare parts and replacement parts. (falling from the chair while wrestling a big Bimini through at full speed will generally snap the needle and might dent that little bitty thin plate on the bobbin holder)

I have made WAY more money than I ever thought while helping others around the dock (right now I'm completing a huge sun shade for a big trimaran - and after 6 years, I'm getting much better at wrangling cloth)

I've repaired dozens of sails for people, and am about to make my own sails for my boat (as opposed to 'for my car')

Anyone even a little familiar with dockside sewing admires the machine and asks about it, and most say they wish they had one.

Yes, you can find alternatives for less money, but big table models will not stow easily on a boat, and old favorites from dusty cellars may not have any support as far as parts, information, or manuals, let alone telephone help.

As far as I'm concerned, your choice of the LSZ-1 shows you've already done your homework. It's a great choice.
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Old 08-08-2008
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Being strong enough to punch thru canvas is only part of the job; the walking foot makes a world of difference when feeding large pieces, like a bimini top.
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Old 08-08-2008
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I bought a singer at the exchange for 89.95 that does everything and has the walker foot. Have sewn sumbrella 7 layers with no problem. Also have sewn window plastic and doubled over webbing. I made all the cushions and canvas on the boat. And i didn't knew how to sew.

I am sure that the sailrite machine is of a higher quality but unless you are going to make a business out of it I personally think it's over kill.
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Old 08-09-2008
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Wow...have we hashed and re-hashed this topic! I've owned two Sailrite machines... sold the heavier one after a couple of years and bought the lighter one (blue) Whatever machine you decide on you need 1) a walking foot-this is necessary to MOVE the fabric. It is impossible to push or pull the fabric and make a decent stitch 2) IF you get a Sailrite machine you really need the monster wheel. Personally I think they should make that standard for all their machines because without it the machine surges and you are constantly having to stop and repair and adjust Have fun and enjoy!
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Old 08-12-2008
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Smile Sailrite Sewing Machine

THANKS TO EVERYONE. I ordered my machine this am. I'm looking forward to using it. I now need to find out what materials I should use for what items. I purchased the book "The Big Book Of Boat Canvas". Hopfully that will help me allot. Thanks again for all your input.
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Old 08-12-2008
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Congratulations, you will enjoy your new machine. Take the time to view the DVD that comes with it and review the manuals and it is pretty straight forward. Practice on some scrap to get the feel for the machine.

You might also find "The Complete Canvasworker's Guide" by Jim Grant to be helpful. It is well illustrated and provides examples for many of the boat related projects you might be considering.

The LSZ-1 is pretty well made and we have not had any issues with it so far. The the throat depth can be an issue depending on what you are trying to sew but we have been able to overcome that so far on our projects. Sewing a big sail might be a challenge.

If you are going to do much canvas work for your boat, you will want to install grommets from time to time. Having the proper tools to punch the holes for a given size grommet and then set the new grommet makes that work easy. Grommets come in a variety of sizes but you can probably get by with just a couple of sizes and the related punch and die sets for them.

If you plan to work with sunbrella and other fabrics like it, you may want to look into investing in a hotknife to make your cuts. They are not inexpensive and may not be cost justified in your case. A friend borrowed my machine to sew a new sail cover out of Sunbrella and made all his cuts with regular scissors. While the cover came out nice, he has begun to see some fraying along the cut edges near the seams. I've experimented with pinking shears on a few small projects like hatch covers and there seems to be less tendency to fray when using that type of scissors. Might be all you need.

You will find you have entered yet another world where there is no shortage of ways to become separated from your money. Enjoy.

Regards, John
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Old 11-20-2009
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Pfaff 260

Does it have a walking foot like the Sailrite?

Parts and service still available?
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