I first heard about titanium needles from Bob Purcell at Superior Threads. I totally trust Bob, who sells only the highest quality of products. Bob said that titanium needles had been used in the garment industry for years, so it was only logical that they would make the transition into the quilt world. They are 3 to 10 times stronger than regular needles, so need to be changed less, and they have a proven history of sewing through tough fabrics used in upholstery, making blue jeans, and the automobile industry. The strength and durability of titanium needles made using them on my longarm a no-brainer. Until …
I talked to an A1 rep and she discouraged me, saying that titanium needles may require me to re-time my machine. That was enough to discourage me from EVER trying titanium needles, despite their apparent advantages. At the recent MQX conference, I asked a national educator — who sells a different brand of longarm — to explain why they don’t recommend titanium needles. She explained that needles break at their weakest part, which in traditional needles is the eye. However the stronger titanium needles tend to break at the top of the shaft, which means you have 2″ of needle that can get stuck in your hook assembly. The result is costly damage to your machine. Yikes! Another strike against titanium needles!
But I started thinking about it. If titanium needles are used successfully in commercial sewing machines, surely the titanium needles are not breaking and causing sewing machines to be repaired. Why would they use them? Groz Beckert titanium needles have been used in the sewing industry since 1980. Common sense tells me that these titanium needles would not be have lasted 30+ years if there was any problem with them.
I talked to my friend Vicki. She’d used titanium needles on her domestic machine with great success. When it broke, it broke at the eye and she had no problems.
Vicki volunteered to do some research on titanium needles. It turns out that there is very little information on the Internet.( I’m guessing that sewing shops are fairly low-tech and, unlike quilters, don’t feel the need to discuss their machinery online.) I’ve listed some of the resources below.
I’m going to go ahead and use titanium needles on my longarm. From my research, it seems like this is the smart choice and that the “will damage hook assembly” problem is a myth. However I’d like everyone to make up their own mind, so please have a look at these websites before you make a decision.
I’ll report back on my experiences at a later time. I’d love to hear what you think!
Groz-Beckert’s info on titanium needles: http://www.groz-beckert.com/website/media/en/media_master_367_low.pdf
Organ’s information on titanium needles: http://www.superiorthreads.com/media/uploads/2011/02/03/files/2_Organ_Needle_Co._Titanium_Nitride_PDF.pdf
Superior Threads’ info on titanium needles: http://www.superiorthreads.com/education/needles/why-use-titanium-coated-needles