austinb

Thoughts On Tippman Boss Sewing Machine?

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austinb   

I am desperate to get a sewing machine that can handle leather. Trying to look around for cheaper options as I don't have a terrible amount of money. Anyone have any opinions on the Tippman Boss sewing machine?

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Troy I   

I was looking at the Tippmann Boss also, their customer service has a lot to be desired...on ebay they have a Boss listed with "Make an Offer" well I did...The offer was declined and the tab for "Make an Offer" was removed. Also I had requested a catalog when their sale was going on last month, at that time I spoke with their Sale's Manager...He told me that since I requested the catalog during the sale he would honor the sale price, since it was due to expire in a few days. Well to make a long story short, I emailed this manager on Monday and he would not honor his word.

DON'T BUY A TIPPMANN BOSS. Call Cobra Steve and speak to him about a class 4. It is only a few hundred more than the Boss, when you add in all the extras that you would need to buy for the Boss. The Cobra comes with everything you would need to sew professional looking items.

This is just my opinion, I know there are a lot of people who like their Boss, but I'm not one of them because of the way they have acted.

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Sturme   

I like my boss. They can be fussy at times so I spent a while practicing on it and tweaking before I did my first project. I will tell you that is more for heavier leather. and the stitches very in size depending on the thickness of leather (there is an adjustment for it though). as for price, I spent a bit over 2 grand for it and a mess of accessories. its about 25 pounds verses the weight of a powered machine. and very portable being hand powered. As for thinner leather, I have sewn 4oz leather with it. However I do wish the stitching on the back looked a bit better but I cant complain.

If you do get one, take the time to get to know the machine, how it reacts to different thickness of leather, various needles and thread sizes. I also recommend getting the bench they sell at Tippmann to mount it on, it makes a difference having it mounted properly. Lastly if money is tight, think about shipping a 25 lb machine verses a heavier powered one. if you have any questions, let me know. I will try to help you.

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RustyReb   

My wife bought me one for Christmas. Will agree that it likes heavier leather over light. After working out a few bugs, I'm happy with it for stitching 10oz belts. Not so happy on lined 4-5 oz stuff. Top stitch will look ok but bottom leaves a lot to be desired. Ithough, have had good exerience with their customer service. Could not get bottom tension adjusted when I first got the machine.....bobbins jammed into the shuttle and it appeared they were too long......I thought possibly a bad batch of bobbins. I called..... they sent more out right away. That did not fix the problem.......bobbins still too tight in shuttle. Called them back and they sent a new bobbin shuttle out right away. Of course, by this time I had already ground and polished on the ends of the bobbins (approx .020") to get them to spin freely in the shuttle. Seems to work ok now. In hindsight, I think I would recommend spending a bit more on a powered machine. You will get a much more consistent stitch out of a powered machine. My biggest complaint on the Boss is lack of consistency in the stitch...specifically on the stitch lock. 10 stitches will be perfect and then a couple will pull the bobbin up too high. I'll probably sell mine before too long and upgrade to a Cowboy or similar.....

Reb

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Powered machines are available in that same price range. Only advantage might be either you're one of those who wants to be able to stitch at craft shows / rodeos / whatever (which I'll never do) OR if you see one that's SO cheap (probably due to them moving to a powered machine)...

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RustyReb   

I believe the wife got this one at about $1100 new straight from Tippmann.........are there decent powered machines out there in that price range???

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Yep, but far as i know not the ones that stitch that heavy. If you can get a new BOss for $1100, might be worth doing - just to have it there in case the other machine needed service and you got orders to put out.

As a rule, I think foks around here tend to over-build anyway. I have never - and will never - make belts outta two layers of skirting leather. And #415 thread is for pulling my truck out of the snow bank, not for stitchin :)

But, up to about #207-#277 thread and half an inch thick there are machines available. Toledo's 3200 model runs $1600 new. I just mention that one cuz it's at the top of this site. I didn't buy one, since I don't need one. But, if I was in the market for another machine I'd likely look at that one.

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Dwight   

I've had mine for several years, . . . and have to say, yes, . . . it can be finnickey. It can be a pain.

But then so can a Ford, Chevy, or an Austin-Martin.

No, . . . the stitch on the back is not as pretty as the one on the front, . . . but it is a working stitch, . . . not intended to be the back side of a show piece in a museum somewhere.

If you want a working machine you can take anywhere, . . . get one. If you are a whiney, grouchy, perfectionist crab, . . . probably need to get something else.

As for their customer service, . . . my experience has been tops. My machine clunked on me twice, . . . both times I took it to them, . . . Ben cleared off his bench with only a couple hours notice, . . . fixed me up both times, . . . at minimum charge.

Hand sewing, using two needles and saddle stitching will be a lot prettier if you are into esthetics, . . . personally, I'm not. And in all the belts, sheaths, holsters, etc. I've sent out to paying customers, . . . none of them has come back and wanted it dressed up.

Anyway, . . . getting off the unpaid advertisement box, . . . good luck on your decision.

May God bless,

Dwight

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rmr   

I purchased one 5-6 or so years ago. Used it for about 6-7 months- too many dropped stitches, pain in the butt to use, unpredictable, getting tension set can be a nightmare, if your sewing where you have to turn the project a lot while trying to also hold it as well as pull down on the handle- well lets just say you may need 3+ hands.

I sold mine and purchased a cobra 4. Best decision I have made. The cobra is extremely easy to use, worked right out of the box after about 15minutes of set up. Doesn't drop stitches, easy to handle... can't say enough good things about it. Customer service with Steve is second to none. I garenteee you if you purchased both machines - in about 1 weeks time you will be wanting to get rid of the tippman. The only good reason to get one - at least in my opinion is its portability. If that is important then get the tippman- otherwise get a cobra or similar machine. Even if funds are tight- save your $$ for another year and then get the cobra- you will be money ahead. There have been several guys selling cobras - used - at very reasonable prices

RMR

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mmirob   

Tippmans are great starter machines and I found their service to be excellent. It is a good machine to learn how to sew on for less money. The throw arm must go all the way up until it stops then down again. The disadvantage is with any steady work the manual operation gets old fast. Stitching a belt is a work out. Holding your work for technical areas is more challenging. I have since sold mine for a cobra 4. Never looked back! The good thing is that if you buy one used, you can usually sell it a year or two later and get your money back. There is always someone starting out that is tired of hand stitching that will buy it from you and they ship easily. Yes a tippman beats hand stitching! Good luck.

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rmr   

AustinB

might check out the used section of forum- there is a guy selling a cobra 3 machine with stand, accessories... 1600- its only 500 more than what several others are selling used tippman boss machines for- might look at it real hard. Not sure if its still available or not- nothing was said about it being sold

good luck in your pursuit of a machine

RMR

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cjg   

I like my Tippman Boss. I've had it for over 10 years, it's paid for itself many times over. Once you get it figured out it works fine, I almost never drop stitches and I like being able to put every stitch exactly where I want it. But I've never tried a Cobra 4.

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Chavez   

Its a good machine for what it is: a compact, portable mechanical stitcher. It's not in the same league as powered machines and they can't really be

compared imho.

1) It's tiny. if your workshop space is limited it's a good call. Just keep it under your desk and take it out when you need it.

2) If you're going to stitch a lot, go for a powered one. I used my boss to tailor my heavy canvas shooting jacket and I must have stitched an equivalent of 4 belts. I was in agony after that, though I'm not the fittest person here.

3) It's very fiddly, It took me 2 long weeks to set it up and I even considered sending it back for a refund. Once I set up and got used to it, it worked like magic ever since.

4) It's a stitching machine. It will never give you as good a result as hand stitching.

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+1 on all the good comments above. It's a great machine for holsters, belts, Purses, cases, etc. Not so good for thin leather. It's not rated for less than 4 oz leather. Never had the problem of dropped stitches or bottom thread pulling to the top that wasnt a result of me not pulling and pushing the handle all the way.

FYI there is an update kit to help the stops on the top and bottom of the arm travel.

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Before you commit to buying a Tippmann, check with Bob at Toledo Industrial Sewing machine. (Cowboy Bob here on the forum) He has a new model CB3200 for $1595 and it does almost as much as the CB 4500. I have them both and they work great. Just remember that with a Boss, every stitch means a downward motion using your hand and arm. Lot of up and down for a belt……..

No, I am not affiliated with Bob, but did stay at a Motel 6 the other night…..or was that a Holiday Inn????

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RustyReb   

All, I have decided to move on up to a Cobra class 3.......not sure if I'm going to hang on to the Boss or not.....might be nice to keep it loaded up with black thread for that occasional project......haven't decided yet. You just might be seeing it in the classified section of this forum soon!

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Troy I   

Agree with Shooter...check with Bob...I just got the CB 4500 from him...He will treat you right...great customer service.

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Claykan   

If you take the Tippmann Boss out of the box, install a needle and thread, and start sewing, you're going to be disappointed. But, if you take the time read and understand the manual, you're going to enjoy the Tippmann Boss. Viewing Tippmann's instructional videos will help also.

Check out the videos on Youtube of the leathercrafters using the Tippmann Boss to sew holsters and sheaths to see them in action.

Good luck,

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Hooper26   

I was seriously thinking about the Tippmann Boss because of its compact size. However I've read too many horror stories about it. So I think the Tippmann is going to be a no go for me. For it's price I should be able to take it out of the box and sew with no problem. I'm thinking the Cobra Class 18 is the way to go.

Edited by Hooper26

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Dwight   

Make sure you share your horror stories with us on the Cobra Class 18 after you get it and use it for a couple of months.

Unless you are Cinderella's fairy god mother, . . . you do not have the ability to anticipate every possible situation that will come up in sewing. I've been running thread on this and that machine now for right at 60 years, . . . and it is THE exceptional piece that I sit down to and there is simply NOTHING in the entire piece that is less than perfect.

Machines are made by imperfect men and women, . . . and to expect ANY of them to be perfect, . . . well, . . . your coach becomes a pumpkin at midnight tonight.

I bought my Boss to be free of electricity where I planned on using it. It did the job, . . . and is still doing the job, . . . but like any other machine, there is a learning curve, . . . (hint, hint), . . . read and follow directions.

As for the "horror" stories, . . . far as I am concerned, . . . overanxious people wanting the machine to make up for their own inadequacies.

May God bless,

Dwight

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KY PI   

Gosh, I'm glad I didn't read this thread before I bought my Boss cause I probably would still be hand stitching. I lucked into an old cast iron model and promptly called Tippmann and sent it in for a "spruce up". I can't remember what they charged but I thought it was verrrry reasonable. Got it back and had a few minor problems until a respected friend (Thanks Dwight) gave me some pointers. It sews great now! I love it but I am not a production shop and most of you folks probably sew more in a day than I do in a month. If I had the money and the volume of work to justify a powered machine I would get one but my Boss is just perfect for me right now! ...........And I was impressed with Ben at Tippmann.

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