Which Sewing Machine?

Discussion in 'Sheaths & Such' started by i4Marc, Aug 1, 2020.

  1. i4Marc

    i4Marc

    Oct 19, 2011
    If I was to look for a used sewing machine for leather work AND other projects as well, what features should I be looking for? Walking foot? Heavy thread capability? Straight stitch/other stitches? Slow feed rates? Ability to remove the work surface to manipulate the work piece around a tubular base/arm (I don't know what it's called)? What brands/models to look for on the used market...Juki, Consew, Singer? I know there are dedicated Leather sewing machines you guys use but they are typically pretty expensive (for me). I'm thinking something on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace that I might find for a bargain. So, give me a list of desirable features and a list of specific sewing machine models to keep an eye out for.
     
  2. sheathmaker

    sheathmaker Custom Leather Sheaths Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    May 18, 2005
    Marc, If all you want is the capability to sew sheath edges and other thicker pieces, then Look at machines similar or the same as the Cobra 4, or Cobra 3, (Juki clones). These are cylinder stitchers and most have as an accessory the flat table attachment available. Many people say, and i do not agree, that you can sew lighter weight pieces on these. It is possible, but you have to change thread, needle and tensions and even then the probability of less than acceptable result s is almost a sure thing. I have the Cobra 4 and the Cobra 18 flat bed in my shop and I use each daily and highly recommend each for their intended tasks. The Cobra 4 is best with 207, 277, and 346 or heavier threads, and the Cobra 18 excels with 69, and 138 threads in each case with the appropriate needle. The Cobra 18 tops out at about 3/8" thickness and the Cobra 4 will handle an honest 7/8" with no strain. Go to Leather Machine Co. web site and study the specs and then try to find the features on a machine/s in the used market. I personally am not a fan of used machines, because i'm not sure of their work history/reliability, no warranty, no one really to go to if there is a problem. None of these are a factor when dealing with the good folks at Leather Machine Company. Their commitment to their customers and service AFTER the sale is flawless and second to none. I have had years of trouble free use with my Cobras. My volume of work makes the prices amortize VERY quickly.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2020
  3. Rhinoknives1

    Rhinoknives1 KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jul 1, 2013
    To the OP, I’ve seen Sheathmaker(s) Work. Listen to what he suggests! As a knife maker! Buy the best machine you can possibly afford! Cheap machines usually give cheap results!
     
    000Robert and tinfoil hat timmy like this.
  4. i4Marc

    i4Marc

    Oct 19, 2011
    I was afraid you guys were going to sat that. Thanks.
     
  5. Horsewright

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

    Oct 4, 2011

    Marc I agree. Go with the Cobra 4 for sheath making. I wouldn't mess with looking for a used machine. Seems like even more than a used car you often are just buying someone else's problems. I can attest to the after sale service from these folks too. They are exceptional.


    We too, like Paul, have two machines the Cobra 4 and the Cobra 18. The 4 does all the sheaths, holsters, rifle scabbards etc and the 18 does all the lighter. On my 4 I just got the basic package with the regular foot and the roller guide. I haven't ever needed all the other things.
     
    000Robert and Rhinoknives1 like this.
  6. i4Marc

    i4Marc

    Oct 19, 2011
    Ok, my next question........where does one get a money tree?
     
  7. sheathmaker

    sheathmaker Custom Leather Sheaths Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    May 18, 2005
    Marc, while, I have never used it, Leather Machine Company does have some financing options available.

    You might inquire into that and see if it fits.

    Just a bit of trivial history....I started out with a very used Pfaff heavy duty flat bed, along with a brand new Tippman Boss (serial number 3). That's when i found out the "industrial" Pfaff was okay for really light stuff, but that was it. The Tippman really worked fine for the heavier stuff, but I soon got used to using a machine and then it was a little slow, but the major problem was the consistency and quality of the stitching would vary and for me "acceptable" was not good enough. Plus the fact that you ALWAYS had one hand occupied running the pump handle, and that was cumbersome at best.

    I then bit the bullet and went to powered machines. My only regret now is that I hadn't done it in the first place. My first machines had clutch motors and along with them was a learning curve. Now most new machines come with a servo motor and you can control the speed right from the start. You can also order them with a speed reducer and be able to sew literally one stitch at a time. Much shorter learning curve. Good luck with your quest!
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2020
    duramax and Rhinoknives1 like this.
  8. Rhinoknives1

    Rhinoknives1 KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jul 1, 2013
    You will be buying a money tree! That’s what a good solid fuctional tool is!...........Almost every time I bought used, I spent more time & money trying to fix it “And swearing” than doing what I bought the machine to do! Only cry once! Buy it right the first time!
     
    000Robert and duramax like this.
  9. Horsewright

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

    Oct 4, 2011
    We got one on the front porch, a money tree that is. One day, about a month ago, my sister in law Tali shows up with a small potted plant. She's from Ecuador and if she gets talking too fast I sometimes have a hard time making her out but I got "money tree" out of it. Apparently she and Nichole had been talking about something on the phone and Nichole said now if I just had a money tree. So Tali shows up with a "money tree." They replanted it into a larger pot and its doing very well on the front porch. Yet to produce any fruit though........

    As a craftsman, Marc, your time is your money. If you think about what you earn on a knife and a sheath, you are being paid by the customer for your labor/time. Not for materials or anything else but your skilled labor. A Cobra 4 will turn that time into profit rapidly. One of my horsemanship mentors use to say that a new horse cost ya money on the first day, ya broke even on the second and he was on the payroll on the third. Kind of the same thing although probably gonna have a steeper learning curve than three days. But once ya do, yeah buddy.

    Cobra 4, maybe 3/4 minutes sewing time each:

    [​IMG]

    Cobra 18, maybe 20 minutes sew time:

    [​IMG]
     
    000Robert likes this.
  10. i4Marc

    i4Marc

    Oct 19, 2011
    Haha, yeah Dave. 18 minutes to sew it up and 20 years experience. Nice stuff.
     
    000Robert likes this.
  11. Horsewright

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

    Oct 4, 2011
    Thanks sir!
     
    000Robert likes this.
  12. 000Robert

    000Robert Gold Member Gold Member Basic Member

    424
    Mar 28, 2020
    It would probably take me two hours to hand stitch one of those scabbards. I need to get a machine!
     
    duramax and Horsewright like this.

Share This Page