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Advice on a machine

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I have about 3 years of experience working at a leather shop in Burlington VT on Adler sewing machines. I live in San Francisco now and am looking to begin working on my own projects. I have been sewing by hand, but it's time to get a machine. That being said, I never had much education on the sewing machine itself...

I have been scouring Craig's list, let go and other various sites, and not surprisingly I've found a variety of machines many of which say "industrial" but upon further research can not do leather work. 

I have a few questions:

what are he benefits of a cylinder machine? If I'm just working on bags, wallets, some garments, is that a good option for me?

I found a singer machine at a sewing machine dealer in SF, I think it's a 111 (?). In any case, it does not have reverse, is that going to drive me nuts?

Is it unreasonable to try and find a machine for less than $500? 

What are the best descriptive words that I'm looking for to find the right machine? Walking foot? What's the right rpm? 

Is there a short list of machines that I should keep my eyes out for?

Thanks for any and all input/ answers/ advice!


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I moved out of Cali 4 years ago but when I started to look for a machine I searched the L.A. area craigslist and found a machine.  Your six maybe seven hours from L.A. so you could look there for a machine.  And to answer your question and considering what it is you want to work on something like a Consew 206rb1-5 would work and is a good walking foot machine for lighter duty leather work.

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