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Back to Thread Therapy with Dr. Bob

In Video #22, Bob Purcell (Chief Threadologist of Superior Threads) discusses S and Z twist and micro strands that make up the final product. Having a higher twist-per-meter on a thread results in having a smoother, stronger, less lint thread.

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Thread Therapy Video #23


Bob: Have you heard about twist? Have you heard of left-hand, right-hand
twist? This is a great one. One day if you get onto grad school
or somebody challenges you in the thread world, they say, "Is
your twist a left-hand twist or a right-hand twist?" Nobody's
ever going to ask that? This is a great one, because
sometimes, people try to stump me. They'll come up . . . what
happens is there's a couple thread companies out there saying
their thread is better because it has the opposite twist on it.
Theirs is a left-hand twist and everything else out on the
market is a right-hand twist. Talk about confusing the market.

They'll come up to me and say, "Bob, is your thread a left-hand
twist or right-hand twist?" When they say that, I know they're
challenging me, because first of all, those are bad terms;
they're not really accurate. I look at them and say . . . you
ready for this? Remember the plies, you got plies that twisted
together? I say, "Are you talking about the primary twist or the
secondary twist?" They just put their heads down and walk away.
When you make thread, we have the substrand; we got the 3-plies
or the 2-plies. They're twisted in one way, and then it's the
opposite twist that tie them together. Left-hand twist and right-
hand twist are not good terms. The factory terms are S Twist, Z
Twist. You can look at it how they're twisted, it either go this
way or they go that way, S or a Z.

This is what twist does to thread. All thread made for machine
use is a final, which means a secondary,
a final Z twist. It doesn't matter what other thread companies
say, it doesn't matter if they say their thread is better
because it has the opposite twist. They are wrong. It has to
have a final Z twist. When we twist thread, we have multiple
filaments here of our polyester, and we twist it together.

Does twist mean anything in the quality of thread? Yes. What
does a tighter twist do to a thread? It makes it smoother. A
looser twist is going to unravel easier and get snagged easier.
Why would one company put a nice, tight twist on a thread, but
another company put a loose twist on a thread? Cheaper. Here's
why, we're going to measure this.

Female: You want me to measure it right now?

Bob: This is what start with in the length of thread.

Female: 60 inches.

Bob: We start at 60. Watch what happens as we twist. We're going to twist.
Measure it again. We just lost length of thread, right?

Female: 56.

Bob: We went from 60 to 56, 4 inches. Twist again.

Female: 51.

Bob: This is where some company stop. They stopped at the 56 or they
stopped at the 51 because they say the twist is adequate, let's
not shorten it, because otherwise, I have to start with this
much to end up with this much. I'd rather start with this much
and end up with that much. Now we're going to put the maximum
possible twist on before it starts to crinkle on itself. Now
look how smooth that is. There's no fluff, it's not going to
snag, very, very smooth. Now let's measure it. We were at 51,
hopefully . . . there we go.

Female: We are at 44.

Bob: That's what a finely-twisted thread means; you have more raw material
into the thread, but you're going to end up with a shorter.
Yeah, it costs a lot more to put a tighter twist on it. A piece
of information that will never on a label is how many twist per
meter, and that's how it's measured, twist per meter. When we
import thread, our wonderful Homeland Security which now handles
customs and duties, and assess duties on threads, they want to
know how many twists per meter we have. The higher the amount of
twist, the higher the duty, because it's a better quality of

A cheap thread may have 200 or 300 twists per meter. Our
so-fine thread, has over 1,000, which means we started with that much
and we ended up with that much. Because there's over 1,000 twists
per meter, it is such a finely, nicely, evenly twisted thread,
that's why it's a fantastic thread, it runs very, very smooth.
Twist per meter and the type of twist really does play a role in how good that thread quality is.