#1 Twine vs #2 Twine


Well-known Member
I've had a sporadic knotter issue. I've gone hundreds of bales with no problem, then... had three or more break on one wagon.

And I think I've made it worse.

It was just happening at the twine switchover. And when I looked at the broken bale in the wagon, I would find one twine with either no knot, a knot in one end, or just a swirl in one end.

I started with an assumption, probably my first mistake. That assumption was that my twine discs would be the problem, since they are old and worn, and just about everything else on the knotter has been tuned to the manual.

So, if you have trouble holding the twine, you run thick twine, right? I ran 7200 sisal. That should hold in the discs, right.

And it did, except at twine changeover.

Well, no knot in the #1 twine means the twine discs aren't holding it (among other possibilities)... so... I tweaked my discs a little tighter.

The problem got worse. I was baling away from home, no time to get a manual and read/troubleshoot... but I thought... jeez... there is no way that twine discs being too tight can cause this problem, so I tweaked them a little tighter...

Well, it's an off day, and I went through the troubleshooting guide. Apparently, no knot in either end... or no knot on #2 twine could be twine discs are too tight. So, now I have to go back to my original settings, next time I bale...

All of this would be a moot point, if I could tell after the fact, from looking at the remnants of a broken bale in the wagon, after the thrower has blown it apart... which end is #1 and which end is #2.

My guess is... there's no way to tell... but I've been wrong plenty of times. Is there a way to tell???
May not be the twine disks. If no knot in the needle twine, it is a tucker finger miss.

No knot in the top or bale twine that is a twine disk pullout and GENERALLY requires tightening the twine disk.
(quoted from post at 17:43:26 07/11/22) What baler do you have ?

It's a NH 276.

It doesn't act like a tucker finger miss, because initially it was only happening on my twine splice knots with the 7200 sisal. Also happened once, when my daughter was baling and didn't loosen the chamber tension after the dew set. But...that can happen to any baler, if you're packing concrete blocks...

I thought that maybe my knots were pulling hard along the bale and pulling out of the twine discs. Thick twine, like the 7200 sisal can be a catch22... holds better in the twine discs... also more friction around the bale being formed.

Then I started fiddling with the twine disc tension and made it worse. I couldn't think of any reason how that would make it worse... until I started reading that twine disc tension too tight can make the same symptom as twine disc tension too loose... just at opposite ends of the twine.

Tucker fingers are also more straightforward to check and set. I just checked and adjusted my tucker fingers at the beginning of the season. The cam roller on the activating arm is good. The activating arm is good. I have two return springs, so even if one broke, it would still activate. When I set my needles, I checked the clearance.

Twine discs, though... I don't have a spring scale to hook up to the twine to test the hold strength. I adjust them by baling and watching symptoms over many loads.

Here is the wildcard, it was acceptable and manageable, even with the twine disc tension modifications, until we baled the last field we did. 11 loads of hay... and some of the field was fine grass as dry as a bone. When I got into that dry, fine, stuff... it was like the baler couldn't even make slabs of some of the stuff. When the bales broke... now not just at twine exchanges... it was like hunting for dried wads of lawn clippings in the wagon amongst the bales in the wagon to put it back in the field for re-baling. Now, I was breaking bales at a rate of 3 to 6 per load of 140.

This got me thinking that maybe the fluffy hay brought on a new issue, before I really solved the twine exchange issue.

Maybe a couple of wedges in the chamber would have helped with that dry, fluffy stuff... I don't think the hay dogs were holding it worth a crap. (I have all hay dogs installed, and all have good springs)

Anyway, were 44 loads into the season, we have a little lull; where I'm going to try to look at my twine disc tension and timing a little more scientifically. And think about whether I need to put some wedges in the chamber if I ever encounter bone dry, fine hay again. Which may be possible, we're having a dry baling summer so far.

As far as #1 vs #2 twine... I guess I'll have to ride on the baler and watch bales in the chamber, next time we bale.
check the tension at the twine box.Seen this many times people try to tighten it down thinking it will mak the twine tighter on the bale and all it does is cause
trouble. I have to back off the tension even from the factory settings a lot of times

Interesting. A couple of years ago, I had the opposite problem with our NH269. Twine box had squeeze plates with holes on the side. The bottom plate had a little groove worn in it. The top plate had a little wiggle to it. If the top plate wiggled just right, and the twine was in the groove, there was almost no tension.

The symptom there was that the twine would come right out of the needle, yet still stay strung in the chamber. That was fun... baling along... making good bales... and then... a bale would kick out of the thrower with about twenty feet of twine trailing all the way back to the twine disc.

I rode on the baler and watched the needles. They were right... the discs were right... but when the needles popped up they practically threw a lasso of loose twine.

I drilled the twine clamps on the side of the twine box and put a cotter pin through... so the top one couldn't twist... but it could still float on its spring. Also put a new bolt through the spring and tensioned to a "feel" of 5 to 10 lbs. No more twine coming out of the needles (and yet staying in the twine disc and strung through the chambe)... To this day, I still have trouble visualizing how this can happen... but it does. If your twine box tension is too loose.

But... this 276 has a different tensioner on the twine box, using the big ceramic fence insulator looking thingies... so... maybe running the 7200 sisal is pulling hard out of the twine box...

I know I can pull the twine... but I can hardly tell if it's the specified 5 to 10 lbs of pull...

Good point. Thanks!

Also... between the 276 I'm running now, and the 269 we ran previous years... we are 45 to 55 years past factory settings...

Thanks for pointing me in a direction that I wasn't thinking...

In my long winded, overthinking way... I'm trying to say that it's easy to tell if your twine box tension is too loose. It feels really loose, and you can see the needles practically throwing twine past the twine discs.

Without a spring scale, it's a little more troublesome to figure out if it's too tight.

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