Husqvarna Viking Huskylock 936 Review

Husqvarna Viking Huskylock 936 Review
Husqvarna Viking Huskylock 936 Review
Author
Users
  • Stitch quality
  • Speed
  • Ease Of Use
  • Maintenance
Beginner
Beginner: Needs lots of help – able to sew a straight seam but unfamiliar with most sewing techniques; needs assistance and instruction on basic sewing techniques.
Intermediate
Intermediate: Competent – can make different clothing items without assistance or guidance, but not good enough to sew intricate projects or to sew without a pattern.
Expert
Expert – can sew anything without instruction or assistance; possesses an expansive knowledge of sewing techniques and terminology.

Introduction

The owner of one of our favorite sewing machine repair and sales shops invited us review the Husqvarna Viking Huskylock 936 because it was traded in while still brand spanking new.

Husqvarna Viking Huskylock 936

Husqvarna Viking Huskylock 936

The woman who originally purchased this machine said she bought it because of all of the features. In a way, those same features prompted her to trade it for a serger that is simpler to operate.

Pros

  • 2, 3, 4, 5 thread sewing
  • 16 pre programmed stitches

Cons

  • Complicated threading process – Different threading pattern for each different stitch option
  • Too many steps to execute simple operations
  • Very challenging even for advanced sewers

At A Glance

When you first look at this serger, you are impressed by the great look. However, the great look, 16 pre-programmed stitches and functional LCD screen are just about the only likable things about this complicated machine.

Functional LCD screen

Functional LCD screen

Features

The Viking Huskylock 936 has tons of great features that any home sewer would love to have.

They include an instructional video – which as it turned out is possibly the most valuable feature of all. Other, more traditional sewing/serger features include:

  • Electronic speed control
  • A free arm, which is a bit uncommon on sergers
  • 16 pre-programmed stitches
  • Automatic differential feed
  • An LCD display that is programmed to operate in 14 different languages

With those features alone, few people who really enjoy sewing would be able to resist the temptation to purchase this serger.

Then when you consider that the Huskylock 936 also offers two on-board lights; automatic stitch length and with adjustment and a built in thread cutter, there is little wonder that the original owner purchased this machine.

Working on the Husqvarna Viking Huskylock 936

Threading the Huskylock 936 is more challenging than any other sewing machine or serger this reviewer has ever encountered.

Even the owner of the sewing machine repair/sales shop was challenged by the threading process for this machine. The color coded threading guide on the looper door is completely useless.

Color coded threading guide on the looper door

Color coded threading guide on the looper door

We watched the instructional video and read the threading guide which proved to be far more helpful. It soon became abundantly clear that if one were successful in understanding and mastering the threading process, they would be probably be comfortable with sewing on this machine.

Instructional video and a threading guide

Instructional video and a threading guide

There are six completely different threading processes for the Husqvarna Viking Huskylock 936: chainstitch; 5 thread safety stitch; 4 thread overlock; wide 3 thread overlock; triple coverstitch; and 2 thread narrow edge.

The threading process is so complicated the manufacturer even has video demonstrations of each threading process on its website.

The day we decided to look no line for the animated video on line, however, we had extreme difficulty finding it through the search link on the Husqvarna Viking website.

We did, finally get to the instructions link by Googling the machine by manufacturer and model number.

We decided to use three and four different thread options for this review. In an attempt to navigate the intricate threading process as easily as possible, we opted to use different color threads on each spindle.

After overcoming the threading challenge, the next hurdle was setting the tension. As we changed stitch options and re-threaded the machine, we discovered that adjusting the tension was no day at the beach.

It took more than a few attempts to find the right tension setting for some of the stitch options.

Stitch quality using different thread options

Stitch quality using different thread options

Once we got that under control, sewing on the Husqvarna Viking Huskylock 936 was about average. For all the work that it took to get to the point where we could actually sew, the stitch quality was somewhat disappointing.

We tried the four thread overlock stitch primarily because it is the one of the main stitch selections used in many clothing manufacturing factories.

The stitches were clean and well formed. However, when we attempted the 3 thread overlock stitch option, the stitches were uneven and loose… even after many attempts to adjust the tension.

Stitches using 3 thread overlock stitch option

Stitches using 3 thread overlock stitch option

No doubt, the problem was with the tension adjustment, but after numerous attempts we finally gave up.

The most ironic part of the whole situation is the fact that we used the same tension settings with two other stitch options and it worked fine. There was no apparent reason why they would not work with the overlock stitch.

The Husqvarna Viking Huskyock sews with remarkable speed – approximately 1,000 stitches per minute. The on-board lights make working with the most intricate projects easy to see and the free arm makes it easy to work with the smallest items, including cuffs and collars.

Free arm makes it easy to work with the smallest items

Free arm makes it easy to work with the smallest items

The thread cutters and waste basket are ideally situated, making finishing off seams clean and easy.

The screwdrivers are essential, not only for removing and inserting needles, but also for changing needle plates and performing some of the routine maintenance tasks.

Screwdrivers are essential

Screwdrivers are essential

However, for major servicing tasks, the manufacturer recommends that the Huskylock 936 be taken to an authorized repair professional.

With all of the challenges we encountered in setting this machine up and using, we strongly recommend that owners of this machine take it to authorized service and repair professionals at least once a year whether they encounter problems or think it needs servicing or not.

Fabrics

  • Natural fibers/cotton-linen-wool
  • Fine fabrics/silk-satin-taffeta/velvet
  • Knits
  • Synthetic fabrics/blends-rayon-polyester
  • Upholstery
  • Leather/suede
  • Fur
  • Canvas/Twill
  • Plastic/Rubber
  • Extra thick fabrics or multiple layers

Accessories

The Husqvarna Viking Huskylock 936 comes with the following standard accessories:

  • Cloth dust cover
  • Five spindle caps
  • Owner’s manual
  • Instructional video tape
  • A separate book detailing all of he different threading options
  • Five mesh thread nets
  • Three snap-on presser feet
  • Additional needle plate
  • Screwdrivers, oil dispenser
  • Lint brush
  • Extra needles
  • Tweezers

The machine is made with only four thread spindles, but the accessories include an adaptor to accommodate the fifth thread. It also includes add-ons to convert the free arm into a work table.

Standard accessories of Viking Huskylock 936

Standard accessories of Viking Huskylock 936

Maintenance







After each useMonthly*Once Each Year**As Needed
Clean loopers and feed dogs
Wipe head with soft dry cloth
Wipe head with soft damp cloth
Lubricate
Service by sewing machine repair professional

* more often if the machine is used for extended periods of time or if used frequently

**more often if the machine is used heavily or if it is not operating properly

Tying Off The Loose Ends

The Husqvarna Viking Huskylock 936 is not only difficult to use, threading this machine is so challenging that most people will give up on even trying to use it.

This statement is evidenced by the fact that the woman who traded it in didn’t even open the sealed plastic pouch containing the dust cover.

Several other components were still in sealed pouches as well, and the machine and all of its accessories were still in the original box and in pristine condition.

With six different sets of threading instructions to learn and remember, the Husqvarna Viking Huskylock 936 is quite possibly the most difficult to thread machine we have ever encountered.

Possibly the most difficult to thread machine

Possibly the most difficult to thread machine

Little wonder that when one goes to the manufacturer’s website, it is not even listed as an available model.

The search link on the webpage was not operating properly on the day we visited the site and tried to find information on the 936.

However, when we did a Google search, we landed on a Husqvarna Viking page detailing all the features and benefits of the 936.

From there, we were even able to locate a link to a series of animated threading instructions for all six options.

Obviously, the manufacturer knew that threading would be a major drawback. Why else would they devote so much space on their website to threading after including an instructional video tape as well as a separate book containing a complete threading guide with the sale of each Husqvarna Viking Husylock 936?

The Husqvarna Viking Huskylock 936 is definitely one of those machines that you either love or hate. No doubt, there are people out there who are not challenged by the intricate threading process and are very happy with this machine.

After all, there are plenty 936’s still in use out there. We do not, however, recommend that people with challenges like arthritis or low vision attempt to use this serger.

Nor do we recommend a machine this intricate for people who do not have a lot of experience working on sergers.

Even some home sewers with decades of sewing and serging experience might need a good deal of hands on coaching before mastering this one.

If you have many years of sewing and serging experience, are nimble fingered and are not easily intimidated by things like complicated, intricate threading maneuvers that must be changed every time you decide to use a different stitch option, the Huskylock 936 might be an ideal addition to your sewing room.

If, on the other hand, you are in the market for a serger that is simple to operate and does not require a lot of work before you get down to actual sewing, then we recommend that you continue shopping around.

It goes without saying that people who are new to sewing and serging should not attempt to use this machine.

There is a strong likelihood that if the first serger they work on is the Husqvarna Viking Huskylock 936, they might decide that working on a serger is entirely too complicated and never attempt to use a serger again – even shy away from ever trying to sew on the simplest, easiest to use models.

That would indeed be a huge tragedy because they would miss out on the pleasures that come with working on a serger.

We do not recommend the Husqvarna Viking Huskylock 936 for use by intermediate sewers either. It is easy to understand why beginning and intermediate sewers could easily be discouraged from using this serger.

However, the manufacturer has other machines in their line of sergers that may be more compatible with their skill levels and more suitable for their sewing and serging needs.

That’s the beauty of the whole thing. Regardless of skill level, personal preference or budget, there is a large variety of sewing machines and sergers on the market.

Finding the right machines to not only fit in your sewing room or suit your own personal needs and tastes is never a major challenge.

All it takes to locate the perfect machine is to spend a little bit of time and energy shopping around until you find the right machines.

Shopping for sewing machines and sergers is possibly one of the most delightful ways for a sewing enthusiast to spend an afternoon.

Just imagine the fun you could have as you look over all the different machines on the market and learn about what they offer.

Sewing machine retailers run the gamut from the relatively small number of toney, high priced needlecraft boutiques, to the cookie cutter sewing emporiums like JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts and even include the growing number of mass merchandisers, such as K-Mart, Sears and Target or even the big club stores like Costco and BJs.

22 Comments

  1. Who ever said threading a serger was easy! Learn to tie off!!!!! Love my 936

  2. I’d had experience with two sergers before I chose the 936. Even with all the varied threading combinations, it beats the time I wasted fiddling with each thread tension whenever I changed garment projects. I wouldn’t be without a serger with the auto tension adjustment of the 936. That was my #1 reason for buying it. When you work and only have limited time to work on sewing projects, this one option is a godsend.

    I don’t care which serger you buy, you have to have perseverance when learning to thread your machine. These are not sewing machines and take a lot more grace and finesse to learn. The learning curve is much steeper for a serger and THAT is what new serger buyers need to realize.

    Yahoo! has a 936 group. Join it if you need assistance with this machine.

    • I can not get the 936 to thread right for the 5 thread overlock help please.

      • I haven’t used the coverstitch(CS)on my 936 since March 2010 in a dealership serging class. I bought a stand-alone CS(Janome 1000CP)because I sew a lot of knit garments.

        One of the things that is critical about threading the 936 for CS is the two tabs on the needle bar. Just above the A-B-E needle holders are left and right tabs. You have to be sure to place the left needle thread behind the left tab and the same for the right.

        Check out the Yahoo users group for this machine, http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Viking936users/. Fellow users belong to this group and can help to solve the problems we encounter when using this machine. There are links to threading charts that most say are very helpful. If you decide to join, give a detailed description of the problem you are having including the type of needles you are using, the type of fabric you are going to CS and any other pertinent information that would help everyone solve your threading issues.

        Judy

        • Thanks so much Judy I just joined. I have not used my serger since I got it up until this past two weeks. It came free with my sewing machine several years ago and due to a family tragedy I never used either one up until now. I do alot of garment sewing and really want to figure out how to thread for 5 thread overlock. I can thread for most of the other stitches. Haven’t tried the rolled hem and a few others yet. Appreciate any help, tips, advice. Thanks again Amy

  3. I love my 936. I’ve had it for nearly 10 years and it does everything I ask of it. I’ve had other sergers in the past, and there is no contest, the 936 wins hands down. Threading may not be the easiest, but the convenience of not having to figure out your own thread tensions, and the ease of tweeking a stitch is worth taking an extra 60 seconds to thread this machine. Besides once you thread the loopers you only have to tie off the new threads to the old and pull them through.

    I’m enjoying reading your reviews. Keep up the good work.

  4. Just love my 936. Its the best of my three sergers. Also have a 905 and a Juki EA605,(it was the first serger you could buy for the home). Wishing we could still get clear feet for this machine. I’ve been told by a HusViking dealer that the 936 is better than the newer sergers. I believe her. Threading can be frustrating at times, but the result is beautiful. Remember to tie off!!

  5. Once you get it you are done!
    I am not experienced but my work on the 936 looks amazing.

  6. Thank you for all then encouraging comments. My husband bought my 936 from a colleague, I have not had any formal training or classes and I am finding it a bit overwhelming to say the least. I signed up for a Craftsy beginning serger class, Amy demonstrated three different machines, none of them are at all like the 936; I have struggled with trying to follow along with the manual on my lap. I am grateful to hear that once I master the threading I will really like it, but the going is slow right now. I think I may have to bite the bullet (thread?!!) and pay for some 936 specific lessons, my time is limited, this indeed may be the most efficient way to go. Thank you all for your comments and encouragement!

    • Just wondering if you have mastered your 936 since posting your comment, and if so, what classes you used to do so. I enrolled in Amy’s class on Craftst as well, and while I love her, I agree with you that her machines don’t line up with the 936 in terms of function.

      • Mary Helen -

        Thank you for visiting Sewing Insight. I have not revisited the Husqvarna/Viking 936 since writing this review.

        I suggest you seek assistance from a Husqvarna/Viking dealer directly. Depending upon where you purchased your 936, you may be able to get the training you need free of charge. Another alternative is to take a class offered offered by your local Husqvarna/Viking dealer.

        Happy stitching.

      • Hi Mary Helen,

        I have not yet taken any private lessons. Darn work and Army commitments keep getting in my way. I was able to serge the edges of some fleece blankets for our church, not a difficult project, I used a simple four-thread stitch. I really want to learn to use my machine to the fullest. One comment I have seen repeatedly is that once the 936 is set in the cover stitch, buy a second machine for everything else. I have not attempted the cover stitch set up – I guess that has caused me a bit of trepitdation….

        I am hoping this summer things will settle down a bit. We have a new grandbaby on the way so once I finish all the goodies I have planned for him, 936 lessons should follow soon.

        ~tam

  7. Tamie -

    Thank you for visiting Sewing Insight. You might want to contact your local Husqvarna/Viking dealer. There is a very good possibility that they offer classes. This might be your best source for learning to master the intricacies of threading your Huskylock 936.

    Happy Stitching.

    • Thanks Vernelle good idea however the place I got it from no longer sells Vikings and the other two places that do teach classes on them are over an hour away. However I might have to do that anyway.

  8. I have two sergers. My 936 and a Babylock. The babylock stays covered up and I rarely use it

    • I am considering buying a Babylock Enlighten as a second serger. Am curious as to why you don’t use yours I heard they are so user friendly is that not so?

    • Hi just love my 936. I just purchased it and don’t understand by what you mean by tie off?

  9. Finally, an accurate review. I am an experienced sewer that also has commercial sewing machines and I have been very disappointed with the 936. I don’t know if the dealer is recommending the wrong size needles (the go-to excuse for all the dealers & mechanics that have serviced it for it’s continued failures) but the machine has consistently skipped stitches when sewing in 5-thread mode(the safety stitch) and has proved unreliable over the yrs. I am reluctant to use it.The coverstitch feature is worthless. It takes 30 minutes to change over the machine and then it “eats” or pulls the fabric at the start. It is a typical example of trying to have it do do much. It does a lot, but nothing well. Oddly enough, I found the threading to be the least of my problems. It was far easier to thread than my prior Bernina. Save your money and buy a 2 used commercial machines for the same or less total cost.

  10. I love my Husqvarna/Viking 936. I have it since 2007 and I use it daily. I do agree it doesn’t look easy to use at first,but as soon as you figure out all the steps,you will enjoy to work on this machine.Always follow instructions!

    For rolled edge option use ONLY new thin needles
    Chart is here http://www.sewing.org/files/guidelines/22_115_sewing_machine_needle_charts.pdf

    I do use Cover Stitch option a lot as well. My tip here to use good quality needles for stretch fabric (if you working with knits) and stretch thread (something like Wooly Nylon Thread‎) for the BOTTOM LOOPER.It makes huge difference! I have big selection of stretch threads so I can match a colour of regular threads which I use on the face side of CS.

  11. I inherited one of these machines this year and have never used it because it looks so intimidating to me. Threading is a real nightmare. This machine still has the blue.red,yellow,green spools of thread on it. It was never used before it got it. Any one out there have any recommendations where I could sell mine?

  12. Hello, Tami -

    Thank you for visiting Sewing Insight. If you have never used a serger, I don’t think you want to start with this one. Even you have experience with a serger, but still simply want to sell your Husqvarna/ Viking 936 safely and securely, I suggest you try putting it on e-bay.

  13. My 936 started skipping stitches and ended up making no serge stitches at all. Took it into our local CERTIFIED VIKING DEALER….waited almost 2 months to get it back. Once at home, tried to use it and now it was breaking needles along with all the problems I originally took it in for. Took it back ….they called said it was repaired. This time I had them to sew on it before I left. Still had the same problems. The lady who was testing it stated she had this machine at home but had no clue what I was talking about when I told her test the auto setting. She became very defensive when the owner and I showed her the skip and loose stitches it was still making. She had no clue how to change the settings to sew different fabrics. She claimed the reason it skipped the stitches was because she stopped and then restarted again. WOW….. It became very obvious this lady needed to change careers. I was told this was worked on by a Certified Viking Tech and Viking wanted her to go to work for them. I now have a machine that has more problems since allowing them to work on it. This machine was $1500.00 and is app. 7 years old. It has turned out to be a piece of junk. Will never buy another Viking.

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