Curved needle

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romango
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Re: Curved needle

#201 Post by romango » Tue May 20, 2014 1:22 pm

I'd love to just use the thread lube. Even the liquid wax makes quite a mess. I'm not really even sure what the function of the wax is beyond lubrication of the stitching process.

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Re: Curved needle

#202 Post by dw » Tue May 20, 2014 1:55 pm

romango wrote:I'd love to just use the thread lube. Even the liquid wax makes quite a mess. I'm not really even sure what the function of the wax is beyond lubrication of the stitching process.
Once upon a time all these machines ran linen thread and hot wax (I learned on that set up). The wax had the same function as hand wax on inseam threads--it locked the stitch, sealed/waterproofed the seam and preserved the linen.
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Re: Curved needle

#203 Post by hidesmith » Fri May 30, 2014 1:59 pm

So, anyway: last year, I bought two shoe repair shops. Good prices for machines that were alleged to be in good condition. One shop was used every day, the owner retired. The other was in perfect condition before the owner died - 25 years ago. I bought them both in order to use them all until I ascertain which machines work the best. At that point, the extra may be sold. All are currently up and running except the 400 line finisher, one of the 88 McKays and the polishing line finisher.

The problem I have is with one of the Landis Ks. The two are nearly identical - the exception being, one of them has a channel cutter. I like the idea of having two curved-needle stitchers because I make new shoes as well as repairing shoes. One curved needle stitches the mid-sole (stitches on the surface) and the other stitches in the channel for new leather soles.
Here's the issue - the channel cutter pulls itself into the center of the sole until the needle can't get past the shoe upper and breaks. I've used the surface stitching curved needle stitcher many times, and have used several other curved needle stitchers as well, with much success. I need to know if there is a technique to using a channel cutter that's different from the surface stitcher, or is my machine boogered up?
I DO know that the back fence is pretty far back, but can't be adjusted forward because the channel cutter is in the way - at least, to the best of my knowledge. I am also aware that keeping the shoe flat as it's stitched helps make a successful stitch. I know to wet the sole. I know not to force it. As I said, I've had much success with surfaec stitchers, but trying to use the channel cutting stitcher has cost me too much money.
Anyway, thanks for any and all assistance.

B

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Re: Curved needle

#204 Post by dw » Fri May 30, 2014 6:12 pm

Bruce,

First place I'd look is the way in which the channel knife is sharpened. Just as wood chisels are sharpened from one side to facilitate rapid removal of material or not, if the channel knife is sharpened "off center" it would tend to "track."

I'm not doubting that you know how to use a curved needle stitcher but watch yourself and see if you're not tending to "anticipate the curve of the outsole. If you're "leading the stitch" and don't have the guide set so that the edge is riding firm against it, the channel knife will tend to creep ever inward until it is sotpped by the guide and can no longer.

Just a few thoughts...may not answer...but without a good look (photos...close ups?) it's hard to tell what is going on.
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Re: Curved needle

#205 Post by hidesmith » Sat May 31, 2014 3:57 am

I have been "self-taught" - I had one lesson on the curved needle stitcher 20 years ago, and it wasn't given by a shoe repairman or even a frequent machine user. Trial and error has been my teacher. I've owned two other curved needle stitchers and worked in two other shoe repair shops where I hadn't the confidence to try their machines for a long time. I still lack the confidence - I use the machines half expecting them to explode, or make some disastrous noise that means I'm guilt of negligent machine homicide. I don't know the machine well - I don't know how it's supposed to feel or sound. I've figured out how to get the stitch around a 3/4 welted shoe successfully many times, but as aforementioned, I've never been confident. I try to do what I know, such as oil it, but aside from that, well, I've stated my situation.

When you say "guide", are you referring to the fence that the sole goes against in the back? When I run a scrap piece through (I have some odd soles and 1/2 soles), the machine sews perfect - the stitch is 100% in the channel and looks pretty darned good! The stitch is maybe 3/8" from the edge, based on the location of the back fence - which, as aformentioned, is against the channel cutter attachment and doesn't seem to adjust forward.

As I mentioned - I don't know if the technique is different from the surface stitcher. I might be able to "learn the feel" of the machine as long as I remember that I am drawing a "free-hand" line with the stitch, as opposed to having the guide (what I'm calling the fence, if it's the same thing) set the position and depth of the stitch.

Pictures are next to impossible for me. I don't have a camera phone and the digital camera is beyond me.

Anyway, thanks for the help.

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Re: Curved needle

#206 Post by dw » Sat May 31, 2014 5:13 am

Yeah, the "fence"/guide.

That would be my first priority--free it up so that it is adjustable and set it exactly where you want it.

And then stop "leading" the stitch...stop anticipating the curve of the outsole in other words.

Now having said that and having given that caution...I suspect that if you get the guide set so that the edge of the shoe is firmly against it at all times you can, and may even want to, lead the stitch a very little bit. But when the edge of the outsole is firmly against the guide the channel will not be able to pull any deeper than the guide is set.

Also, it is worth noting that if you pump the foot pedal as you go around the toe, you can slow the rate of stitching down tremendously and gain a control you may not have ever felt before.
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Re: Curved needle

#207 Post by cdn_bushwhacker » Thu Nov 06, 2014 7:27 pm

I've got a Vilh. Pedersen Rapid Outsole Stitcher Model 309 and Instruction book.
Bought the stitcher and a complete shoe repair shop in the mid '70s. Had never done any shoe repairs but the retiring seller worked for me for six months and taught me the trade. I found the sole stitcher to be a major pita to get it to stitch consistently. Having no time to fiddle endlessly I had my sole stitching done by another person. Still have the machine and one day hope to have it stitch like I've seen in this thread. Anyone wanting the instruction book in pdf format is welcome to email me and I'll send it out.
It's just over 5MB. and very readable, although very ratty condition.

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Re: Curved needle

#208 Post by hidesmith » Mon Jul 17, 2017 4:50 pm

Landis K was stitching very well for a while, setting the stitch very nicely in the channel. Recently, maybe four pairs ago, it started surface stitching; sporadically NOT setting the thread in the channel, but on the surface. It's most recent trick is to cut the channel perfectly, then stitch right NEXT to it. Nothing in my manual about trouble-shooting this problem. Any experts whose brains I can pick?
Thanks!

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Re: Curved needle

#209 Post by dw » Wed Jul 19, 2017 7:09 am

I'm not an expert although I have been using a curved needle for more than 40 years. For that reason alone, I had hoped that someone else with perhaps more insight would answer. But looks like you got me...

First, there are two separate problems here--the stitch not tightening down properly and the awl not tracking the channel knife properly.

The sticky part comes in trying to identify what is causing these problems...simply because this machine is extremely complicated and fine tuning it is usually not only essential but an on-going thing.

The stitch tightening might be one of any number of things--you might have a wax build up or a burr on your bobbin; the tension on the bobbin might be too tight; the bottom tension may be too loose--this can be affected and even regulated by the tension wheel or the wax stripper; the thread lock mechanism may have been improperly tightened and worked loose (a good candidate). All of those must be looked at. And there still may be another adjustment or combination of adjustments that is causing the problem.

The deviation of the stitching may be because of a bent needle (best candidate); or the awl and the needle are not close enough together at their closest proximity in the cycle (almost touching but not quite); the channel knife may not be sharpened correctly (point should be sharpened wider...but still evenly...than they come from the factory); the operator may be getting tense because of other problems and "pushing" the work. I mention this simply because it is a natural response and all of us do it.

As I said, these machines are complex and so much depends on every part functioning properly in conjunction with every other part. But as complex as they are, sitting down and thinking through the cycle and how each component should function is pretty straight-forward...it's mostly logic.

My curved needle ( an "F") is old and some parts were hand made by someone who was not a machinist, yet it works (knock on wood) even though I have to be very aware of the condition, health and tension of the wax strippers (and all the other things I mentioned) simply to get a satisfactory lock in the stitch--something that I seemingly / ideally shouldn't have to do.

I hoe some of this helps but I wouldn't be a bit surprised if you have already looked at all these possibilities and not found a problem. But without seeing the machine and stitching on it it is difficult to diagnose.

Maybe someone else with more experience, in these kinds of problems specifically, will add to the discussion.
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Re: Curved needle

#210 Post by hidesmith » Wed Jul 19, 2017 11:29 am

I haven't looked at ALL the things you mentioned, but many of them. The thread lock mechanism (so we're communicating - the thing that releases when you step on the pedal to raise the presser-foot) IS loose, and you can pull the thread even without stepping on the pedal. How the heck do I adjust THAT?!? I fiddled with the needle adjustment as you suggested, making the needle closer to the awl, and it helped some.

The cutter is factory-fresh. Do I hear you saying it's wrong from the factory?

I've discovered some old conversations about curved-needle stitchers. What I've surmised based on what I've read is, most of us know how to adjust the machines somewhat, but the rest of the time, we use them while praying the whole time. I know that's the way I use mine; stitching, always fearful of the thousand-dollar 'clunk!' that tells me I'm not making any money THIS month!

I adjusted the machine a few months ago and had it stitching LIKE A DREAM! Perfectly sunk in the channel, even, uniform and start-to-finish without breaking! Change the bobbin when needed and pick up where I left off! I KNEW it was too good to be true!

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Re: Curved needle

#211 Post by dw » Wed Jul 19, 2017 1:28 pm

Well, this may have to wait til Saturday or Monday when I can access my machine to take photo (I'm out of town right now).

But...if you look at the left side of the head of the machine...about six inches above the wax pot...you'll see a roller mounted on a bar that travels in a rough 90 degree arc. The thread runs under this roller and there is a small "tab" of metal that closes when the bar is reaching the bottom of its arc. That tab will close down on the thread (from below) and lock it so that as the bar continues toward the bottom of its arc (6 o'clock looking at it from the left side of the machine), the thread is pulled tight.

On my machine stepping on the petal will not release his tab. And in fact the only way to pull thread is to cycle the machine until the metal tab opens up--usually the bar will be pointing at 3 o'clock, if I recall correctly .

The locking tab is controlled by a mechanism to the rear of this roller and bar--roughly at 9 o'clock, although a little offset to the left. It consists of an upside-down "T" bushing on a threaded shaft with a "locking" nut on either end of the bushing.

Understand that I am going from memory now... but releasing the nut closest to you and then tightening the nut on the other side of the bushing will move the bushing slightly.

I cannot, offhand, remember which is which but moving the bushing forward or backward and then tightening down the nuts on either side of the bushing, will change the point in the cycle when the locking tab clamps down on the thread. Too soon, broken thread. Too late, no take-up of the thread and no lock. I am guessing when I say that the finger should close down at about 5 o'clock...+/-. You kind of have to experiment till you get it right.

Re: the knife...if you shorten the point of the knife, that effectively widens the channel that the knife makes...allowing the thread to find its way into the channel much easier.

It is also worth noting that stitching an outsole that is damp is both easier and easier on the machine. And the knife, if properly sharpened will cut cleaner and close up cleaner.

I'm a great believer in words...carefully chosen...but an even greater believer in photos. So if this explanation doesn't help, I can, as mentioned, post photos next week. Just let me know that I need to.
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Re: Curved needle

#212 Post by hidesmith » Wed Jul 19, 2017 7:05 pm

I had to leave the machine alone today, for fear of damaging one or all of my windows (insert smiley face here). Tomorrow I'll get the manual and re-tune it according to the instructions. Turns out I'm not a 'real man' - I need to read the instructions! (another smiley face) Thanks for your input.

Here's hoping your 'out of town' is profitable and enjoyable.

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Re: Curved needle

#213 Post by dw » Thu Jul 20, 2017 6:30 am

If you want smilies click on "Full Editor and Preview" (even after you have begun a post), position cursor and click on the smilie you want to be displayed.

Re: manual...it helps but it's not always the full or even the only answer. Sometimes experience and patience and logic trump the instructions. And sometimes the instructions are so poorly written as to be worthless.

Hang in there...one step at a time.
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Re: Curved needle

#214 Post by hidesmith » Thu Jul 20, 2017 10:31 am

I've had the manual you're talking about. The one I'm looking at actually has a small 'troubleshooting' section that doesn't address my issue. It's the only manual I've seen that even HAD a trouble-shooting section.

In the past, when I've followed the directions for adjusting everything, it stitched pretty smoothly - until now. I'll let you know.

Thanks,

B

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Re: Curved needle

#215 Post by dw » Mon Jul 24, 2017 8:48 am

Well, ready or not...requested or not...here are some photos of the mechanism I was talking about (for posterity, as who should say):

First pic is the bushing that controls the thread lock in situ (right about in the center of the photo)
20170724_080736_(1024_x_768)new.jpg
Close-up of same:
20170724_080055_(1024_x_768).jpg
Another angle:
20170724_080650_(1024_x_768).jpg
Shot of thread locking "tab" and the approximate position of take-up lever when "tab" is just closing down on thread.
20170724_080824_(1024_x_768)new.jpg
FWIW...
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Re: Curved needle

#216 Post by hidesmith » Mon Jul 24, 2017 11:33 am

Thanks, I'll give it a look. I DID follow all the directions to adjust the machine 'by the book' and it stitches better than it did before adjusting. I also removed the 'factory' cutter and replaced it with one I found that was ground as you suggested. Seems to stitch in the channel now, but I have yet to use it on a pair of leather soles. The last 20 or so pairs of shoes prior to the machine's recent malfunction put the stitch perfectly in the channel EVERY TIME, and WITHOUT TRYING! This strongly suggests an adjustment issue. I pretty much know it's not 20-pairs-in-a-row luck, it a matter of knowing how to adjust the machine correctly; apparently, not something ANY of us are proficient at! (Please excuse me if I presume inaccurately.)
Another irritating thing about the machine is, full-out, it breaks thread. MUCH slower and more deliberately, it seems to be OK. My Landis 36, I've been told, wants to be run full-out for at least 8 hours at a time, or it won't stitch properly. As memory serves, the K only started breaking threads more recently, since it's been in need of adjusting.

I wish I understood these machines!

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Re: Curved needle

#217 Post by dw » Mon Jul 24, 2017 2:33 pm

You're right, not much is luck on these machines, but again it is all logical.

Sounds like you got your thread lock tuned.

As for the channel and laying the stitch in there perfectly, again check awl and hook make sure they are not bent...whenever I have problems like this the first thing I do is change out both. they are cheaper than a ruined pair of shoes.

Also...and one of the hardest things to teach and the hardest thing (on this machine) to master...the surface of the outsole must be level in that relatively small area where the stitching is happening. This means level left to right and from you to the machine. Since the outsole is always a radius from front to back, side to side, it is not as simple as it may seem at first blush.

Finally talk nice to it. Every one of these curved needle stitchers has a heart of iron. The only way to soften it is to speak gently and patiently. Threatening with a sledge hammer (been there, done that) only makes things worse.
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Re: Curved needle

#218 Post by hidesmith » Tue Jul 25, 2017 11:14 am

I have also yet to change the awl and needle (hook). My thought was, the hook is stinn in the guide, which will break if it's too far out. Also, both the top and bottom awl-hook set line up front to back. It never occurred to me that they could both bend a slight amount at the same time. I'll try it. I should be cautions in my use of hooks/top-needles - I only have a hundred or so of them.
As an aside - I FINALLY had to buy a stock of rubber heels. For the last 20 or so years, I've NEVER needed to buy heels because of the shops I've bought-out had such a supply of them! Anyone want to buy antique rubber heels?

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