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About Lostranger

  • Rank
  • Birthday 04/11/1953

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Location
    Marion, NC
  • Interests
    Organic Gardening, Bus Conversion, Lutherie, Philosophy

LW Info

  • Leatherwork Specialty
    Driving & Draft Harness, Riding Tack Repair
  • Interested in learning about
    Saddle Making, Chaps, Pack Saddles
  • How did you find leatherworker.net?

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801 profile views
  1. I admit up front that my shoe repair ignorance would fill many volumes, but I have long experience with harness/saddlery/sheath/holster and similar work. We've moved from a home sideline leather shop to a full-time, 3000-square-foot shop in town, and we want to add shoe repair. We have a couple of new, Cowboy machines for general work, but I'm wondering if the old Champion Widethroat that I've had since 1982 would be good for sewing soles? Seems to me that it would, but maybe I'm missing something. I would also appreciate direction to shoe repair information and sources of materials and supplies. My primary suppliers are focused on harness and saddlery and have little in the way of shoe supplies. I've watched lots of YouTube shoe repair video, but specific video recommendations would be helpful. TIA Jim in Marion, NC hedgerowcrafters.com
  2. Singer 17U141 Any Info?

    Thanks for the help. I believe I'll hold out for that Pfaff 335 that I've not yet found and can't yet afford.
  3. I need a medium duty/patching stitcher I have an opportunity to buy a Singer 17U141 for what may be a decent price. Can anyone give me perspective on this stitcher? It's three hours away, and the fellow is not able to send photos. Claims that it's in good working condition. At what price is it worth a 6 hour trip to check it out? What can this machine do? Can I get parts? Any particular strengths or weaknesses? TIA Jim in NC
  4. I've mentioned in a couple of other threads that I'm getting back into the harness and tack business after more than ten years hiatus. I've discovered that I've lost my spare bobbins. Got the latest Pilgrim catalog in the mail today. They have needles and awls, but they do not list bobbins. Any suggestions on a bobbin source? I'm not prepared to go at this seriously with only one bobbin. I would certainly buy used bobbins if anyone has some to sell. TIA Jim in NC
  5. Determining Age Of A Champion Wide Throat

    Thanks, dikman. Twas a lovely fall day. We still have good color. Here are a few more shots of the Champion inside the truck: http://s12.postimg.org/4qzy5a5q5/IMG_4546.jpg http://s23.postimg.org/c3beyapbf/IMG_4545.jpg http://s12.postimg.org/90duyxnr1/IMG_4547.jpg http://s9.postimg.org/cq9wy3ebj/IMG_4548.jpg http://s9.postimg.org/y024mojzz/IMG_4503.jpg That last shot was part of getting it into the van. Stitcher plus hoist was too tall for door. Made the process lots of fun.
  6. Determining Age Of A Champion Wide Throat

    Thanks for the nice words and helpful input, Constabulary. I found a better image hosting service, and I'll try to get some more photos up today. The stitcher looks good in the van even though the van is far from finished. The interior won't be paneled when I open for business, but it is well insulated, and I'm air drying the yellow pine that I will eventually turn into tongue and groove paneling. I won't be able to claim all American made since my light-duty machine is a Pfaff 230. Your overall point is well taken, however. I am one of the many who love to watch an old steam engine or hit 'n' miss or grist mill or antique tractor. My Champion has real eye appeal and a lovely-sounding "cha-chunk" rhythm. I'll also try to post the proof for my outside lettering. Simple but (I hope) eye catching. Jim
  7. I thought about titling this thread "Dating a Champion Wide Throat", but we're not actually that close. I've had my Champion since 1982, but now that I'm using it as part of the portable harness and tack shop I'm building inside an Olson step van, I find myself curious about its origin. Bought it from a fellow named Dale and his last name was something like Brazel or Brassel. He lived somewhere in Illinois, and he kept Clydesdale horses. Dale was the first person who ever mentioned the name "Union Lockstitch" in my hearing. The glow of joy on his face as he mouthed the words convinced me that a Union Lockstitch was the ultimate leather stitcher, and I should own one someday. I never have, but I'm not dead yet. He and I unbolted the head from the stand and carried the two pieces up his basement stairs. I was young and strong, but I remember having all the load I wanted at the time. I've never had the head off the stand since that trip, and I've never again moved it without several helpers or mechanical assistance. It's heavy. I had always assumed that this machine was made in the twenties, but since I've recently learned that needle and awl machines were a product of the late nineteenth century, I'm thinking this one is older. This is the only Champion I've ever seen that was originally human powered. It is not mounted on a cast iron pedestal. The stand is a table-like arrangement with legs on each side. The illustrations in the photo copied manual I received with the stitcher show a metal seat suspended from the table and a set of pedals driving an eccentric shaft near the bottom of the stand. That shaft was belt coupled to a large, cast iron flywheel on the right side, and that flywheel drove the stitcher wheel through a step-down pulley. All that was left of the original drive when I got the machine was the flywheel. I removed that piece at some point—probably to save weight—and misplaced it along the way. Someone had attempted an electric drive conversion using a 3600 rpm, 1 HP motor and a pulley on an eccentric for a clutch. It worked poorly. Soon after I got the stitcher, I bought a Singer industrial drive motor with clutch from a fellow in Fithian, IL. Don't remember his name. The singer was obviously made before WWII because it has grease cups rather than zerks. Took me a while to get the mounts and ratios right, but the stitcher runs great with the Singer drive. I may have it running a bit slowly, but that's another issue. Does anyone know when Champion began selling these machines? Do they have serial numbers? I've never found one. I'm guessing mine is from an early batch. Dale told me it had been rebuilt shortly before he bought it. Neither he nor I have used it a lot. It's still tight and accurate to the best of my knowledge, but I'm still working on cleaning everything and replacing the missing thread holder. I'm also having to repair the mount for the thread tensioner since a friend who was storing the machine decided to move it without me and got in his usual hurry. One of the reasons I want to have a closer idea of when this machine was made is to use its age as a marketing tool. Many people are fascinated by old machinery—especially if it's still doing its job. Some will come to my shop just to see the antique at work. Others will come to see the old stitching machine. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Jim in NC P.S. I'll try to include a couple of photos, but TinyPic often rotates my photos 90 degrees left. http://postimg.org/image/45ozuhrr7/ http://postimg.org/image/6g0mw5x7p/ http://postimg.org/image/qv34ou5hb/ http://postimg.org/image/y3b6jxmml/ I had to do a bit of work to the drive after ten years of storage in a open shed. Works great now.
  8. Adult Section Request

    Pretty please?
  9. Coping With A Small Workshop

    I'm currently setting up a shop in a small space, and I enjoy seeing and hearing what others have done. My shop is going into an Olsen step van that spent most of its life as a mobile classroom in Harrisburg, PA. The working space is 16' long by a little less than 8' wide by 6-1/2' tall. I don't expect to achieve good organization without lots of trial and error. Just getting my Champion wide throat into the van was a challenge, but we got that done over the weekend. Today I'm installing a work bench and our old Pfaff that I had professionally tuned last year. It was sold for home sewing in the fifties, but it does a great job on leather if it's not overloaded. One of the space saving tools I'm bringing from my interest in lutherie is a free standing column vise that I'll bolt to the floor in a yet-to-be-determined location. Here is a link to what I use: http://www.stewmac.com/Luthier_Tools/Types_of_Tools/Vises/Erlewine_ShopStand.html I have both the angle vise and the guitar repair vise. I will leave the angle vise on the stand most of the time and bolt things like splitter, skiver, creaser, etc. that see occasional use to a piece of 2x4. Using such a tool is just a matter of clamping the 2x4 into the vise. I've been thinking about putting a 2x4 on my instrument repair vise and replacing those jaws with a set of stitching horse jaws. That would give me better hand stitching capability without taking up floor space. I do a lot of hand stitching, especially on the back side of leather keepers. I use no staples or tubular rivets. With the shop-in-a-van, I'll be able to travel to rodeos, horse shows, group ride staging areas and the like to do mostly repair work. We will also make new harness and tack on a case-by-case basis. May also keep a few ready made items such as purses and belts. I ran a shop out of my home from '82 to '04 as a sideline to my professional job, but this will be a full-focus endeavor for my wife and me. I'm a craftsman, but I'm far from an expert in any area of leatherwork. I'm pleased to have discovered this forum because I can already see a wealth of expertise and a good attitude. Those things are important. When the weather clears here in the Blue Ridge, I'll take some photos of the truck and start a thread. Hope to get my lettering installed next week. Best to all, Jim in NC
  10. I realize that this is an old thread, but I am a new member. I need a manual for a Champion wide throat, and neither of the sources linked here appears to still have them. Any other ideas on a source? Anybody have one you'd sell? I bought my Champion in 1982 and used it in a serious side line business for 22 years making/repairing draft/driving harness and riding tack. It's been in storage since. I'm currently setting up a similar shop but this time in a 16 foot Olsen step van. I'll be able to go to places where business might be. I had a photo copied manual that came with the machine, but it was in poor shape in '82. Now it's unreadable. Any help would be appreciated. Jim in NC