Fellow Leather workers:
I think I'm ready to purchase a big electric stitcher. The three mentioned in the Title (and others) are all essentially the same to me. After reading my back story, below, please offer constructive advice.
My main question is regarding the EPS on the 5100SE. Is it worth the extra few hundred bucks? Please read below. I hope I'm not alone in my journey.
Back story: My first purchase was a HD Singer. The price point was within easy reach and my skill level at the time was pretty low. I was using cheap-ish diamond chisel punches at the time, the wrong sized needles, and hand stitching was a PAIN!!!! I quickly figured out that the Singer wasn't going to work. I should have returned it, but I figured I could use it for liners or something in the future and kept it. After fiddling with it a bit, I'm somewhat comfortable with sewing cloth and super light leathers with an electric machine.
Then, I 'splurged' and bought a Tippman Boss. The crank power was initially a big selling feature for me. I travel a lot for work and usually live in hotel rooms. It was quiet, and could be set up anywhere, with proper clamping and what not. I built my own removable flat top table and Pony, I dealt with the loss of one hand in feed/operation, the tension was a pain, etc. I learned that "up to 7/8" " didn't necessarily mean that it could do thin stuff without issues. The Love/Hate ended up only to be more frustrated with it more that I loved it. So, I sold it.
Now with Corona quarantine, I'm home and I have a lot of time to be in my shop burning up leather on a variety of projects. I have been hand stitching a bunch of holsters lately. Who knew the folks of East TN (and the rest of America) would go nuts buying guns in the face of a global pandemic. I have much better tools 2+ years later, my diamond chisels are of decent quality, my hand job needles are appropriately sized, but I still HATE hand stitching an entire project.
Periodically, I watch the leatherworking videos on Youtube, and the Pro's with electric machines work, looks soooo good and the difference in time from the stitch groover to the hole punching, to the bic lighter on the final step feels like HOURS have elapsed.
In closing, when a hobbyist is planning to drop $3k+, is the EPS worth it? It will likely sit in my shop at home (for months at a time) while I travel again for work purposes, unless said machine can be transported with relative ease. I do carry a 7x12 enclosed cargo trailer full of "tools and toys" while I'm away at work. Space is not a problem, but can these delicate machines (properly packed) take the vibration of road travel well?
Suggestions, advice, questions, etc are welcome; and, thank you for reading.