Union Special 39500 FA

A good friend of mine, Jodee, has recently been doing some great work at the Kapisanan Philippine Centre. They have a crazy old industrial serger there, which he asked me to come in and take a look at. Googling this machine it appears that it is a "streamlined high speed overseamer." Oh.

I spent a couple of hours, without proper tools, trying to thread the damn thing. Anyone who has ever threaded a serger will understand the frustration that often accompanies such a process. This machine, which I am yet to triumph over, is at least 30 times worse than threading any modern day serger.

Machine parts do not move out for easy access to loopers, fingers must attempt to fit in tiny holes and corners, thread must travel in awkward directions in order to pass through the tiny holes necessary to thread the machine. At one point, I had to thread a hand-sewing needle, tie a loop in that thread, and feed the eye-end of the needle through a tiny hole in the serger. Then, using a long metal utensil, I pulled the looped thread out from the tiny crevice it had recently been pushed into, tied the actual serger thread to that looped thread, and then retracted the hand-sewing needle, pulling the looped thread, and then serger thread through the tiny hole that was otherwise IMPOSSIBLE to thread!

It's absolutely absurd. This really can not be how this was done in a factory. Anyone with an industry secret, please do share. Holy wow! This thing better work well...

Page one of instructional diagrams

From sewusa.com where such diagrams were available. You'll need more than lots of luck.

1 comment:

Mike Kendall said...

Hello, I am also in the Philippines but I am an American. I have a few Union Special serger/overlockers here as well as a Merrow, five industrial Singers 1842u092-6, a Brother ma4-b551, and a Juki mo-3300. Key to threading, once learned, is to have both a straight and a curved tweezers and the threading tool you aluded to which can be made diy. Also, I must say more important than having the machine threaded is to ensure there is a smooth and even thread path. If there is not a smooth and even thread path there will be changes to the tension which can spell disaster with the looper threads. Also, it must be adjusted properly at the loopers and the tension discs. The tensions discs must be polished smooth and all burs in the thread path need to go via fine grit sand paper and polishing...that goes for worn channels from the thread. So back to my Union Special overlock machines.....they sew like a dream! They use curved needles for a reason and that is precision. If you don't need precision placement of the needle then use one with a straight needle that costs less money. Merrow's precision cams are designed to last 30 years of continuous usage (oh by the way they not only invented the crochet machine but perfected the overlock machine in the 1800's). They have specialty overlockers that do beautiful things like shell stitches and micro purl stitches as well as active seam. You get what you pay for sometimes. Nobody can touch the precision of the Merrow shell stitch although Japanese mfg.s have tried it has been a failure in quality of the stitches when viewed. Also, the 39500 you mentioned when set up on a factory floor is one of the blazing fastest machines out there and they have been making variants of it for a really long time now. With the klip thread cutter and vacuum attached you get a well tuned work horse. Also, these machines can handle really heavy work. My Singer 1842u092-6 is the sub class (out of 11) rated for extra heavy duty work so I can do jeans leg seams all day long with ease. Best regards, Mike Kendall