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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.
Well I posted here a couple of weeks back trying to get some insight on what to get as far as my first leather sewing machine and I was gonna go with a Cobra 4 but went with the Cowboy instead...well because the "Bob's" are awesome guys! The CB4500 came in yesterday on a rainy day in drought stricken California and I was scrambling to get everything in my "workshop" (read garage, tiny by the way) and with the help of my geezer neighbors the machine was up and almost running in about an hour. By the way, to those new to leather sewing machine....this thing is a BEAST!!! It's heavy as heck and definitely would need another set of arms to help you unpack and get it assembled. The picture in Bob's website doesn't really do it justice and scale...I'm a small guy (5'5") and it's big to me. First thing I did was watch Bob's YouTube video on how to thread it and so I did and tested it on some scraps....smooth as buttah! But it was making a mark so I loosened up the presser feet tension all the way up...like almost popping it out and then loosened the top thread tension just a tad. Some of my scraps had the knot showing on top so I loosened the top thread tension just a bit more and that seemed to fix it...I have to warn you though I had no clue as to what I was doing but fiddling around with tensions and whatnot I finally got it to where I was satisfied. I kept the sample leather that came with the machine just to have a reference on how it's supposed to sew when it came out of Bob's shop. First thing that I noticed, and this is for the newbies on this machine, when you turn off the switch, the servo motor still has a "load" in it and will still move the machine, so make sure to wait a few seconds before fiddling with anything especially with the needle. I will move the on/off switch further out of the table so I could see it easily and I plugged in the lamp which is left in the ON position behind the servo motor so that I know when the machine is ON or OFF and that gives me another way of telling that yes, it's on or yes the needle went through your finger. I like redundant safety systems and so I don't mess anything up because I love my fingers. With that said, I got the hang of the machine last night and decided on making my dog a collar using #277 thread that came with the machine, I stitched at the slowest setting first and bumped it up a couple of notches because the slowest is...yep, reaaallllly slow! I was enjoying the machine last night and the only thing that ruined it was that I have to go to sleep. I'd like to thank Bob and Bob again for being such cool guys and answering all my newbie questions and giving me advice on what to really works with what. I just ordered a lighter spring for the CB4500 and a few more spools of thread and that should tide me over for a bit until I get another machine from him. Wow this was a long'ish post, just goes to show how stoked I am with the machine and if you're trying to decide on what kind of machine to get, I would wholeheartedly recommend the CB4500 or the smaller versions if you don't need this big of a machine. I still have a long way to go but learning from the pros here in LW saved me a lot of time and energy and I'm so glad that I went with the Cowboy.