Here's the 29K in its crate, lovingly made:
A few weeks later, I made quite possibly the luckiest find yet, again on Craigslist. Some guy in Washington was selling a gently used Luberto Classic harness stitching machine, for a ridiculously low sum. This was my dream machine, and with a good chunk of the funding provided by the sale of the 29K, I snatched it up. The Luberto Classic is made in the USA of quality materials, is completely manual, capable of stitching 3/4" leather, and has a needle feed jump foot for perfect stitches without marring the leather. But since they sell for about $7000 new, and because those who buy them rarely sell them, I had long ago accepted that I would never in my life own one. Sometimes life is full of pleasant surprises.
Since the machine weighs about 150 lb, I was nervous about it shipping here without getting damaged. But once I walked the seller through the process of crating I felt better. The machine was partly broken down and shipped in two separate packages to avoid outrageous shipping fees. Everything got here fine. I had to put it back together and replace a few siezed cap screws (thank heavens my dad taught me about impact screwdrivers for motorcycle crankcase screws!) but it all went together fine. It also came with a VHS tape of how the adjust and maintain the machine. I watched it twice, then burned it to DVD on my computer. Then I went and completely stripped the machine down, cleaned it, oiled and greased it, and adjusted it to perfection. This is by far the easiest machine I've ever worked on. Yay!
Here it is:
As you can see in the last photo, it'll sew through nearly an inch of stiff vegetable tanned tooling leather. It can handle thread up to size 415 and stitch length varies from 12 to 4 stitches per inch. The needles for this thing are about 2.75" long and 3/16" thick!
I've only had the chance to do a few small projects on this so far, but it is amazing! Watch for some extremely manly sewing projects in the future...