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Thread: Sailmaker vs Sailrite LSZ-1

  1. #36
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    Default Re: Sailmaker vs Sailrite LSZ-1

    Thanks Tom.

  2. #37
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    Default Re: Sailmaker vs Sailrite LSZ-1

    I have never used a walking foot machine but am thinking of buying an LSZ-1 with a servo some day. Have you found ANY canvas job where a walking foot is unsuitable? I would think it would only enhance even if one uses tape or staples. I wonder why one would not want the most advantages when fighting all these different materials.
    Thank you all for these great sewing discussions.

  3. #38
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    Default Re: Sailmaker vs Sailrite LSZ-1

    There are plenty of assorted jobs where a walking foot isn't really needed, but off the top of my head I can't think of many boat work applications where it would be a hindrance. They may not be usable with certain specialty presser feet (cording feet, for example for sewing cockpit cushions, etc.) and some walking feet have teeth, which can leave a scuffed trail on certain materials (window vinyl, some leathers). For the most part though, if a particular machine comes with a waking foot, that's fine. Is it one of the prime factors to consider when choosing a machine though? Not in my opinion. It is well down the list of things I find important. The primary function of a walking foot is to feed the top layer of what you are sewing at a similar rate as the feed dogs below are feeding the bottom layer. For nearly everything we sew making sails, boat covers, cushions and other marine stuff, the layers have already been (or should have been) basted together one way or another and they can't move. There really isn't that much for the walking foot to do, other than to help maintain the feed rate (uniform stitch length).

  4. #39
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    Default Re: Sailmaker vs Sailrite LSZ-1

    These machines are expensive, and without a walking foot, if you do other kinds of work, you will sooner or later wish you had one. I don't see the downside. I have a ton of different machines with all the different feeds including the blue sailrite. I've been disappointed with the motor set-up, though Masons up here in Canada gave me good support. I am not sure I would buy another, but it is a good machine, and I am used to it now. I made a smooth foot for it out of Al, for sewing leather, where as Todd points out, the foot that comes with the machine is too rough. My foot also doesn't strke the material level, and I have done a few things to deal with that, but it still will not track when, say, backstitching.

    Seems as though some spare parts ought to be available on the open market, but I haven't located them. It is annoying to get these sky high quotes for parts that would be a few bucks on any other machine. Also, there are some cheap parts where you relate to the machine, and over time I am making replacements.

    My machine has the monster wheel which seems a little oversold, bit I am happy I got it. I have a counter weight I use so I just leave the handle in place, for easing the machine on, as required, yet I can run a bobbin at max without the machine rattling from the out of balance handle.

  5. #40
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    Default Re: Sailmaker vs Sailrite LSZ-1

    How does the Sailmaker compare to a walking foot machine when you face that inevitable transition from sewing two layers and cross over four layers? My machines hit that and skip or stop. Then I have to raise the foot and advance the machine by hand. I am guessing the walking foot glides through.

  6. #41
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    Default Re: Sailmaker vs Sailrite LSZ-1

    Pretty much. That is a place where you don't want to loose tension or you end up with a weak point right where there is a transition. It is sorta like cars: There is two wheel drive; 4 wheel drive; and best of all drive on all four wheels like the Hummer. In Sewing machines there is feed dog (or presser foot only); feed dog and presser foot; feed dog, presser foot, and needle feed for the all over win. Though as to the latter it is a leather specialty as far as I know (I have two of them).

  7. #42
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    Default Re: Sailmaker vs Sailrite LSZ-1

    I suppose that depends upon four layers of what? In terms of the fabrics we use most for boating and outdoor gear (sailcloth, canvas, Sunbrella, Cordura, various other nylons, etc.) it is not a problem and the Sailmaker will do fine. Transitions like that are not really what a walking foot is designed to do much about. Again, it is primarily a feeding tool to help the layers feed evenly and the stitch length stay consistent as a result. Though it may help at times when sewing loose layers, it is not really there to make the machine climb over obstacles.

    Usually, if your machine is screwing up sewing over thick transitions it is because of one or both of two possible causes. Number one is when you have so much thickness that it raises the presser foot too high (and it doesn't have to be all that high on some machines). Once the foot reaches a certain altitude, the upper thread tension is automatically released. This is actually a function designed to make it easy to get the piece out of the machine once you are done sewing. If it releases while you are still sewing because the piece was too thick, the stitches won't form properly and you can get skipped stitches or kind of a bird's nest because the thread didn't have sufficient tension to form proper stitches.

    The second typical thickness problem is that the amount of needle lift during stitching varies from machine to machine, and here again, home or smaller machines may have less needle travel, up and down than other, larger machines. If the feed dogs (with or without a walking foot) start advancing the cloth (as if the stitch is finished) but the cloth in that particular spot is so thick that the needle hasn't completely cleared the fabric on its way upward - then you have a problem. The result is usually either messed up stitches, or sometimes broken needles. You can't advance the cloth while the tip of the needle is still stuck in it.

    There is also a certain amount of design know-how that you build up over the years - especially on projects like boat covers which are almost always one-off custom jobs where you may be doing some of the sewing and piecing before the design is even totally figured out. If you previously tried something like crossing a four-layer lap-feld seam with another one and found yourself trying to transition from two layers to eight layers and back to two, you'll know better than to try it again. You will modify your thinking and the designs to avoid such scenarios.

  8. #43
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    Default Re: Sailmaker vs Sailrite LSZ-1

    When comparing machines one thing to be wary of is claims that the machine will punch through plywood, or sew X number of layers. Some will do that, and many machine easily punch leather, or multiple layers of denim or sailcloth (now swimsuit material, good luck with that. But the other part of the issue is whether they can develop the required tension off pulling on the side of the projecting needle. That is the other limit on performance. So much so that in leather work there exists a type of machine called a needle awl machine. I separates the two functions and massively beefs them up.

    The only reason I mention it is because some may be buying machines in the hope they will do a wide range of things. Unfortunately the limits are pretty strict, and how deep a machine punches is only part of it.

  9. #44
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    Default Re: Sailmaker vs Sailrite LSZ-1

    That's one reason that one of the first mods Sairite makes to some of their machines to make them better for boat and sail work is to replace (or double up) the upper thread tension "beehive" springs powering the upper tension disks to generate plenty of tension when needed. Having a massive amount of thread tension adjustability (upper tension in particular and both heavy and light tension) has always been one of the advantages of the Sailrite machines. They aren't as big, fast or automated as a lot of industrial machines, but they have a lot more versatility. The first couple of years when I initially bought mine I was working on hot air balloons and sewing mostly ripstop nylon. Switching to sails and boat covers just involved switching needles and thread when needed and cranking up the tension.

    An example of the multi-layer thing: My 1980 Sailrite Saimaker (no walking foot) which has made hundreds of sails, covers, etc. The thread is Dabond V69 polyester, the needle is a #18, the fabric is 1680 denier (15 oz.) ballistic nylon. The line of straight stitches is through five layers of cloth and three layers of seam basting tape - in a band about 1/2" wide under the stitches. The serpentine line is running back and forth from two layers, over the five layer band and then back down to two layers. No hesitation or skipped stitches, although it isn't particularly fond of making such tight turns at the edges at that speed, so stitch quality varies a bit in those sharp curves. Interestingly, that is still the same thread weight and needle size that FAA specs required for most balloon work on 1.9 oz. ripstop. The difference between this job and that job would then just involve adjustments of the upper and lower (bobbin case) thread tensions.

    sailmaker.jpg

    Tension and consistent stitch formation is usually really important for marine sewing projects, both in terms of strength and cosmetic quality. In many cases, the stitches are right there on the surface in front of you. When it's right, it's glorious, but when it's not right, it's very obvious. It's worth taking the time to get it set properly before diving in.

    002a.jpg

  10. #45
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    Default Re: Sailmaker vs Sailrite LSZ-1

    About the only place I see it (miniwalker walking foot) being at a slight disadvantage is on lightweight fabrics like rip stop nylon and dacron. Its slippery and some walking foot machines over power it. Basting helps but doesn't erase the problem. This is when a gentle non walking foot machine often works easier...in my experience anyway.

    I do very little basting on sunbrella with the miniwalker...it isn't necessary for most covers once you get the hang of fabric control. I mark the fabric and follow the lines while the machine does the pulling work...and do it in wide open bursts.

  11. #46
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    Default Re: Sailmaker vs Sailrite LSZ-1

    The zig zag looks automated its so perfect.

  12. #47
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    Default Re: Sailmaker vs Sailrite LSZ-1

    Quote Originally Posted by keelhauler View Post
    The zig zag looks automated its so perfect.
    I believe Todd showed a picture of both good and bad seams

    /Mats
    My blog about my time as a boat building student, a rigger apprentice and Journeyman http://kaptenmohsart.blogspot.se/

  13. #48
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    Default Re: Sailmaker vs Sailrite LSZ-1

    No, they're all good, but they're not all the same, and not just because of the thread color. The stitch lines on the left side of each pair were sewn with this side being on top. The stitch lines on the right side of each pair were sewn from the other side by flipping the fabric over. Dacron sailcloth is so thin and hard that the needle pretty much blasts a hole through it when you make a stitch. Unlike softer fabrics where the yarns tend to move apart a bit to let the needle through, yarns actually break here. The result is that the top side (where the penetration begins) tends to look neater than the underside - kind of like drilling a hole in a plank without anything backing it up on the back side and having the bit blast through, making a ragged hole on the back - only smaller. It's just something we have to live with when making sails. It is certainly possible to sew both lines of stitching from the same side, but it is harder to see where that cloth edge is if you intend to ride along it and stick it down. It also tends to make a sail with one side having pretty stitching and one side with ugly stitching. I'd rather mix them up a bit and shoot for an average.

    I never got good at steering the stitch lines right down the cloth edges from any position off to the side. I need to be right over the needle. When I started, I had the machine up at table height and about 35' of infeed/outfeed tables for the rolled (scroll-style) sail to slide along on. It was killing my back to bend over like that. For the past 25 years or so, switching to only building small canoe and dinghy sails allowed me to work in my living room and set the machine into the floor. It is a pretty strange position to sew from until you get used to it (especially the foot pedal part) but it was somewhat better for my back and I could be right over the stitch lines. I found that hunks of strapping tape were the best way to keep the sail rolled neatly on either side of the seam line, so a typical seam would be fed through like this for the first line of stitching. Then the roll is pulled out, flipped over and the second line is sewn from the opposite side. The sail is then re-rolled to the next panel seam. It will be re-rolled for just about every sewn seam on the entire sail, including the edges and corner patches, reef lines, etc. Tedious, but that's how you turn out a sail which is not covered with ugly creases.

    sc4-006a.jpg

  14. #49
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    Default Re: Sailmaker vs Sailrite LSZ-1

    For years I suffered working on my floor laying out canvas jobs. That's all I had and have now. I thought about building collapsible tables. I thought it might improve my work because working on the floor was so tiring.
    I have never sewn a sail and I would guess that's the best way for that. Do sail lofts sew on their floors?

  15. #50
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    Default Re: Sailmaker vs Sailrite LSZ-1

    Quote Originally Posted by Todd Bradshaw View Post
    No, they're all good
    Oh, sorry. I thought the right seam of the pair of seams on the far right had a slight thread tensioning issue.

    /Mats
    My blog about my time as a boat building student, a rigger apprentice and Journeyman http://kaptenmohsart.blogspot.se/

  16. #51
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    Default Re: Sailmaker vs Sailrite LSZ-1

    Most production areas at sail lofts tend to be either huge tables with holes for the sewing person to sit in just to the left of the machine, or the sewing is done at floor level with a pit for the person to sit in. I actually could have cut a pit in my living room floor, but decided I wasn't that dedicated to my work. I ended up with a removable panel that held the machine and a plug panel for times when I wasn't working.

    Here is the whole sail.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  17. #52
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    Default Re: Sailmaker vs Sailrite LSZ-1

    Very nice. I hope the customer appreciates it.

  18. #53
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    Default Re: Sailmaker vs Sailrite LSZ-1

    I think he does. That month I built three to that same basic battened balanced lug pattern, which works pretty well on canoes.

    battened-lugs.jpg

    That one went for a little Wee Rob lapstrake canoe (sorry I can provide everything except wind).

    wee-rob-sail.jpg

    The dark striped one went for a nice little stripper.

    sail-004a.jpg

    ...and the red one was built for a boat to use in the Everglades Challenge - a little more heavy duty with the reef percentages adjusted a bit to meet the event rules.

    EC.jpg

  19. #54
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    Default Re: Sailmaker vs Sailrite LSZ-1

    That would be a good promo "Wind Not Supplied".

  20. #55
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    Default Re: Sailmaker vs Sailrite LSZ-1

    Sailmaker vs LSZ1? From what I see here I would go with the Sailmaker.

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