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About leatherator

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  • Location
    Rochester, MN
  • Interests
    belts, bags, shoes, and history

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  • Interested in learning about
    bags and shoes
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  1. OK, I see what you're saying. For what I'm trying to do, thickness shouldn't be a problem. If the limit is 10 oz veg tanned, the stock presser foot height should be fine. Is the difference between walking-foot and needle feed more noticeable with different stitch lengths? I'm just thinking that the needle is deep in the slot when stitches are fairly long, near the. It's hard to imagine what advantage a walking-foot machine would have in that situation. A lot of walking feet have the needle going through a hole, which may be slightly better than a narrow slot. But I suspect that the difference is small. Maybe short stitches are worse, being closer to the mouth of the slot and farther from the hinge point of the foot. I read also that the triple feed is needed for large pieces. It got me thinking... I had always assumed that it was the operator's job to get the work into the machine and guide it through without pushing, pulling, or twisting. That's easy enough with fabric and small leather pieces. But I don't think even a walking foot could save you if you're working on a large piece and not handling it correctly. For example, yesterday I was using a Bernina 217 to bind the edge of foam-backed carpet to put in the mud room, it was 5x3 or so. It is was really difficult to handle because of stiffness, length, and limited space around the table. It was like a lever that rotated the in the plane of the table. I don't think any reasonable machine would be able to resist those kind of forces. Last point, if you're stitching stiff veg tanned leather, how much do you need to be concerned about getting the top and bottom to feed together? Seems like it should track perfectly once you get a few stitches into it. How much pucker can you get with a needle feed set for, say 10 stitches/in? That piece of 0.100" isn't going to stretch or shrink very much, is it? And if it's chrome, it should be easier to puncture and left the needle. Seems like needle feed would be OK for that. ... Makes me wonder if the triple feed is really needed or if it's just the feed that's on high-end machines that are set up for leather; guilt by association, if you will. Anyway, I'm not criticizing anyone so don't take it personally. This is just the opinion of someone who doesn't have a pile of money for a high-end machine. EDIT: (2nd sentence, 2nd paragraph) I'm just thinking that the needle is deep in the slot when stitches are fairly long, near the hinge point on the foot, where the downward effect of the foot should be the best.
  2. Nice. Thanks for the photos. Man, what are the chances?
  3. Thanks for your reply. The machine is on the way. I hand stitched some belts in the last few weeks, which has a way of encouraging you to buy a faster way to stitch! Hand sewing is probably fine (maybe even better) for a lot of things but 40" of straight stitching, twice, is no fun at all. I am still wondering about the fundamental limits of various machines. For example, we think of more clearance under the presser foot as a good thing but I think large motion of the needle bar is a problem for high-speed sewing. Another issue is how thick of material can be pierced. The strength of the main casting, width of bearings on the main shaft, and needle-bar rigidity are all possible limits on a machine's piercing power. Are there dramatic differences in the diameter of needle bars between various machines? Doesn't look like it to me, from photos on the interwebs; CB4500 looks similar to the 111. Are there other things that effect piercing (and lifting the needle back out) that I'm missing?
  4. Looking at a Singer 111w151. It's an old army parachute-repair type machine. It's needle feed. Takes 20 and 22 needles. Size 22 is good for 138 thread. Has a 1/2 HP clutch motor. Manual says 7/16 clearance under presser foot. Is this OK for veg tanned leather glue sandwich with combined thickness of 8-10 oz? Assuming the 111W is OK for dress-belt type work, what changes could be made to increase the capability of this basic machine? Add a thread lubricator? Change to pulley? In the many other posts I've read, the usual problems are under-powered machines that have the wrong feed and general problems with durability. With a 111W casting and mechanics, it's hard to imagine what it would take to deflect the needle bar or crack the casting or make the belt slip. Given enough horse power and a quality mechanism, it seems* like even a basic 111 machine could do much more than you would expect from a medium-heavy-fabric type machine. Anyone have experience modifying sewing machines like this? Increasing the presser foot height? Adding another foot to the feed mechanism?
  5. Dang. 1/4" is only 2 pieces of 8-oz leather. I am leaning toward veg tanned leather for shoes and belts, so I think I'll have to find something else. Thanks for taking the time to look into it. Looking up the needles is a good trick. I didn't see any of that information in the first manual linked (thanks Ferg!) but here's another manual that had it (for archival purposes) http://www.bootmaker.com/51W44.pdf Well, from the other threads, it looks like I need to save up for a 441 clone, Cobra Class 4, or Techsew 3500. So much money! I'm sure it's worth it but it's a cash-flow issue. When I first started looking, 400 $ looked expensive. After looking for a year, 400 $ means the machine isn't capable or it's broken. So maybe I'll acclimatize to 2500 $ eventually...
  6. Trying to figure out if a Singer 51W is OK for making bags, belts, and stitching shoe uppers. Worst case for belts would be veg tanned 2 layers of 5-8 oz leather. Can't find much about that series but it looks like they were post-bed machines used in the shoe industry. Production was cancelled in 1938. Some were equipped with trimming so that you could cut the lining and stitch at the same time. How thick that would be.... trying to estimate how thick of leather it could handle. Please reply if you have used one of these machines. Also looking for a manual.
  7. I'm looking into making (or buying, on the off chance that flying pigs are sighted) a line finisher. It's mainly for shoe/boot making. What are the essential features? Looks like a muslin and horsehair wheel would be really useful. Also, a burnishing wheel. A few sanding wheels. What about trimming/cutting wheels? I usually see cordwainers cutting soles by hand. And the tool used for marking stitches on a welt? Is that essential or just nice-to-have? Also, I see some cone-shaped wheels that look like vitrified grinding wheels. What are those for? A shelf seems important. And what other features would you want? What about belt sander wheels vs drums? Seems like the drums would be a lot simpler and the belts would be higher performance. I suspect there will be lots of "just buy one" and "you can pick one up at an auction for cheap" and "DIY is a false economy" thoughts. I don't mean to start a debate about DIY or acutioning or whatever. I'm just trying to understand the basic requirements for a line finisher.
  8. I want to make a dopp bag that looks something like this: http://www.societyperks.com/2012/12/11/this-mens-leather-toiletry-bag-gets-a-solid-5-stars/ I like how the zippered ends fold down. It opens up completely, which is different from boxy bags made with a single zipper down the middle. Also, I like the relative rigidity of the bag. Honestly, I'm not sure how important it is to have a bag like this but I grew up thinking this is The Way because that's what the old man used. There's lots of dopp bag plans on this forum (I Searched!) but nothing like this. Does anyone have any advice about how to achieve these effects? In particular, what kind of leather and what weight? I have a side of 8-9 oz veg tanned cow hide. Can I use that? Are there any special techniques for making that fold? For example, dampening the leather.
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