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    Best sewing machine bang for the buck

    Hi all,

    I know this question has been posed several times before, but my question has a bit of a twist.

    I’m working on project that I will need to find a new sewing machine, as I don’t think my little singer unit will hack it. One of my projects requires me to sew multi layers of heavy materials like 18oz vinyl coated polyester material and leather and another I will need to sew vinyl window and canvas materials like used on Biminis, etc.

    I've looked a lot of sewing machines and seem to just get more and more confused. I think I’ve figured out that I need a machine that has a walking foot, as the vinyl materials are rather sticky and difficult to sew without one, though some have tried to suggest a walking foot machine is overrated....I’ve seen several brands and find myself drawnto the Sailrite brand sewing machines, but thought I’d see what the BOC forum experts think...

    Any suggestions would be greatly apprenticed....

    Thanks,
    BJ
    OMEGA
    5788

    #2
    I don't know about the sailrite model but if it can sew through the thicknesses you need I'm sure it's fine. I have a phaff 545 and it can sew through multiple thick layers. Its also a walking foot machine. I can tell you if you get a 545 That it will be really fast ( uncontrollable for a average person) unless someone has modified it. its a very powerful machine though.
    Its not really portable if you need that. It takes 2 or 3 people and a pick up truck to move it. It's very heavy.
    1989 Avanti 3450 Sunbridge
    twin 454's
    MV Mar-Y-Sol
    1979 Bayliner Conquest 3150 hardtop ocean express.
    Twin chevy 350's inboard
    Ben- Jamin
    spokane Washington

    Comment


      #3
      Click image for larger version  Name:	 Views:	1 Size:	7.4 KB ID:	409588Click image for larger version  Name:	 Views:	1 Size:	200.0 KB ID:	409580 This is mine. It's very heavy like i said needs 2 or 3 people to load into a truck and it has a 1/2 hp motor on it. You could sew through your fingers bone and all I'm pretty sure and don't really want to try.

      There is one for sale on eBay right now for $900 +$300 shipping. I bet that doesn't include the table and motor but it doesn't say.

      https://m.ebay.com/itm/PFAFF-545-Wal...UAAOSwY~laGjmH

      I have a friend that has a lot ask phaff 545 it's pretty cool it like 3 or 4 feet long and it's made specifically for making sails and such. He uses it to do car door panels he can pass the entire panel to the right of the foot.

      looks like this one which says the arm is 34 inches long. If you are going to do canvas tops this would be the one to have.

      The phaff is a very good machine however it may not have the things you may need like portability or you may have to modify it to slow it down. That may make other machines more desirable

      apparently I can't do pictures because they won't organize properly on the page or I don't know how. The long arm is the top picture not mine.
      1989 Avanti 3450 Sunbridge
      twin 454's
      MV Mar-Y-Sol
      1979 Bayliner Conquest 3150 hardtop ocean express.
      Twin chevy 350's inboard
      Ben- Jamin
      spokane Washington

      Comment


        #4
        Sailrite.com has several machines in their lineup. I have the ultrafeed model with zig zag (but have never used zig zag yet)

        I have no experience with other sewing machines for comparison, but can say that the ultrafeed will sew anything you can get under the foot, which is allot.

        The most I have sewn was 5 layers of leather (on a pillow) and it did it just fine.

        Last season I completed a rear cockpit enclosure and it sewed through several layers of sunbrella and a layer of very heavy isenglass with no issue.

        Vinyl is no problem. I used the machine to sew vinyl seat cushions just last night.

        The great thing is its portable. I have the fold up sewing table, and when im not using it, it is put away, saving space. I can also take it to the boat, which is very handy.

        KEVIN SANDERS
        4788 LISAS WAY
        SEWARD, ALASKA

        Comment


          #5
          Wife says get the Sailrite. Most non-commercial machines can't handle the heavy material you want to sew through, but they do.
          Brad & Sharon
          Lady Jake
          1985 4550 EH 700TI /Twin Disc 502
          LaConner,Wa. (summer)
          2003 Scout CC 24' W/225 Yamaha
          kailua Kona,Hi (Winter)

          Comment


            #6
            there are a lot of nice walking foot machines, new and used, that are much better than the sailrite machine, but for most of us, we dont need that much machine for our projects, so we look at the most popularly recommended models, which is the sailrite and the barracuda.

            it depends somewhat on your budget and how handy you are... sailrite is a good machine, and a friend of mine has one, but its only a tuned up version of a REX machine. personally I didnt feel the need to spend anymore of my money than necessary, so I bought the barracuda (same machine defender sells), but I bought direct from Reliable corp... and tuned it up myself, which took about 4hours.

            the barracuda works as it is out of the box, and most beginners would probably never notice, but there are little things that can be refined to work smoother.... sailrite has already done most of this on their machines, but there is still a couple things they should do for the best operation.

            before purchasing the barracuda, I had used an old 2 speed NON walking foot huskvarna for years, which worked well for up to 6 layers of heavy sunbrella, but because I sew velour type material also, a non walking foot machine causes the material to creep to much, so I wanted the walking foot feature...


            after buying the Barracuda, I found it is nothing more than a REX machine with a different tag on it... same color, no more, no less, no different, same accessory kit... except the price and the warranty, AND it will easily sew whatever you can fit under the foot.. in some cases I have had to manually lift the foot higher than is normal to get all the layer under it, but it sews thru it without any problems. 8 layers under the foot normally, but 9-10 layers if you spring the foot up a bit higher to slip it under....im not trying to throw a bias, as this is true of the sailrite machine also

            REX is less than $300... Barracuda is about $500 w/3yr warranty.... Sailrite Ultrafeed LSZ-1 $800 w/2yr warranty.... these are all walking foot machines, they look and operate identically, and have the zigzag function.

            if you make a decision to buy any of the machines listed here, do yourself and the machine a favor and get the big heavy drive wheel for it.... (no matter if you buy it from barracuda or sailrite, or one for the rex machine, they are all interchangable from machine to machine,, as these are ALL the same basic machine....
            its my opinion that the machine should not even be sold without sailrites "monster wheel" or barracudas "power wheel", as the difference it makes is the difference in whether you like the machine or dont like it...

            the big heavy drive wheel give the machine a lower speed for better control, more power for a steady run, and more inertia for punching thru a hard spot as you cross over a seam in a run...

            I love my machine and the only reason I would considering doing it any different, is if money wasnt a factor...because of the advertising, the sailrite machine will always have a better resale value, if that matters to you.


            NU LIBERTE'
            Salem, OR

            1989 Bayliner 2556 Convertible
            5.7 OMC Cobra - 15.5x11 prop
            N2K equipped throughout..
            2014 Ram 3500 crew cab, 6.7 Cummins
            2007 M-3705 SLC weekend warrior, 5th wheel
            '04 Polaris Sportsman 700 -- '05 Polaris Sportsman 500 HO
            Heavy Equipment Repair and Specialty Welding

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by Centerline2 View Post
              there are a lot of nice walking foot machines, new and used, that are much better than the sailrite machine, but for most of us, we dont need that much machine for our projects, so we look at the most popularly recommended models, which is the sailrite and the barracuda.

              it depends somewhat on your budget and how handy you are... sailrite is a good machine, but its only a tuned up version of a REX machine. personally I didnt feel the need to spend anymore of my money than necessary, so I bought the barracuda (same machine defender sells), but I bought direct from Reliable corp... and tuned it up myself, which took about 4hours.

              the barracuda works as it is out of the box, and most beginners would probably never notice, but there are little things that can be refined to work smoother.... sailrite has already done most of this on their machines, but there is still a couple things they should do for the best operation.

              after buying the Barracuda, I found it is nothing more than a REX machine with a different tag on it... same color, no more, no less, no different, same accessory kit... except the price and the warranty.

              REX is less than $300... Barracuda is about $500 w/3yr warranty.... Sailrite Ultrafeed LSZ-1 $800 w/2yr warranty.... these are all walking foot machines, they look and operate identically, and have the zigzag function.

              if you make a decision to buy any of the machines listed here, do yourself and the machine a favor and get the big heavy drive wheel for it.... (no matter if you buy it from barracuda or sailrite, or one for the rex machine, they are all interchangable from machine to machine,, as these are ALL the same basic machine....
              its my opinion that the machine should not even be sold without sailrites "monster wheel" or barracudas "power wheel", as the difference it makes is the difference in whether you like the machine or dont like it...

              the big heavy drive wheel give the machine a lower speed for better control, more power for a steady run, and more inertia for punching thru a hard spot as you cross over a seam in a run...
              This ^^^^.

              I had to quote this whole post, because I agree with every word. Please re-read it.

              We have the REX machine, and bought it new for $250. It's a good, solid machine, and it can easily punch through 15 layers of sunbrella. But it has essentially zero technical support and a horrible manual.... so if that matters to you, spend the extra bucks and get the SailRite. Besides, in the grand scheme of things the difference in price will be more than made up in savings of your time and projects.

              We buy supplies and materials from SailRite now... it's just easier.


              Thanks,
              Matt B.
              2002 Bayliner 4788
              Previously: 1984 34' CHB, 1986 28' Bayliner Contessa, 1986 Catalina 30, 1976 Catalina 28
              https://mvcesc.wordpress.com/

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by mattkab View Post

                This ^^^^.

                I had to quote this whole post, because I agree with every word. Please re-read it.

                We have the REX machine, and bought it new for $250. It's a good, solid machine, and it can easily punch through 15 layers of sunbrella. But it has essentially zero technical support and a horrible manual.... so if that matters to you, spend the extra bucks and get the SailRite. Besides, in the grand scheme of things the difference in price will be more than made up in savings of your time and projects.

                We buy supplies and materials from SailRite now... it's just easier.

                any parts needed for a rex can be purchased thru either sailrite or barracuda.... and the manual that was written and published by sailrite works on any of these machines, and can be purchased seperately...
                BUT sailrite will NOT give tech support on their competitor machines... and im reasonably sure barracuda wont either, but they do offer technical support for their own... if one knows how to use a manual, the sailrite book is all one needs to disassemble and reassemble the machine, as it was written for cruiser in remote locations who dont have phone access to tech support.


                NU LIBERTE'
                Salem, OR

                1989 Bayliner 2556 Convertible
                5.7 OMC Cobra - 15.5x11 prop
                N2K equipped throughout..
                2014 Ram 3500 crew cab, 6.7 Cummins
                2007 M-3705 SLC weekend warrior, 5th wheel
                '04 Polaris Sportsman 700 -- '05 Polaris Sportsman 500 HO
                Heavy Equipment Repair and Specialty Welding

                Comment


                  #9
                  Listen to Brad 4550 - The Admiral there totally knows what she's talking about
                  Rob
                  Bayliner 5788
                  'Merlin V'
                  Vancouver BC

                  Comment


                    #10
                    My opinion is that in the end you will spend allot more on supplies than the sewing machine.

                    Even knowing now that I could buy a “non tuned up” version of thre machine for a few hundred dollars less I would still buy from Sailrite again.

                    The reason is simple...Customer Service.

                    Whenever I call or email or text Sailrite they help. I have spent allot of time on the phone with them as a beginning sewer, and their advice and help has more than paid for any bit extra I gave for the machine. They also have a free video series that covers almost everything you would ever want to know, encompassing many different projects.

                    I also buy my supplies through sailrite. They have what I need, their store is easy to use, and their prices are reasonable.

                    KEVIN SANDERS
                    4788 LISAS WAY
                    SEWARD, ALASKA

                    Comment


                      #11
                      I've had the basic Sailrite for more than 15 years now and it has paid for itself a thousand times with all the money saved in new biminis, seat upholstery, curtains, home sewing and so on....
                      One of the best deal in my life (after meeting my wife and buying my boat)
                      NILE
                      1989 3288MY 305's US Marine
                      Fort Lauderdale Florida

                      Comment

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