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Leather machine

Discussion in 'Sheaths & Such' started by grogimus, Apr 1, 2018.

  1. grogimus

    grogimus KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Apr 27, 2012
    I'm getting to the point where I'm considering a sewing machine. I enjoy hand sewing quite a lot but between marking the stitch lines, running the overstitch wheel, deepening the holes with an awl, punching the holes with the drill press, then sewing them , it's taking an inordinate amount of time.

    So, I don't know anything about any other kind of sewing. I can sew saddle stitches in leather all day long but wouldnt have a clue how to sew a button back on my pants.

    I think my glue lines hold more than my sewing with the old Barge thinned out. So I don't worry too much about the build strength.

    Tandy has been promoting a Tippmann machine that is supposed to sew up to 3/4" leather but-
    It's manual. Does that seem better?
    It's over $1300.
    The Tippman getting promoted is the Tippmann Boss.

    I'm not looking to become a sewing machine repairman so I don't know that reconditioning an older machine is cost effective for me. From a purely cost effectiveness ratio though, do you think this is a good buy? @sheathmaker @cpirtle @Horsewright @Diomedes Industries @armoralleather.. Didn't tag all my favorites, sorry for bugging you gents.
  2. Horsewright

    Horsewright KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 4, 2011
    I'd skip the Tippman and roll right up to a Cobra 4. A good machine can be a lifetime investment. The machine (Ferdco Pro 440 R), I'm using for sheath work has 30 years on it and its going strong. I cuss it once in a while but I sewed up 56 sheaths on it yesterday. They are all sitting on the counter now as I type, letting the oil set. The Cobra is bout a thousand bucks more than the Tippman but worth it.
    lowes48 likes this.
  3. sheathmaker

    sheathmaker Custom Leather Sheaths Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    May 18, 2005
    Well, I started out with a Tippmann Boss many years ago, because like you I wasn't up to speed to handle a motorized machine. There was still a leaning curve, but it was in slow motion. I used the Tippmann for a couple of years and made everything I wanted with it and it served me well. but it was time for me to upgrade and speed up . I sold the Tippmann for nearly what I paid for it and bought an Artisan Toro 400, with then, a clutch motor and speed reducer. It was quite pricey, but really did a spectacular job. Then for other reasons I went to the Cobra 4, which by then came with a servo motor. Wow what a big difference that servo motor makes. I can slow stitch one stitch per SECOND controlling with my foot, and that is super slow.

    Any way If you can possibly afford it go with the Cobra 4 or Cobra 3 now and get it over with, because you will do this any way in the future, but if cost constraints are paramount, then the Tippmann will do the job for stitching the edges and the heavier work.

    lowes48 likes this.
  4. Rick Lowe

    Rick Lowe

    Jan 6, 2005
    About 7yrs. ago I quit hand sewing and went to the Tippmann Boss machine just to save wear and tear on the fingers. Now we have two in the shop, one is used daily and the other serves as a replacement, should problems arise, or when the first one goes for annual clean up at Tippmann. Have not had any serious problems with either and Tippmann is great on service and phone help. Last year we went through 5 spools of 277 thread and each spool is 1500yds. I didn't find any major learning curve in using and would say they're great for any body doing average work loads, but a couple of tips may help:
    Don't mess with timing or thread tension. Use factory settings on top thread tensioners and carefully adjust bobbin tension. Don't over lubricate, just a couple drops of oil on specified points. Keep it clean! Find a good solid stand to use (Tippmann sells a pretty good one), I like the small LED light that fits right over the needle. Any questions, feel free to contact me and ask.
    With all that said, I found myself searching for Cobra 4 information yesterday afternoon after sewing another 25 cartridge carriers (3ft. of thread each). Gonna get one, just gathering more info before pulling the purchase trigger.
  5. Makael

    Makael Hobbyist Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 17, 2015
    I have an artisan as well with servo and it works great. If your building sheaths for yourself and maybe a few others. Go with the tippman unless your budget allows a couple grand investment. I make a sheath a week. That's it. Once in awhile I'll put out 4 or 5 a weekend. I don't want to create an income by making sheaths, but I do enjoy the hobby.

  6. just-a-hunter


    Nov 5, 2015
    I asked the same question a little over a year ago and took the advice to skip the Boss. I got a Cobra class 4. With a little effort and practice the learning curve was small. I LOVE that machine.

  7. Horsewright

    Horsewright KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 4, 2011
    Don't really add anything to the discussion but Nichole took a couple of cool shots of me working on that batch of sheaths mentioned above.



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