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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been looking at sewing machines on-line (mostly Consew and Juki) and I've noticed there seems to be quite a lot of variation in the power tables that are supplied by different sellers of the same machine as well as the motors. Are these power table tables/motors generic in an attempt to be cost competitive? Or if I order a Juki LU-1508 NS "fully assembled" how can I tell I'm getting a complete Juki assembly (if there is such a thing) or just a Juki head assembly with a generic table/motor. Also, there is a wide variation in upgrading to a servo motor: anywhere from $25 to $180. Any recommendations on what I should look for or avoid?
Thanks
 

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The tables and motors that come with a machine can be, but are not necessarily brand specific. While the table and/or the motor might say "Consew" or "Juki" on them, they are not necessarily picked for their quality, they are picked for their cost. As with all things, the older tables have some good things about them, but so do the new tables. The newer tables are generally made from countertop materials and are very nice looking with some nice features on them. The main thing to look for is a solid metal base, which is heavier and better made on old tables than new tables. That's not to say the new tables are weak, just not as beefy as the old tables. Here's a picture of a table I bought from Harbor Freight (about $130.00) to replace the one it is sitting on. You can see that the top has a nice plastic tray to hold bobbins and other odds and ends which is a nice feature. The top is two pieces of 3/4" plywood laminated together which is very solid and substantial, and is far better than a particleboard top. This was not the first table top they sent. The first one (second picture)was damaged on two corners and was absolute junk that was not at all like the top they pictured in their catalog. It has a decent metal base to it, but what it doesn't have is a tray under the machine to catch oil drips. When I put this table into service, I will have to figure out a way to deal with that. My other machine, a Consew 255 RB-3 has a Feit table under it which has a drip tray. The good news is that if you buy the machine from a reputable dealer, you will get a good table and motor to go with it. Beware of too good a price, it can mean they scrimped somewhere, and it will usually be the table and motor.

There is a wide variety of servo motors out there, some of them are junk. Some of the motors that the sewing machine manufacturers use are not very good, that's why when I bought the 255 I bought it with a clutch motor and then looked for the best value (not necessarily the best price) in a servo motor with features I wanted. I am extremely impressed with Reliable's Sew-Quiet 3000 (no longer available) and Sew-Quiet 4000 servo motors. That is what is on all three of my machines, and they have not given me one bit of trouble. CLICK HERE

In short, I would recommend buying a machine, table, and servo motor in person from a reputable dealer who can repair it and will stand behind it. I bought the 255 from a dealer 250 miles from me because of those reasons. The best part is that he also had one of the best prices on the internet, so I won in all respects, price, quality, and service.

BTW, steer away from the newer Consew 206 machines. They used to be made in Japan, and are currently made in China and their quality has suffered. My dealer told me this, and he sells them. Juki makes a very nice machine. It would be a Buick, and the Consew would be a Chevrolet.
 

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Dan, where can you get the rod that runs from the foot pedal to the clutch? The one on my machine is just a bent piece of rod and no adjustment in it for when I raise the table to fit me. if you don't happen to know, a good picture of the ones on any of your machines would let me build one.

Thanks
Doug
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Dan, thanks for the info. You've confirmed my suspicions about the inconsistency of sewing machine "packages" by on-line sellers. As this will be my first machine, I will definitely take your advise and check out local dealers to get an up close and personal look at the motors, tables, etc.
Thanks again
Lee
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Dan, I took your advise and was able to find a local dealer who was willing to sell me a Juki LU-1508 N (replacement for the discontinued LU 563) for just a hundred bucks more than the lowest prices I was finding from on-line dealers.

And they are throwing in free sewing lessons (I'm a total newbie).

I'll pick it up next week as soon as I can borrow a truck or van.

Any advise/sources for basic upholstery tools, shears etc?
 

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Congratulations! Developing a good relationship with your local dealer will be worth way more than $100 in the long run.
The main things you need are a 5 ft long aluminum ruler, an aluminum framing square, a 3 ft long aluminum ruler, some flat tailor's chalk and scissors. I use Fiskars Softouch spring loaded scissors to cut all my fabric, vinyl, leather and nothing else. The good things about them are that they are inexpensive, about $16, readily available on line or at larger Wal-Mart stores, and are real easy on your cutting hand. I have a large heavier pair of scissors I use to cut cardboard, and a small pair I keep on my sewing machine to trim thread etc. The small pair is the most expensive ones I own. That will get you started.

Upholstery tools are available on line HERE and HERE Don't buy an upholstery "kit", just buy the individual tools as you go along.
 

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Hey guess i'm looking for a industrial sewing machine and i found a SINGER 281-5 on craigslist for 160 its industrial but i can't tell if it is a walking foot machine. It comes with a table and under the table motor. Will this machine work for making seat covers or should i pass it up. Im not sure exactly what a walking foot is. ANy no anything about the singer 281 series
 

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The Singer 281 is not a walking foot machine. The 281-5 is designed for medium to heavy materials, but will not perform satisfactorily on the "sandwiches" we sew for automobile seats, for that type of sewing, you need compound feed for best results. The Singer 111 and 211 are the most popular Singers for upholstery and there are Pfaff, Juki, Consew, TacSew and other clones.

Ed
 

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Lamx is right, The 281 is an industrial machine, but it only has a foot lift height of 3/8". and the Pfaff 230 is not an industrial sewing machine, it's a home machine.
 

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I bought a machine a while back. I was like you. Was afraid I'd get stuck with some junk that wouldn't do the job. Here's what i bought off of ebay. Its a japan machine, table, servo motor. All shipped to the house for about 1350. Took wife an i a couple hours to put it together. I have sewed with it about 10 hours so far. It is a very good machine. Ive used small home machines before. but never one of this quality. It sews anything you can put under the foot and does a beautiful job. Come highly recommended. I believe its the same machine as the old consew 206RB and it says made in japan on it. It also was in a box that was shipped from japan. But anyway its a very good machine if your looking for one in that price range. I did add a pulley to slow it down. It was way to fast for me. This one you don't have to lift to change bobbin. Just reach under it and pull it out. But it not as easy as top load. Once you change it a few times. it gets really easy and its fast. I believe seiko is who made the older consews. At least thats what i was told.
http://www.maso.se/pdf/seiko_sth-8bld-3.pdf
 

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You are correct, Seiko has been making Consew sewing machines for a long time. I personally like a horizontal bobbin and changing the bobbin from the right of the needle, but that's just a personal preference. If you like the machine and the price, that's all that matters.
 

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Juki DLN?

I've been searching for a sewing machine on the internet and have come across a Juki machine that I'm interested in; the owner wasn't sure what model it was other than a DLN. It looks like it may be a DLN-415. The photo attached to the ad was not real clear. He said his dad was a machine repairman and that he had recently passed, so he is cleaning out the shop. He said it was an "oil bath" machine and the table it was sitting on was heavy enough that you would about have to use a fork lift to move it. He thought it had reverse, but wasn't sure if it had a walking foot. Is anyone familiar with the Juki DLN series and would this be something I could use for auto upholstery?
 

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The Juki DLN-415 is a self oiling single needle lockstitch industrial machine with reverse that has needle feed. This is a very common feed system and all it means is that the needle feeds the fabric through the machine. It would be better if it had compound feed which is a combination of needle feed and drop feed. Drop feed means the fabric gets pushed through with feed dogs as well as needle feed. I'm thinking this is more for garment sewing, but I don't know for sure.
 

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Juki DLN?

The guy just called me back, he said it was a Juki 415-4. The machine is in Montanta, and he thought it was used to sew leather; chaps and saddle stuff; I asked if it would sew thick foam and leather together and he wasn't sure. $300 or best offer for the machine and the table. He also has a Singer 201 with table for the same price.
 

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The Juki 415 is an industrial machine with needle feed. It would definitely sew heavier goods than a family machine, chaps are a possibility, but I think saddle weight leather might be a bit too thick for that model Juki. For auto upholstery, a machine with compound feed would be more suitable. $300 seems a reasonable price for that machine.

The Singer 201 is a family machine, best used on clothing weight fabrics. In its day, it was known as "The Dressmaker's Machine". 10 have sold on Ebay recently for an average price a hair over $90. Three auctions for 201s with starting bids of $174.99, $189.95, and $299.95 expired with no bids. I would say $300 is out of the ballpark for a 201.

Ed
 

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Ed is absolutely right, The Juki is at best borderline and those Singer 201s are ancient. I wouldn't want to sew auto upholstery with either one.
 
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