Tanja

Singer 45K 89 experiences

Recommended Posts

Hi! 
I'm looking for some advice about sewing machines. There is a singer 45K 89 for sale relatively close to me. She asks 450 pounds for it. Does any of you have experience with this model of machine? I would like to use it for bags and belts etc. And I would like to try make sandals. Would this machine be suitable for this type of work?

Thank you very much for your reply! 1f642.png:-)
Tanja

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The 45k is a classic heavy duty sewing machine. Capacity is up to about a half inch (12mm) of leather regards or fabric and can use some very heavy threads. Needles, bobbins and hooks are easily available but not other parts are like hens teeth. They are very simple, robust and reliable machines. All are drop-feed only, which is not a preferred feed arrangement these days as it can cause marks on the underside of the leather and does little to avoid later slippage. The 89 subclass has reverse (most do not) and a jumping foot, which is a half-arsed walking foot that reduces layer slippage a little.

Layer slippage can be largely eliminated with glue. Dog-marks are also generally less of an issue than they are sometimes made out to be. Their depth and visibility varies depending on the sorts of leather you're using. They can be reduced or eliminated with judicious use of a hammer or bone folder. And frankly they often don't matter very much - I have several pieces of vintage leather that exhibit dog marks on the back or in gussets.

The 45 used to be an absolute workhorse of the leather industry but it's been it of common widespread use for decades now. I love them (got two, keep trying to stop myself getting more) but they aren't everyone's cup of Darjeeling. There's several similar 45s on eBay under £500 and most of those have at around for months. £425 probably will be head only, or it'll have an old fashioned clutch motor which will need to be replaced.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank for your usefull reply Matt!:)

In the advert of this machine the selller mentions that the motor is a bit old and noisy. Di you have an idea about how much a new motor would cost? What type of motor would I have to look for?

Thanks for you help! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Tanja said:

Thank for your usefull reply Matt!:)

In the advert of this machine the selller mentions that the motor is a bit old and noisy. Di you have an idea about how much a new motor would cost? What type of motor would I have to look for?

Thanks for you help! 

It's probably fitted with the old-fashioned clutch type motor. They have worked for a long time and are still quite popular in full-time factory work but technology has surpassed them for casual users. I've replaced all of my sewing machines' clutch motors with servo motors, which are far quieter and energy efficient but most importantly controllable. You can get a basic servo motor for £100-150, but I'd avoid the very bottom end. They're fairly simple to retrofit -- mostly bolts to unto and do up -- but some will need a few holes drilled in the table or more serious work. The old clutch motor will weigh maybe 20-30kg so be make provision for that before unscrewing the last bolt. You'll probably also need to replace the belt which on a 45K will be the old fashioned round leather kind -- you buy a length, cut to size then join with a big staple. You can get modern plastic ones that you join the cut ends with heat that look weird on a vintage machine but work great.

If you're not confident fitting a new motor and checking over this machine yourself you might need to get an expert in to do it. Do you have much experience working with industrial machinery? Remember that the 45K is a very old fashioned kind of machine. These are about as far away from a modern domestic sewing machine as you can get. There are essentially zero safety features (powerful enough to break fingers), there are no push-button controls and the machine head alone weighs about 30Kg. Put it together with a table and old clutch motor and you can probably triple that. They work fantastically and keep going for 50 or 100 years but they aren't exactly plug-and-play. That's part of the fun of course ;)

Can you post photos or links to photos of the machine?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Matt for you reply. I very much appreciate your help!

I will ask the seller for details on the motor that comes with it :-) 

I don't have any experience with industrial machinery. I make leather bags, belts and small things like wallets as a hobby. I hand stitch larger items and sew smaller ones with my domestic Berina 730 record, which will skip stitches and shorten them when the thickness of leather changes. I've been playing with the idea of buying a machine that is capable of sewing a few layers of leather for my bags and perhaps shoes in the furture. I saw this advert coming past and wondered if this would be a good buy? As I'm a student I don't have a budget at the moment for a new machine. But perhaps it would be better to learn more about the different type of machines out there and wait for the winning lottery ticket :-)

This is a picture of the advert I saw. 

Screenshot_20190311-135707.thumb.png.8c0dbf78ef66973d28e14bc58258d26f.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is a world of difference between the Singer 45 models and domestic/household sewing machines. The 45 series was built to withstand the forces and pressures exerted by heavy thread and thick dense leather. Some 45k sub-classes were used to sew soles onto shoes. Others are used in saddlery. It is literally a case of apples and oranges.

The 45k is a very good leather sewing machine with few parts that can go out of wack. If you plan to sew hard or thick leather, or even thick stacks of cloth, the 45k is an excellent machine. What is won't be good at is sewing thin or soft leather or cloth. The feed dog teeth are aggressive, then needles are long and the springs are very strong.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What Wiz said. This is probably not the sort of machine that you'd be looking for for those sorts of jobs. You don't have to pay new machine prices necessarily, there's plenty of machines suitable for your purposes come up at decent prices. Perhaps put that £425 to the side and put a bit away each month, you'll have the money for a more appropriate machine before long.

I only know of one dealer in Wales (Alan's Alterations) and they're near Aberystwyth so possibly a bit far for you. I've bought mail-order off them a couple times.

That 45K looks like it's in pretty good nick considering it was built in 1950. I have noticed though that there's an important screw missing, which is the reverse length limiter. Maybe the seller has it in a drawer, maybe not. Worth knowing though.

BTW does that seller have anything else listed? Looks like there'a a few other machines lurking behind the 45 in those photos but I can't find the listing on FB marketplace.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Tanya,

Welcome to the forum.

I have a 45k with a servo motor, well quiet, but as Matt and Wiz have said it's a bit of a beast.

It was demonstrated by the seller 30 years back, by him wrapping leather around 1/4 in ply and stitching through it all. Now I have it returned, I will NOT stitch plywood with it.

Its also got a longer stitch length than you'd probably want on your work... maybe not but it's usually 4 or 5 to the inch. You could ask to try it and see.

Lovely machine though, with a quiet modern engine, yay.

Best

Harry

Edited by hwinbermuda

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you all for your advice! :-)

@ Matt, it was posted on the Leather Workers UK facebook page. She posted a fly press for sale but no other sewing machines. Aberystwyth is quite a drive for me but if I'm ever close i will definitely check it out.

I think it might wait until I find another better suitable machine! This one sounds like a bit of a beast :-)
Can anyone recommend any models that I should be on the look out for? Suitable for leather bags, straps and accessories like wallets.

Thanks again for all your advice and help :-)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
37 minutes ago, Tanja said:

Thank you all for your advice! :-)

@ Matt, it was posted on the Leather Workers UK facebook page. She posted a fly press for sale but no other sewing machines. Aberystwyth is quite a drive for me but if I'm ever close i will definitely check it out.

I think it might wait until I find another better suitable machine! This one sounds like a bit of a beast :-)
Can anyone recommend any models that I should be on the look out for? Suitable for leather bags, straps and accessories like wallets.

Thanks again for all your advice and help :-)

In reality, you can probably get better use from a standard walking foot machine, with a cylinder arm. There are many brands that made and make these machines. Here is what a typical cylinder arm walking foot machine looks like and sells for new, in the USA. This one is a clone of a Consew 227R. These machines use a common system 135x16 and 135x17 needle and can sew up to 10mm thickness with Tkt 20 (or under) bonded thread.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, Wizcrafts said:

In reality, you can probably get better use from a standard walking foot machine, with a cylinder arm. There are many brands that made and make these machines. Here is what a typical cylinder arm walking foot machine looks like and sells for new, in the USA. This one is a clone of a Consew 227R. These machines use a common system 135x16 and 135x17 needle and can sew up to 10mm thickness with Tkt 20 (or under) bonded thread.

Thank you Wizcrafts! I will be on the look out for something like that then :-)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now