5 things to look for when buying an industrial leather sewing machine

I'm partnered litchfield we're gonna talk about sewing machines all right at the risk of sounding to click baby and online sales e I'm gonna give you five basic pointers that I really wish I knew when I was first looking for a leather sewing machine I wasted quite a bit of money buying the wrong machines until I finally found one that I really liked so if it's possible I want to help you avoid that alright really quick I want to go over those five things first thing to look for make sure the machine is a walking foot to make sure that the presser foot height is tall enough for the project you're working on three make sure your machine takes the thread that you need for figure out what type of machine you want whether it's a flatbed or so on their head or any of the others and five you're probably not gonna find a machine that has this already but you have to make sure that you can install it speed reducer if you're going to sew leather like we do like wallets anything with detail stitching you have to have a speed reducer on your machine unless you want to be hand cranking at the whole time I'll explain that a little bit better once we get into it so this is the jukey 1508 Lu – 1508 and there's a model one step up from this called the 1508 h and h i think and it's for heavier weight leather but this one from what I can tell has done everything that I've needed it to do I really lucked out on this one right here because this was a used machine that came into our local dealer and they said they never get these used so I was about to pull the trigger buy a new one until this one came in and I was able to pick it up for about fourteen hundred dollars which is just ridiculous for this machine brand new they're about three grand so I really scored on this keep your eye out on Craigslist and classifieds local classifieds because they pop up here and there alright so the first point make sure it is a walking foot that is crucial for leather work and if you don't know what that is it's basically the feed mechanism that pulls the leather through the machine there are a few different types of feed mechanisms the ones I'm familiar with are the walking foot like this or the compound needle feed which basically the walking foot stays still and the needle goes up and down and pulls it through like this I hope these motions are very helpful to you when learning about sewing machines all right so I'm gonna go ahead and pull my top thread out of there so you can see how the feet work together and pull the leather through and there's also a feed dog underneath that is pulling it through on the bottom as well the first machine I bought was just really cheap used jukey that I found on ASL classifieds and it had what looked like a walking foot but it was actually just a mock like a faux walking foot it had an attachment it made it kind of pretend to be a walking foot but it wasn't truly a walking foot I was so frustrated right off the bat couldn't even use it it just did not what to do what I wanted to do so I ended up selling that thing losing a little bit of money on it it's frustrating but that's why I'm making this video so you don't have to do it okay number two make sure that the presser foot height is tall enough to get in the leather that you're working with so for instance I'm using three to four ounce leather some of our wallets have about four layers of leather and this thing just handles up beautifully so when I pull that all the way up and I bring the needle all the way up to its max height I've got plenty of room in there for what I need to do yeah so that's a big one if you're going to be doing Western tack and some big heavy belts where you're doing multiple layers of belt leather 9 to 10 ounce up to 13 ounce veg tank belt leather you're gonna need a really tall presser foot and that's when a machine like the cowboy 3200 or the 4500 to the Cobra class 3 or 4 when those come in handy that's a harness stitcher machine mat for really heavy-duty leather you have tons of presser foot height you have a big fat needle with 207 thread going in I thought I was going to be doing a lot more work like that and it just my cowboy 3200 didn't get used very much so I ended up selling it some of you have been asking that because I did a cowboy 3200 review and I talked it up to the moon I loved it I still love it there's my favorite machine that I've ever owned I just wish my projects catered to that machine more I'm using a much thinner leather where I'm using a smaller needle lighter thread I really like this flatbed more I'll talk about that two more in a minute okay so presser foot height make sure before you buy it make sure that your project is going to fit under that presser foot before you pull the trigger on any machine alright number three do a little bit of research and make sure that the machine you're buying can handle a thread size that you want now if you're just getting into sewing you probably don't know what thread size you want so just as a general guide here these this this is an example of one of our wallets and I use a size 92 weight thread on there that's size 92 sometimes I'll use a 138 and sometimes I'll go as small as 69 anywhere in that range 69 to 138 is going to be really good for wallets I got to make this point so that you can learn from my mistakes a little bit when I started out sewing I really wanted the cowboy 3,200 to work and you you can go down to a smaller thread on a on a 3,200 but I never did so I sewed about 500 of our wallets with 207 weight thread which is really heavy thread and a big old fat needle and it pokes some really big holes it just made a huge difference in the way that the wallet looked the bigger your stitch is going to be the more the flaws show and really hard to get a nice clean looking stitch with bigger thread and the bigger needle and and so just based on some testing I've been doing it seems to be the smaller I go on the needle and the thread the cleaner the stitch I get make sure you're getting the right thread if you're gonna do while it's similar to what we're making out of three to four ounce leather I would suggest anything from a 6992 to a 138 thread and before you pull the trigger on your machine may sure that your machine can handle that most household machines won't go any bigger than a size 69 most industrial machines will go up to a 138 though so you should be pretty safe on almost anything you're looking at if it's an industrial machine all right now I'm going to talk about the work area yes so when I first bought my cowboy 3200 and I did somewhere around 500 wallets on it I was using something similar to this this is a cowboy 341 I really love this machine but it has a cylinder head like this I think the name kind of explains what I'm talking about here but basically it'll-it'll will allow you to get really hard angle stitches on bags and hats and and things that are just kind of awkward to stitch that cylinder head really helps anyway there are certain projects where a cylinder head is a really good option and and I'll tell you right now it will work for a wallet like I said I'd sold about 500 wallets from our Kickstarter campaign on a cylinder head machine like this it's just not ideal and I didn't know that until I bought this jukey with a flatbed and I realized how much nicer it is to sew when you have this this bed to kind of push along and and you're not trying to balance and hold the wallet at the same time I don't know that's one of those things that's kind of hard to explain and maybe it's just pure preference but at least four wallets and the type of products we make a flatbed machine makes a lot more sense so the last one number five this one is really important and this is probably based more on my lack of research but I really wish I would have known this when I started looking for sewing machines and the first thing I did was I bought that Jew key it was more of a tailoring type machine not a true walking foot it only did about size 69 thread really meant for light lightweight materials and the thing that surprised me the most is they had a clutch motor and as soon as I turn it on and push that pedal it went about a thousand miles an hour there's no way I could have sewn a wallet on it it's just burned blew my socks off so my first thought was well how am I gonna sell on this there's no way so that was a big problem for me and once I realized it wasn't the right machine it was an easy decision just to sell it I was trying to figure out what makes the cowboy machine so good for leather I know a lot of Western tack guys use those and cobras and I realized they come with a pre install the servo motor and speed reducer as soon as I bought that 3200 I put it together turned it on I started working that pedal and you have so much control over the speed you can get it to go so slow you can practically thread it while you're sewing so that was a game-changer for me once I once I saw that I was so scared to move away from cowboy machines as I thought yeah I need it to go this slow until I realized there are eBay shops and sewing machine dealers that will sell speed reducers that fit almost any machine they're pretty much universal it's three bolts to install you gotta and I went down to autozone about an extra belt let me show you what a speed reducer looks like okay so when I bought this machine the belt used to run from the wheel up here down to the motor right here and that was it what I did was install this big black gear right here that's the reducer so I installed it and I bought another belt so now we have two belts the one going from the machine down to the reducer and then from the reducer to the motor so this is a pretty Universal part so these three bolts right here I flipped them the table over drilled those into the table you have to do a little bit of alignment to make sure that it lines up and everything but but basically it's a really easy install and I bought it for a little under a hundred dollars every single time that needle goes into the leather it's punching a hole you don't really have the luxury of messing up picking the stitch and then reselling something like you do with canvas or any other fabric you have to be sure that every ten goes in the leather it's exactly where you want it the only way to really do that and efficiently make batches of wallets at a time is to have a speed reducer like that so that you're not hand cranking that wheel around every corner what I found was because it's such a universal part you could put it on any machine you can put it on a console 206 the RB 1 2 the RB 5 those would be great machines for leather the Dukie 1541 these are just some of them that I had looked at and tried out but basically you can turn any industrial machine into a leather machine by adding more torque and slowing it down with a speed reducer I bought mine from our sewing dealer through eBay so I'm gonna put the link down in the description so that you can pick one up so as long as you have those 5 guidelines to consider while you're out on your quest for the perfect sewing machine you should have a pretty good handle the thing is there are so many machines that could work so I don't want to just tell you the only machine that's going to work for you as a jukey 50 no way that one worked really great for us it's a little bit on the expensive end and I wouldn't want you to think that's the only option because you could also go out and find a really cheap con so 206 install your own speed reducer and have a really awesome machine for like five or six hundred bucks so don't throw anything out the window just go through the list of the five things make sure that it's a walking foot make sure you got enough room under the presser foot make sure it'll take heavy enough thread that you want to use it's a good idea to pay attention to whether you want to sell on their hand or the flatbed style machine just for convenience and luxury more of a comfort thing and then make sure that it has the potential for a speed reducer as far as I as far as I know you could pretty much put a speed reducer on any machine but I wish I had all these guidelines in mind while I was looking for the right machine I probably would about this one a long time ago I've got the right one now I'm getting a lot better at sewing I am by no means an expert I'm in a lot of ways I'm still a beginner I'm still new to this but these are the things that I've learned and I think it can help you so if you have certain questions about what to look for in a machine leave it in the comments or send me an Instagram DM send me an email whatever let me know and I'd love to talk about it I'm an open book so anyway thank you guys for watching if you haven't subscribed you better do it your life may depend on it no that's not a threat that's not a threat just go subscribed it could be the best thing you did all day give us a thumbs up thanks for watching you guys


  1. Excellent video, right to the point. good humor. appreciated. I grew up with sewing machine. Clearly Know what he is talking about. Learn a lot, not everyday someone gives you advice. thank you

  2. Oh man! I wish I had watched this a month ago before buying my sew machine…, I love it anyway but it doesn't "walk" lol, so I have to help pulling the leather with my left hand

  3. That’s great info. Thank you…just one question… what kind of thread (brand) do you recommend to sew leather? That works on this machine.

  4. Thanks for video.
    I'm just thinking to buy a cb3200. Do you think is unnessesary to have it, if i want to saw a maxim 18oz leather.
    Usualy I just make wallet but some time i make belt that have a little thiker leather.

  5. Great machine You did get yourself a great deal FYI i got into sewing as a hobby around 10 years ago and there were basically. No videos on walking foot sewing machines so its nice to see channels and guys like you supplying all the information i lucked out that my machine has served me well Although I’m always on the lookout. For other deals that may be slightly nicer to have my main projects are usually boat interiors / cushions and Vintage Sportscars upholstery i would like to expand into leather eventually probably knife sheaths and maybe belts

  6. Thank you so much for your video!!! Wow! I am just getting into hat making. Any recommendations on a beginner machine for sewing leather sweatbands into felt hats? I'm a bit overwhelmed

  7. Thanks for this video…great help. I want to buy also but I dont know where to buy this item in a low low prize. What kind of machine Im going to buy and good for leather mix with fabric.

  8. My husband and I buy and sell industrial machines in the Eastern North Carolina area
    I have a Chandler which is the same as the 206 RB. All you need is a bigger pulley to slow the machine down.I've been sewing for thirty years .You don't need to go buy a new machine I think the old ones are made better.I have a few that were made for the army during WW2 and they run great! But that's just my opinion lol.I have 7 industrial in my sewing room everything from a walking foot an industrial zig zag and a double needle.I guess I'm a machine border lol.But I do use them all

  9. Hello Parker, thanks for this useful guide! One question what maximum thread size can this machine feed and what is the one You use mostly?

  10. If you have the servo motor then you don't need the speed adjust attachment?
    And the the speed attachment can go on any motor, even clutch?

  11. Your videos are awesome thanks for the effort. I just ordered the Juki 1508 H. Could you advise or do a video on what type of thread and needle to use with different weight leathers? I’m looking at making gun holsters.

  12. So were did you purchase the speed reducer and can you make a nice living sewing things? Reason I asked I am a tradesman who was injured overseas Iraq & Afghanistan and I need to learn something a trade and my wife makes me fix leather and other things and I actually enjoy it.

  13. I would add that point #2 is the most important and hardest to obtain. Sewing canvas with many layers and thick window material you just can't do it without. Most on the market aren't able to do six layers of material or more as well as the window materials. Good video. Take care. Doug

  14. This guy is spot on with his advise…except he said his is a "walking foot" machine which is different than the machine you have there, yours is a triple feed…."Lower, Upper, and Needle" all feed the materials through. triple feed is much better than a walking foot only machine in my opinion. The early Consew 206RB up to the recent 206RB-5 are triple feed machines the older ones were made by Seiko in Japan and are a bit better built than the most recent 206RB-5 models, but the recent models have the ability to adjust the "forward reverse stitch length" much more easily than the early machines. If your doing leather and the reverse stitches need to exactly follow the holes in forward and reverse then the later machine might be a good choice.
    Another thing is that you need to learn how to at least check the alignments of these machines and there are two really great videos on YouTube going over everything and it will work on all the Consew 206 models with some different locations of adjustments. You can also use the videos to look over most similar designs like the Juke's adjustments. Don't assume that if it's new it's got to be adjusted correctly, my Consew 206RB sewed "just fine" and so many of the adjustments were totally out of wack, once everything was adjustend correctly it sewed way way better but who would know unless you had two next to each other.
    My opinion is the triple feed Juke he has is a step above the Consew 206RB-5 but the Consew is much cheaper and will sew most anything the Juke will. Kind of like saying a Chevy vs. Acura sure both will get you there.
    This is just my opinion and worth what you paid for it.

  15. I have so many projects on the back burner for when I ever get a walking foot machine.. They're so damn expensive tough, I could buy a Ruger precision rifle for the same price… Lol

  16. Just ordered a rex Rc-607 and after I found that they I guess have a one speed motor (haul ass!) also so I’m ordering a over sized flywheel from sailrite that will slow the thing way down looking forward to finding out lol

  17. awesome video! am a tailor and looking to do jackets, bags and wallets, great info.
    Stay Awesome bro!
    Jay UK

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