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Moody 376
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my machine is a walking foot. I did think long about buying an older machine that wasn't a walking a foot as well as buying a sailrite. So far I've just been playing with smaller swatches of heavy fabric doubles trippled and quad folded over. So far so good... I have a hard time paying for the best "anything" thats out there (except meat).

my quote for bimin and doger redo was nearly 5k. the mache cost me 550. if i have more than 1500 in materials(fabric only tubes are still good) for my bimini and dodger I'll be very suprised. The machine will allow me to also transform my traditional sailcover into a stack pack (1800 from bacons). so yeah in theory buying my machine will ultimately have saved me serious coin. Labor not withstanding...of course.
 

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this is my view,(not even an opinion)
Have always thought that will buy the best tool I could afford, the savings on the projects justify it.
When looking at these machines, went for the "clones"strictly based on money.
Did the job, and I posted the major projects I did, feel the money saved paid for the machine several times over.
However, looking at those videos, seems to me just the walking foot makes a better job?.
I think the Sailrite will have been a more pleasant and satisfactory tool and experience?, may be.
The clones of the Thompson Miniwalker that we have been talking here all have a walking foot (because the Thompson Miniwalker had one).

To your question: I am no expert, my only experience is with such a clone and a bunch of household machines. I have done things that would have been impossible to sew with the household machines (e.g. many layers of heavy canvas) but I can't say whether it is the walking foot or just the superior power that makes the difference.
 

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1987 Cape Dory MKII hull #3
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My question was really hypothetical, I bought the clone, did a lot of work, saved quite a bit, learned a new skill, no complaints.
Again, just look at the list I posted.
walking foot, by observing the action it does help to move the fabric, however my old 1970s vintage Nechi push the material as well mostly because of the power, the only limiting factor is the height of the foot can reach, the clone or Sailrite go higher there the more layers you can pile.
It all depends on what tool a person has, the projects and how much hair is left after pulling one's hair cursing and swearing.
 

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1987 Cape Dory MKII hull #3
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More on the walking foot
when I see the Sailrite videos I can tell their walking foot does a better job than the one clone I have, but again, my clone does/did the job.
Small point on the whole universe.:devilish:
 

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my machine is a walking foot. I did think long about buying an older machine that wasn't a walking a foot as well as buying a sailrite. So far I've just been playing with smaller swatches of heavy fabric doubles trippled and quad folded over. So far so good... I have a hard time paying for the best "anything" thats out there (except meat).

my quote for bimin and doger redo was nearly 5k. the mache cost me 550. if i have more than 1500 in materials(fabric only tubes are still good) for my bimini and dodger I'll be very suprised. The machine will allow me to also transform my traditional sailcover into a stack pack (1800 from bacons). so yeah in theory buying my machine will ultimately have saved cute ranboo plush serious coin. Labor not withstanding...of course.
The electric motor is one of the main components of a sewing machine as it is responsible for driving the sewing needle through the fabric. For its paramount significance, it accounts for about 30% of the entire cost of the sewing machine. However, to save production costs and to maximize profits, some brands resort to installing a substandard electric motor that rotates at low RPMs and is unable to generate the necessary torque to guide the sewing needle through denser fabrics. As a result, proper stitching does not take place.
 

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Moody 376
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The electric motor is one of the main components of a sewing machine as it is responsible for driving the sewing needle through the fabric. For its paramount significance,
just finished sewing up three cockpit seat covers using textaline. machine did fine I think I need to do a little bit of "surgery" on the foot. I noticed that the needle when set in the straight stitch to the left it would sometimes hit the inside edge of the hole in the foot. I think if I take the foot off and get the dremel out and file hole a smidge wider should do the trick.

themachine does well at low speeds with the monster wheel. I did notice that sometimes it took a bit of concentration and a delicate touch, so to speak, with the foot pedal. once running it was easier to slow the machine down. IE the slow speed control from starting was a bit difficult

i still need to refine my technique. I had a few spots in the corners where i ended up with a pucker. I blamed the textaline, and not my ability(or lack off)

spent several hours on sunday making patterns for the dodger....
 

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I bought a Rex zig zag and after about 10 minutes of fiddling, it's been fantastic. New boat cushions all around, new jib bag, etc. etc. It'll sew 10 layers of canvas with zero effort. No failures, no problems. I paid about 300, and a new sailrite would have been 3x that. A few drops of oil on the strong simple mechanisms and you're good to go. As near as I can tell, almost every part is interchangeable with the Sailrite machine.
 
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Sorry for the long post but I thought this might be useful to someone going through a similar decision process. I recently bought a used Sailrite LSZ-1 but this was not without looking very hard at the clones and vintage machines. Almost all the sailing friends I know who have sewing machines for boat canvas work have a Sailrite or a vintage machine and I had borrowed a friend’s LSZ-1 in the past to do several projects. However, since no one I know has a clone and the clones are generally not sold in stores, I’ve unfortunately never put my hands or eyes on one (although I’d very much like to at some point to put it through its paces side by side with a Sailrite).

Reviews for the clones are wildly mixed. It seems the fundamental problems are a lack of quality control and essentially no post-sale technical support or parts availability. If you get a lemon, you have little recourse but to return it, buy replacement parts from Sailrite, or turn the thing into a backup boat anchor. There are not a ton of comprehensive reviews of the clones from people who’ve really put them through making complex projects or owning them long term, nor are there a lot of independent, in-depth head-to-head Sailrite vs. clone reviews. That said, some of the negative reviews seem to come from people who may not have understood the purpose of the entire Sailrite/Sailrite clone class of sewing machines and therefore compare them unfavorably against machines not meant to contend in this class.

My overall impression of the clones is that, so long as you don’t get a lemon, they can be good machines that perform comparably to a Sailrite. However, they have some limitations – primarily that you are likely not going to get any technical support from the clone manufacturer, you most definitely will be going to Sailrite to buy most of your replacement parts and maintenance items, some of Sailrite’s add-on accessories may not be available for a clone machine (they will may [heard differing stories on this] not sell you a PosiPin, for example), and your machine will be pretty limited in its potential resale value.

As for vintage machines, a few factors pushed me away. First is that most are not walking foot. There’s some debate about how necessary this is, but it’s a feature I wanted. Second is that the vintage machines are 50-70 years old entering their second and third lives. Although the current trend toward handmade things has resulted in pretty good communities of support and spare parts availability for some of the more popular models, it’s not unlikely that this would mostly vanish if the fad runs its course. Third, vintage machines that only a few years ago could be found for about $100 or so in good working condition are now often going for $2-300 (and up!). This changes the calculus of their value proposition a bit.

All these factors noted above combined with wanting a machine that is still likely to have some level of support and parts availability 10-20 years from now pushed me into the Sailrite camp (cult?!). But I acknowledge, if your budget is very tight and/or you’re just looking to get some canvas projects done soon and aren’t looking for a “forever” machine, a clone or vintage machine could present a very attractive value.

Finally, as an obligatory disclaimer, I am not affiliated with Sailrite or any sewing machine manufacturer or retailer other than as a customer. I bought my sewing machine used and have often purchased fabric and accessories from a variety of retailers. I don’t have a strong affinity to the Sailrite company or brand other than acknowledging that they have filled a niche where few others even compete and I appreciate that they have not reduced the quality of their products or offshored customer service like so many others.
I’m probably never going to get a sewing machine, but if I do, it’ll be SailRite.
 

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To me, and I think I fit a large example of Sailrite buyers, the reason to purchase a Sailrite machine is the service. The videos they put out and the fact that I can talk to an experienced person anytime (during business hours) is worth price. And the quality of the machine is great also. I don’t mind supporting a company that provides this level of service when I will most likely need the service.
As a DIYer, not an experienced canvas sewer I appreciate and need the service. It’s about value and not price. To me Sailrite is a great value.
Good luck and happy sewing.
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