For sails, no you don't need a walking foot, and as a matter of fact, most zigzag machines are only presser foot, and that is what most sailmakers have.Nevertheless, you do NOT, repeat, NOT, need a walking foot to sew, and I promise you if you walk into lots of sailmaking/canvas houses you'll find plenty of drop feed machines. My sailmaker, f'rinstance, has three Pfaff 138s...
Until the shop was flooded in 2005, the highest quality canvas house on the northern Gulf Coast had two Pfaff (130, 138) and a Consew, none of which had walking feet.I doubt you will find any serious canvasser who is not using a walking foot.
Pfaff 130 is a home machine, albeit a good one. 138 is a zigzag machine, not used for canvas. Consews are often walking feet and I bet that theirs was if they were a real shop - but from their machine inventory it sounds like they were a sail repair shop, not a canvas shop. Either that, or they had more machines than just the 3 you are describing.Until the shop was flooded in 2005, the highest quality canvas house on the northern Gulf Coast had two Pfaff (130, 138) and a Consew, none of which had walking feet.
There were industrial machines sewing thick material long before the walking foot became popular...
I love alternatives, but those $750 machines I saw are designed to be put into a table, likely could be adapted, but does not include a motor, as that is part of the table so you are looking at $350 for table top and motor. I would prefer a nice German made machine to Chinese one, but even refurbished it is going to be more and not self contained.Siamese, please note the $750 machines offered at that page. FYI you don't have to mount any machine in a table.
I'm sure that the OP (and others) might enjoy knowing that there are other options than Sailrite and its Taiwanese clones for the same price @ lesser quality. Is there a problem with offering alternatives?
So they basically are saying we sold thousands of people a crap machine for years, but don't worry now we sell the only good one. I imagine the "strong sew" and the "Reliable" machines are the same strength as the older ones and will be fine for recreational use. It is not like they recalled all there V1 machines because they were dangerously weak like they are kind of backhandedly saying in there video comparing parts. I think it may well be that they found a cheaper supplier China and are upset that there old supplier is still making the machines with all the tooling they invested in to make it for sailrite. Are the V2 stronger, sure I bet they are, but it is not like the V1 machines are falling apart sewing there first sail cover. It is not like they invented the sewing machine.So here is a picture from the "Sewstrong" :
And here is the same part on the LSZ version 2 :
Note how much more substantial it is, especially the "fork" that hangs down in the middle of the part. Also note the flaw in the casting on the right of the Sewstrong part. I believe that the fork is what used to break on the Version 1, and Sailrite took to reinforcing them all for a while by welding a clamp to it! No reinforcement on the Sewstrong part, so it will eventually snap,
Sailrite have a video where the various version 1 and 2 parts are compared, and this is one of them. The Sewstrong part is definitely the version 1, which makes it fairly certain it's from the low-quality Taiwan factory.
"Getting Stronger All The Time"?
I read the article and I understand marketing speak when I see it. The real issue is it seems they were doing no quality assurance till things got to the US. It is too late by then so they are saying they were selling a sub par machine. Why didn't they know they were using such poor tooling till the "arrived" at the factory. This is the biggest reason why so many companies get into trouble when offshoring there production, they think the contractors will do the right thing. That story seems to me to make no sense at all. You don't just show up in China, not speaking the language and end up with a good relationship with a manufacturer. So are they trusting the new manufacturer to stay within specs? Sounds to me like the story you read on a Geridano's Menu in Chicago, about how it was there grandmothers recipe from Italy that is used in the pizza, only problem is it is a fully Greek owned company and there was never an Italian Grandmother. So I am sure they already had plans to change to another supplier and decided to "prove" they had cause."So they basically are saying we sold thousands of people a crap machine for years". That's rather an ingenuous twist on the facts. What they are saying is that over the years they have been improving the product, learning from what went wrong, resulting in a better product. That, and customer support, is what separates the LSZ-1 from the clones.
If you took the trouble to read this article, you'd see that the reason for looking for a new supplier in China was the poor quality of parts from the Taiwan factory, and their lack of receptivity to improvement.
Ultrafeed Sewing Machine History
I think that one point you are missing is that the quality of tooling changes with time, as it wears out. It is likely that the tooling was in a good state for early LSZ-1s, became worn later on (the article says as much - they noticed increasing quality problems) forcing the move to China, and now is in an even worse state. If the tooling wasn't good enough several years ago, what state is it in now?
Finally, my picture shows that the Taiwan factory is NOT using the version 2 tooling.
My point is not that some of the clones aren't good enough for some purposes. It is to refute claims that the clones are as good as the real thing, for a lower price. You get what you pay for, in general at least.
No, just more that I don't really think the story they tell seems realistic. I do agree that the sailrite machine is likely a better machine, but at close to twice the price it well should be. I think there are plenty of the V1 machines out there being used as I see them fairly frequently on eBay so I doubt they are ticking time bombs. Sailrite service is good too, so I don't doubt that either but again for twice the price they should be. I have seen the Reliable Barracuda being sold by sewing machine shops so quality service should be there as well. The old tooling just makes no sense either as there are companies running on hundred year old tooling and still fine.I believe that the part in question is both beefed up where it used to break, AND made of a better alloy. Do you have any basis for your implication that the Sewstrong is using a better alloy than the Sailrite?