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Matt S

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    nr. London, England

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  1. There's a lot of factors. Using a machine and operator combination that's not running right at its upper or lower limits (thickness, thread, tension, speed, general ability...) is 90% of the magic. Correct choice of needle point style and matching thread to needle size (no spaghetti down manholes or hotdogs down hallways) are important too. Some leathers are "springier" and will largely close up around stitch holes, especially if persuaded with a rub or a tap, whereas others are harder and more prone to blowouts. Some leathers simply don't mark much, or the machine is fitted with smooth dogs/plates/feet (maybe modified). I find that needle feed machines tend to mark less and leave smaller holes (less blowout) than walking-foot machines. Out of interest, what's a round hole chisel? I don't tend to associate round holes with good stitching, hand or otherwise.
  2. I'm not aware of any burnishing services but I'm sure there's someone out there who'll do it. Can you maybe teach your friend/kid/neightbour/whatev to do it? Motorised burnishers are handy. Depending on your leather and what you're using to burnish with burnishing by hand isn't hugely slow once you get the knack. I use diluted PVA and a bone folder and can burnish a belt in 10-20 minutes so long as I'm using good quality leather. I always use a motorised wheel for the wax though.
  3. Bloody hell, our 110-year-old house has a 100-amp 3-phase supply! (Sadly electrical renovations have reduced the consumer side to single-phase again so it was cheaper to build a phase splitter for my meagre needs than get the other 2 phases reconnected). My (limited) understanding is that the 415/440 number quoted for 3ph supplies is the peak measurement across two phases (rather than phase to neutral). As they're all 120 degrees out of phase to each other you're getting the full 240v from one phase plus a fraction of the negative swing of the other phase. Since they're sinusoidal IIRC you multiply by 2^0.5 which would give 240+(240*1.4)=415ish. Most 3ph motors are reconfigurable between star and delta (star also known as Y or wye configuration), and most under 3KW 240v rather than 415v coils. That's part of how I was able to get my splitter running on 240v 1ph -- reconfigured the motors to star, put the control transformer onto a separate supply, and built a simple Steinmetz circuit across the biggest motor and supplied 240v across one of the windings. Big motor start capacitor from the first phase to the second phase via a time-delay relay (only in-circuit for a few seconds on start-up) and a run capacitor permanently in place. The run capacitor's approximate value I calculated based on the expected load and adjusted through trial-and-error for best average performance. I get about a 10% phase-to-phase voltage differential (measured phase-to-neutral) when running light, which is acceptable, but it bogs down on heavy loads and trips internal overloads. The motors aren't quite as balanced as I'd like and it's hard work on the biggest motor I'm using as part of the phase balancing but it does work. Thus wanting to build a rotary converter, which would have a wider range of operation and take the hard work off the hard-to-replace motors on the splitter. There are other ways of doing it, some people use 240-415v transformers to get 415v 1ph and then generate the two pseudo-phases from that if their equipment expects to see 415v phase-to-neutral. Some VFDs can do 240-to-415 too, though with a VFD you have to connect it directly to the pump motor and make other arrangements for powering the control transformer. I wonder if your converters "need" 15 amps, rather than "can cope with"? What's the tally plate on your clicker say? My splitter draws 1.5KW total, which translates to under 7A. Over 20A on startup (through a 13A fuse and 20A breaker), but big motors do that. Not a problem for very short periods, if you've got the right breakers installed. This is a popular make of phase converter in the UK. They do both rotary and static. Commonly used in hobby workshops and some industrial places that don't have 3ph laid on. https://transwave.co.uk/
  4. That is very true. For the UK Singer stopped making industrials at Kilbowie in the late 60s I think and started rebadging Seikos and Adlers. BUSM concentrated on automated machinery and I expect hasn't made a manually guided sewing machine since 1945. Most people don't want to rely on a 50+ year old machine for their business, and often can't due to safety features. There used at least to be alternatives to the Chinese fare by going for quality and reliability for European or Japanese made. Pfaff is making some in China, apparently now Juki too. Not sure about Seiko, Mitsubishi or Brother. Yes QC is a factor. I've heard anecdotally that the added costs of doing effective QC to Chinese-made goods often brings them up to a cost comparable with making them in the West. You're right that being made in any particular country is not a guarantee of how well it's made but I think we can agree that there is a strong correlation based on local culture. Quality and price are not the only factors when choosing where I spend my hard-earned lucre. I feel it is morally wrong to support China wherever there is an alternative option, and has huge security, ecological and economic repercussions that are only yet beginning to be felt. I see China a bit like the supermarkets. They replaced independent and small-chain stores in the UK since WW2, and in earnest since probably the early 1990s. What they did was very plain -- they put up a shop and sold everything cheap. Partly because they had economies of scale, partly because they could afford to sell at a low or negative profit in that store. Local shops went out of business. Prices crept up, but now they've got a captive market and can charge what they like. This is called "destroyer pricing", or on a smaller scale "loss leaders" when certain items are sold at a low profit to entice shoppers, who then buy everything else there (at a higher profit margin). Then when they're the only buyer the price that farmers can charge for their produce is squeezed (UK farm-gate milk prices are now at or below cost to the farmer). They squeeze wages, especially in areas where they're the only big employers in town. They lobby governments into policy changes that suit them, such as the recent hiccup with lorry driver shortage (some supermarkets want the army to step in, where this could have been avoided by paying HGV drivers a decent wage and working conditions for the past 20 years rather than rely on importing cheap Easter European labour). China has been doing this for decades, but factors of magnitude bigger. Initially it was simply "cheap" to have stuff made there. Then they got very good at copying, cloning and industrial espionage (what this thread was about initially). That undercuts those firms that actually invent, innovate and invest in R&D. Then as regulations around a safe working environments, fair pay for workers, consumer protection and environmental protection got tighter (and more expensive to comply with) China became a far more attractive centre for manufacture simply by saying "yeah no, we don't do that". They are using their manufacturing capability to acquire strategic infrastructure such as ports around the world, especially in the developing world. China is the modern, global version of the "bad old days" 18th and 19th century industrialists and imperialists we're constantly being told we ought to feel shame about. Those "dark satanic mills" Blake wrote about, with undernourished workers stamping about in clogs and waistcoats on 12+ hour shifts at slave wages are no longer in the Welsh valleys and Lancashire towns -- they're all conveniently out of sight on the other side of the world wearing flipflops and T-shirts. I refuse to believe that Chinese-made stuff has as much of a stranglehold on trade as people think. I suspect that is largely perpetuated by middlemen, who profit from it. I was in Primark last week (don't like it, but one of very few clothes shops local to me now -- see above for why). They had a jacket I liked, in the utility/workwear/chore style you used to see everywhere. £35, made in China. Identical jacket from better cloth from WSC Workwear is £20. From Yarmo (more famous) £35. Both made in the UK.
  5. Beautiful work. Very clean and graceful. Great contrast and definition. May I ask what sort of cobbling work do you do?
  6. I've had Chinese sewing machines before. The unreliability, the broken parts, the spongey castings, the crumbling screwheads, the lack of compatibility with nearly-but-not-quite fitting parts, all made them less of a deal than they seemed. I admit that there are varying qualities. Some may approach the quality of a "real deal" "premium" manufacturer. I doubt that many do, or that any equal them. I thought I was the only one who saw the irony! The tooled and hand painted "screaming eagle carrying a stars and stripes 1911 holster" sewn on a Chinese 441 clone. The wallet made from ox hide pit tanned for 14 months in English oak bark sewn on a "Wung Hung Lo" 335-a-like. The "local hand tool artisan" marking his stitch holes with a $15 copy of a Blanchard pricking iron. I buy Chinese-built tools and machinery only when there is no other option or I simply can't afford anything better. I'm rarely impressed with the quality, and I'm always disappointed sending yet more trade to that slave empire. Even Juki now?
  7. I've got two LCW-8s, have worked on others, and will would not hesitate to buy more. Quality-wise I'd say they are largely on a par with Jukis and Adlers I've owned and used. Slightly better than Pfaff to my taste but I'm biased, I never got on with the 335s I've tried.
  8. Creating ersatz 3-phase from a 1-phase supply is a fairly common problem to solve in small and hobby workshops. There's a number of approaches all with various advantages and disadvantages but none of them are rocket surgery. Simplest is to buy a professional static converter. I built one for my splitter as the cost of replacing all 4 motors, or installing 4x VFDs, was quite high. It works but due to some foibles of the machine I'll be upgrading to rotary soon. Out of interest, why is conversion to 1ph not an option?
  9. I have found that some hides tend to have "hidden" tensions that cause the strap to curve a little. Grain direction (and where/what direction) the pieces are cut seem to have an effect, as does the general quality of the hide. Slight bend in straps tends to be stretched out or overridden by use quite quickly. Further manufacturing steps can eliminate or exacerbate the issue -- I've had laminated straps corkscrew when I've forced excessively curved pieces together with glue. Unless it's really bad it all tends to come out in the wash after sewing, and if not I can force the issue by running it through my roller machine, or hammering, or staking it round a post. You could also aid the fibres slipping past each other by wetting or heating the strap but that risks damaging or marking the leather.
  10. So why the change? What did Iranian and Middle Eastern tanneries use for dyestuffs in the past? Are those materials still available?
  11. As far as I'm aware most tanneries buy their pigments and dyes from specialist dealers in such things, or they mix them up from common/commercially available substances. I don't know the details and I expect that very few leatherworkers will, any more than a machinist will be familiar with the smelting of steel. You may be able to find some recipes in old technical books, but beware that many of these use archaic names for ingredients. Many of them will have been found to be sub-optimal (e.g. causing red-rot) or substances now known to be hazardous to health or the environment. What is/was the traditional tanning culture like in Iran?
  12. Availability of raw materials (hides, tanstuffs and currying), local demand/use, local water chemistry, local weather conditions, local tradition/culture.
  13. Sieck sells them, I believe, and there is at least one other German dealer of Cowboy in Germany, the name of which eludes me. @Rosch22 FWIW I was not impressed with the build quality of either of the two Chinese made sewing machines I've owned (not counting the infamous/ubiquitous manual patcher) but many people love theirs. I also occasionally buy non-sewing machines direct from China, and I usually have to factor in a bit of fettling and/or upgrading before I consider it safe or effective to use, usually dangerous electrics. Not a statistically significant sample I appreciate. However I think it important to remember that the Chinese built machines sold by reputable local dealers have often been specced, and often setup and QCed by the dealer themselves so comparing factory-direct machines and dealer-bought is a little bit apples-and-oranges. I think that one of our members from New Zealand bought a 441 clone direct from the factory and wrote about his experience. Could be worth a look. What satisfaction/protection guarantees are on offer from Alibaba, and how low of a price are we talking? Can you afford to gamble that amlunt (plus fees and taxes) on buying a pig in a poke? You may end up with a perfect machine, you may get a Juki shaped boat anchor and a suddenly very quiet sales agent.
  14. I'd say it looks like a long-arm Adler 167 but I can't say for certain that it is. Adlers are excellent quality machines. If it's what I think it is it'll be basically similar specs to your Consew 226. Triple/compound feed.
  15. You could try giving Graham Williams at G&G Leather Tools a call. He worked for Dixon for 18 years and then set up on his own hook. No catalogue or website, just give him a bell and say what you're after. He says he can make basically anything in the old Dixon catalogue except things that need castings, like gauges and splitting/skiving machines.
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