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Old 11-23-2021, 08:22 PM   #1
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Hand held sewing machine for zippers/canvass

Can anyone reccomend a good hand held sewing machine?
Im looking to dos a few zippers on my canvass.
I though it would be an easy winter project ? avoiding to have to bring the entire piece to the canvass guy...
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Old 11-23-2021, 08:38 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SILENTKNIGHT View Post
Can anyone reccomend a good hand held sewing machine?
Im looking to dos a few zippers on my canvass.
I though it would be an easy winter project ? avoiding to have to bring the entire piece to the canvass guy...
Do you have access to a domestic table sewing machine? If so you may be better just getting needles and UV thread from Sailrite and running it through a domestic machine. It should easily cope with two layers of sunbrella and one of zipper fabric.
~A
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Old 11-23-2021, 08:44 PM   #3
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I have never seen a decent hand held but never considered them anything other than a novelty.
If zip thread us degraded that bad other stitching is likely not far behind. Look them over carefully and consider a more extensive restitch.
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Old 11-23-2021, 09:10 PM   #4
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Tenara thread, UV thread, is fairly difficult to get to run through a household machine since it is so slippery. It can be done but it is finicky.
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Old 11-24-2021, 07:25 AM   #5
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I would not recommend sewing with Tenara if you don't have decent experience sewing canevas. It's extremely hard to adjust the tension and not skip stitches. Even the pros thinks it's a pita to work with. It's basically trying to sew with a small fish line sure it'll last forever but your zippers won't nor your canevas.
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Old 11-24-2021, 08:25 AM   #6
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Over the years, I've had a couple of hand held sewing machines.
They are both permanent residents of the local land fill.
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Old 11-24-2021, 10:31 AM   #7
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I would look for a used Reliable or Sailright table top machine. Buy a used one, do your work and re-sell if you don't want to keep it.
Or ask around on the dock, may non-pro's have one aboard and are willing to do side work for cash.
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Old 11-24-2021, 11:05 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Comodave View Post
Tenara thread, UV thread, is fairly difficult to get to run through a household machine since it is so slippery. It can be done but it is finicky.
Dave, I was told the same thing. However using the appropriate needles from Sailrite and a spooler that I had to fabricate as the spool would not fit on a domestic machine, I had no real problems sewing a dinghy cover and two large covers for cockpit cupboards (BBQ/Sink on one side and docking helm on other side).

Correction: I was using this thread from Sailrite, NOT Tenara: V-92 Beige UV Bonded Nylon Thread 4 oz.
~A
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Old 11-24-2021, 11:52 AM   #9
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Sailright has their own version of Tenara (less expensive) as well as Tenara. It is harder to get set up right, usually you need to go to a smaller needle than for similar polyester thread in order to form the proper loop for the bobbin hook to grab. That seems to help more than any of the other tricks.
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Old 11-24-2021, 12:28 PM   #10
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I have a Sailrite 101, no longer made, and I have it adjusted for Tenara and it works perfectly. I do not run any thread other than Tenara. Tenara is wonderful stuff. It will last forever and never need restitching. If I am doing any canvas project it gets sewn with Tenara. We lived in Tucson for 30 years and the regular poly thread wouldnít last 3 years without needing restitching. I cut the Sunbrella with a hot knife and the Tenara will usually come out after the hot knife intact unless I go really slow with the hot knife. I agree that buying a used Sailrite machine and then selling it after you are done makes sense, but you will probably decide to keep it for future projects.
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Old 11-24-2021, 01:51 PM   #11
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I have tried a couple handhelds. They are complete garbage, not designed to go through ANYTHING with any real thickness to it (zippers, canvas, double layers of canvas, leather, etc.).

I bought a Singer 4423 off of amazon based off of others reviews doing marine canvas. It worked very well for my needs. I was surprised how well it even went through the ~1/8" thick leather pieces I added for abrasion resistance. I would suggest buying a BUNCH of extra needles, an extra bobbin case (or 2)... But with that I was able to make an entire mesh enclosure for my sundeck as well as new covers for the cockpit area (original intent)... LOL... I am DEFINITELY not any sort of seamstress, but for the cost of the Singer and the materials and what I was able to produce, I am quite happy!!! The mesh enclosure for all materials (including the Keder rail inserts) was less than ~$200.
The mesh enclosure had a couple of extra benefits I hadn't thought about:
1. kept the direct sun out of my face while I was working (I have my "remote" work office setup on the sundeck) original intent of the mesh!
but it also...
2. kept the morning dew off of everything, didn't need to cover all my electronics every night.
3. all but eliminated the wind blast while we are moving.
4. No salt spray either.
5. kept our bedroom (aft cabin) considerably cooler during the day.
6. Bug screen, which came in very handy in a couple places up in the San Juans.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
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Old 11-24-2021, 09:20 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bacchus View Post
I have never seen a decent hand held but never considered them anything other than a novelty.
If zip thread us degraded that bad other stitching is likely not far behind. Look them over carefully and consider a more extensive restitch.

I AGREE! If the OP has enough storage space, he would be wise to check used inexpensive walking foot machines on Ebay.
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Old 11-25-2021, 06:25 AM   #13
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If they are relatively small projects, a Speedy Stitcher Sewing Awl might be a viable alternative. It obviously takes longer by hand but, if you can’t justify the cost and space of a Sailrite it’ll do the trick. I have a friend who used one to sew up a canvas cover for a 26’ sailboat.

I’ve read of some heavier duty home machines from Singer, Brother, Husquavarna, etc. that can be up to the task but, other than horsepower and walking foot I don’t know what may distinguish them for canvas work.
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Old 11-25-2021, 06:34 AM   #14
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Thanks for the reply. I believe thats what i will do ( Use Awl) Beacuse the sections that i have are smal 6" , just a few.
Happy Thanksgiving !
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