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JessH   

I'm new to leather work, and have just bought an industrial machine for light leather, (didn't find it was classified light until after I bought it) so hope it will work out. I'm from the UK, not far from the Easterly most point of the UK in East Anglia. I'm hoping to reupholster my late son's classic mini, hence came across this site when looking for info about leather car upholstery. I have covered 2 sofas and a wing chair in the past, in fabric, so am hoping my sewing leather skills are up to the job. I think I might well get a professional to do the headrests, as they show through the windows from a distance, and if they're good, they will hopefully 'carry' my workmanship further down inside the car. Looking forward to learning a lot about all aspects of the machines and the leather. 

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No PICTURES! (of the wrong machine you bought and your mom's mini)

and no mention of what machine you bought. 

Youre not going to get much help with that approach.

Before you hire someone to do the head rests look up a guy named "Cechafio" on YouTube. This is exactly what he does (car leather) and he has a bunch of good videos showing how he does it. Practice with fake leather a few times untill you figure it out. This will also teach you about what machine you should buy next.

Good luck

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JessH   

Thanks for the proffered luck, I've been watching Cechaflo avidly for the last few days, and as you say, he is amazing. I've ordered the little 'slow down' pulley on the strength of his video. I've got used to the quiet way he does it now, and find it soothing, though sometimes the captions disappear behind the ads. The car belonged to my late son, who I lost almost 3 years ago, aged 25, it was his first car, not my mom's, though she had a Riley Elf in the 60's (mini with boot and fancy radiator).

I discovered a Singer 132k6, but while asking the owner if it was suitable and waiting for a response (it was) someone else upped and bought it, and the others are out of budget, so I've ended up with a Singer 132k5, which has the same 'jumping foot' a chap on this site called it, sold as a walking foot, but not compound, thought it's  for light leather, so we'll see how we get on? It was cheap enough that it will do for normal fabric reupholstering at home if it fails on the midweight leather, or maybe I'll start making some light leather products, once I find out what constitutes light leatherwork. Practicing on cheap stuff definitely a good idea. I may still go for a professional to do the headrests though, as on the mini they are quite a complicated shape with the piping waving all over the place, it's a really eye catching design that could easily catch me out I think, even with Cesars help?

The machine doesn't arrive until Thursday, and I just tried to upload the ebay image and it says it's too big? I've tried to make it smaller, so here goes, and yes it's worked, so another skill gained in how to reduce photos :). I really like the wooden table and iron legs, so if I do get a 132k6 later with a more industrial table, I may well swap them over, and sell this one on?

 

 

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Sorry you're right it says your son not your mom my mistake. 

Well done on the picture. Now I gotta see this fancy mini headrest that so complicated or I won't be able to sleep at night.

Listen Jess I've now bought a lot of sewing machines both before and after going broke. Before going broke I would walk into a store, see a machine demo get impressed and "buy", pay top dollar or even extra top dollar for new machines that were good machines but not what I needed and not worth anywhere near what I paid. Now that I'm ..... lets say "short on funds" I am very careful with what I buy. I have to be. I sit at the computer and over time watch everything that is for sale .... everything. When I'm not on the computer I'm at my sewing machineS learning how in hell they were able to make these complicated Mini headrests because I can't afford to call the guy. The machines I buy now are exactly what I need and only what I need to do that complicated Mini headrest, or whatever I'm trying to learn. I take my time and watch a posted sewing machine ad for a while. Dose it get snapped up right away? If not the price will eventually drop. My twin needle Pfaff 142-6 was listed at $1200. I paid $450. These little domestic Pfaff machines 230-260 and 332-260 were $80 and $100 (fine little machines but NOT industrial leather machines). You just need to learn "what machines are really designed to do" and patiently wait for yours to come up for sale at a reasonable price. I'm in Los Angeles where there are probably a lot of machines but still I am amazed at how the right machine does come along for sale if you just patiently wait for it. I use craigslist, Offer-Up, Facebook and I watch estate sales (all online) 

Uwe Grosse makes YouTube videos (the best in the world) that will teach you how to fix, time and dial in your own industrial leather machines. He's a member here on this site and sells an occasional restored machine.

"thesergeant" is another YouTube guy well worth checking out because he makes a lot of videos about a bunch of different machines and explains what each machine is capable of doing and how each compares to all his other machines.

I like to put a 550 watt servo motor and a speed reducer pulley on my leather machines. Even if I hardly ever get a chance to do leather. It gives you quit, comfortable control and added torque. With my very limited sewing experience a clutch motor is just plain scary.

Good luck and post pictures when you can.

jeff

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JessH   

Ooh I really like the stuff you're making! As to bargains, I've been a bargain hunter since I was a chiild I think, and that was a very long time ago. My 331k5 arrived this afternoon, freshly oiled and threaded, with one spare spool, half a dozen new needles, and a piping foot (as well as a standard foot) but not defluffed or recently cleaned. Cleaned it up, and put some fabric under, to find out its a strong willed Ferrari! Seems happy enough with thick fabric, haven't put my leather samples under yet, trying to get control of her first! I have ordered a small pulley (Cechaflo on youtube shows how to fit it). I notice you have a huge pulley underneath, I saw one chap who put the biggie on the top back of the table. Didn't like that arrangement much, but yours underneath looks far more convenient as its out of the way. We currently have an original black 1960's Singer clutch motor, much quieter than expected, and quite a pleasant sound, rather to my surprise? A servo is out of budget for the time being. The machine cost £145, about $200,, so happy with the price, her ad wasn't that good, if I needed to, I know I can sell it for more, though she's probably a keeper. Dark now, so will do photo of headrests later.

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JessH   

Hi Primosand,

Just realised I put a misprint in my description of which machine I did get? I actually purchased a 331k5, and yesterday we made some sample leather piping together. I also turned over and sewed four layers of the leather I'm going to use easily. She did very well, considering my leather needles have not arrived yet, the top thread was bonded nylon, and I think the bottom was poly/cotton or even cotton? (bobbin came filled from the fabric upholsterer who sold it, and doubt very much she uses nylon).

Your reducer system looks amazing, did you make or buy? Are they fastened together, (if so how?) or just whirling on the same axle? I assume the bracket has an axle at the bottom they are both on? Would love that same set up, looks like it gives excellent speed control!

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mikesc   

primosand, your photos look like a "spot the item amongst these photos that a cat cannot fit itself inside of" :)
jessH..Primosand's "pulley system" ( they are called a "speed reducer" ) looks like a "bought one"..but you can make your own system that will do the same,
if you copy and paste this into Google
"site :leatherworker.net speed reducer"
exactly like it is written, spaces and all , but take off the quote marks at each end, you'll get results of all the pages here where they have been discussed and a lot of pictures of both bought and home-made ones .

Even changing the pulley on your Singer clutch motor ( which is probably around an 80mm diameter one ) for a 45mm or a 50mm one will help slow it down to begin with..If your motor is the 1750 type ( it will be written on it ) then it may have a tapered shaft with a woodruff key, if so the pulleys sold by college sewing for tapered bore will fit it.

https://www.college-sewing.co.uk/store/SewingMachineMotorPulleys

A standard tapered bore 40 mm pulley on that page may fit, but the efka ones ( although more expensive, and designed for the efka system ) will also fit..I have an efka 45mm tapered pulley on the 1750 Singer clutch motor that I have on my Singer 20U. That and an extension to the motor lever make it manageable, I don't use it for leather ( my Singer 211 has a servo motor and speed reducer that I made with a ratio 5:1 ) but even the change to a smaller pulley will help you control your machine better, and only cost you a tenner at most. Pulley is easy to change with the motor in place..you'll need a new belt ( preferably one with teeth as they go around the tight radius of the smaller motor pulley better ) after the change, as the old one will be too big.

Edited by mikesc

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JessH   
On 30/09/2017 at 4:44 PM, mikesc said:

primosand, your photos look like a "spot the item amongst these photos that a cat cannot fit itself inside of" :)
jessH..Primosand's "pulley system" ( they are called a "speed reducer" ) looks like a "bought one"..but you can make your own system that will do the same,
if you copy and paste this into Google
"site :leatherworker.net speed reducer"
exactly like it is written, spaces and all , but take off the quote marks at each end, you'll get results of all the pages here where they have been discussed and a lot of pictures of both bought and home-made ones .

Even changing the pulley on your Singer clutch motor ( which is probably around an 80mm diameter one ) for a 45mm or a 50mm one will help slow it down to begin with..If your motor is the 1750 type ( it will be written on it ) then it may have a tapered shaft with a woodruff key, if so the pulleys sold by college sewing for tapered bore will fit it.

https://www.college-sewing.co.uk/store/SewingMachineMotorPulleys

A standard tapered bore 40 mm pulley on that page may fit, but the efka ones ( although more expensive, and designed for the efka system ) will also fit..I have an efka 45mm tapered pulley on the 1750 Singer clutch motor that I have on my Singer 20U. That and an extension to the motor lever make it manageable, I don't use it for leather ( my Singer 211 has a servo motor and speed reducer that I made with a ratio 5:1 ) but even the change to a smaller pulley will help you control your machine better, and only cost you a tenner at most. Pulley is easy to change with the motor in place..you'll need a new belt ( preferably one with teeth as they go around the tight radius of the smaller motor pulley better ) after the change, as the old one will be too big.

Thanks Mike,

I've just ordered a 2nd reducer pulley, (first was a modern fit for the white/cream motors, only cost £5), sadly it turns out that I need a splined untapered one, $60 including postage, not available in the UK at the moment, so have had to order from the U.S, currently waiting for it to arrive. I don't have a lever on my original black Singer motor, the Pitman joins the motor via a spring directly, so no help there. Thanks for the link I will investigate. I have seen a vintage double wheel cast one on ebay, debating whether that might be good? It would go with my vintage motor, but takes up more space and does need quite a bit of cleaning up, though seller says it works/turns. Oh and mine is a 1425 speed.

Edited by JessH
extra info

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