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Whilst this unique sewing machine is no longer in my ownership, I sold it to a budding shoe maker in 2020, I thought it might be good for posterity if I uploaded photo's of the item, the "clarified" Owners Manual I uploaded as PDF's and gave readers some background on this machine.

I answered a "local ad" in a paper for a "patching sewing machine" being sold by a local cobbler who was retiring, that turned out to be a Singer 29K on OE treadle base and I bought that and enjoyed the years I had using it before I then sold it also in 2020.  The cobbler asked if I would be interested in a "side sole stitcher" that he had been unable to use for some years, the long and the short of it was he gave me the "Frobana" for free!  I remember the effort it took getting it home in our Citroen 2CV!

The reason why the cobbler had stopped using it was years before when his "shop" was inspected by the local building inspector he condemned the machine as "far too dangerous to use", he didn't appreciate the open drive belts and jury-rigged motor!  It sat in the corner unloved.  What I didn't appreciate then was just how rare one of these machines was fitted to their OE pedestal base, I joked after moving it into my workshop that the metal was so thick and so unnecessarily heavy that, given the likely manufacturing date was in 1950's Germany, they must have had so much scrap metal hanging about in destroyed tank's, etc that they didn't care on the weight!  I never got around to re-fixing the electric motor and instead, courtesy of that pedestal base, we found we could easily use it by hand with the side wheel.

We never used it for shoe-making, no, our business was bespoke "Adult Toys" and the way this machine could easily sew together two pieces of heavy hide we used it's very limited "throat" to stitch alone the edges of the blanks . . . we even did an alternative range where, of the two blanks, one side was heavy veg-tanned hide and the other rubber sheeting from old conveyor belts.  I constructed and added a plywood table and jig to the face of the sewing head to make accurate sewing easier.

When it came time to move on from the Light Industrial unit we used this machine, as well as other heavy kit, needed to be sold.  It was only then when I researched the "Frobana" on-line that I realised what a rare example I had been using, by then it had become very hard to buy the unique needles.  One example I found on YouTube was a guy in Poland who had jury rigged his sewing head to a metal frame with a giant electric motor underneath . . it had belts thrashing away everywhere and I wondered what that "local building inspector" would say about that example!  I only ever saw old photo's of maybe three other "sewing heads" mounted correctly on their "pedestal base", most examples the head was sat on a purpose made wooden box to use by hand.

(*)  One very useful, indeed highly valuable asset, that came with the machine was an original, though very used, Owners ManualThis was so vital in setting the sewing head up so, before it went, I scanned it for posterity.  Naturally the file then became lost in the depths of my multiple HDD's and it was only at the end of 2022 that I found the file and used my knowledge of image editing to "clean up" the digital pages so that the instructions could be read.  My thanks here to Northmount (MOD) for uploading those pages and, I hope, adding that link here.  Thus anyone who buys one of these rarities can now figure out how they work!  I do believe I can honestly say that, if you were making "hand made" shoes, this side sole stitcher would be the Master!

Owners Manual  https://leatherworker.net/forum/applications/core/interface/file/attachment.php?id=192129




Edited by Northmount
Added link to the Instruction book

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