Rex 607z

Review of the Rex 607Z ZigZag Walking Foot Industrial Sewing Machine for Leather Sewing

I decided to upgrade to an industrial walking foot sewing machine when I got serious about designing leather handbags, clothing and accessories. As you may know, sewing leather with a commercial sewing machine will eventually damage it as the leather is too hard on the motor of a standard fabric sewing machine. The nature of leather, besides being too thick for a machine, makes it difficult for the machine to sew it in that it doesn’t slide easily under the presser foot. In order to sew any thickness of leather, even counting nappa lambskin leather, requires not only a powerful motor but also the use of a walking-foot attachment that standard machines do not come with typically.

Sewing Machines for Leather

The problem with industrial machines naturally is the price and the space they take up. The most reputable industrial machines with walking foot capability start out at $1000 or more. Some names of industrial machines are Juki, Tacsew, and Yamata. Machines by these manufacturers are expensive not only because they have high powered motors and multiple features, they also come as non-portable machines and are therefore the utmost in durability. These machines also will take up more space than a standard machine depending on the table it comes with.

Enter the Rex 607Z Zig Zag “portable” machine. At a fraction of the cost of standard industrial machines, this machine is deemed perfect for a starter machine for leather designers. This machine is originally designed to be used in the construction and repair of sailboat sails and therefore was designed to be portable. It is lighter weight than standard industrial walking foot machines and has basic features, resulting in a much more affordable price of around $300+/- as compared to $1200 or more for an industrial machine.

Features

Rex 607Z Industrial Walking Foot Sewing machine

The features on the Rex607Z are very basic and include:

  • Thread Tension – Dial in between 0 – 9 on the knob.
  • Stitch Width Adjustment– Select between 0 – 5 using the slider.
  • Stitch Style – Select between straight stitch or zigzag
  • Stitch Length – The length of stitches are controlled by the vertical lever.
  • Direction – Option to sew forward or reverse.

 

What I like

After purchasing and using my Rex607Z for 6 months now I definitely have an opinion about this machine. The following are some points about this machine that make me happy I did buy it.

  • Solid Motor – The motor is fast and strong, it doesn’t lag even when sewing 4 layers of leather together. The Rex powers through medium leathers very quickly and is a beast on anything lightweight.
  • Lightweight – This machine is easy to move around from station to station considering its weight of 35 lbs. It is also easy to turn over so you can oil and maintain it. This being said it is not as light weight as a standard Singer or Brother machine, so if you have a bad back it could cause you some trouble, however for the most part I find this an easy machine to manipulate.
  • Nice Wide ZigZag Stitch – I like the zigzag for doing patchwork leather and for reinforcing purses and other goods that need an extra few stitches. In the case that you don’t need zigzag and want to save a few dollars, you can purchase the Rex607 which is the same machine but without the zigzag and for less.
  • Cost Savings – While I do have my gripes about this machine and don’t think I could use it for full production, I do think for my own designs and for making samples to take to a cut and sew facility the price is right on for me.

 

What I Don’t Like

I found some problems with the machine that make it a little challenging to work with. Some of these issues extended my production time by forcing me to do some things by hand due to the machine damaging the leather by backstitching.

  • Skips Stitches Occasionally – The machine skips stitches every once in a while. I noticed also that if I tried to feed the leather through too quickly it skipped stitches worse.
  • High Maintenance – You must oil the machine a lot. It is recommended that you oil it each time you use it, which can be time consuming and messy. I got into a habit of oiling the machine at the end of my day, leaving paper towels where I found the oil pooled. Also you may find frustrating that you must sew on a scrap piece of fabric or leather each time you start your day to get all the excess extra oil off the machine, if you do not you will ruin your fine leather with streaks of dirty oil.
  • Needles Too Large for Lambskin – The large needles are almost too large for fine lambskin and can tear a hole into the leather up if you sew too many times in the same place. You have to make sure you only pass once and do the backstitching by hand to ensure a clean seam sometimes.
  • Jackrabbit Starts – It’s hard to get this machine to slow slowly and steadily, you tend to start too fast then slow down. It takes practice to find the “sweet spot” where you can sew slow enough for leather. This machine being designed for sails sews too quickly for leather which doesn’t require the ____rpms this machine can output. Essentially you have to be very careful if you are sewing in delicate places or where you cannot risk a mistake.

 

Conclusion

All in all I’m not totally disappointed with my Rex607Z, however I do feel it’s limitations and am already planning on replacing it with a Juki as soon as I can afford it. The good thing is I live near the ocean so it is likely I can sell this machine used and recoup some of the investment I’ve made in it.

My personal recommendation is that if you have the money to spend on a Juki or other non-portable walking foot machine, even if you have to finance it, that you do so. While I love the cost savings I have with the Rex607Z, the amount of time I have had to spend going back to fix a missed stitch, or redo a whole piece because the machine started to tear the fine lambskin makes it frustrating to work with. If you don’t plan to make items to sell to customers on a professional level, and if you don’t need to output items quickly then this machine may be the right choice for you.

 

 

 

  • Johnny Perez

    Hello Christie; My name is Johnny and I am a proud owner of a Rex like sewing machine, I have whats call a sew strong with a 9″ arm, I love it and it works great. Yes it does take some getting used to but other then that its great. Not sure if you are aware of but you can buy smaller needles for it, the smallest you can use are size 16 (135X17) needles, also to slow the machine down you can buy the Sail-Rite Power balance wheel, This wheel is about 8″ in diameter so you will have to remove the gear cover to use. It costs about $30 for the wheel and $10 for the cog belt, this set up will greatly reduce the speed down. You can find more info on youtube just look up SailRite balance wheel. Hope this information helps you love your Rex even more.

    • James Naughton

      Johnny Perez,

      I recently purchased a REX RX607 industrial sewing machine. I like and enjoy the machine however I do find it difficult to control running at the speeds with the current balance wheel and motor combination. I stumbled across this conversation and found what I was looking for, thank you! I plan on ordering the “SailRite” 604U Monster II Balance Wheel as per your suggestion in hopes it will make me love my RX607. when I get it up & running I will give a report. I was considering a rex servo motor and an industrial table but cost wise I think this is a better bet.
      JL Naughton
      JL Naughton

      • John Perry

        Hey James, its me Johnny, you will love how the larger balance wheel will make the machine run, I use it for making my heavy duty canvas backpacks and its a dream. Pretty much our machines are just like a sailrite and parts do fit, not a 100% but they do, but the wheel I have along with the belt works great and I did purchase the stitch length adjuster plate it fits but not like how sailrite shows it. I got this machine also do to cost, But with lots of practice you will master this machine. Oh and oil it well and if you can put a little gear grease from the auto store on the little rollers at the bottom. Hope this helps and hope you enjoy your new machine. P.s I should have a video up on youtube soon on using my machine check it out my channel is johnny P. urban mountain woodsmen. I also have videos on a chinese leather shoe patcher machine. Take care

        • James Naughton

          Thanks Johnny,
          I have really enjoyed your videos on the Chinese patching machine. I actually bought the patcher first and couldn’t stand it so I bought the REX RX607 next. My question is what size belt do I need to order from Sailrite to use with the stock motor when I install the “power plus flywheel”? I think the 18.5″?
          Thanks again!

          • John Perry

            Your welcome James, Thank you for watching my videos, the Chinese patcher is a very crud machine but with lots of care, oil, and cleaning I got mine to run like a champ. Yes I believe it is the 18.5″ belt, which I just noticed they changed the item compare to the one I bought a few years back shown in the pictures about, but it should fit just fine. I you have any more questions please feel free to ask either on here or in Youtube. Thanks again

          • James Naughton

            Thanks Johnny,
            I ordered the SailRite “Monster Wheel” and drive belt kit for my current REX RX607 & I can’t wait to get it up and sewing. I am looking forward to slowing the needle down and having a more controllable machine. As for the Chinese patcher machine what I meant was it is a great machine that takes some practice but I really like it for certain jobs. Once you get the correct needle-thread combo it flat out runs! It is what started my obsession with sewing machines! My ideal combo is a #22 needle and 138/T135 thread. With some tweaking on the bobbin tension and thread tension the REX seems to be running like a champ. I think the larger balance wheel & belt will be a huge improvement..

          • http://urbanmountainpakks.com/backpacks Johnny P.

            Ok good, the monster wheel should give you lots of torque because its made of metal, I just couldn’t pull the trigger and get one, wow 138 thread on the rex I didn’t think it could go up that thick, the thickest I used was the T90 bonded nylon thread, but I mostly sew heavy duty canvas and some leather trim. I like my Chinese patcher for sewing thick pieces of veg tanned leather (8-9 oz) with a size 18 leather point needle with 90 thread but I haven’t try the 138 yet, Im sure it will look much better then the 90. The power wheel or the monster wheel will improve the machine greatly, with mine I’m able to sew through 12 layers of 12oz canvas duck like butter, I love my machine it’s my work horse and my backpack business depends on it. Hope to see some pictures when you have it all put together. later