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New Sewing Machine (edited for pictures)

Discussion in 'Shop Talk - BladeSmith Questions and Answers' started by Bailey Knives, Oct 29, 2012.

  1. Bailey Knives

    Bailey Knives KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 18, 2004
    I called Paul Long for advice and just placed and order for a new Cobra type 3 Leather sewing machine. I like sheath work, but I am not too fond of hand stitching. It will be about 2-3 weeks until it arrives at my door. I can't wait. I hope there is not too much of a learning curve.
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2012
  2. Lt.Col.Vortex


    Jul 22, 2012
    Wow, I like old ish style/looking simple machines. And its a treadle machine, cool. I'm partial to Tippmann stuff myself. They are more commonly known for their paintball manufacturing these days, but they use to (and still do) specialize in leather work machinery and guns.
  3. pap11y


    Jul 4, 2012
    Please post pics when you get it. I am intrigued..
  4. quint


    Nov 29, 2011
    Great choice Matt. I picked up one of the class 4's from Neils saddlery about 1.5 years ago. It is/was from the same manufacturer as the cowboy's and cobras. Great machine. Steve is also indespensible when it comes to learning how it all works. Should show up all ready to go.

    This was my first real machine but after watching a few videos that Bob posted with his cowboy machines I was doing pretty good after a little practice.
  5. jonnymac44


    Sep 27, 2007
    Very cool Matt! Gotta love that new toy smell!:D

    I'll be sending you a couple dozen blades for sheath work in the next week or so. How's your turnaround time?;)
  6. Phil Dwyer

    Phil Dwyer KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Feb 28, 2006
    Good for you! Can you explain the reasoning behind your choice of make and model?
  7. Mudbug007


    Nov 29, 2010
    Congrats on the new machine! I thought I saw a post a while back where Paul liked the Artisan machines. I guess he may have changed his mind. I look for some more great sheaths from you with that new machine!
  8. Bob Katilus

    Bob Katilus

    Feb 18, 2005
    SWEEEEEEET. Can't wait to see it in action!:thumbup:
  9. quint


    Nov 29, 2011
    Mudbug without getting into it very much Paul may have liked Artison when Steve was still working for them. Steve branched off from them (not gonna get into that) and started the Cobra line for himself. He is great to work with and provides some of the best customer support.

    The Artison, cobra, cowboy machines which are all 441 clones come from the same factory (or atleast use to). They get them over here and spend several hours setting them up, usually having to fix or modify things since the chinese attention to detail (no offense) with manufactured stuff isnt always that great. They also set them up to stitch leather and go thru some stitching to make sure they can stitch the 3/4" or so of leather they are tasked with sewing.

    This is what Steve (cobra), Bob (cowboy), and Ryan (Neils saddlery which provided the cowboy machines to begin with) all do to there machines. These guys are all ensure the machines are running top notch before you get them. They are all priced pretty close but the customer support is where you will have to make your decision from when deciding to get one.

    Setup is a piece of cake except for lifting the head, basically the stand gets assembled, bolt on the motor and the machine head, install the belt, thread the machine and most likely your ready to go. Oh and oil often. Oil after every use and do a good threw oiling once a week or so depending on use.

    Here is a good video for you Bailey helps with threading the machine the first time. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=boZOA4MTu2Y atleast it helped me out.

    There is also a mod that a bunch of guys are doing that you can look up. Basically the sensitivity on the motors can be kind of touchy. They have been taking the cover plate off the end of the motor, there is the infrared sensor that has a plate that moves over it as you press the foot controller. By taking some paper and layering it or using a pencil and making a gradual darkening band which allows a gradual interuption of the laser which allows for better slow speed control. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-h5U32SDZ38&feature=related , this is depending on which motor it comes with. I didnt have as much luck on mine but if it works it is a great mod for doing things like sheaths and holsters where you want some very good slow speed control. Out of the box though it is still very good just not as good as it could be.

    Forgot Steve has a vid up as well http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IkxZlczFqRY&feature=related
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2012
  10. Mudbug007


    Nov 29, 2010
    Thanks Quint. I didn't know all of that! Hopefully one of these days I'll "need" a machine like that!
  11. Bailey Knives

    Bailey Knives KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 18, 2004
    Basically, what Quint said is true about Paul and Artisan. He had absolutely nothing bad to say about Artisan at all. He said that he has always been impressed with their machines, however the customer service people that he had developed a relationship with at Artisan had moved to Cobra. Since the machines are pretty much identical, he recommended the customer service at Cobra. I think for Mr. Long, it was a relational decision, and had absolutely nothing to do with the quality of the product. He kept saying that Artisans were great machines.
    The reason I went with the Cobra 3 instead of the Cobra 4 was basically price and size. I do not plan on sewing anything other than sheaths (my own sheaths, sorry Johnnymac!) and I did not really need the extra 7 inches of neck on it. If I were to be sewing saddles or chaps or something, it may be an issue, however I only plan on doing sheaths.

    I will be watching those videos and shaking with impatience for the thing to arrive at my door.
  12. David Sharp

    David Sharp

    May 23, 2008
    All I can say is that you will love it. I picked mine up last month (same model). The learning curve was short. There are some peculiarities to the Loveless pattern sheath that the Artisan doesn't handle well. Bob and Jim bought a Cobra a while back and it has been trouble free.

    As an interesting note I was astounded to see that they test their machines by stitching plywood; performed flawlessly.
  13. Bailey Knives

    Bailey Knives KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 18, 2004
    Stitching plywood...now that I would like to see.
  14. Rick Marchand

    Rick Marchand Donkey on the Edge Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jan 6, 2005
    I definately don't want to be a bummer in this thread. I am sincerely excited for you Matt.:thumbup:

    I have just never found a machine that fit the bill, for me. Being very particular about the reverse side of the stitch, I'm interested in what your Cobra can do. I have also seen WAY too many machines that leave pressure foot trails but I suppose that has more to do with proper set-up. I had a chance to get a Tippman for cheap but passed on it after talking with folks and seeing finished pieces.
  15. Bailey Knives

    Bailey Knives KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 18, 2004
    I know what you are talking about, Rick, however I figure if Mr. Long uses it and recommends it, it should be good enough for me. I have come to enjoy sheath making...every aspect aside from stitching. Don't worry, nothing can bum me out from the sewing machine high I am on.
  16. Rick Marchand

    Rick Marchand Donkey on the Edge Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jan 6, 2005
    That is why I was having such a hard time with my decision, Matt. Lot's of great makers use them. I guess it just depends on personal preference... I couldn't get past certain aspects of the final product. Perhaps, after my fingers have had enough, the compromise won't matter as much.

    Post pics, brother!
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2012
  17. quint


    Nov 29, 2011
    Dont wanna say its wrong but I dont think anyone is stitching plywood with these guys. Maybe some thin thin stuff but its probably not a good idea. I could be wrong but ....

    Now as far as both for stitching plywood and to Rich's issue the beasts that are the needle and awl machines. They usually send out a piece of plywood with a business card and a quarter all stitched together. If you want a machine that stitches more like hand stitching then a needle and awl machine is what you want. Ofcourse they are big, more expensive, and not the easiest critters to operate for the beginner. I would love to have one but funds/space are not gonna allow it.
  18. quint


    Nov 29, 2011
    Also wanted to add that you can lesson the marks from the walking foot by adjusting the tension of the foot to just what you need, smoothing out the leather also with a burnisher which gets rid of alot of the issue. I usually take a mallet and tamp down the stitching front and back and it looks much better. Ofcourse not exactly like hand stitching but then again I have scene some handstitching that looks more like a sword fight moved into a thread store. Now the first time you use the machine to stitch a double layer belt thats 42inches long and it takes you 10 or 15 minutes vise a couple of hours.
  19. jonnymac44


    Sep 27, 2007
    LOL, just thought I'd throw that in there to see if you were paying attention Matt! Have fun with the new machine buddy:thumbup:
  20. sheathmaker

    sheathmaker Custom Leather Sheaths Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    May 18, 2005
    Since I have been referenced several times in this thread, I thought I'd respond.

    First, Artisan machines were and are great. All the 441 clones are good. It is strictly a relationship issue with me. In my opinion, Steve and Dave at Cobra simply cannot be beat when it comes to customer service, attention to detail, and quality product. In addition they stay on the cutting edge of new and subtle developments for upgrading their machines.

    It is worth mentioning that I bought and have in the shop right now a brand new Cobra 4 "Dream Machine", and I like it very much. It has the newer servo motor with speed control, while the older Artisan Toro 4000 has the clutch motor. I am currently using both machines and the end product is the same for both.

    If you are doing strictly sheath work, the Cobra 3 is all the machine you need. The extra throat depth is nice but not absolutely necessary, and in fact you can do some very large pieces on the 3 just by considering the direction of sewing in advance.

    I will soon take delivery on a Cobra Class 14 motorized splitter. That will be a very valuable tool in my stable and will replace a hand crank Landis.


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