Janome Model 712T Treadle Head

In early September (2004) Janome announced a new multi-stitch treadle head... no treadle, just a head. Basically, they made a run of one of their standard models, but without a motor, and with a heavy, iron hand wheel. I was very intrigued and ordered one immediately. I had to tell the dealer what it was so he could order it. It was that new!

I got my machine on September 13, but didn't get to do much of anything with it till the next day. Here are my initial (and subsequent, as I make them) comments and pictures:


>August 31

re Janome treadle powered machine... Model 712T...
I goggled it and got it. Now that is interesting! try this link:
No price, but I will see what I can learn tomorrow when the dealers are open... apparently they offer the machine, but not a treadle.. not a problem for us, hmmm?

Dick Wightman


>September 14

I now have one of the new Janome treadle heads. I picked it up yesterday afternoon. I probably won't have a chance to install it in a treadle or do anything with it for a day or two, as we have some other things to deal with... like a seriously leaking roof at the duplex.
The machine appears to be a pretty typical modern machine... mostly plastic. I'd call the manual adequate, certainly not expansive. It starts out by saying that a treadle table is necessary, shows how to install the head in a table (picture of the two hinge pins), but does not even mention treadle belts or how to install them.
There is a good selection of stitches and special features, including automatic tensioning, built in buttonholing and some other stuff I'm not sure of the use of. I'll be interested in how that automatic tensioning works.
The manual gives no technical data, but I'd say the machine weighs maybe a third what we expect in the old ones.
The new iron hand wheel looks to be heavy enough, though I could have wished for a larger diameter. The mechanism is certainly not as free spinning as we are used to, but of course, it is a new machine. It is easier than the old multi-stitch machines I am familiar with, like the Pfaff 130 or the Singer 319.
I'll try to get it into the Brother parlor cabinet as soon as I can and get some pictures and actual sewing impressions.
As to my selling them, I don't think that is going to work out. Janome does not permit internet sales, but insists that you have a retail store space and carry a certain minimum stock. I bought this one from a local dealer who was willing to give me a discount on the list price, which is $379. However, because of Janome's restrictions, he cannot sell for resale, so I had to pay the state tax as well. Looks like the whole thing would be a hassle for a minimum return. However, I will try to give a very thorough report so everyone interested in them will know what they might be getting into.

Dick Wightman,


>September 14

OK... back to the Janome. Some more just comments/reactions:
Hand Wheel.... I took the hand wheel off. it appears that what they have done is machine an adapter that fastens to their regular shaft but boosts it up to the standard Singer shaft size and type. I immediately tried the hand wheel from my 31-15, which fit like a charm. The clutch washer is the same. The stop motion wheel on the Janome is plastic and is either quite thin or the stop motion lock screw is short, because at the point that the stop motion screw actually disengages from the washer ears, the screw falls out. However, a steel stop motion wheel from a Singer will work, and is an improvement. My first reaction was to leave the big spoked wheel on the machine, but hefting them, it appears that they weigh about the same. The spoked wheel gives some advantage in diameter, but the groove ends up closer to the side of the machine, and the belt will, very, very lightly, rub on the machine's plastic case.... not a good thing. So, I put the original hand wheel back on.
I have decided that the next experiment will be a very slightly looser belt, to see if that frees things up a mite. It will be a balancing act, since the stiffer action may not want to move with a looser belt. We'll see. I wish I could temporarily fasten a motor to it and run it for about 20 minutes to see if it broke in any, but there is no provision for this... i.e. no motor boss, which also means no hand crank boss.
As I said earlier, I did get the machine to fit the treadle... However, when I went to lower it this afternoon... problems... There was a wooden brace of some kind inside that apparently kept the Brother from swinging down and back too far. This had to come out to allow for the much deeper underbody of the Janome. I took it out (two screws) and it looked good, until almost the bottom. Then I discovered that this cabinet had one of those slide in and out brace pieces that came out when you lift the top, and went in when you lowered it. This too had to come out. Removing that left the top dropping maybe 1/4" lower than level, so that it rests on the open door. I don't see this as a big problem.
So, the word from here is, this machine will go into treadles, but you will have to do a wee bit of adjusting and studying to make sure everything is still compatible. Not really bad or a big problem, but let's face it, there are a lot of different Singer and Japanese cabinets out there, and they aren't all going to work the same.
I examined the metal plate the belt holes are in, which I had removed earlier, and tomorrow I will either make a new one out of black plastic, or grind the ear off of the old one. We'll see what looks good when I start in on it.
I took a bunch of pictures and am now going to process them and post them... some time this evening or tomorrow morning they should be up. I'll give you a quick heads up.

Dick Wightman




Here is the machine, successfully mounted in the cabinet, at least as far as "with the top open" goes. This is a nice little cabinet, made by Brother. It's particle board and imitation veneeer. It works nicely though, and is small for being a set up for a full size machine. The door has a nice little plastic tray and drawer, and a bin for holding manuals and/or patterns. I don't know the year on it, but I would guess 1970's.


Close up of the head. It looks real good sitting there, and, once the necessary adjustments were made, fits perfectly.


This shows the gap left by the removal of the spring controlled plate that the belt normally goes through. I will fill this in somehow, though that isn't really necessary. The press button below the word "Janome" is the reverse, and is very smooth.


Close up of the needle/bobbin area. The bobbins are clear plastic, and under a clear slide, so you always know how much thread is left. Needle threads from the front.


Controls... a stitch guide printed on the machine, and two dials... one for stitch length and one to select the type of stitch and the width of the zig zag. The straight stitch can be centered, or off-side to the left. Three button hole sizes are dialable., plus Overcasting stitch, triple stitch, blind hemming, tricot stitch, special zipper application, feather stitch, stretch stitch and rolled hem. Where needed, the various special feet are supplied. I did add their special "In the Ditch Quilting Foot", which was $18 and looked interesting.


Underbody... You can see the white "foot rods" sticking down. These are what made the problems as far as lowering the head was concerned. Also, you can see the lip at the forward edge of the lift up wood panel the front of the machine rests on. I had to belt sand about 1/8" off of this to get the head to drop.


Finally... it drops... This is the had once I managed to remove the wood braces and slide inside the cabinet that were keeping it from folding up. Alternatively, I could have cut off the legs that were jamming things, but that would have meant the machine would not sit flat on its own when out of the cabinet.


Very nice little tray/drawer setup in the cabinet door. Remember, this was something I had... Janome does not offer a treadle to go with this machine, and there is no indication that they will, though of course, one can hope. If they do, count on the fact that it won't be cheap.


And here is the cabinet closed up. Everyone who sees it thinks it's a mini-bar from a motel.



A subsequent observation re treadling....

I tried this head in my regular treadle frame, which is a Singer industrial frame but with a standard 12'" or 12 1/2" home model drive wheel . This is a beautifully smooth and easy treadle to use with various Singer heads. I usually have a 201 or 15 in it. However, the Janome proved to be very heavy treadling in this setup. I would never attempt a quilt with this head in this circumstance. I put the head back in the Brother parlor treadle, which either has a smaller wheel or some other change in the geometry of the treadle mechanism, and it treadles a bit stiffly, but acceptably. Obviously, this is where it will live. I add this note as a caution that this head may or may not work acceptably in some treadles. If having one of these really interests you, keep an eye out for one of the real old treadles with small drive wheels. This will give you a mechanical advantage in treadling. Also bear in mind that the Janome may well take 6 months or more of use as a treadle to "break in" and ease up a bit.

Dick Wightman


Message sent to list Nov. 8, 2004...

I know we don't normally discuss religion a lot here, but sometimes you have a religious experience that must be shared.... I just sewed a button on using the zig zag feature of my new Janome treadle!!!! Up until now, this was something I was dimly aware of as a theoretical possibility. :^) I am definitely experiencing awe...
Seriously, I am kind of "into production" on my cameo ladies, and looking for ways to simplify, speed up, etc. I am using Mark IV of the pattern, simplified and with the curves eased. I think I am going to use the wide satin stitch feature to do the band on her neck, rather than sewing on ribbon, and use the zz to sew the decorative button on... all on treadle, mind you.
I also played with stitches enough to now know that the extra wide straight stitch I had stumbled on is a variation of its stretch stitch feature and should be quite useful for decorative things or adding detail to picture type appliques.... like treadle irons and such. This stitch kind of makes one stitch, then backs up but simultaneously moves over and lays another straight stitch alongside the first one, then repeats. You end up with what looks like embroidery.

Dick Wightman