just found the the site looking forward to making some stuff. i dont do as much backpacking as i used to but still spending a fair amount of time outside. lately been spending time making some cloths (fleece jackets, pants , wool jackets etc.) and breaking sewing machines. usually not a big problem, but yesterday i broke my wife's machine that she asked me not to use for my "projects". Im tired of fighting my old machines need something more reliable. any suggestions? thanks
Long long ago, I made friends with my local 'sew and vac' store owner. A machine repair guy will tell you what to look for and might even have trade-ins available.
I have three mechanical machines, none less than 30 years old, and my favorite is a plain old Singer Fashion Mate 252 that I've souped up a bit. I've sewn canvas with that thing, as well as silnylon. I look for all steel guts, no electronics, and standard parts sizes so I can bolt on aftermarket specialty parts like walking feet and such. Straight, zig-zag, and blind are the most common stitches, and I like a fast machine. Watch Craigslist once in a while. Been sewing most my life and that's my .02 cents.
Look for a Pfaff 230. Around $250 - $300. Sounds like a lot of cash but not just any machine will work with the heavier materials and thicker threads. Try before you buy or get recommendations for particular models. ZigZag is necessary as a bar tack (sort of). Look for all steel components (most modern home machines are full of nylon gears). You also need to use a larger needle. Most home machines will use something like a #14. To sew with e-thread or "69" nylon thread, you'll need to go somewhere between #18 - #24 needle. If you research how a sewing machine needle actually works, by using a groove for the thread, and an area on the needle that pinches the thread so a loop for the hook is created, then you'll understand the need for the correct size needle. Or you can just ignore all that and get a #22 needle.
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Yeah, it's hard to beat the old Singers. I snagged an old 1950's model 99 on eBay for under $100 shipped. It only does straight stitches, but it really does them well, and you can punch thru several layers of nylon webbing and even belt leather.
Awhile back I made a sheath for a little fillet knife out of nylon webbing lined with pieces of plastic milk carton and it punched thru all four layers like they were nothing.
Loc: Tacoma, Washington
in sept. i bought my own for 20$us. i used craigs list and was rather model specific, a singer 15-91. it needed a power cord( 10$) and the light reconnected. but other than that it was a darn good deal.orignally i was looking for a portable, but this was so good that i jumped. btw it is mounted in a floor cabinet and the top expands to a 54 X16 work surface, when the machine is up and ready to sew. these machines only do foward and reverse...no zigzag. but should handle anything that'll fit under the foot. you're lucky in that you probably have an idea of what youre hobby will require. good luck
Your kidding??? $20 is an amazing deal. That's what I learned to sew on as a kid in my grandmothers laundry. It could sew denim, canvas, leather, plastic sheeting, you name it. I have a Chinese copy of that machine that is a dedicated "ruffler" and pleat machine and it's 'almost' as good. Those old machines were built for daily use as a necessity, not a hobby, and were tough as tanks. Can't go wrong.
Pfaffs are good too. And used semi-industrial machines if you can find one, but they often come with their own table or supports. Don't know if ex-DDR machines are found on your side of the ocean(s), but most were absolutely bombproof:all metal, heavy as tanks, extremely ugly, basic, did the job.