Questions about Leather Sewing Machines

Discussion in 'Sheaths & Such' started by Redmeadow Knives, Jun 21, 2020.

  1. Redmeadow Knives

    Redmeadow Knives John Conner Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 29, 2010
    I'm entertaining the idea of getting a machine. I'd like to verify some of what I've found, make sure I'm on the right track and ask for reccomendations.

    My only experience on a sewing machine (of any type) was running a Cobra 20 very briefly at a leather shop I visited recently.

    I believe in "Buy Once, Cry Once" and have been looking at a Cobra 4 Premium I'm just not convinced that it would be a wise investment for me personally yet. At the cost of my grinder and HT Oven combined, I am hesitant.

    I'd be using it mainly for sheaths, and maybe the occasional holster/belt/pouch/etc.. From what I gather, those types of projects call for 207 thread and maybe one size above and below (?).

    It looks like the thickness of an average sheath rule out a lot of machines. Though I doubt I'll ever stitch 7/8 of an inch together, I can see working over a 1/2" often. Are companies maximum sewing thicknesses accurate?

    Cylinder Arms look like the way to go as opposed to the flatbed, is the attachable work table useful or can most operations be done on the arm?

    The consensus seems to be that they are game changers. Has anyone purchased one thinking that and been disappointed?

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    Thanks in advance

    John
     
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  2. duramax

    duramax KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Nov 29, 2012
    I’ll chime in with my limited experience. I’ve been at leather craft for several years now. I’ve always hand saddle stitched leather goods. Recently jumped in head first for machine. After many recommendations from fellow BF members. I bought a Cobra 4 with premium package. Skills are progressing more and more with use. It comes with its share of learning curves. It can be the most aggravating , best thing you’ve bought. But it gets better and better as you learn. Most of sheaths are 3 to 4 layers of 10-12oz leather. The cobra 4 handles it with ease. The one thing I’ll mention is that buying a cobra. The customer service is really great !!!
    If your doing a lot of leather I’d say go for it. I’m still making leather as a hobby and I jumped in :)
    I’m sure others will jump in here and add their thoughts :)

    Very nice leather work ! Those sheaths look excellent, thanks for sharing the pics !!
     
  3. Horsewright

    Horsewright KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 4, 2011
    Nice work and nice pics of the work too!

    Yep Cobra 4 is the way to go. Very versatile machine. I didn't get the premium package, haven't had a need for all the other stuff. I use 207 top and bottom for almost all projects. Even if ya never have plans of working on bigger items the extra space is nice, occasionally I find a need for that extra presser foot height. I don't have the attachable table and haven't found any need for it. I can attest to their service too, simply outstanding. We have a Cobra 4 and a Cobra 18.
     
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  4. Redmeadow Knives

    Redmeadow Knives John Conner Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 29, 2010
    Thanks for the compliments on the sheaths Gents, I thought some background might be in order.

    It looks like I have the right machine in mind I just need to decide if moving away from handstitching is the right decision, I think it is.
     
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  5. duramax

    duramax KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Nov 29, 2012
    I don’t think you will ever regret getting the machine. Plus you can always offer both.
     
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  6. JonBishop

    JonBishop Gold Member Gold Member

    57
    Oct 30, 2014
    I’ve had mine for two months now and I love/hate it. Like duramax said there is a learning curve. I’ve made several nice projects on mine and several that were turned to scrap. That being said, when I got it/me running right it’s the best thing ever. As far as I can tell all the ruined projects were my fault. I don’t regret buying this machine at all. I just need to learn to use it properly. I did the finance thing. If you already have an EIN number you should be good to go. Hope this helps.

    Jon
     
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  7. ANovinc

    ANovinc Gold Member Gold Member

    438
    Sep 21, 2016
    I've got the Cobra 3, and love it--i haven't had the need for the longer arm that that the 4 has, but the 4 is what most folks go with I think, in case they do need that extra length down the road. The machine really helped me up my game. Cobra 18 will be in my future at some point.
     
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  8. duramax

    duramax KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Nov 29, 2012
    Cobra 7 is on my wish list down the road :p:D:D Hindsight should’ve bought the 7 then an 18 for light stuff ;) Still love my 4 though :)
     
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  9. Redmeadow Knives

    Redmeadow Knives John Conner Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 29, 2010
    I didn't even know there was a 5 or a 6!:eek: That thing is a tank.

    Thanks for the responses on this, I'm sold on the Cobra 4, you guys make some good points. I don't think I need the premium package, although the table might be handy someday.

    Is everyone running the same size thread top and bottom? From what I've read it seems like most run a smaller bobbin thread. 207 and 138?
     
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  10. duramax

    duramax KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Nov 29, 2012
    I purely run 277 top/bottom with #24 or #25 needle. Shortly I’ll be jumping up to 346 or 415 with corresponding needles. I just wanna try and like heavy duty :)
    For thin stuff or overlays with short runs, I hand stitch.
     
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  11. Horsewright

    Horsewright KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 4, 2011
    I run 207 top and bottom for almost everything. I'll occasionally switch to 138 top and bottom for some colored work that I might not have 207 in. I just go down a needle size and don't have to mess with tensions when I do this.
     
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  12. pugs75

    pugs75 Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 21, 2009
    I have a cobra 4 and love it. It does everything I need, as most stated there is a learning curve to it but once you figure it out you will knock out your work so much faster then hand stitching. I will still stitch by hand here and there but 95% of the time it’s the machine. I have actually used it for many other projects other than leather work as well like repairing and modifying boat covers and other heavy duty canvas type items. You will not be disappointed when you get one.
     
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  13. Redmeadow Knives

    Redmeadow Knives John Conner Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 29, 2010
    Thanks @pugs75 I was wondering if it works on heavy canvas, glad to hear it's not a one trick pony.

    I've been doing my due diligence to find something negative about purchasing one and the only regrets I've seen across the internet are, "I wish I would have gotten one sooner".

    I'm assuming they ship from the manufacturer. Looks like freight is $325 straight from them and $300 from Makers Leather Supply. Well played MLS, well played:thumbsup:
     
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  14. Redmeadow Knives

    Redmeadow Knives John Conner Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 29, 2010
    Thought I'd give this thread an update.

    I happened to pass by Leather Machine Company's shop in Ontario, CA. I called and asked if they had a Cobra 4 that I could take a look at. They don't have a showroom but they had one that they were setting up for a customer that I could check out (as if I know what I'm looking at anyways).

    The crew there was more than helpful, Ray gave me a quick rundown of the machine and answered some questions I had. Heather was more than helpful and got my order squared away. Another gentleman (didn't catch his name) matched a lower shipping quote that I'd gotten elsewhere. Needless to say a Cobra 4 Premium is on it's way to Montana.

    I thought I'd mention this because it seems like good customer service and general courtesy like that aren't the norm anymore and to quote Captain Call "I hate rude behavior in a man, I won't tolerate it".
     
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  15. duramax

    duramax KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Nov 29, 2012
    Hey Congrats !!!!!!!

    They truly do have great customer service :)

    Thanks for the update
     
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  16. Horsewright

    Horsewright KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 4, 2011

    Did ya meet Thor, the half wolf dog? He's got those eyes that look through ya.
     
  17. Redmeadow Knives

    Redmeadow Knives John Conner Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 29, 2010
    Yep, Thor kept the kids busy the whole time begging for belly rubs, what a gentle dog.
     
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