Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Manly Sewing Machine

Fabric Connection Technology at your command
  [vote for,

OK. How can I explain this? I just bought a sewing machine.

Let me expand on that a little. I'm building a tree-house (this is a long story), and it's basically a tentish structure on a platform (up a tree - hence the term). The tentish structure had to be made, hence the purchase of a sewing machine (along with 23 metres of waterproof ripstop camouflage fabric).


It was, let me tell you, a revelation. As cool machines go, a sewing machine is about as manly a contrivance as you could wish for. There are rotating things, precision-ground metal things, dangerous bits, intricate mechanisms - and (get this) it even has an accelerator. I was stuned!

However, there are some drawbacks. For one thing, it's fairly quiet (though in a precision-mechanism sort of way). It's also easy to lift, and has a case of white plastic. Finally, it comes with an instruction booklet (rather than owner's manual) which is couched in mystical terms such as "gather" (which apparently means "bunch up") and "pleat" (which means "fold"). It is obviously aimed at an exclusively female market. The slightly- too-long look given to me by the salesperson from whom I bought it confirms this.


I have a proposal. We need to create a Real Man's sewing machine. In fact, we can start with the name - it's a Real Man's Fabric Technology Platform. It needs to be considerably heavier, of course, and something has to be done about the sound - more agressive, though without sounding as though it's struggling. The needle has to rise higher and be more accessible to careless fingers, and the threading operation needs to be made more complex and require substantial force, a special tool and the tightening of eight bolts in the correct sequence with a torque wrench.

Then there's the styling. All the Fabric Technology Platforms I could find look the same - rather like 1960's food processors. We need something which is angular, with mysterious louvred vents. Overall, it needs to be lower and meaner. I'm thinking somewhere between a stealth bomber and an Alien. And, obviously, the built-in light should be one of those bluish halogen bulbs that dazzle you if you get the angle wrong.

MaxwellBuchanan, May 25 2008

For sale at the man mall Man_20Mall
shameless plug [Voice, May 26 2008]

The Secret Life of the Sewing Machine http://www.secretli...ewing_machine.shtml
Tim Hunkin's take on the technology at large. Note the squirrel-shaped one. You can never go wrong with squirrels. [jutta, May 26 2008]

Hello Kitty Sewing Machine Transformer http://www.kittyhel...-kitty-transformer/
Kawai! (Fiction.) [jutta, May 26 2008]

Spencer machine http://www.speedace...spencer_antique.jpg
much to my liking [xenzag, May 26 2008]

Map showing Manly http://www.whereis....nly?id=AC6CA30F4AE0
I'm sure you can buy a sewing machine around there somewhere. [pertinax, Nov 09 2010, last modified Nov 11 2010]


       Dude, there are some industrial sewing machines, like for sails and tents, which will sew your hand to the fabric in a heartbeat and have very technical, but reachable adjustments. If you need more butch, try adding a feed mechanism to a triphammer, like my Little Giant 50 lb. Which would "sew" wire through light gauge sheet metal if you set it up, and this is a tiny triphammer. You could run it on an exremely loud diesel engine and sew together sculpture or small boats.
plynthe, May 25 2008

       //industrial sewing machines// Why was this not brought to my attention before?
MaxwellBuchanan, May 25 2008

       //I was stuned!//   

       Dude, what do you take to get stuned?
pertinax, May 25 2008

       Stune: vb. tr. To stupefy with unexpected delight ("At this eleventh hour, as the mist lifted, the half-frozen men were stuned by the lights of the distant yakkeepers hut, promising warmth, food, life." - Trent Byshe-Pergola and Michael Pancreas, 'Early Surveys in Northern Kazakstan', vol. 13. Doubleday, N.Y. 1954).
MaxwellBuchanan, May 25 2008

       //structure on a platform (up a tree //   

       //waterproof ripstop camouflage fabric//   

       Bowhunting or photography, Max? Sounds like a pretty complicated blind to me. Never understood the attraction to blinds, but they sure are popular.   

       You know you can buy off-the shelf, right?   

       If you were a real man, you'd use a hand stitcher for all 23 metres. By the time you're done, you'll have calouses you can use to bend steel, and enough puncture scars you could convince the average layman that you were a crocodile handler.
Custardguts, May 25 2008

       //Bowhunting or photography// Beer drinking. Actually it's for my daughter - it's a treehouse, not a hide. However, it already makes a very nice spot to sit and have a beer. Sadly, off-the-shelf wouldn't really work.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 25 2008

       purchase an old Singer, circa 1920-1930... they were still targetted to wimmen at the time, but they look cool... no fiddly plastic, just metal and wood. Seriously heavy and comes in treadle-operated, too. Bonus points for running it from a small steam engine's PTO.   

       ... or fold over the edges and glue them, then rivet it where strength is required.
FlyingToaster, May 25 2008

       I love sewing machines, I've had some good time making hooded cloaks, saddle bags, backdrops, a tank bag for my motorcycle, etc.   

       I learned on an old Singer treadle, but, like Dylan, I've gone electric.
normzone, May 26 2008

       I thought I saw a Druid on a bike at the civic theater. That was you?
plynthe, May 26 2008

       The powerplant should definitely be an air-cooled 2-stroke engine, maybe even a tiny 40cc V-twin, with a recoil starter..... should look like a model engineering lathe, lots of graduated handle-wheels, and places to put oil in ...... a grinding wheel to resharpen needles ..... [+]
8th of 7, May 26 2008

       Knurling. I feel it should have knurling.
And forged titanium*.

(* More expensive models could have real titanium)
AbsintheWithoutLeave, May 26 2008

       I'd go with a good knurl. Also, vital components should be held in place with those recessed hex-head machine screws that they put around the rim of filler caps on expensive (and now on cheap) cars.   

       Jutta - link appreciated. However, I'm not sure it's going entirely in the direction I'd envisaged.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 26 2008

       //vol. 13. Doubleday, N.Y. 1954//   

       My edition has 'stirred'. Perhaps there should be an apparatus criticus.
pertinax, May 26 2008

       You have a daughter? Sounds like you need something that will be able to stitch titanium chain through armor plate if you're going to make something to keep her safe around your place.
lurch, May 26 2008

       I do, but I have no intention of keeping her safe. I've removed the detonators from some of my more unstable experiments, but in general our family believes in survival of the fittest.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 26 2008

       // I've removed the detonators from some of my more unstable experiments //   

       <Waves hands frantically>   

       Oooh ! Oooh ! Can we have them ? Please ? We have some unstable experiments of our own and we can always use more dets ......
8th of 7, May 26 2008

       There's a coincidence. I was wondering if I could use some of your larger experiments as detonators for my smaller ones.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 26 2008

       We would be honoured.
8th of 7, May 26 2008

       Excellent. I'm just making a velvet dustcover for one of the more elegant devices - I'll be in touch.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 26 2008

       Living in London is great for treehouse-building. I built a playhouse for my children entirely from wood (and nice Victorian casement windows) taken from skips.
hippo, May 26 2008

       Ah, the joys of skipping. My first laser came out of a skip. No, really.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 26 2008

       // My first laser //   


       Ah, those happy explorations with lens, diffraction grating and collimator .......
8th of 7, May 26 2008

       Ah, those long summer afternoons with digital camera, servo-assisted mirrors, tracking software and ants.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 26 2008

       One of these days, MissBuchanan will survive to the imaginative age of nine, and the old man's det cord will start disappearing. Just a tree house isn't going to cut it, I think.
lurch, May 26 2008

       My nascent physicist of a daughter has already made it through nine, and still has all her own fingers and eyebrows.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 26 2008

       Yes, but does she have anyone elses as well ? Check in all the cupboards for worrying-looking items in jars of formaldehyde, and under that loose tread in the staircase - a champion place for concealing trophies and prized posessions.
8th of 7, May 26 2008

       I've told her, no bodyparts in the house unless they've been properly dried or in formalin.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 26 2008

       read this in the morning! - marked for tagline
po, May 26 2008

       + Bravo! The instruction booklet on the one I bought made me feel kind of like I was dreadfully undereducated in the art of sewing.   

       I bought one to turn my kids holey dress pants into shorts.   

       (This is so cool - I wrote this anno on my phone!)
Zimmy, May 27 2008

       You could call it the Reaper.
borisbarp, May 27 2008

       Yeah, you would have liked the one they had at camp. I worked at a Boy Scout camp that used lots of canvas tents to house the kids and had a MOTHER of a sewing machine to fix them with. Forget fingers, this would sew your forearm to the canvas.   

       Oh and forget titanium. Real tools are made with cast iron. Maybe make it an accesory for a milling machine.
MisterQED, May 27 2008

       walrus penis and 1/4" hemp rope. arrrrrrrrrrrr
FlyingToaster, May 27 2008

       How do you persuade the walrus to get that close?
pertinax, May 27 2008

       female walrus hormones along the "stitch here" lines
FlyingToaster, May 27 2008

       I never understood why my dad (engineer, ex. army) was into sewing. He explained that it was "just engineering with cloth".
wagster, May 27 2008

       The last fashion design project I wrote for my students was called wysiwyg - what you sew is what you get.
xenzag, May 27 2008

       Ok. So a brushed gunmetal casing, added whirring sound effects, and exchange the traditional bobbin for some kind of magazine.   

       Furthermore, rather than the needle rises and falls vertically it could move on an arc-like path (until it gets close to the material to be stiched, by which time it will be entering and travelling perpendiculare to the cloth). It would look lie a terrible claw!
Jinbish, May 27 2008

       This I can go for. I particularly like the entire needle-swooping concept, and the thread magazine is irresistable.   

       I think also that we need to make the entire thread transport system into some sort of disposable cartridge (magazine-loaded, of course) for quick change. I'm imagining a pre-threaded cassette with a disposable needle and bobbin - just expensive enough to be build solidly, yet cheap enough to be throwawayable (think toner cartridge).   

       Also, I'm fairly sure that a multiple- needle head will give a closer seam than a single-needle one.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 27 2008

       You need an Overlocker - look it up, you'll like what you see.
xenzag, May 27 2008

       needle armature mounted directly to the steam or stirling engine piston. Waste heat and steam irons the fold and pleat.
FlyingToaster, May 27 2008

       //magazine-loaded, of course// Belt-fed, shirley.

I feel also that there is more room in this idea for sintering.
I have no idea what sintering is, but many manly things have sintering.
And anodising.
AbsintheWithoutLeave, May 27 2008

       Two words. Carbon. Fibre.   

       Oh yes.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 27 2008

       Manly devices have more writing on them generally and this writing is more likely to be in heavy, italic sans-serif typefaces and there to remind you of the device's technical specs - e.g. "2500rpm", "800W", "Turbo-boost", "Quantum sewing mode"
hippo, Nov 09 2010

       Never saw this. Very Nice [+]
leinypoo13, Nov 09 2010

       Have we overlooked the necessary 'safety' equipment needed to sew? (And shouldn't that verb really be changed to "SO WHAT"?). Needle-proof kevlar gloves (really heavy ones), some kind of face-shield, shirley, for the flying pieces of broken needles, a fire- retardant suit...just for starters.   

       Just because a great idea comes along and gets 22..make that 23 buns, doesn't mean our HB work is through, does it?
Boomershine, Nov 09 2010

       I have a vintage cast-iron Singer hand crank that has been converted to electric. Very manly though I say so myself. Bakelite switches, knurled adjustment knobs and all.
pocmloc, Nov 09 2010

       Mmmmmm - knurly...
MaxwellBuchanan, Nov 09 2010

       Seems like Fathers are the Mothers of Inventions.
Boomershine, Nov 09 2010

       //Is there an attachment//   

       A turret head will easily accommodate this.
Boomershine, Nov 09 2010

       //turret head //   

       Does it then say "#%&&!, )&@%!~?"
csea, Nov 09 2010

       ...needs more cowbell, baby.
methinksnot, Nov 10 2010

       Isn't this just a reversion to how sewing machines used to be (without the lighting effects, obviously)? I remember my mum's old sewing machine was just like this. Chunky, loud, dangerous and great fun to play with. Plus it was on a cast iron frame and powered by a treadle, so you had to put a bit of grunt into it at the same time. I sewed lots of things to other things in my youth.
DrBob, Nov 10 2010

       Protective gear should be prohibited from the activity of manly sewing.   

       If you can't get killed doing it - it's probably not worth doing.
Twizz, Nov 10 2010

       //Protective gear should be prohibited from the activity of manly sewing.//   

       You don't *use* the stuff, you hang it in the sewing room (garage). Why do you think they make protective gear for other manly stuff like saws, welders, etc? It looks cool.
Boomershine, Nov 10 2010


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