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Hot Rods Anyone do auto/boat upholstery work? Need help picking a sewing machine.

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Ian Quinn, Nov 15, 2018.

  1. Ebbsspeed
    Joined: Nov 11, 2005
    Posts: 4,465

    Ebbsspeed
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I have a JUKI DNU-1541. It's sewn everything I've tried so far, including stitching through 4 layers of leather. I did get rid of that damn clutch motor and replaced it with a servo motor, makes it a much more pleasant machine to use.
    Yep, same one I converted mine to. 6000SM. Nice!

    I suppose if you're buying a brand new one you'd have the choice of clutch or servo, but if you're looking at used machines most of them will still have a clutch motor on them.
     
  2. I was strictly speaking of the models the OP listed which all have a self contained motor inside the machine like a home sewing machine.

    Sent from my SM-G950W using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
  3. I have the Consew 206 portable. I have no space or I'd have a long arm machine. I have done several seats in vinyl and ultra leather. The machine is way better than I am. I believe mine is 8 years old. If there's anyway to buy a new machine, I would recommend it. When you know nothing, you don't need a problem to begin with.
     
    G-son and Three Widow's Garage like this.
  4. Boneyard51
    Joined: Dec 10, 2017
    Posts: 1,688

    Boneyard51
    Member

    Ian, check out “ Chupps Auction “ they’re having an auction 12/10 in Pryor Oklahoma. I know it’s a hike from Springfield, but the have several sewing machines, may go cheap... may go high! Good luck.



    Bones
     
  5. Boneyard51
    Joined: Dec 10, 2017
    Posts: 1,688

    Boneyard51
    Member

    Good luck!



    Bones
     
  6. Binger
    Joined: Apr 28, 2008
    Posts: 1,502

    Binger
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from wyoming

    My wife and I use a Juki with a walking foot. Model DNU 1514S. I also installed a servo motor on it. The servo motor makes the biggest difference with how easy the machine is to control.
     
  7. Ian Quinn
    Joined: Sep 19, 2016
    Posts: 9

    Ian Quinn

    Is a "walking foot" sewing machine 100% required to sew multiple layers of marine vinyl? I've found a few nice used "industrial" machines out there, but they don't have a walking foot.
     
  8. Ian Quinn
    Joined: Sep 19, 2016
    Posts: 9

    Ian Quinn

    Thanks! I might have to make the drive and check it out.
     
  9. Yes it is pretty much impossible to do it without.
     
  10. Fitty Toomuch
    Joined: Jun 29, 2010
    Posts: 196

    Fitty Toomuch
    Member
    from WVa

    I have an old singer 31-15 that will do that no problem, but would trade for a nice walking foot in a heartbeat.
     
  11. Ian Quinn
    Joined: Sep 19, 2016
    Posts: 9

    Ian Quinn

    I found a nice used Singer 281-3 with an AC servo motor on it for around $300, and also a Singer (looks like a 111W155 but it's hard to tell) that looks to be in good shape for around the same price. Both have tables with them.

    Would either of those machines work for me? And is that a good price?
     
  12. G-son
    Joined: Dec 19, 2012
    Posts: 451

    G-son
    Member
    from Sweden

    The Singer 111W155 is a triple feed (bottom-, needle- and walking foot feed) machine that as far as I know has been used for automotive upholstery and similar work since the dinosaurs turned to oil. There are many different machines in the 111-family designated by different subclass numbers, not all of them are triple feed, and stitch length, maximum thickness and so on also varies. They are old but still very much sought after, so I assume they are very good machines as long as they're in working condition. Many later machines were apparently more or less copies of the 111. Don't know about your area, but here $300 would probably be a very good price for a good working machine, and probably way too much for a worn out one.
     
  13. F&J
    Joined: Apr 5, 2007
    Posts: 12,894

    F&J
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I did a bing search on the 281-3, all I found was it was a very high speed production industrial unit.

    I then tried a YT search on the 281-3, but only found one vid that was not useful...but here is a non-walking 281-1 video worth watching. I have no clue what the difference is on this model compared to the 281-3, but worth watching to show what this thing attacked for vinyl as the video went on. I was very impressed as to how well it fed the many layers of material with ease, despite being a non walker.

    If you did not know, a clutch motor runs all the time like a car engine, you ease the clutch to get it to sew. A servo is not running until you start to sew, and they are load sensing, so they don't stall as you start in heavy stuff, and then it goes full bore, too fast...like cheaper home machines of the past did.
     
  14. Are you saying a servo motor will go full bore because if so that is not how they work at all. They vary the speed depending on how much you push on the pedal. You push a little it goes slow you push a lot it goes fast. I can get mine going so slow I can count every stitch and so fast it's beyond my ability.
     
  15. F&J
    Joined: Apr 5, 2007
    Posts: 12,894

    F&J
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    No. I guess I worded it up too much. I was mentioning the older home machines for dresses etc..and those motors with just a vari-resistance foot pedal switch. Those if you start off in heavy stuff and push harder on the pedal, it finally gets going, but way too fast before you can back off. That's bad for a beginner, just getting frustrated.

    K13, what did you think of that video of the "wrong model" 281-1? That thing seems awesome for a non walking foot.

    I'm using a 100? year old Singer commercial with a clutch motor geared down by me. It has a walking foot, but that technology has the foot being moved only when in pressure-contact of the fabrics through/with the bed gripper teeth. So, if the underside of the fabric is some sort of stretchy cloth backing, you do have to help feed the layers of vinyl. That makes it pretty difficult on what we call roll/pleat. The foot tends to not want to stay up on top of the layer with the foam under it. The front of foot can sometimes "dig in".

    I had zero machine time, and I only have done my avatar car so far...what a "learning" shitfest it was.. lol.

    I have 3 ancient Singers. One is for boots/shoes, etc. I have not tried it yet. Web pic of my same exact model number below. Look right above the needle area, for a thumb lever...that can rotate the direction of stitching 360*, and people use these for designs on the uppers of cowboy boots.
    singer.jpg
    It can be run by the handwheel. or a motor. I found it in a barn. Lol.. " Barnfind sewing machine". New buzz word. :)

    .
     
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  16. I found this older Thompson, which AFAIK is now sailrite. I purchased parts for it from them.
    It's a walking foot, meaning the top foot also helps move the material through. The next step up is a compound or 3 way where the needle actually helps pull the material.
    It's done all the interior work on my car, even sewing 2 pieces of carpet together.

    It was a bit unwieldy for me in that it was either too fast or would stall.
    In true hot rodder fashion I modified it :) by gearing it down so It's more controllable for me

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  17. F&J
    Joined: Apr 5, 2007
    Posts: 12,894

    F&J
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Pic #1 looks like you were set up on the dining room table? That gives me the idea to bring my sewing table into the house, as it takes up too much room in my working area in the shop....and I don't have a little princess living here to tell me that I can't :)

    Here is my 4th machine I just got for $15 from a friends Antique shop. It was missing the foot pedal rheostat switch, but a week later found an old pedal in a box of stuff in one of my antique cars. I wanted a delicate machine for thin, stretchy material for curtains, and it has a setting for silk? It is Nesco brand name.
    DSCN2079.JPG
     
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  18. slim tempo
    Joined: Sep 16, 2010
    Posts: 310

    slim tempo
    Member

    I have an newer Consew RB-4 walking foot that I bought with 4 other machines from a family whose upholsterer Dad had died.
    $500 for all. I use it mostly for boat covers.
    pets.JPG Make some money on the side.
     
  19. Gotcha I was wondering if it was just worded funny.

    The problem I find with upholstery work with non walking foot machines is when you want to use any type of foam in the process, which for what I was doing was pretty much all the time, it doesn't work. Regular machines will pull through multiple layers of fabric but if you add foam the presser foot just digs into the top of whatever you are sewing and it doesn't pass though the machine and you end up with a mess on your hands.
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2018
  20. stanlow69
    Joined: Feb 21, 2010
    Posts: 3,096

    stanlow69
    Member
    from red oak

    Reread this. I had a machine, Consew that did 5 stitches per inch. Traded it in on a Consew that did 4 stitches per inch When going threw vinyl(thicker than what was on the video earlier)with half inch foam for sewing pleats, it was creating to many stitches. Kind of like tear along the dotted line. So I upgraded. The material in the video was thin (Wal-Mart quality) from what I use.
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2018
  21. 6inarow
    Joined: Jan 24, 2007
    Posts: 2,107

    6inarow
    Member

    @F&J that pic is of a Singer 29-4,. and correct its an old cobbler machine. I had one and learned on it. It did OK too. Not ideally designed for upholstery but it worked and was very easy to learn on. Its still quite a popular machine in the Vintage Industrial sewing machine crowd.
     
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  22. Ian Quinn
    Joined: Sep 19, 2016
    Posts: 9

    Ian Quinn

    What older models of Singer, Consew, Juki, etc, etc have walking foots on them? I've been searching the used market like crazy, but it seems like ones with a walking foot (and a good price) are prett rare.

    There are so many different models...it's overwhelming. What models SHOULD I be looking for?

    Something with a walking foot, and reverse. Thanks!
     
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  23. G-son
    Joined: Dec 19, 2012
    Posts: 451

    G-son
    Member
    from Sweden

    continentaljohn likes this.
  24. Ian Quinn
    Joined: Sep 19, 2016
    Posts: 9

    Ian Quinn

  25. continentaljohn
    Joined: Jul 24, 2002
    Posts: 4,006

    continentaljohn
    Member

    My grandmother helped me sew a complete interior and top for my 1966 Chevy with a portable sears sewing machine 40 years ago when i was a kid. It took a bit of time and learned A lot about sewing and what you can and cant do . I have no idea what sears model it was but interior looked great so it can be done just not that easy.
    I think a few layers of materials can go thru most machines but Height and different textures (foam) is tough with out the walking foot . You have to push and pull the material and uniformed stitching might be compromised .
    I have a Pfaff walking foot now and had it for 20 plus years and a amazing machines and will go thru anything including your fingers. It really helps you look like you know what your doing ha ha ha... the machine wasn’t cheap when i got it and its a older model but well kept . I find I cant sew fine materials like linen and light cotton with it .
    I was at a swap meet art fair earlier this year and found a consew cn2230 complete for 350 bucks. I figured it was a good deal with the table and motor . I didn’t know much about the consew but its a commercial sewing machine and figured I can use it but have to loose the ruffler :D foot:oops:
    . So you can find them machines but walking foots have been always hard to find because of the multipurpose use..
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2018
  26. Boneyard51
    Joined: Dec 10, 2017
    Posts: 1,688

    Boneyard51
    Member

    So did you get a sewing machine? There is a REX with a walking foot for sale locally.



    Bones
     
    continentaljohn likes this.

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