June 05, 2020, 09:12:03 pm


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Messages - Mojo

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."
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.


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
October 10, 2019, 09:37:47 pm
Awesome and amazing. Excellent work. :)


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.

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 ?

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. :)

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.

The 206RB is the industries workhorse. They are known to be reliable and great performers.
I have been inside large Marine manufacturing companies and they have a stable full of 206's in their upholstery dept.
What I like about them is they are very versatile. One other great benefit is parts and attachments are plentiful and cheap.

I have the cousin to the Consew which is a Chandler 406rb. There are 2 brothers and one owns the Consew brand
and the other owns the Chandler brand. They literally hate each other and wont speak to one another. They got into a pissing match one day and the one brother left and started Chandler. The Chandler is a cheaper knock off of the Consew but has the same exact parts and quality. We have 2 Chandlers and both are in a production setting meaning they get real heavy use. One of them was our only machine we used for years when we got started. The other Chandler is our long arm machine. Neither has ever failed us and are excellent machines.

If you are going to be doing marine work you will be using several different attachments so I would stay clear of Adlers and Pfaffs.
Both are awesome machines but everything you buy for them you pay a hefty premium. The only other machine I could recommend is the Juki. They are very high quality and they do make one that would be great for marine work. I sold one of ours to Ricat, a member here.
He loves the machine and it came from the Monterey Boat factory upholstery department. Last I knew it was still running strong for Rick.

I think you are on the right path. Just make sure it is a compound machine and do NOT get a machine that is limited
such as a machine that wont do heavy canvas work. That is a mistake many 1st timers make. Buy the right machine from the start
and make sure it can sew everything from lighter fabrics to heavy leather and canvas. That way you are not limited to the work you can take in. Remember Marine work takes a heavy duty machine because of the multiple layers of acrylic you sometimes have to sew. The Consew 206 by the way is one of the best box cushion making machines you will ever find. The 206 loves that kind of work and the foot attachments are dirt cheap to buy.

Best of luck and welcome,

Thanks Steve. Ironically myself and another Marine worked hard to get the building ready. Funnier yet I called a moving company
called " Always Faithful " that we have used in the past. He is a Marine and hires nothing but Vet's. 2 of the 4 movers who showed up were Marines.

In regards to the building, yes I do have a nice new office but rarely use it. I only go in one morning a week. I work from my home office and leave the day to day operations to our managers. I do go in for admin meetings and staff meetings but otherwise I leave them alone to do their jobs. I have relegated myself to part time retiree and now do nothing but marketing programs and business development. Otherwise I have gone full circle. I am right back to what I was doing before in the corporate world but this time making us money rather then some client or other company. Thank God we have awesome managers now that allows me to pull back on day to day operations and focus on expansion through marketing and overall business development.

I will post this here. It is a Marine Corp's motto - I-A-O............ Improvise, adapt, overcome.......:)

The Business Of Upholstery / Well That Was Fun.... NOT....
September 28, 2019, 06:27:40 pm
I don't care if I move a shop again for a long time. What a royal pain in the ass. We were so socked in with RV & commercial awning orders not to mention was booked solid on our RV parts & service side. It was a real dance with the schedule but we got-er-dun.

The only thing that saved us was we didn't get any dealer orders which are 24 hour turn arounds. The staff did an awesome job and we never missed a beat. Our sewing operation and stainless production operation was shut down for only 3 days. Our parts and service divisions stayed up and running despite having to chase down and find inventory.

We are all moved now and running full speed again.

The Business Of Upholstery / 7 rules to guide you
September 17, 2019, 01:49:26 pm
I just ran across this article and to make things a bit shorter I am removing the commentary and just posting the 7 rules mentioned by Blackstone's Steven Schwarzman. Over the years I have applied many of these to my business ventures and they truly do work.


1) The best executives are made, not born.
They absorb information, study their own experiences, learn from their mistakes, and evolve. The process of launching your business is a continual, never-ending learning experience.

2) It's as easy to do something big as it is to do something small, so reach for dreams worthy of your pursuit, with rewards commensurate to your effort.
Every person and organization has limited time - choose where you commit your attention and resources wisely and be ambitious.

3) Success comes down to rare moments of opportunity. Be open, alert, and ready to seize them.
Gather the right people and resources; then commit and don't look back. If you're not prepared to apply that kind of unrelenting effort, either the opportunity isn't as compelling as you think or you are not the right person to pursue it.

4) When evaluating your potential business idea make sure it passes these three tests:
• Is your idea big enough to justify devoting your life to it? Make sure it has the potential to be huge.

• Is your idea unique? When people see what you are offering, they should say to themselves, "My gosh, I need this. I've been waiting for this. This really appeals to me." Without that "aha!" you are wasting your time.

• Is your timing right? The world actually doesn't like pioneers, so if you are too early, your risk of failure is high. The market you are targeting should be lifting off with enough momentum to help make you successful.

5) No one person, however smart, can solve every problem. But an army of smart people talking openly with one another will.
To that extent, hire 10s whenever you can. They are proactive about sensing problems, designing solutions, and taking a business in new directions. They also attract and hire other 10s. You can always build something around a 10.

6) Make decisions when you are ready, not under pressure.
Others will always push you to make a decision for their own purposes, internal politics, or some other external need. But you can almost always say, "I need a little more time to think about this. I'll get back to you." This tactic is very effective at defusing even the most difficult and uncomfortable situations.

7) Never deviate from your sense of right and wrong.
Your integrity must be unquestionable. Always do what you say you will, and never mislead anyone for your own advantage.
General Discussion / Re: Preferred sewing machine
September 15, 2019, 11:47:46 am
Buick65, that is a bummer that a dealer didn't take into consideration the machine you needed.

Bob Kovar took the time to go through our operation and understood exactly what we do. That has allowed him to provide us with
the machines we have needed. Every machine I have ever bought from him he has also requested we send him thread and fabric samples so he can set the machines up for that particular combination.

You may want to consider selling the machine and getting another. Yes you will take a loss on the machine but you may also be losing money in loss production too. Having a machine that does exactly what you need it to do creates a lot of happy moments for a stitcher. :)

General Discussion / Re: Preferred sewing machine
September 14, 2019, 11:19:40 am
All of our machines are compound feed. I have never sewn on anything but a compound so cannot comment. I do know that we sew at
fairly high rates of speed and are sometimes sewing 22 feet of fabric in one go.

When I was doing all the sewing I used to roll the fabric up, line up the seams and then just " steer " the fabric. I sewed at very high rates of speed and by just steering the fabric and keeping it aligned I let the machine do all the work moving the fabric through. When you start getting into a production sewing environment, speed and accuracy is everything and this requires the perfect machine for handling the fabric.

Our twin needle Highlead's are the workhorses of our operation and they have been rock solid performers. Bob Kovar looked at our operation and then set us up with awesome machines. Our single needle Chandler's have also been excellent machines.


General Discussion / Re: Sewing vinyl to plastic
September 07, 2019, 09:13:41 pm
I would try a size 22 needle with 138 thread. If RiCat is around he may have another idea. He has done a lot of old classic cars
and knows a lot of tricks to the trade. If he doesn't pop on here and answer this post then send him a PM.

Rick is a great guy and always willing to help fellow stitchers.