WTB: sewing machine
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James Reilly
(zippymorocco)

Locale: Montana
WTB: sewing machine on 04/04/2012 12:45:21 MDT Print View

Maybe you just upgraded your machine for spring and have an extra for sale. I am just beginning MYOG and am searching for an appropriate machine. Thanks

John Arwood
(johnlarwood)

Locale: Mountians of East Tennessee
WTB: sewing machine on 04/04/2012 13:58:03 MDT Print View

James,

Have you shopped locally yet?
A good sewing machine will be heavy & expensive to ship.
I would suggest finding a sewing machine repairperson/technician within driving or public transit distance. Someone who has been at it for awhile & might have an old Pfaff or other high quality machine, that can be repaired or tuned up specifically for your needs. Just a basic machine. Straight stitch & zig-zag. Maybe scratched up, to keep the cost down. Let them know what type of sewing you will be doing. Take some scrap material similar to what you might be working with, light stuff, maybe some heavy stuff & the type of thread you might use. You might just find a winner at a resonable price.
If you do find such a machine, hopefully the technician will take the time to let you try it out, suggest needle type/size, show you how to do regular cleanings & basic adjustments. Also consider if you want a cabinet, they may have a good old scratched up one around. Although, you might be better off with a machine in a portable box & using a large table to work on. Buffet tables are good.
If you encounter a high pressure sales person, I suggest you look elsewhere.

Hope this helps,
John

Edited by johnlarwood on 04/04/2012 14:00:38 MDT.

James Reilly
(zippymorocco)

Locale: Montana
my visit to Bob's sew av vac on 04/04/2012 16:29:25 MDT Print View

John,

Thank you for the info. I went by the local repair center as you suggested and found the owner to be very helpful. Mostly he sold new Pfaff machines. However he had two old Pfaffs that he said he could have up and running if someone wanted them and he also had an old Viking which was nice but more than I wanted to spend. I took pictures of the old Pfaffs in hopes that you could tell me whether this is what I should be looking for.

Pfaff

230



i certainly see what you mean by the weight.

Thank you.

Edited by zippymorocco on 04/04/2012 16:33:59 MDT.

Brendan Swihart
(brendans) - MLife

Locale: Fruita CO
pfaff 130/230 on 04/04/2012 16:58:19 MDT Print View

Great finds. Those are both awesome machines and probably in the top 5 machines you could buy for MYOG stuff. Legendary in the sailing world (esp the 130). You'd have to spend A LOT on a new machine to match one of those. I believe that they're pretty much the same machine. Can't go wrong. If one seems like it's seen less over the years, maybe get that one.

Plus you can easily get accesories/bigger motor/etc. here:
http://zeusmachines.com/

K C
(KalebC) - F

Locale: South West
If I were you... on 04/04/2012 17:37:06 MDT Print View

I don't know how much a used pfaff goes for, but I would get a sub $100 machine at Walmart. It's skill not the machine that makes quality myog. That's just my 2 cents

James Reilly
(zippymorocco)

Locale: Montana
$300 on 04/04/2012 18:13:35 MDT Print View

Those two pictured are $300 tuned with a larger motor available and a 1 year warranty . Are they worth it? They are pretty attractive.

Right now I have the local sewing shop that has a sewing lounge.

K C
(KalebC) - F

Locale: South West
RE: Cost on 04/04/2012 18:34:21 MDT Print View

I don't want to tell anyone what they should get. But I have had much success with my $80 Brother sewing machine. I have made a M50/Apex 10oz quilt, 3 silnylon tents, a few tarps and a 12oz 40L Dyneema/Cuben pack. For me it was a matter of not paying for a $200 pack when I could make one lighter for $50, same for the rest of my myog gear. For me it was a matter of saving money. I don't see myself ever upgrading to another machine, it does all I need, unless it breaks.

Brendan Swihart
(brendans) - MLife

Locale: Fruita CO
Re: $300 on 04/04/2012 18:36:00 MDT Print View

James,
I think it's worth it. Sewing machines can be the most frustrating tools in existence, and having someone available to service it if needed is worth a lot. Those have all metal gears and will be good for a lifetime of MYOG. A lot of people have luck with newer/cheaper machines, but I guess I've spent enough hours pulling my hair out with a couple newer plastic geared machines that I feel like you'd eventually buy another machine anyway.

The other thing to consider is what you're planning on making. Those Pfaff machines can sew whatever you can fit under the foot. If you're just making quilts, then that's not necessary, but it's nice for packs.

edit: hehe guess Kaleb and I are going to keep pulling you in opposite directions ;) It's always risky asking for purchase advice around here...

Edited by brendans on 04/04/2012 18:38:02 MDT.

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: $300 on 04/04/2012 19:01:31 MDT Print View

James,

I know that you mean $300.00 each and not $300.00 for the pair, correct?

What you would want in a machine is metal gears, a strong motor and an availability of stitches. Forward and reverse stitching along with the ability to make bar tacks and zig-zag stitches along with the normal straight stitch are things to look for in a MYOG sewing machine.

The only feature that is missing from either of these machines is a "free arm". Free arm machines make some sewing a lot easier. My machine has a free arm but I have done a lot of sewing on it and I believe that I could have gotten by without the free arm feature.

If you leave either of these machines set up on a table top and not set into a sewing desk you'll have a free arm of sorts. It won't be as small or narrow as a modern free arm machine but it all depends on what your needs are.

As far as the pricing of the machines goes I see the 130 selling for anywhere from $99.00 to a little under $300.00. The 230 on the other hand varies from $150.00 to $250.00.

The machines that you have pictured seem really clean and well maintained. Ask to try them out. Looks can be deceiving. Does the dealer offer any kind of warranty for either or both machines? 30, 60, 90 days wouldn't be to much to ask for at the price of these machines IMO.

FWIW if the dealer was asking $300.00 for the pair of tuned up and running machines my advice would be to jump on the deal.

Party On,

Newton

K C
(KalebC) - F

Locale: South West
True that on 04/04/2012 19:04:15 MDT Print View

I'm sure that German antique can get the job done and is probably better than my machine. I have never used one so I can't say. Either way, I'm happy you are making your way to the point of no return- MYOG !

John Nausieda
(Meander) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: $300 on 04/04/2012 19:09:12 MDT Print View

I once took a course in re-upholstering furniture.It was cheap, provided machines , supplies,a great instructor, and basic projects. By the end of the class I knew I only needed a few things and so traded services with the instructor despite the fact that my sewing was very good. .My wife sews and we have a good machine. We were going to do a Jardine quilt but our time is better spent elsewhere. I've seen many contractors who buy one $ machine and soon they are using it everyday . So think about how deep you want to get in. And always consider resale to get out. I'd be looking at estate sales myself to test the waters.

James Reilly
(zippymorocco)

Locale: Montana
lots of great info. on 04/04/2012 19:20:41 MDT Print View

John, $300 is certainly for one. They both have straight and Zig Zag stitching. The price on either of those would include a tune up and Motor upgrade (I believe the upgrade was to a 1/10 HP but I could be wrong). It comes with a 1 year warranty and the peace of mind knowing that I bought it from the Pfaff dealer two blocks from my house.

Kaleb, Thank you for the welcome to the MYOG community. I have been working on a few things and have to say, I am hooked. I first considered the machines you mentioned but have become enchanted Pfaff 130. It is a solid and beautiful machine even besides it's ability.

Still $300 is an investment that will take a few pieces of gear to re-coupe. Of course I am doing this for more than just saving money. I like to create things.

John Nausieda
(Meander) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: lots of great info. on 04/04/2012 19:31:37 MDT Print View

More power to you! But Yelp or otherwise do City searches on your seller. I hate to say it but Sewing machine, places as well as Vacuum repair shops are often as notorious as bad auto repair shops. If you find a diamond, great, but heads up.

James Reilly
(zippymorocco)

Locale: Montana
I agree on 04/04/2012 19:54:42 MDT Print View

He definitely has mixed reviews. Mostly people complain about the time it takes them to complete the repairs. He was telling people six weeks when I was in there. However I had a good experience with the owner. He explained the machines to me, especially the viking and had a lot of suggestions of what to look for. He actually showed me those two in the picture almost as an afterthought.

I really don't know what I should do. I will have to think on it a bit.

K C
(KalebC) - F

Locale: South West
RE: Choices on 04/04/2012 19:58:18 MDT Print View

This is what I use by candlelight when the power goes out to finish those late night myog projects.

machine

John Nausieda
(Meander) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: RE: Choices on 04/04/2012 20:17:29 MDT Print View

So rule one. Slow down.You will see it again and again . And I hate to say this but the 2 times people have hidden conditions-bad valve bad paint both flying the Christian fish. Go figure.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: RE: Cost on 04/04/2012 22:10:43 MDT Print View

"But I have had much success with my $80 Brother sewing machine."

Me, too.

It does not have the power to sew through three layers of cowhide, so I'm sorry.

I do all of my sewing with lightweight fabrics, so there is no problem. Even when I need to punch through some webbing, it works OK as long as I slow down.

--B.G.--

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: Cost on 04/05/2012 07:54:15 MDT Print View

FWIW I too only really encounter difficulty when I have to sew through multiple layers of fabric and webbing.

I use a homestyle Singer sewing machine and it has gotten me through all of my projects so far without fail. It's a Singer Stylist model #538 like the one pictured below.

Singer #538

I have to admit to being a Gearhead first and sewing "machinehead" second. That picture of the Pfaff 130 is eye candy for me. ;-)

I have my grandmother's Singer treadle style sewing machine and it is one of my prize possesions.

Party On,

Newton

Brendan Swihart
(brendans) - MLife

Locale: Fruita CO
Re: Re: Cost on 04/05/2012 08:29:50 MDT Print View

If you don't need it right away, you can probably find something cheaper on craigslist/thrift store/yard sale. In the past few months I've seen two Singer 401s, a 500 and a Pfaff 230 for cheap. There seems to be a lot of the old singers out there and they're excellent machines. You might have to clean it up/give it a good oiling, but if you don't want to spend $300, it might be a good route to go.

Hobbes W
(Hobbesatronic) - F

Locale: SoCal
WTB: sewing machine on 04/05/2012 09:00:15 MDT Print View

While the Pfaffs are beautiful machines, I'm a big fan of vintage Singers, circa 1930-1960. They too were made with all metal gears, but more importantly, were made in such large quantities that (a) parts are readily available; and (b) they set bobbin/needle standards that are still in use today amongst all kinds of brands.

If you live anywhere near a major metro area, your best bet is CL. On any given day, there are handfuls of old(er) Singers available. The model I would focus on is the Singer 66 (or the 3/4 size 99). In their day, they were made in lots of 50,000; in other words, there's still a s+!tl*ad of them floating around. They were Singer's econ models back then, so one in good working condition can be had today for around $50-100.

Here's a 99-31 for sale in SoCal for $160:



What the seller doesn't know, but will eventually find out, is these machines aren't pursued by collectors (collectors focus on the 221, 201-2, 301 & 401), so they typically don't sell for more than $75. Either offer an OBO or wait.

Edited by Hobbesatronic on 04/05/2012 09:05:45 MDT.