Hello everyone, after hours of searching and reading many posts with titles like 'help choosing sewing machine', I have learned a lot but still dont have a firm answer for myself on a machine for thinner leather. So my apologies if this topic has already been covered and I missed it.
I am looking for advice on purchasing a machine that will sew thinner leather- mostly 1-4 oz, up to 3-4 layers thick. I am currently using a cheap Chinese shoe patcher (hand crank), which is working great but I need a motor and want to use both hands to hold the leather (and I would like cleaner, straighter stitches). I do not plan to sew anything thicker (holsters, belts, saddles, etc..).
I think I have decided on the following:
Max thread: 207 (138 might be fine too)
Foot lift: 3/8" is likely fine although 1/2" would be nice
Walking foot (but on this I am not sure if a roller foot would be better?)
Cylinder bed- which I plan to buy or build a flatbed attachment for.
From what everyone has said, I think these machines would suit my needs: CB 227R, Juki 341, consew 2700, CB341, Cobra 26. Are there any other similar clones I am missing?
I am hoping to spend up to 2.5k (CDN$)
My first big question is- will the above machines happily sew a couple layers of 1oz leather, and a couple layers of 3 oz leather (as that is what I will primarily be sewing)? Or should I be looking for something even more 'light duty'? Will they also sew canvas, and other non leather materials?
My second question is- might I be happy enough with a Barracuda 200ZW? I know this is not a cylinder machine and I think is a single feed? My one real complaint with the shoe patcher (other than working 1 handed and not being motorized) is that sometimes when going over seams or when sewing 2 layers of more 'slippery' material (sheepskin), the bottom layer can slip off the edge of the bed or a layer bunches (due to the foot slipping on the material and not feeding through). Would I likely have the same problem with a single feed machine? The zigzag option does appeal to me as well. And I'm thinking if I can get by with this machine for a year or so to see how much I use it, it might be a cheaper "test" than the costlier machines. But I dont want to give up in frustration because my machine is pathetic or waste $700 and have to go buy a 2-3k machine in a month.
This is a hobby, that although I would like to turn into a side business, I likely won't. Therefore, I'm not sure I want to spend 2-3k on something I may not get money back on/ use for a year or two and then only minimally. But I also don't really want to buy something that I can't grow into, where I've reached its max potential on my first project.
I live in (very) rural Alberta, the Cobra 26 has been quoted to me at $3500 (CDN) from Longview leather, and I would still have to go pick it up. The consew on the website is about $3k with shipping and speed reducer, and I cant seem to find any cowboy dealers. Any Alberta (Canada) people found better options? Ive been looking for used the past 5 months but seems there are more flatbeds and heavier leather options (441s), and not seeing anything for thinner leather. Does anyone know if there is a place that would let me demo a barracuda machine?
Thanks! I am impressed by all the knowledge here and appreciate this resource very much.