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Pfaff 130 sewing machine to repair saddles??


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#1 3arrows

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Posted 30 April 2008 - 12:10 PM

Im trying to find a good used sewing machine to sew leather with. I want to be able to replace fleece on saddles as well as resew any stiching that may have deteriorated or come loose. I found a good deal on a rebuilt Pfaff 130 sewing machine ($250 with 3 yr warranty). Any comments on this type of machine as far as quality and will it be able to do the heavy stiching that I need to repair saddles?? thanks for any help or opinions that you may offer.. ron.
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#2 Art

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Posted 30 April 2008 - 01:08 PM

Hi Ron,

In a word, NO. The Pfaff 130 is a circa early 1950s home sewing machine. I have heard of it referred to as semi-industrial but that is a misnomer. Pfaff builds a good machine, and the 130 will do light leather, but the motor is way below what you need for leatherwork and you will have a hard time getting much under the short shank foot.

I have said this before, and here it is again, if it says "Industrial Strength" or anything like that...RUN. Sewing machines are Commercial, which means they are sold commercially by sewing stores for home use, or they are Industrial, used all day every day, quite often to do one particular task. Industrial machines have a stand with a motor underneath that drives the machine head by a belt, we're talking V-Belt here, not some round dinky thing, and the motor is usually 1/2hp (400 Watts) or 3/4hp (550 watts) as opposed to the 1/10hp (80 Watt) motors found on home sewing machines. Industrial motors will be A/C clutch, or only recently, servo controlled DC "variable speed" with speeds of usually 1725 or 3450 rpm and almost any voltage and phase setup on earth, so look at the motor carefully, a 3-phase motor isn't going to do you any good at home or even at some shops.

Another very important consideration is the kind of work you contemplate will be done much easier on a cylinder arm machine as opposed to a flat bed machine.

I usually recommend a new machine for first timers, but sometimes the cash isn't available and a used machine becomes a necessity. There are wonderful deals out there in the used world, and there are some real dogs and shady characters selling them, so get help and advice from someone with knowledge, and make sure they have and use older machines.

Art

Im trying to find a good used sewing machine to sew leather with. I want to be able to replace fleece on saddles as well as resew any stiching that may have deteriorated or come loose. I found a good deal on a rebuilt Pfaff 130 sewing machine ($250 with 3 yr warranty). Any comments on this type of machine as far as quality and will it be able to do the heavy stiching that I need to repair saddles?? thanks for any help or opinions that you may offer.. ron.
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#3 bcurrier

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 11:39 AM

I have said this before, and here it is again, if it says "Industrial Strength" or anything like that...RUN. Sewing machines are Commercial, which means they are sold commercially by sewing stores for home use, or they are Industrial, used all day every day, quite often to do one particular task.


You know Art, it's interesting that this comes up as much as it does. Maybe people think the terms are merely guides to use and not definitive terms. The reality is that industrial sewing machines are ALWAYS called exactly that, when it comes to modern machines (say from the WWII era on). In addition, with the machines from appx. 30 years ago to-date, there is really no similarity between design and build of industrial machines vs. home machines, except superficial.

I actually think there is a legitimate blurring of usage lines and terms when referring to machines up into the 1st half of the 20th century - not with heavy-duty machines being used in homes, of course, so much as common lockstitchers being used at home as well as seeing widespread use for activities like commercial tailoring and dressmaking, or even light manufacturing. The Pfaff 130 falls squarely into that camp. Where it starts to get abusive is terming the metal-geared (often pot-metal) and metal-cased mechanical home machines of the 40s - 70s "commercial" or "industrial strength".

Bill

#4 Art

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 12:58 PM

Hi Bill,

For the first half of the 20th century, up through the '50s, the "Home" sewing machine was provisioned to sew most anything it would encounter in the home or on the farm. These machines were often sewing multiple layers of denim and light leather like suspenders or even a belt; who knew what Pa was going to bring in from the barn. In the '50s you started to see more of the zigzag machines (although Bernina had a few from the '30s) because of the modern fabrics. With lighter fabric and lighter domestic uses the commercial (meaning sold in stores) sewing machine got lighter and lighter, cheaper and cheaper till we arrived at today's plastic wonders. It was all downhill from then on for using the machines for anything meaningful in the leather department. The Singer 31 is one of the few you might have seen in homes, shops, and light industry. The 66 and 201 and a few others were the last of the real home/farm duty Singers, and the Pfaff 301 was and equivalent machine built before Pfaff split into two separate companies, one Industrial and one Commercial. The 66, 201, and 301 are all tough machines with wimpy motors only adequate for occasional home duty, they will sew anything you can get under the foot (1/4 to 3/8 maybe but a stretch), with maybe some handwheeling, but they will be a source of nothing but frustration for a leatherworker. I have however seen the 31 with a stand and clutch motor sew right along on medium weight chrome tan.

It never ceases to amaze me that someone buying their first leather machine would go to eBay to buy. It's ok to look around a bit, but without the experience, they might become the victim of hype (lets call it what it is, BS), and there is a boatload of that out there. There are (as I can be witness to) the occasional deals out there for someone who knows what they are getting and knows what the value is.

There are maybe 3-5 sellers of new and used machines on eBay who deal in machines that are useful to leatherworkers and who sell on a regular basis. I have never seen any of them say "industrial Strength" or "for leather" in their listings.

Anyway, I know you know all of this already, but I just ramble on hoping someone will read it and I won't have to type it again.

Art

You know Art, it's interesting that this comes up as much as it does. Maybe people think the terms are merely guides to use and not definitive terms. The reality is that industrial sewing machines are ALWAYS called exactly that, when it comes to modern machines (say from the WWII era on). In addition, with the machines from appx. 30 years ago to-date, there is really no similarity between design and build of industrial machines vs. home machines, except superficial.

I actually think there is a legitimate blurring of usage lines and terms when referring to machines up into the 1st half of the 20th century - not with heavy-duty machines being used in homes, of course, so much as common lockstitchers being used at home as well as seeing widespread use for activities like commercial tailoring and dressmaking, or even light manufacturing. The Pfaff 130 falls squarely into that camp. Where it starts to get abusive is terming the metal-geared (often pot-metal) and metal-cased mechanical home machines of the 40s - 70s "commercial" or "industrial strength".

Bill


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#5 bcurrier

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 03:47 PM

The differences between home and industrial machines have been unbelievably glaring for the last few decades. In fact, I'm surprised sometimes that anyone could confuse the two, at least if they have the opportunity to compare them physically.

Unfortunately, the lines are going to blur again, at least from a design standpoint. More industrials are coming out that have direct drive motors (i.e., in the head), no-lube and semi-dry designs (no oil pan), more plastic in the build, and have electronics-driven components (stepping motors) and interfaces - like the home machines. You might think the high prices of the industrials of this type (e.g., the Juki 9000) would still make the difference clear, but you ought to price a top-of-the-line Bernina sometime!

I know, and you know what the differences are. For now that still includes (for the industrial) heavy castings, much heavier shafting and components, better quality bearings, long-life components, industrial-quality motors, MUCH higher speed capability, etc. etc. It's still pretty hard to confuse a 70 or 80 pound industrial head on a k-leg stand with a 12 pound home machine in a case, no matter how much they may nominally work alike electronically. But I wonder just how much design for the industrial is going to move in 10 years or so? Maybe the home and industrial markets will overlap again in the future.

Just thinking out loud.

Bill

#6 pecosbill

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Posted 03 February 2009 - 11:39 AM

I am very familiar with the Pfaff 130 (I have repaired/refurbished many of them to date) and I will say they are excellent homw machines. They are not industrial/commercial machines and will NOT sew saddle skirts. You can do some harness leather, blankets, belts etc.. because it is a powerful little machine. I do some leather work and use the Pfaff 130 all the time. I have sewed 1/4 " Veg Tan leather (after casing the leather) but it isn't something you can do routinely. To do what you want you need an Artisan or Tippman Boss (hand machine) and the cost is $1,300.00 to $3,000, so you would need to be in the saddle making business to justify that kind of expense.

pecosbill

#7 rhall

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Posted 03 February 2009 - 01:34 PM

Art I have been told that you are The Man when it comes to Machines.I live in UpperMarlboro and find myself in need of amachine to sew leather shooting equipment.That would be maybe 3 through 9/10 oz.I have been hand sewing for years,but my hands are getting worse.I do appriciate your knowledge and advice.

#8 Saddlebag

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Posted 15 April 2009 - 06:45 PM

When refleecing saddles it's a lot different from doing it the first time. You will need to have pretty precise control of the speed. A walking foot is best because it doesn't leave skid marks in the leather. Also you have to decide if you will create a new stitch line in the skirts or can set your machine to reuse the old holes. And your machine needs to handle the heavy needles and thread required for this work.

#9 neelsaddlery

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Posted 15 April 2009 - 10:02 PM

Hello:

If you plan to sew saddles then you will definitely need a machine made for this task. Oscillating hook machines with barrel type bobbins are usually made to sew the heavier items.

You can get into a brand new machine that will sew saddles for around $2195.00, which is much less than what they used to cost years ago. Granted, this is the lowest price new machine that you can buy, but it will certainly work well for the job.

Kindest Regards,
Ryan O. Neel
Neel's Saddlery and Harness
1-866-507-8926 (toll free)
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www.cowboysew.com
www.neelsaddlery.com
toll free: 1-866-507-8926





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