tucker-iconMark Tucker

Featured Tippmann Customer

Mark Tucker

How did you get into leathercrafting?

I’ve been doing leather work off and on for over 25 years. My grandfather was a Boy Scout leader/scout master and he did leather work. I may have picked it up there.

How long have you had your BOSS?

I’ve owned the “Boss” for just under a year. I researched the “Boss” for 2 years or so. I put it on layaway when it was on sale and got it paid off in about a month or so.

How did you get into shoemaking?

I’ve wanted to make my own shoes since I was in high school. I was into the Revolutionary War and the Mountain Man stuff back then and looked into making the type of shoes they wore back then but just never had the resources or wherewithal to make them. I didn’t know anyone to train under at the time and the Internet was not yet in existence. The library did not provide me with the information I was searching for. Fast forward to about a year ago and I was looking at videos on YouTube about shoe making. I got a couple books and some shoe lasts. I made a shoe upper pattern and got the leather and cut it out. I even managed to get in on the last and fastened and ready for the midsoles. I was also looking at another way of making shoes other than the type most people wear called “Goodyear welt construction.” The other type of shoe construction I was looking at is called “Stitch down construction.” A guy back east was making this type of shoe and even was offering classes and had a website to look at and see what he made and what his students were making. I found a 10 minute video that he was making on how to make these shoes. I keep watching it and finely gave up making the “Goodyear welt construction” type and decided to make the stitch down kind. After watching the video on YouTube several times I finely redesigned the upper a bit and ordered some mid sole and sole material and started to make some shoes. The first pair is usable but not the best. The second pair was better and I’ve worn them constantly for the last 14 months. I had to resole them about 2 months ago but they have far outlasted any shoes that I’ve bought. Sure they may not be the prettiest but they are comfy and work well. I sewed the uppers together with an old singer 29-4 sewing machine. If I remember right it was made in 1898. But most of the time with making the uppers I was working at the max that it was able to sew.

What made you decide to purchase the BOSS?

I knew I wanted to get a machine that was better able to sew leather. At the time I had been looking at the Tippmann Boss but didn’t really have the funds to spend on it. Another few months passed and I decided to take the plunge and get the Tippmann Boss. I had been reading a lot on line on a few forums about the Tippmann Boss, some good and some bad reviews. I even talked to a guy in Florida on Facebook about the Boss. He has one and likes it. Another reason I wanted the sewing machine was so that I could sew the mid soles of the shoes by machine. It took me 45 minutes per shoe doing it by hand with the speedy stitcher. It takes 5 minutes with the Boss. The last pair I made I made entirely with the Boss. Sewing the uppers together, the mid soles to the soles topstitched around the heel and toe, see the black pair of shoes.

Do you recommend any accessories?

I decided to get a few different feet with it also. I got the center foot and both the right and left zipper feet. I think I ended up with about 10 extra bobbins but sometimes wish I had more.

What thread do you use?
I use mostly 207 and 277 thread. I’ve even used 138. I have not had many problems with setting the tension on it between the different sizes of thread. It’s a very simple machine to work on and operate. As soon as I got it I promptly made a stand/seat to mount it to and then bolted it on and started to used use it. I even got an eggbeater drill and mounted it to the tower so I could have my bobbin winder close by.


Any tips/tricks?
I also repair old sewing machines for people so this machine was right up my alley. It is very simple. I did have to advance the timing just a bit to make it work a bit better. I’ve also ordered a couple extra parts for it that might break but I haven’t had any problems with it. I’m not sure what these people out there that talk negative about it are talking about.


What are your plans for the future?

I hope to start making shoes for other people. They are custom fit to your feet. Your feet are the last, as I form them around your feet. As I stated earlier I also repair sewing machines for some of the people around were I live. I enjoy it a lot. I specialize in treadle sewing machines but will work on most any kind as long as it doesn’t have a computer in it.


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