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  • Two hours up mountains, we arrive with an hour to wait in a beautiful small town where every other house is for sale.

    Eventually 70-year-old Dora turns up to open the amazing house of her parents. The mother had passed away a short time ago and the father suffers with dementia at 94. She had just returned from visiting him at the hospice.

    The house has something like 5 small floors, and entrances on either side but at different floors because of the mountainous terrain.

    The lowest, cellar-like floor was the workshop. 500€ later we have filled a small van and hatchback with as much as we can.

    Some cleaning later, it's slowly coming together.

    Singer 29k15, Singer post-bed wheel feed, shoe finisher, bags of thread, wooden lasts, ancient tools, materials and leather. Gf's dad has five-fingered the ancient stone wheel for sharpening knives and also a vintage radio/record player. Probably lots more I missed out on the list.

    Everything works, so I'm content with the price paid. Lots of spare bobbins etc too.

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  • Interesting. What iz planz with all this stuff??

  • The new space is inspected by the owner (gf's grandma, who lives upstairs). We have somehow managed to score a big big room on the ground floor with two big windows for natural light.

    It's late, dark, and we're starving. So after the quick scrubdown of equipment at gf's family home and 2 minute drive to nonna's, we leave everything against the walls and make way home to rest and grab some food.

    Plan is top secret...!

    Nah, gonna try make use of all my training in shoe repair, leather work, art etc. Gonna start with easy things like bags and maybe slippers, and see what happens.

    Once I have some man-made materials I hope to make some pouches and hip/cross bags for cycling too. Been a few years since I had a patcher in front of me, gonna take my time and try make something of the opportunity.

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  • Sighhhhhh..... I remember when I had a workshop. :(

  • Looking forward to seeing what comes out of yours though!

  • In fact, I was thinking of you and your projects... I didn't get to own one of the BRP bags but they are somewhat legendary. Definitely a standard to aspire to.

    As it stands, and as rural Italy goes, I have a dozen favours I must now repay. Before I have a counter and materials there's an order list of bags for aunties, grandmas, and to upholster the motocross saddle for the brother. Probably a great load of work but for the cost of thread and time I should get up to scratch quickly for my own stuff.

    It will take practice and time to get everything to a standard, but I'll try update with small jobs as they get kicked out from under the machines.

  • I have a dozen favours I must now repay. Before I have a counter and materials there's an order list of bags for aunties, grandmas, and to upholster the motocross saddle for the brother.

    Keep us updated.

    I really enjoy these slow-burners.

  • Stuck at a baptism and the hundred course meal after, so barely had an hour this evening to test the machines.

    Took a bit of fiddling and re-threading, tension adjustment etc but both machines are 'working'. I have a huge bag of samples/scraps from Lineapelle so easy material to get the machines working.

    Both will take time to un-seize important adjustments, but so far:

    The big machine misses stitches at random but up to four in a row. Could be the thread/needle/whatever. Will investigate further. Second go and stitched the brown knife holder to hang off the patcher.

    The patcher wouldn't pick up the thread at all, and the needle snapped as I poked it. Replaced needle, re-threaded bobbin and it was quite happy til thread ran out.

    Will lube and adjust to try vary stitch length. Must order good needles in varying thickness.

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  • I’m going to enjoy this thread. Good luck with everything!

  • I replaced the needle, wound a new thread on a different bobbin and so apart from the dropped corner, the big machine is stitching well now. Tension is not perfect but it's progress. The belts are dead on both machines so it's a laborious turn by hand.

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  • Emptying all the boxes, stocktake has begun. Until I have some work surfaces everything is being lined along the floor.

    Lots of classic tools, and lots of old glue and rust to clean off. So many old blades.

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  • Doing everything by eye without scissors or a table is ballache, but as far as testing the machines, I now have a bunch of nice tool pouches with some dodgy stitching in places.

    Will make a platform for the machines to add guides. The lined 6-piecer was tough, hand cranked without a surface to keep straight.

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  • That's all the testes from yesterday. Need to oil and try the original belts again and rig up a nice table surface for less wobbly work.

    Patcher wasn't picking up thread for some reason, but the biggun stopped missing stitches so long as the tension was good.

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  • That's all the testes from yesterday.

    Now you have bags and balls...

  • My best mate's a juggler....

    Scored three big overlocker sized spindles of thread for 2€ each this afternoon, so will try them either later or tomorrow.

  • Had an hour to faff about, got one of the threads running well but the loops on top were too loose. Then I realised why - tension clip on bobbin shuttle was busted. Thread was spinning way too easily. Spent an hour trying to get a workaround to increase lower tension to no avail, but at least it was picking up the thread.

    Gotta wait til tomorrow morning and buy a can of San Pellegrino for the tin. Cokecan shims always worked on bikes so they must work on sewing machines too right?

  • I went to visit Candiani Denim, outside of Milan, two years ago.
    Their selvedge fabrics alle come from a collection of 40-50 vintage shuttle looms. To see the amount of bodging and hacking to keep the running consistently, without any original spare parts available anymore, was amazing. Quite a few San Pellegrino can shims I'm sure.

    Where abouts are you based, out of curiosity?

  • Nice, if you're in the Milan region then jump the fence at the old Borri shoe factory in Busto Arsizio. It's gutted and empty but a good bit of history to visit. The textile museum has some awesome machines (probably the same as you saw in the factory).

    The shim worked fine to increase tension, and wrapping a scrap of leather where a rubber dampener had come off elsewhere, it stitches now. Nearly snapped the good needle messing about though.

    I'm near Pescara in Abruzzo, using a room at the gf's grandma's. This afternoon is the stress of trying to move salvaged office desking down the road so I have surfaces to work and measure.

  • Tidied the space after moving some desks in and around. Placed all tools along one surface. Slowly taking shape.

    The grandma wanted something from the nastiest sample of Chinese PU/PVC. Good test of the big machine for stitch quality. Missed a couple, and rolling the wheel by hand is laborious, but result was okay. She didn't like the exact size she had asked for, so after a second stitch and cut, finito.

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  • Getting incredibly bored of these textile bags, and almost run out of zips from the load that came with all the tools.

    Sliced my finger open the other night. Took off the dressing and salt watered the hell out of it. The pink is some weird old person antiseptic like iodine. Made a leather splint today to air it but stop me bending and opening the wound whilst working.

    Lots of wobbly lines as I test quick ideas by eye. Underneath, the black thing is a tool roll for gf's dad from leather. Machine will stitch it no problem but I need a new drive belt to get some pace - the makeshift one works for thin material only. He'll choose the tools and we'll mark where to add dividers and maybe a top flap etc.

    Thinking to make some tool rolls from useful material for cycling etc.

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  • Made over a half dozen tote style bags, and purses, and a leather purse and...and... to be honest it is getting really boring making the kitsch stuff, but until i have some better material it's something for the relatives/friends.

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  • The larger red tote above had bare seams, but then I did hidden seams for all the other textile bags.

    Then stuff has begun.

    Need a new drive belt on the machine first though.

    Tarp is a different beast altogether. May need to rethink how I'll use this for bike pouches. Don't want to just copy a known brand either.

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  • This is all very cool.

    If you fancy a big job, I am considering getting a custom tonneau cover for my MGB Roadster made up.


  • Nice. Yep interested but I think that it will be beyond my current level of ability at the moment. I'm not sure I trust the machines or myself to do any serious work until the new year. I'd like to spend a couple months perfecting the use of materials, and making increasingly difficult objects.

    Tonneaus could be easy with this machine, but for their size.

  • Well, I'm in no hurry. Keep on keeping on.

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Posted by Avatar for pdlouche @pdlouche