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Messages - Mojo

Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 232
General Discussion / Re: New guy looking for new machine
« on: October 29, 2019, 07:43:17 AM »
Check all the linkage from the pedal up to the motor. I always adjust the pedal with the motor arm in the full stop position.
Also make sure the actuating rod coming off the pedal is straight and vertical and not at an angle.
If you are still having problems give Bobby a call.

I have 4 servo motors on 4 separate machines and all 4 seem to have to have the speed dials adjusted at different positions.
None of them operate in an identical fashion.

General Discussion / Re: French Seams
« on: October 24, 2019, 07:06:48 PM »
I did several large motorcycle seats using french seams. When you start doing curved contours using french seams it helps to take a valium
to keep from throwing the work through a window. I would also make sure no priests or nun's are in your shop. The language can get pretty colorful. I did one seat and by the time I was done I invented over a dozen brand new curse words.


General Discussion / Re: French Seams
« on: October 24, 2019, 08:10:52 AM »
Yup. Mucho dollars for a good setup. About $ 5,000. We are going to do an analysis on this including costs as well as the strength.
We just went to a 10 year warranty on our vinyl and we would end up bankrupt if the strength of those seams are not as good as
a stitched seam.

We have 2 fabric/textile consultants we work with who have been inside shops and plants all over the world. They have seen it all and know what works and what doesn't. We will call them in and go over the welded seam venture before we go any further. It has to be a sure thing otherwise I wont roll the dice and risk our company. My biggest concern is wind and rain loads. RV awning applications are completely different then standard commercial and residential awning installations simply because the RV awnings are all mechanized and go down the road at 65 mph.



General Discussion / Re: French Seams
« on: October 23, 2019, 06:50:07 AM »

I am not sure about using basting tape in other applications. I never used it before when doing other work but when I started doing awnings I started using it. I should clarify that we only use the tape on center seams. We do not use the tape on outside edge seams.

In regards to seams we use a fell seam on center seams for most awnings that require 2 panels. On some assemblies we use a simple overlap seam that is double stitched simply because the assemblies themselves wont tolerate a fell seam because of internal clearances inside the assembly. The assemblies seem to get less tolerant every year in regards to fabric replacements. The casement assemblies for example require a near perfect square in order for the lead rail to close tight. In other words the depth of the fabric has to be near perfect otherwise one end of the assembly will remain slightly ajar when the assembly is retracted. Not a good thing when that assembly is subject to 65 mph winds going down the road.

Depending on the assembly type we use either a perpendicular overlap seam or a parallel fell seam. 



General Discussion / Re: French Seams
« on: October 22, 2019, 08:11:59 AM »
We use it on all awnings to seal the stitch holes. It also is quicker then pins and needles or staples when sewing a 20 ft long piece of canvas.

We go through a boat load of basting tape.


General Discussion / Re: French Seams
« on: October 20, 2019, 08:16:38 AM »

I used to sew french seams on certain jobs ( motorcycle seats, marine seats, etc. ). The procedure I used for french seam is the same as this video. The only difference is that I did not use tape but instead cut strips of the same fabric I was using for the cover material and then used that as my backing tape. Using the backing tape method provides much more strength to the seam itself. Here is the method I used:


I have seen some get a french seam confused with a fell seam. This seam is sewing two ends together, opening it up and laying it flat and then sewing a top stitch on one side. We use this seam everyday in making awnings. We also call it a locked seam. This seam provides 90 % of the strength of the fabric itself.


The problem with seams is the terminology and subsequent confusion. One of the biggest headaches I had when I first started in this trade was learning the terminology. I still get a curve ball thrown at me on this forum by someone using a term to describe something I have never heard of before. :)


General Discussion / Re: Why Should You Always Buy Secondhand Furniture?
« on: October 19, 2019, 12:29:52 PM »
Just curious. For you furniture guys..... Have any of you ever been possessed after working on an antique piece of furniture ?
If so let me know. I can contact my local priest to see if he can do an exorcism of you. :)

There are some weird people out there with some very strange beliefs so this guy is not alone. I have heard of homes that had horrific murders committed inside that resulted in the home being torn down because no one would buy it due to the publicity of the murder.

I have also heard of chairs/sofas that had to be taken to a landfill because someone died on it from natural causes but was not found for a day or two. I have a buddy who thought he really scored big when he bought a pristine IROC Z 28 dirt cheap. The inside smelled horrible but he never gave it a thought when he bought it. Turns out after talking with a relative a guy committed suicide in it ( Carbon Monoxide ) and wasn't found for several days ( in the summer ). My buddy completely gutted the interior and took it down to the metal. He used every cleaning solution he could think of and was never able to get all of the smell out. It still had a slight odor to it.

In my early years of adulthood I served my apprenticeship as a Mortician. My former father in law owned a funeral home and I later worked part time for him for 14 years. I embalmed close to 350 bodies during that time and several of those were people who were not found for several days. The smell is horrific. A few we had to take outside and into the garage to embalm to keep the smell out of the chapels.

Anyone ever run across a piece of furniture that someone may have died on ?


The Lone Ranger and Tonto went camping in the desert. After they got their tent all set up, both men fell sound asleep.

Some hours later, Tonto wakes the Lone Ranger and says, 'Kemo Sabe, look towards sky, what you see?

'The Lone Ranger replies, 'I see millions of stars.'

What that tell you?' asked Tonto.

The Lone Ranger ponders for a minute then says, 'Astronomically speaking, it tells me there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Astrologically, it tells me that Saturn is in Leo. Time wise, it appears to be approximately a quarter Past three in the morning. Theologically, the Lord is all-powerful and we are small and insignificant. Meteorologically, it seems we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. What's it tell you, Tonto?'

"You dumber than buffalo shit. It means someone stole the tent."

The Business Of Upholstery / Re: Serging boat covers - Machine?
« on: October 11, 2019, 12:27:18 PM »
You are very welcome.

My best advice is not to limit yourself by buying a serger that will only sew medium thickness fabric. Many are also limited on thread size.
A limit on thread size will limit you on fabric at the same time. Either one can add up to wasted money because you are very limited on the fabric you can sew. If you are planning on sewing canvas ( acrylic ) then you want a heavy duty serger that will accept heavy thread and fabric.

Pay close attention to the specs rather then the cost. I cannot remember what our serger cost but I believe it was around $ 2,000 complete. This is one of those purchases that you do not want to scrimp on. Also you need to look at the payback from future jobs. Sergers are not used that often but when needed are a blessing. They can open other jobs up for you and expand your offerings.


The Business Of Upholstery / Re: Serging boat covers - Machine?
« on: October 10, 2019, 04:11:43 PM »

We have a Juki 6716S series serger. Bob Kovar selected this for us based on us sewing heavy acrylic fabrics. It will serge multiple layers of heavy acrylic.

It is a solid performer and does a great job. It goes right through heavy acrylic fabric like butter. It was not fun setting up and threading but once you do it a couple times it becomes no big deal. They are not cheap but worth it in the long run to go with the heavy duty model. It makes little sense to go with a lighter duty model to save a few hundred bucks. We are not limited on what fabric we can sew. We also sew with V92 sunguard thread. It easily accepts 69 thread. 92 is about the thickest you can go. You have to be careful with some of the other sergers as they are limited on thread size and wont sew well with the thicker thread. If you are sewing boat covers you will want to sew with at least 69. 92 is preferred.

The Juki sergers are the most reliable. Here is a link to the one we have -



General Discussion / Re: On Going Repairs
« on: October 10, 2019, 03:37:47 PM »
Awesome and amazing. Excellent work. :)


General Discussion / Re: New guy looking for new machine
« on: October 08, 2019, 06:03:16 AM »

I have to agree. Machine techs in our area are slim to none. Thankfully I learned to repair machines
myself early in my stitching career. While I have never completely disassembled a machine I can fully time
the hook, feed dogs and needle. I have replaced hooks and the worst job I ever did was replacing a
complete needle bar. That was pure hell.

Bob & Bobbie from Toledo Machine spent hours on the phone in the past teaching me how to trouble shoot
and fix machines. I have never had to call a repair guy in. Overall, if you are easy on machines they typically do not need
service. Oil them, baby them and they keep on going.


The Business Of Upholstery / Re: Well That Was Fun.... NOT....
« on: October 06, 2019, 08:57:05 AM »
I can only imagine the huge changes you have seen in the automotive sector Doyle. Car seats used to be so straightforward but then they came out with all kinds of different fabrics, heated seats, air bags in seats, etc. They must be very complex in some cars.

I know every year RV awnings change. Assemblies are different, new technology is added including LED lighting, mechanisms, motors, projection changes when deployed, etc. It seems every year we have to go to the manufacturers and request parts diagrams and talk with engineers to go over changes. It used to be sewing a replacement fabric for an awning was a simple task. Now with casement awnings and the mechanisms the sewing has to be precise or the assembly will not work correctly. You can imagine that having to replace a 22 ft awning is expensive and not something you want to do because one end was 1/4 inch to long or short. It becomes a science in knowing how much length you will lose over a distance of 20 ft from gathering and then add that to the seams before sewing.

We have one assembly that we do fabric replacements for and they are a royal PITA. It took us a year and several failures ( and a lot of money ) to arrive at perfection but it has paid off. Outside of the OEM manufacturer of the assembly we remain the only company in North America that offers replacement fabrics for these assemblies. No other aftermarket company wants to touch them because they are so tricky and risky to make.

This is what has accounted for our growth - finding niche markets and then exploiting them to the fullest. I spend countless hours weekly looking for these niche markets and sometimes drive myself nuts. But I understand that continued growth will come from new opportunities. :)

Looking at the furniture sector, have you guys had to make a lot of changes and adapt different techniques for today's furniture ?


The Business Of Upholstery / Re: Well That Was Fun.... NOT....
« on: October 05, 2019, 10:34:28 AM »
Doyle, adaption is one of the most important aspects of that motto. You can identify an issue but you will never overcome unless you ADAPT.

Taking that motto from a military perspective and applying it to business equates to you having to constantly adapt to changing markets, products, consumer choices, technology, materials, operating costs and the list goes on. A business owner who adapts will overcome the obstacles.

I work from a strategic planning process which I learned back in my corporate days which never gets old or outdated. The company I retired from used this process to plan for the immediate future ( 1 year ) as well as the near future ( 5 year ). Our planning process was divided into these two stages.

The one thing we always did is remain flexible so we could adapt to any changes in the market or technology that we didn't identify
so we could stay just ahead of the curve in our industry ( power and thermal generation ). The 5 year stage always changed
as we identified new processes but many of the items we initially identified remained. We just made changes to processes we used to arrive at the goals we set.

This is how we have grown our own businesses. While I address the day to day issues I always am looking towards the future.
Small businesses have to do this so when they make changes they wont result in costly mistakes. A large company with deep pockets can afford to toss out ideas and start over but a small company cannot. A perfect example of this is I identified
the need for a new building in the future so we started working towards that goal. At the same time I also identified a major expansion to our current business model in the future so the new building will generate additional income which will help us
move towards our 5 year goal of this major expansion. If we went directly towards major expansion we probably would have struggled and put all 3 companies we own in jeopardy, including bankruptcy. It is all about controlling growth, planning, looking into the future, managing your current resources so you can arrive at your destination. Does that make sense ?

I also should mention that 1 and 5 year strategic planning for small business owners should also include your exit strategy. Otherwise if you are getting up in age like me you need to include in your plans eventual retirement.

I have mentioned before here that any business idea is not a sure thing. The smart business man will research it till the cows come home so he can stack the deck heavily in his favor so he has a much better chance at success. I have had 50 product or business ideas in the last 2 years that I have tossed into the trash can simply because my research in the end proved it to be too risky. But I never stop thinking. :)


General Discussion / Re: New guy looking for new machine
« on: October 05, 2019, 10:02:57 AM »
I did forget to mention that buying a machine off e-bay to save a $ 100 bucks is not worth it.
Most of those machines have not been setup and sewn off.

I recommend you buy from a dealer who will unbox it, set it up, test it then sew it off before shipping.
These machines are not cheap or easy to ship back and forth for repairs or setup issues.

I buy all of my machines from Bob Kovar of Toledo Sewing Machines. You can google him.


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