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: Name Your Top Three  ( 13312 )
Mojo
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« : December 07, 2010, 05:32:28 PM »

Name your top three best investments in your shop.

Mine:

My Chandler Machine -

After making a big mistake buying my first machine off e-bay I took my time and talked to several dealers before buying my second one. I then contacted Bob Kovar at Toldeo Machine and he walked me through the maze with an abundance of patience for this newbie. He didn't try to up-sell me or down sell me to a lesser machine that he had good margins on. He helped me select a machine that was perfect for my type of work. My Chandler has helped increase quality as well as production time. It also has reduced my stress levels. Some of you are spoiled. A few have never sewn with a POS machine that you constantly have to adjust and play with just to get through one project. :)

My Swing away Binder -

Who would have thought that a $ 60 metal attachment would save me so much time and headaches. Every solar screen that I make and goes out the door has binding. The binder I bought from Sailrite has increased my production time on solar screens threefold. It also has reduced the nasty words being screamed through my shop. I highly recommend this binder BTW. It is made in Japan, high quality and works like a dream. :)

My Cutting Table -

Yes I know the vast amount of you have cutting tables and probably never give it a second thought. But my cutting table with the built in cutting groove is simply awesome to me. It is like a gift that was heaven sent. No longer am I bent over or worse yet on my knees cutting fabric on the rear ramp door of my trailer. I also am no longer cutting fabric on a 4 ft long x 2 ft wide plastic fold up table that also doubles as a sewing table extension. That stupid little idea of embedding that cutting groove turned out to be my saving grace when it comes time to cutting fabric. Quick, easy and accurate as heck.

I am sure there are a few of you who are laughing by now. But if you start out with junk and hopeless working conditions and then later get these items placed in your lap, you tend to be damn appreciative. And trust me, I am appreciative as heck.

I have come a long, long way from sewing with a cheap $ 300 Chinese POS machine, a 6 x 6 shop, a rear cargo ramp as a cutting table and folding and inserting binding onto textilene by hand. I am just happier then a pig in mud.

So what are your top 3 tools / investments in your shop ?

Chris
Mike8560
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« #1 : December 07, 2010, 05:55:12 PM »

id have to         say the best 3 three things i couldnt live without is my singer and sheapo binder dosent the swingaway keep it in the say if stuffing big pieces through mojo? amd  my bend arc bender and my bendarc crowner is that 3? or 4?

got to mention the press n snap tool also that a must have
« : December 07, 2010, 06:30:46 PM Mike8560 »
sofadoc
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All types of upholstery.....except cars and boats.


« #2 : December 07, 2010, 06:07:36 PM »

I guess that the sewing machine is every stitcher's #1 investment.
And like you, I built a nice cutting table that suits my needs. It's over 20 years old now, but supply salesmen tell me that it's one of the nicer ones they've seen among the shops that they call on. I WOULD post a picture of it, but frankly, some of the cutting table pics that YOU guys have posted look far more impressive.
But, I can't seem to  come up with a 3rd one that really stands head and shoulders above the rest. Just a lot of little things (tools of the trade, etc..)

"Perfection is the greatest enemy of profitability" - Mark Cuban
bobbin
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« #3 : December 07, 2010, 06:20:46 PM »

I would say my fleet of sewing machines, added as I could afford them, and added after I'd had the time to really think about what I wanted the machines to do for me.  I've added attachments and presserfeet as need has presented itself over the years. 

And I'm right there with you, Chris, on the cutting table thing.  There is nothing quite like having adequate, convenient tabling.  I've worked in more than a few shops and I spent a lot of time thinking about what I liked about one shop and what I didn't like in another.  I designed my tables and my husband helped me build them.  They're on casters and roll easily, the cutting tables have a 24" drop leaf supported by folding legs.  I made custom pads and removable canvas covers for them that snap into place and fit snugly so I can use the table for a giant pressing station.  I can remove them for laundering or so I may use the slick melamine surface instead of a padded one.  I keep my tools on rolling carts, too... I'm big on casters!  Being able to move things around easily makes cleaning a breeze and allows me to reconfigure the tables to suit whatever sort of work I'm doing and how I wish to support it when I'm stitching. 

Lastly, I would have to say that my gravity feed steam iron was a really good investment.  It's a professional tool, designed to be turned on in the morning and left on all day long.  The water tank and the electric cords are carried down the center of the 2 8' cutting tables on ceiling mounted track and are plugged into any of the 3 outlets in the ceiling.  No cords on the table or being dragged across the floor! 

Another really nice feature in my own shop is good lighting.  I presently work in a shop with really poor lighting... cheap flourescent fixtures that burn out quickly and are not routinely replaced (I don't understand why not).  It's a realy pleasure to be able to see what you're trying to do!
JuneC
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« #4 : December 07, 2010, 07:19:23 PM »

Best in terms of productivity gains???  I'd say my old Singer, Hoover snap tool, extra large quilter's square (I'd be sooooooo lost without it). 

Bobbin, I have a couple of tables on casters, but what I REALLY want to do is put everything on casters - sewing machines included.  I'm thinking an oversized pallet with plywood covering - something big enough for the sewing machine table plus chair.  With all tables/machines on casters at the same height, the workspace would be endlessly configurable. 

June

"Horse sense is the thing a horse has which keeps it from betting on people."

     W. C. Fields
bobbin
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« #5 : December 07, 2010, 07:25:41 PM »

Yeah, June, I've been thinking about putting the machines on casters, too.  At present, mine are raised to table height (just about 36", about waist height for me) and are on "slides", wooden bases with carpet on the bottom.  They slide pretty well and don't wreck the floor, but they're still heavy and not easily manoeverable. 

I have had great success with casters at a place in Nevada, called "Caster City".  I had no idea there was so much to casters, but there is!  They're not cheap, but selecting the right caster for the job you want it to do is the key to success. 
Peppy
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« #6 : December 07, 2010, 07:29:36 PM »

I agree with all those mentioned. A good cutting table is impossible to live without. My favorite and most versatile tool would probably be the lowly regulator. But as far as investments? (that aren't sewing machines)

A pneumatic grommet machine. Makes 25 cents every time it drops the hammer.

A handheld vacuum with a power head for cleaning aluminum filings from boat carpet. Like this;
http://www.vacuum-cleaners.me.uk/handheld/electrolux-z61a-handheld-stair-and-car-vacuum-cleaner/

A turnbuckle punch. The easy cutter kind not the hammer kind.
« : December 07, 2010, 07:33:22 PM Peppy »

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scottymc
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« #7 : December 07, 2010, 08:35:07 PM »

Good point Pepe, the regulator is in every toolbox I have, great for cleaning and could be used as a deadly weapon. :o
gene
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« #8 : December 07, 2010, 08:42:25 PM »

Quickbooks: Biggest time saver I own.
Sewing machine: Just like a Timex watch, except I don't lick it.
Refrigerator: it keeps my pop cold in the summer, and it keeps my pop from freezing in the winter.
gene

QUALITY DOES NOT COST, IT PAYS!
NDAV8R
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« #9 : December 07, 2010, 10:58:36 PM »

Top Three...Wow!
 Lets see. Both of My Consew 206RBs, Sharpe 775 spray gun for glue, digital camera so I can remember what things were before I messed up.
 
 Runners up are my Jiffy steamer, Sissor sharpener, Sirius Radio piped around my shop through the computer, my deep throat singer patcher(along with my 3 other regular patchers), Fortuna leather skiver, water floor heat (North Dakota), my carpet binder, and carpet serger. ;) ;D

Gale.

Strive for Perfection...Settle for Excellence!
kodydog
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North Central Florida


« #10 : December 08, 2010, 12:25:01 AM »

The best investment in my shop would be my shop. It sits 70 feet from my house and because I live in a residential neighborhood I had it built with the same materials as my house. From the street it looks like two houses are sitting on my property. The inside has a wall down the middle to keep the noise on one side and the cutting table, office and bathroom on the other. The best part is if I ever decided to sell, it can easily be converted into an apartment or MIL suite.

Second would be a J-3 steamer I bought 20 years ago. This is the same kind they use in manufacturing. I've herd some of you say your steamer just sits in the corner and collects dust, but I use mine daily. Works great to flatten patterns for cutting.

Third is my old singer sewing machine. Now I know all you Consew, Juki and Pfaff owners are snickering right now. I bought it 20 years ago and it must by about 70 years old. It doesn't have all the gadgets and gizmos yours have but I've always been able to fix the few miner problems I've had with it. And it purrs like a kitten. 

There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full.
http://northfloridachair.com/index.html
Grebo
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From the Costa Del Wotsit. Espania


« #11 : December 08, 2010, 04:44:06 AM »

Tuff one,  ::)
I guess #1 sewing machine which came complete with a cutting table as previous owner was giving up on stitching.
#2 back up machine. ( my insurance)
hoover press n snap tool. Has saved soooo much time  :D

Can I squeeze in #4.  ;D  My tool belt from MCTI has saved me walking miles around the table, I put it on straight away every day that I am in the shop & when I arrive in a marina. So I always have snips, scissors, pens, pencils, small craft knife, braddle(awl) & a flat bladed screw driver at my finger tips.  ;)

Mike8560
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« #12 : December 08, 2010, 06:11:01 AM »



Third is my old singer sewing machine. Now I know all you Consew, Juki and Pfaff owners are snickering right now. I bought it 20 years ago and it must by about 70 years old. It doesn't have all the gadgets and gizmos yours have but I've always been able to fix the few miner problems I've had with it. And it purrs like a kitten. 
i also bought my old singer when I started some 20 years ago used ans gave no idea how old it really is.
I like it alot more then my new juki copt.
So to trouble with town. Codes on the shop
Grebo
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From the Costa Del Wotsit. Espania


« #13 : December 08, 2010, 06:42:07 AM »

Mind you thinking about investments, I guess building up my libary of various training tapes, dvds etc, for my own training is probably up there in the top three.
Being one of those self taught people with no formal training or some one to learn from
APART FROM YOU LOT OF COURSE  ;D  :-*
The knowledge that I have gained from these has taken a lot of guess work out of my creations  :-[ & confidence gained is surely priceless.

Mike8560
Guest


« #14 : December 08, 2010, 08:45:55 AM »

It's a ad tool but I'd also toss In my website
I've got allot of work from it

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