After being commissioned to do a series of memory quilts using baby clothes, I came to the realization that the Harp Size on my Brother was just too small. I do all of my own quilting, and free motion quilting using my brother was making free motion quilting a very unpleasant process.
Given the generous harp size on the industrial straight stitch sewing machines, I decided to take a look at them to use as my quilting machine. There is a great little shop in Rocky Hill, Connecticut called Renato's Sewing. I stopped in one day and learned he sells and services industrial sewing machine. Renato introduced me to the Juki 8300N.
My new Juki was rescued from an old sewing school and refurbished to include a new servo motor. Many of these machines run on a clutch motor that hums when it it turned on. The servo is a fantastic alternative that does not make any noise at all.
In the end I did not use this machine for free motion quilting. I found it difficult to get the timing correct. I do however use this machine every day. This is what I love about the Juki 8300N.
The machine is set into a table which enables a very large flat sewing surface to work on. I have become so used to having this great work space to sew on that I am really annoyed when I have to use a regular home use sewing machine that sits on top of the table. The table also includes a two spool thread stand and a built in light.
The machine has a front loading bobbin that is accessed under the table and is super easy to get to and load. There is also a separate bobbin winder that winds as you sew attached to the table to the far right of the machine.
The Juki 8300N also has a speed adjustment under the table so you can slow the machine down if the speed it is capable of sewing is too overwhelming. On the flip side, the speed at which this machine sews is fantastic. The Juki feed dogs are also top notch moving the fabric through the machine straight and even with no effort from the user at all.
The stitch length is adjusted using a knob on the face of the machine. Just below this is the lever which enables the reverse stitch. Both work great and I love the location, they are easy to access and operate as you sew. You can also adjust your presser foot pressure with a screw on the top left of the machine , just above the needle and the upper thread tension with a knob on the face of the machine.
Now, for the things I found to be problematic with this machine, or felt that others may not like.
There is not thread cutter or needle threader. Neither of these are an issue for me, but I could see how some people who may have issues with sight or their hands could find threading the needle to be difficult.
The machine also threads from left to right. When I first started using the machine I would forget! If you thread the machine right to left the thread just comes out when you try to sew. It seems silly, but I have to be honest it stumped me at first. As you can see in the picture, the needle plate is also clearly marked with the 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, and 1 inch seam widths.
Along these same lines, there was very little documentation that came with my Juki 8300N. I was given a print out of the manual, which was mostly in Chinese. The document detailed all of the basic function and maintenance of the machine. I am very resourceful and tend to research things to a fault, so this was not a huge deal for me. I found all of the additional documentation I have needed online.
This machine is heavy. It is solid, and the table is very heavy as well. I recently discovered the locking wheels that can be added to the table, but without the wheels, this machine is not easily moved.
Lastly, there is obviously no free arm available on this machine. I was certain this would be a problem, but Renato assured me, anything I sewed using the free arm, I could sew on this machine. He was absolutely correct. It took me some time to readjust my thinking around how I would sew the things I had always used the free arm for, but it is not only possible, but in fact easy.
I love my Juki 8300N. This machine cost me right around $700. It is a workhorse that is easy to maintain and sews a beautiful stitch. I love the old sewing machines. I have "a few." I find that the Juki 8300N is very similar in function to the 1800's and early 1900's sewing machines, so if you have sewn on one of those, the Juki 8300N will be very similar, just much more powerful!