Jaybogg

Singer 31-15 capabilities

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Jaybogg   

Sorry if this question has been asked a gazillion times, but I couldn't find a thread with the answer, so here goes... Can a singer 31-15 sew leather, and if so, how thick?  I am a hobbyist knifemaker who currently hand sews all my sheaths... Looking for something that will sew 1/4" to almost 1/2" leather and came across a 31-15 that I'd like to buy if it has these capabilities... Thx in advance for any info you may be able to give me... Thx, JB

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It will depend on the leather but it should sew just a little over 1/4" maybe 5/16" & uses thread up to size #138 thread.

Edited by CowboyBob

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Jaybogg   

Cowboy Bob, Thank you sir for your prompt reply...  The price on this machine is really good but with that said, it doesn't do me any good if I can't use it!! Sounds like it would be on the low side or below what I am looking for... Most my sheaths are ~8-9 oz veg tan, three layers thick with the welt... Guestimate the thickness to be a proud 3/8 at least... Thx again for the feedback... I am a didabled vet who does this as a form of occupational therapy since I cannot work, so money is definitely a consideration... really hope that this machine would fit the bill as it is listed at under 100 bucks... Oh well, guess I'll just keep lookin' and hopin'!! ;)

 

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I understand its a good price but if you really want a leather machine look for a 111w155.  The 31-15  is tailor machine not a leather machine, but it is old cast iron so whatever fits under the foot it will probably sew.  I assume it will have an old clutch motor on it and this will be the hard part, since you wont have any control, you will tap the pedal and it will take-off like a rocket.   You could put a roller-foot on it and a servo motor and that would give it more control, however then your spending more money and may as well look for a 111 machine that already has a servo motor. 

 

 

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I own a first generation Singer 31-15 from the early 1920s and I can tell you without hesitation that is cannot handle #138 thread in its shuttle. In fact, I am limited to a max of #69 thread. It sews about 1/4 inch of compressed soft material and is best used as a tailoring and alterations machine for cloth and linings. The take-up links and needlebar mounts are not strong enough to withstand the pounding that sewing veg-tan leather would place on them.

A much later generation of the 31-15 can probably sew with #138 thread. I know some folks who use later builds to sew chaps and shoe uppers.

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Jaybogg   

I appreciate everyone's input... I've about talked myself outa this deal... If there's anyone around Central texas who could use this machine, let me know and I'll put you in touch... Appears to be a good deal, has a table, foot pedal for control... Thx again for all the advice... 

 

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suzelle   

Great Question here on the weight of the thread, and good to know (Thanks Wizcrafts) that these machines may possibly be able to sew 138 thread! I had one some time back, but ended up just getting it running, then sold it. I didn't think the one I had was capable of sewing heavier than v69 thread and that wasn't really adequate for my needs. I'm wondering if anyone can advise on what serial numbers to look for when you are searching for the one that can sew the heavier weight 138 thread. I think I may have to look for one again! Thank you!

Oh - Jaybogg... good luck on your search. I'm not ready to buy one of these just yet, but would point you in the right direction if I did find one. I think I'm about another 1-2 years out before I can fit another machine in my work space.

Edited by suzelle

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dikman   

Welcome Jaybogg, you did the right thing by asking here first. If you want to sew 1/2" of leather you're going to need a decent machine, preferably a walking foot and with a servo. If you're only sewing knife sheaths I'd stick to hand stitching - It gives a stronger stitch and you can use heavier thread. I still hand stitch holsters as none of my machines can handle that thickness of leather or thread any heavier than #138 (it's a big jump to the type of machine needed and I can't justify it).

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Jaybogg   

DIkman, Thanks for your input... I agree about hand stitching, especially on my bifold bison sheaths, the rustic look is good... The machine would sure come in handy though for diagonal sheaths, snakeskin inlays, etc... Right now, the time to hand sew a diagonal sheath isn't economically feasible... The inlays are doable, but small, tight stitch that a machine gives would look better in my opinion... Currently, I am drilling my stitch holes, and controlling the wandering on the back side from trying to keep the stacked leather horizontal is a challenge...

 

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dikman   

One thing I've found useful is using the machine, without thread, to punch the holes first. With careful planning I can do the two edges of the holster while it's flat (before folding) and with a bit of luck they line up for gluing. I then use an awl to widen the holes for the needles/thread. It keeps the stitches in line and the spacing uniform. That 31-15 would probably do that (hand cranking, and single thickness only) but I would still hang out for a reasonable walking foot if I were you.

My first effort with one of those multi-prong punches looked good on top, not so good on the back - I found out that you have to make sure the punch is kept absolutely vertical! Tried a drill press, didn't like it.

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