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25 Years of Service: Consew 206RB

A salute to Tom's Consew 206RB sewing machine: purchased in 1980 and still in continuous use at our Seattle factory.

Excerpted from Tom's interview with The Setup:

"One of my most obvious tools is a sewing machine (Ivan Illich would call it a tool, not a machine—I like that). The sewing tool I used for over two decades was a Consew 206RB, with a compound walking foot. Basically a machine made for heavy work like sewing leather and upholstery—an incredibly flexible tool. (If you buy a new one today it's reputed to be not so great - buy a Seiko STH-8BLD instead. Seiko was the OEM for Consew, so it's the same as the old Consew machine. I mean tool.)

That specific Consew I started with is now over 30 years old and still sees daily service in my factory: Tao uses it to do three-fold bias binding. These days when I am sewing prototypes, I either am in the factory using whatever sewing machine is available or I'm in my studio using my new Seiko. One of the things I appreciate most about our company is that a lot of the design process is happening in the factory—there's a beautiful co-evolution between design and manufacturing that you don't get when the design process is physically removed from the build process."

Tom’s Consew Sewing Machine: In Service for 25 Years | TOM BIHN

Tom’s Consew Sewing Machine: In Service for 25 Years | TOM BIHN

Tom’s Consew Sewing Machine: In Service for 25 Years | TOM BIHN

Tom’s Consew Sewing Machine: In Service for 25 Years | TOM BIHN

5 comments

TB Crew

We're the TOM BIHN crew: we design bags, make bags, ship bags, and answer questions about bags. Oh, and we collaborate on blog posts, too.

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5 comments

  • MIke Tatum on

    I purchased my Consew 226 ( used ) in 2000 and have been using ever since / my question to you is can someone tell me what year these “tool” was manufactured?

    Great Machine
    Thanks

  • TB Crew

    @Nola Beckum Nice. Do you have any photos of the bags she made? Consew has most of their manuals online: http://www.consew.com/Resources/ (have fun with the machine!)

  • Nola Beckum

    I was just given an old (?) Consew Model 206RB (has an affixed metal plate that says “Made in Japan”) with the table that belonged to a friend’s grandmother. She used to make bags (duffle, backpack, golf, rifle bags and even some holsters, to name a few. She did a lot of leather and heavy canvas work). Unfortunately, the instruction book is long gone, as she passed away many years ago. I have no idea what needles, bobbins, thread to get or even how to wind the bobbin. Appears to be an awsome machine and very, very heavy.

  • kenny w ware

    I have a consew model 30. have been researching parts , prices etc. cannot find any evidence online of a model 30. any help is greatly appreciated!

  • Alan

    I am using the same model purchased in 1980 . I also have a226 R-1 that is 2 or 4 years older.

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