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Walking foot China made sewing machine

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Here is my report on China walking foot sewing machine like Sail Rite.  I have had three Thompson walking foot machines over the years and got pretty good at setting them up.  Two of them I picked up pretty cheap.  One had the needle in backwards and they cold never get it to sew. One hat a bad foot controller.  I used all them doing odd jobs, and sold them making a profit.  I wanted one that would do zig-zag and a 9' arch.  So that narrowed it down pretty quick to a China made walking foot.(in my price range) I have read quite alot about Sail Rite and every one likes them and they say they are the copy of the Thompsons.  I have never personally seen one but for the Thompsons, they were well made and had goood metal in them. I figured if I got the Chkina made one, and if parts were not up to parr with Thompsons, I would canablize the Thompson and switch parts.  There are a bushel basket of China made machines, Omega, tac sew, Barrcuda, Family sew, Tac Sew Con Sew , Chandler, New Tech.  It would be interesting of you had them all together and see if there is really any differance in quality and workman ship, along with Sail Rite.  I have heard horror stories about the China made machines, some said they were junk and could never be made to sew right. I ordered the New Tech from E Bay. No certain reason, just free shipping and it had the handle on top and had the 9" arch or throat.  I would not consider the gurantee on any of them worth anything. as you would have to send it back. When I received my machine, the first thing I did was oil it good every where.  I took the needle out and presser foot.  Plugged it in and when I turned it on  it sounded like the old hand crank corn grinder or a thrashing machine.  I thought it was going to fly apart.  I ran it for about 2 hours at medium speed, (oiling it)  Then about two hours at higher speeds and about a hour varying the speeds.  Filnally it quited down pretty good (still not as smooth as the Thompson) I then reinstalled the needle and foot.  I found that the walking foot was not set right at all and would not sew.  I finally got that set right following the experence I had from Thompsons.  Then the thread tensioner flew off and I stepped on a part and broke it looking for it, (cheap made) I had a old tensioner from a Morse, put it on and worked great. The when sewing the motor had little power. I took the motor off the Thompson and was going to put it on and discovered it would not fit nor any other parts.  You could see that the metal was not near as the Thompsons and screws in it were real soft and easyly stripped.. (Is the Sail Rite like this)  Next I took the 1.5 amp motor off and mounted a 1.5 motor off the Morse.  A big improvement. Then I ordered the 2.5 amp motor on E Bay and that really made it work fine and then I threw away the cheap foot controller and had a old one off a Huskyvarna.  I wonder if the Sail Rite are really made to the quality of the Thompsons as I have never really saw one?  I know I would be really disappointed if I got a Sail Rite and it was nothing more than a polished China made machine .  Would I reccomend a China made machine?  I can't say.  Its a big gamble.  I am pretty satisfied with the outcome of mine but you had better be prepared for some tinkering and up dating to get it to work. A Sail Rite with the 9 '  arch would probably cost around $1,700.  No more than I do I could not justify that.  So I would like someone who has a Sail Rite and owned a Thompson give me your opinion on the workmanship  compared to each other and the China made and is there really any differance between the China brands?  Everything on the Thompson was made heavier, including the walking foot part, rods, brackets, gears.

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2 hours ago, john11139 said:

A Sail Rite with the 9 '  arch would probably cost around $1,700.  No more than I do I could not justify that.

I have owned a Reliable Barricade, presently own a Kobe LSZ-1 (which is the same as the Barracuda but less pricey) and have used a Sailrite LSZ-1.

My take on the portable walking foot sewing machines.

i) Designed for sewing sail cloth while at sea using V92 thread.

ii) As the thickness of material being sewn increases the number of stitches per inch increases.

iii) The older Sailrite's if I'm not mistaken were made in Taiwan and the newer ones are now made in China.

iv) The Sailrite's fit, finish and internal parts are of better quality.

v) They come with a real manual written in English with actual photo's, and they have good customer service with a lot of video's covering topics from sewing to repairs.

vi) The knockoffs are more to the style of the older Sailrites with little to no support, manuals are less then, typically the two small holes in the bed for mounting attachments like binders are NOT tapped, missing screws, miss aligned presser feet and a top cover that is made of pot metal. The quality well it can be lets say less then.

vii) The cost difference for the Sailrite can be hard to justify when you compare the knockoffs at around $500. The difference does buy a lot of replacement parts even buying them from Sailrite. But you have to be prepared to do a lot of going over the machine.

My latest knockoff a KOBE LSZ-1 is a table mounted machine that mostly does one particular task, binding. So far it has done about 1200 ft of 0.52mm thick polypropylene binding plus a couple of other things. When I got the machine I gave it a Synthetic oil flush and bath to get rid of metal filings and get oil into the bearings / guides. The height of the presser feet were too low for my needs so I increased the height. I did get the height clearance under the outer and inner presser feet up to 10mm (touch over 3/8") with a few fancy words of encouragement and tinkering. I figure with another adjustment I could probably get at least the outer up to 1/2 inch but that would be useless if I can't get the inner to rise that far which may involve readjusting the top tension release mechanism.

Prior to the adjustments the stitches were 8.5 per inch on a 7mm thickness which is a touch over a 1/4" of material which I think is way too many stitches and now it gets 5 per inch on 7mm thick material. On a normal couple layers of cotton fabric it will do 3.5 stitches per inch. I figure this isn't to bad on a Chinese knockoff machine rated at sewing less then 1/4 inch.

Other then my own modifications like a drop down roller guide and stitch length indicator the machine has only needed a couple of minor adjustments and a new $10 bobbin case holder as the lever spring has just failed.

For my needs I just wouldn't be able to justify the price for a new Sailrite LSZ-1.


Edited by kgg

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I seen a LSZ ! advertised on Face book with case for $275.  I called the fellow and tried everything in the world to get him to ship it, He was asking $275, a steal and I offered him $100 more.  He said he was just not abale to box it up and find a place to ship it. (he lived in a rual area in Alabama and I live in Ohio) I got that much out of the Thompsons.  I would love to have a LSZ1 and probably end up with one some day if the price is right.  Most of them go for at least $700.  One was on Facebook a few days ago for $475 in MD. Wrong time of year to drive in this weather.  Probably $125 in gas and a hotel room.  So taking the Sailrite out of the picture, do you think one China made machine is any bettr than the other?

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@john11139 - First, it's "Sailrite", not "Sail Rite".  :)

I have a recent model LSZ-1 Premium with the newer "WorkerB" motor.  I love it!  I dreamed about getting one for the longest time and have no regrets after getting it.  The Sailrite customer service is outstanding, as are their videos and tutorials.  It's the only one of my industrial machines with zig-zag, and while I didn't really have a need for zig-zag stitching, I'm finding that the ability to move the needle position left, center or right lets me get closer (like for zippers) with the standard presser foot.  I call this my "semi-industrial" because it lacks the compound walking foot of my other machines.  I also didn't really have much need of a portable machine (thought I'd bring it back and forth to my office sometimes) and keep the machine installed in one of Sailrite's folding semi-industrial tables, giving me a larger area for my material assemblies.  I use only v92 thread on it, but Matt of Sailrite assured me that it would also work well with v138 although that's not in the website specs. 

Is it the right machine for everyone?  Certainly not.  But then again there isn't really one machine that is right for every need, which is why so many of us have more than one machine.  But if for some reason I had to choose only one machine (maybe plus a good domestic) it would probably be the Sailrite.  And that's because of the portability, quality and I just plain like the darn machine.

Have you seen the Sailrite video about how the Sailrite machines differ from the clones?  It's an older video but should still be on Youtube.

Hope this is of help.


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