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waybomb 04-03-2013 07:27 PM

Sewing machines; questions?
Hello all. Helluva first post here. Sorry. I am an ex-hot-rodder, now a boater. Still a little hot rod in me though - have a 46' kevlar Cougar boat with three blown 572's, 900hp each. So please treat me nice!

My Boat's business end:

Anyway, I was posting on a boating site, and a user over there, gtpvette, suggested I stop on over here and ask the most knowledgeable guy out there, DanTwoLakes, my questions.

I've copied and pasted what I started with there down below.

Some of the replies, were just replies, but a few asked some good questions about our current machine, like, thread size and needle. I think we have that correct because we brought it with thread, material and the machine to the sewing shop. We are sewing Sunbrella (it's like canvas, vinyl, and leather for our boats; lately we've been doing the canvas and using PTFE thread.

My wife has had it with the Consew 18 we have. So I need a replacement.

So, here's what I posted, hoping DanTwoLakes and others chime in. The regular sewing sites were no help.

"Need some advice.

My wife generally uses a portable Husqvarna Viking 6440 sewing machine. It's indestructible. However, stitch length is controlled manually while running the fabric through the sew.

She also has a Consew 18, an industrial walking foot (but not needle) machine. What's nice about this machine is with the walking foot, the stitch length is adjustable, and is constant while you sew. The problem with this machine is the foot walks, stops, needle goes through fabric, back out, and foot walks. What happens with thick thread is that the machine can jam. Sometimes this jam causes the machine to go out of time, which means back to the Viking while the machine is brought in for re-timing.

The local sew shop says we really should be a Japanese Consew 206RB (not a newer Chinese one of same model number). This type of walking foot also has the needle travel with the foot, so there is never any chance of the material walking beyond or backwards from the foot during the stitch.

So I started researching and found a Juki DNU-1541. This thing seems much more robust than the 206RB.

So my questions are:
1) Is our Consew 18 simply too old and worn out; that's why it jams?
2) Is the sewing machine guy correct; this machine is prone to jamming?
3) If cost wasn't the issue, would you take a Juki DNU1541 or a Consew 206RB?

I'd like to sell the Consew 18 to offset the cost of either a used Japanese built Consew 206rb(about 800-1000 bucks for a good one with table and servo motor) or a Japanese Juki DNU1541 (which can be purchased brand new with a servo motor for about $1600).

If the Consew 18 is simply worn out, I'll discard it - I would not want to pass on our troubles. But when it's not jamming up, it makes a beautiful stitch. Did the canvas top for the boat and it looks factory."

I don't have any pictures of the sunbrella top because we still need to do the clear vinyl windows, but here's the flybridge upholstery we did. First time we ever did something like this. We've fixed things, but no complete replacement. This is my wife's boat. i had to buy it because she hates my boat and we were going to be boatless if I didn't do something to get her a normal boat.

Thank You for all your help and I appreciate your responses.
I also apologize for not being able to post any pics of my hotrods since I don't have any anymore, and all I've posted was pix of boats. Sorry!

OneMoreTime 04-03-2013 08:46 PM

When the old machine is constantly giving you fits most likely it is reaching the end of its useful life.. Either one of the machines you have mentioned would be good..Now the one thing I would want for your purpose is a long arm machine as I have built tepees and having a long arm would have been a blessing and those boat tops can get to be large..

My bottom line is to buy from someone local that can service my account if I need some help with something..


white72gs455 04-04-2013 04:54 AM

While cant help with your interior questions... I would love to see more on the engines, ship, details on how that thing moves... That thing must move like a rocket!

DanTwoLakes 04-04-2013 06:56 AM

1 Attachment(s)
Before you get rid of the Consew 18, what size thread are you using that causes the machine to jam? Also, what size needle are you using? If you are using size 207 or larger thread, you need to use a larger needle, like size 24 or 25 to sew with, or the machine will jam. If you are sewing with size 138 thread, size 21 or 22 needles will work fine. Your machine uses a needle system 135X17.

If you decide to get a new machine, I would go with the Juki. The Consew 206 (Japan made) is a good machine, but the Juki is a lot better. Either one would be an upgrade from the Consew 18.

waybomb 04-10-2013 04:38 PM

Jammed it up again this weekend. Wife dropped it off at Muday's on Monday. We showed him the thread and the needles and all of that is correct.

This time, it was screwed up from the start, putting in a, lot of thread at one place. And, not that I know what a sewing machine should sound like, it certainly did not sound right to me.

Anyway, the thing is at the shop and we will see what they say. But it looks as if a new Juki is in the cards. Wife deserves it. That and I need a new cover for Plain Vanilla........

I thank you all and when I find out what's going on with this thing, I'll post it here.

OneMoreTime 04-10-2013 09:25 PM

Wife deserves a new machine..all that needs to be said..


DanTwoLakes 04-11-2013 07:05 AM

Sewing machines can make some ugly sounds with just minor adjustments that need to be made. Most repairs do not involve a lot of broken parts that need to be replaced. Good luck. The Juki is a good idea.

JCAR 04-11-2013 03:39 PM

I started sewing with a consew 18. The day I switched to a compound feed machine, my work improved "over night". A walking foot, compound feed machine will make a huge difference.

DanTwoLakes 04-12-2013 07:59 AM

JCAR is absolutely right. The Consew 18 is a copy of the Singer 118, and while they are industrial walking foot machines, they are not compound feed. (compound feed means the machine has more than one feeding system, usually needle feed and drop feed which uses feed dogs to push the material through the machine) They were intended to do hemming in garment factories.

waybomb 04-13-2013 11:03 AM

Picked up the machine from Muday's. He said a timing set screw was coming loose. He said he pinned the shaft. He sewed with it there in his table and a few layers of jean material. Worked right and sounded right.

I brought it home, set it in our table, and has worked flawlesly all morning. Multiple layers of vinyl and sunbrella.

I had it listed on CL, but pulled the ad when it jammed again. A few people contacted me and a couple were going to stop by last weekend, but I told them the issue with it. Anyway, I just texted them all and one lady from Grand Rapids is coming down tomorrow to sew on it.

I am selling it and buying her a good used Juki or a Japan Consew 206 or 226. Trying to find a decent deal, but if nothing earth shattering comes up shortly, she'll get a nice new Juki dnu 1541 with a servo motor.

Do you pros all agree? If you agree on the 1541, there are a few variations. I believe there's a -3, a -5, and a -S. I am all-ears! Tell me what you think.
If you do not think the 541 is the right one, which one, and if there are variations, which variant?

And I really do appreciate it! Nice group of people here. Thank You!

OneMoreTime 04-13-2013 12:54 PM

I would hold out for model with a long arm as that will be real handy when sewing large items like boat tops.

OneMoreTime 04-13-2013 12:58 PM

long arm
I would hold out for a long arm machine as that is real helpful when sewing large items like boat tops.

DanTwoLakes 04-13-2013 01:18 PM

A decent 20" long arm machine will cost $3000. A decent 30" long arm will be $4500. For the number of times you are going to need a long arm machine, it's not worth it.

Any Juki 1541 will work fine. You don't need automatic back tack or automatic thread cutting, you just need a basic lockstitch machine with compound feed, walking foot(alternating presser feet is the correct term), and reverse. Anything more than that is overkill.

waybomb 04-13-2013 03:39 PM

Hi guys,

Yes, I looked at the prices of the long arm machines. Ouch!

We did sew the two halves of the boat top with the Model 18. The sunbrella was 60" wide and we were able to bunch it up (we sewed two 60" wide pieces together) and get it through the machine just fine.

I appreciate the comments, but I think we will have to go for a standard machine. If an in-good-shape long arm comes up, that would be perfect. It's just hobby work for us (her), so I think the regular one will work.

Now we have two people coming to sew on the 18 tomorrow. I think we will be shopping for a Juki on Monday.

There are a couple of outfits in California that sell the DNU-1541 with table and servo motor for something like 1600 delivered. Brand new. Does anybody know anybody priced better?

slodat 04-13-2013 07:25 PM

I really like Keystone Sewing out in Philly. I bought my long arm machine from them. Very happy all around.

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