• Welcome to The Upholster.com Forum. Please login or sign up.
July 12, 2020, 05:01:29 am


Welcome to our new upholstery forum with an updated theme and improved functionality. We welcome your comments and questions to our forum! Visit our main website, Upholster.com, for our extensive supply of upholstery products, instructional information and videos, and much more.

Juki 1541 vs 1508.... help me decide

Started by JanChristian, January 12, 2011, 06:41:33 am

Previous topic - Next topic


I've been researching this for days and still can't come to a decision. I don't do upholstery work but of all the forums I found, this seems to be the best source of info on the machines in which I'm interested. I make custom bags and gear out of [mainly] 1000D Cordura and webbing, which can get quite thick in spots.  I currently use a Juki 562 but it's old and tired, I'm ready to upgrade. On my 562, if I'm sewing then stop to adjust my fabric, then start again, sometimes it's as if the thread beneath the fabric doubles up then it gets hung up. Any idea what would cause this? It also sometimes jams after I use reverse. I'm sure this can all be fixed, but I just want something new :)

I've narrowed it down to a 1541S or a 1508N. The only industrial I've ever used is the 562 so I'm only familiar with top-loading bobbins/vertical-axis hooks. Someone told me the 1508 is more reliable is this true? I read in the brochure that the dual-tension mechanism of the 1508 allows it to sew light- to heavy-weight fabrics. Can the 1541 sew light-weight fabrics?

I like how with the 1508 you can set up extra slide plates with different binding/hemming attachments for quick use. But on here I read of some people saying the 1508 is noisy/clunky and the 1541 is more smooth and precise. Is this true?

I know they'll both get the job done, I just want whichever will be the most reliable and need the fewest tune-ups.

Sorry for all the questions I just don't know which to go with and could really use some help deciding. Thanks!


I work on a 1508 at my "straight job".  Very nice machine, not in the least "clunky" and it will stitch through just about anything within reason.  It also offers a very large capacity bobbin, though since we use the prewound polyester v92 bobbins that option remains unused.  If you're planning to use very heavy weight thread you might wish to consider the greater bobbin capacity.  The machine in the shop has a clutch motor and it's considerably noisier than the Servo motors (and a lot less energy efficient!). 

I replaced my elderly 562 last spring (should have dumped it years ago).  I bought the 1541N7 and I just love it.  Servo motor, fully programmable tack and trim, and a very handy knob that permits adjustment of the center foot with a turn of the dial.  It makes driving over thick intersections of seams a breeze.  Foolishly, I didn't opt to purchase the pneumatically controlled finger switch that accomplishes the same thing, though I think I can purchase that as an "add on" if I really want it.  If you have the option of the step dial on either machine you're considering I urge you to purchase it.  You'll love it.  Trust me on this. 

I come from the world of garment manufacture and I'm accustomed to horizontal axis machinery so loading a bobbin from below presented no difficulty for me.  There are sites on the machine's bed that will receive any number of attachments, though they would have to be screwed on.  Again, this is the norm with any single needles in the rag biz so I never gave it second though.  Personally, neither of the machine's you're considering will handle light weight fabrics easily, nor IMO, very well.  The action of the walking feet tends to chew them up and makes dropping the needle size and adjusting the tension of the top and bobbin thread critical.  Even with those adjustments the result is frequently less than desirable, this is frequently a problem at my job.  When I'm in my own shop and am faced with a fabric that is marginally too lightweight for my 1541 I switch to my Juki 9010 which is simply a needle feed machine and is designed for lighter weight goods.   If you do a considerable amount of work on lighter weight goods you may want to consider picking up a used machine more compatible with that sort of work. 

If you do a site search of these machines you will unearth some interesting reading.  Hope this helps. 


What Bobbin said. The only thing I can add is the 1541 generally runs about $500 less than the 1508.
I currently sew on an older 1508. I love the machine. But, if I were faced with replacing it right now, I would probably go with the 1541 because it's cheaper.
It seems that the top load machines, such as the 1508, or your old 562, are more prone to tangles around the bobbin.
I would tend to disagree with any brochure that claims either machine will sew "light to heavy" fabrics.
"Medium to heavy"? YES. "Light"? NO!
I don't think that any compound feed walking foot machine is really designed to sew light weight fabrics.
Whichever you decide, I don't think you'll be disappointed.
"Perfection is the greatest enemy of profitability" - Mark Cuban


January 12, 2011, 08:57:54 pm #3 Last Edit: January 12, 2011, 09:08:26 pm by JanChristian
I was leaning toward the 1508 but if I'm having this much trouble deciding, why spend $600 more for something I'm not completely sold on.

I mainly use #69 thread, which is "small" compared to what some of you guys run, and it seems like i'm running out of bobbin thread constantly. I welcome a larger bobbin. Do the 1541 and 1508 use the same large bobbin or is the 1508's larger?

Here's the stitching issue with my 562. I have a servo motor and 50mm pulley but it still doesn't go slow enough to be real precise so when coming to a pivot point, I stop early then hand crank it a few stitches. Sometimes it's fine, other times the stitching beneath gets all screwy.

It's fine at first then gives me trouble when I stop and start hand cranking (or blipping the pedal a couple times). This is the underside of the fabric:

Somehow the bottom stitching gets doubled up:

Any ideas as to what is causing this?

edit: I don't know why the images show up small but if you "right-click>view image in new window" it shows up correctly.


Why not give Bob Kovar a call.  419-380-8540

Ask him to get onto the forum and look at your picture and he will more then likely be able to tell you what is going on with your machine. He also is a great resource when it comes to looking for info on new machines. He is a straight shooter.

He is a really nice guy and would be more then happy to help you out with your problem. He has helped me numerous times ( typically once a month or more........lol..)


Gregg @ Keystone Sewing

January 13, 2011, 02:21:06 pm #5 Last Edit: January 13, 2011, 02:29:28 pm by Gregg @ Keystone Sewing

Thanks for the email.  If it's OK, I'll share with everyone  what we discussed.  If you like a top load, you may not at all like a bottom load machine.  Same goes for someone who starts out with a top loader.  Some people tell me they don't mind at all going back and forth.  This is obviously something that will change from person to person, and nobody can answer for you.  If you are not sure, I can say the 1508 is a machine you will love.  You many not even like the 1541S, simply because it's a bottom loader.  This has happened before, and I try my best to find the correct machine for people up front.  As far as service, reliability, both horizontal and vertical axis hooks are equally reliable, and really comes down to who is using the machine.  It really takes no more or no less to mess up either style machine.  We service everything we sell, and repair all makes and models, and see no more or no less of one style.

As for loops or knots on the bottom of machine;
1. Upper tension is took weak, or lower tension is too strong
2. dirt or debris between tension disks
3. upper thread tension disks have deep grooves in the disks
4. bobbin case in not threaded correctly (doubt it at this point in the game for you)
5. Feed dog has burs likely from needle hits
6. Need point is bent or has a large bur (sure you changed your needle with a new one by now)
7. Bobbin is not wound constantly, bent, or a pre wound bobbin is not make/working correctly.  Wind a metal bobbin and check.  I've seen many a pre wound bobbin be the offender here.
8. Needle is not correctly timed, needle bar height is off, distance from hook to needle is off, slop in the needle bar or needle bar frame, or a combination of all of this!
9. On a top loader (LU-562) there is insufficient clearance between the bobbin case holder and bobbin case holder position bracket in the horizontal axis hook.  If all is or has been the same, I seriously doubt this is what is going on here, unless you just recently installed a new needle plate.
10. Upper tension is releasing too early, or while sewing.  


I second what Chris has said about Bob Kovar, if anything his comments aren't glowing enough! He even taught me how to time my old Singer 111W153 over the telephone!
                                               Big John


Thanks for all the help, everyone. I just ordered a 1541S! I was going to order online but I found a local place with prices equal to the internet and it comes fully assembled and sewn off. I couldn't pass it up. Plus, I like supporting local businesses.

I'm still fairly new to industrials so I don't think switching over to a bottom-loader will be a big deal. It's not like I have years worth of habbits I don't want to change. I'm a young dog ready to learn new tricks  haha

As far as the 562 problem, it isn't really looping underneath, the thread just doubles up. I've tried to troubleshoot it myself and this is what I notice. The hook seems sloppy. If i'm cranking it by hand, at certain parts of the cycle when I have to let go of the hand wheel to reach higher for another pull, the hook backtracks a little, like something is out of balance. This isn't normal, right? When the hook does this, the upper thread slips off of the hook then when I continue turning the hand wheel, the hook grabs it again but now there's considerable resistance. Does that make sense?


January 14, 2011, 03:54:40 am #8 Last Edit: January 14, 2011, 04:03:21 am by sofadoc
Quote from: Gregg @ Keystone Sewing on January 13, 2011, 02:21:06 pm
If you like a top load, you may not at all like a bottom load machine.  Same goes for someone who starts out with a top loader.

That's interesting. I've sewed on a top loader for over 30 years now. I vaguely remember my grandmother's old bottom load Singers.
What I DON'T remember, is rocking the head forward just to change the bobbin, like this guy (at the 2:15 mark):
You bottom load people don't normally do that, do you?
Other than changing bobbins, what else would a person who is accostomed to a top load machine have trouble adjusting to?
I'm just curious, because I may have some work in the near future that would require another stitcher, and I'm considering buying a new machine.
Quote from: JanChristian on January 13, 2011, 03:20:57 pm
Thanks for all the help, everyone. I just ordered a 1541S! I was going to order online but I found a local place with prices equal to the internet and it comes fully assembled and sewn off.

Since you're buying local, I assume that you're test driving it first.
I have always been leery of that phrase "Sewn off".
I'm always getting brochures from out-of-state places that use that phrase. Just because they can fold a piece of fabric 2 or 3 times, and sew the crap out of it, that really doesn't tell me anything. I want be able to sew an entire cushion, and see how the corners come out.  
"Perfection is the greatest enemy of profitability" - Mark Cuban


Quote from: sofadoc on January 14, 2011, 03:54:40 am
Since you're buying local, I assume that you're test driving it first.
I have always been leery of that phrase "Sewn off".
I'm always getting brochures from out-of-state places that use that phrase. Just because they can fold a piece of fabric 2 or 3 times, and sew the crap out of it, that really doesn't tell me anything. I want be able to sew an entire cushion, and see how the corners come out.  

Oh definitely. They're actually going to give me a lesson on it. They say it usually takes about 20 minutes but they'll spend as much time as it takes until I'm comfortable with the machine. When they say "sewn off", they mean with my fabric and thread to make sure it's good to go. Plus with the needle synchronizer attachment there's a little more involved in the setup. I'd rather have them do that since they've done it before. This isn't some hole-in-the-wall place who's out to get me. They're a big business (they deal mainly with industrial sewing and cutting equipment) and have been around a long time so I trust them.


Sofa., I never tilt the head back to change a bobbin.  Ever.  When you think about it, doing so when working piece rate would be a terrible waste of your time and it would cost you dearly... time spent on anything except putting the work under the needle and stitching it properly and as quickly as you can is the only time you're making any money!

It may be a little fumbly to change the bobbin at first, but once you've done it a couple of times you get the "feel" for it.  My machines have side extensions on the benches and they tend to crowd the area I have to reach under a bit, but I've mastered the art of the bottom load bobbin change with ease. 

Congrats on the new machine, Jan.  It's all very exciting!


I am with Bobbin. I know exactly where that bobbin case is and simply reach under, grab it, change it and slap it back in. I do it all by feel, I never lean over or raise the machine to look at the bobbin.

Jan let me congratulate you on staying away from E-Bay. I buy items off e-bay and rarely have problems but I did once buy a machine off e-bay, but never again. I got no technical support from the dealer and when it arrived it sewed like crap.

I bought my next machine from Bob Kovar who is a dealer and member on this site and when my machine arrived it sewed like a dream. He went through it and made sure it was perfectly setup. He also has been there for me a number of times when I had questions and he is an awesome individual to deal with. 

You will appreciate having purchased from a dealer close by you. You will have someone to go to when you have questions.

Big John, your very right. I wished Bob could spend more time on the site here but he stays real busy. I know he has told me before that he would love to help more on here but it is just him and his son who run their business. Still, he is a jewel among men. Laid back, easy going, thoughtful and very respectful. A true professional in every sense of the word. And despite the stupid mistakes I have made with my new machine, he has never made me feel small or dumb. :)

Best of luck with your new machine Jan. Let us know how it sews.


Gregg @ Keystone Sewing

Most of the time when I see people slide the plate out or tilt the machine back, it's because the drip pan has not be mounted or cut properly; like the drip pan from Juki for their DNU-1541S! 

We up in here at Keystone Sewing cut every pan so that you can reach up under there, just like say a Consew 206RB.

If you can't do this on your Juki bottom load, you may need to make some modifications!

Gregg @ Keystone Sewing

Quote from: Mojo on January 14, 2011, 01:57:32 pm

'You will have someone to go to when you have questions.'

I hear ya, it's a damn shame we don't have anybody around these here parts.  Sure would be helpful!@#  :'(


Quote from: Gregg @ Keystone Sewing on January 14, 2011, 05:34:22 pm
Quote from: Mojo on January 14, 2011, 01:57:32 pm

'You will have someone to go to when you have questions.'

I hear ya, it's a damn shame we don't have anybody around these here parts.  Sure would be helpful!@#  :'(


I think you took my post personally and jumped to conclusions about what I was trying to say.

We all appreciate you jumping on here and helping us when we have questions. Obviously your participation here helps you as well through sales so its a win-win for everyone. There are times we can ask a simple question and you can post an answer. But there are problems that take a much more in depth explanation and that is where contacting your original dealer can be a big benefit.

I had a problem with my machine ( one in which I created ) and it took Bob 15 minutes on the phone talking me through the fix. That same issue if you would have had to post the solution would have taken you 2 hours and taken three days of back and forth posts trying to solve the problem. Besides, I bought my machine from Bob not you so I am his headache not yours. :) ....LOL

I value personal relationships and I have a great deal of respect for any person who treats others with kindness. I know I have went on and on about Bob's treatment of me and how much I appreciate the outstanding customer service he has provided me. In this day and age where money and profits drive the entire scope of many businesses, it is great to have a business that will stand behind their product and provide exceptional customer support - AFTER the sale. I am sure you try and do the same thing at Keystone. Unfortunately this is NOT the case with e-bay dealers. They simply take the money and run.

This is what I was trying to convey to Jan. He did himself a big favor by staying away from E-Bay and buying from a reputable dealer, be it local or otherwise. He has someone he can go to with problems or questions and trust me there are times we would rather go privately to our dealer and talk on the phone to hide our stupidity versus posting it on here. :)

This forum is an awesome resource for all of us and you have been a great help to many of the members. But the forum and you personally cannot do it all. And that is what I was trying to convey in my prior post. There is nothing better then having a close personal relationship with your machine dealer, CPA, lawyer, Doctor or even your pharmacist. :)

Now maybe you understand where I was coming from with my post. It was not about you, Bob or anyone else. It was about developing personal relationships with the person who just took a pile of money out of your wallet.