October 21, 2012

Elna Supermatic (1956)

Currently my quest is for the more eclectic, stylish, and revered. So along came the Supermatic model 722010. It came with the standard grime covering the whole exterior and reassurances that it worked. There were many frozen parts and mechanisms that would keep it from sewing so it was a major search and destroy refurbish job.

Weight: The machine weighs only 18 lbs but the all metal case weighs 10lbs making the combination feel heavier than one would think.
Speed Control: The knee control isn't hard to get used to but I think I would miss the fine control of the foot pedal.
Presser foot: The presser foot uses the short shank but there is NO WAY TO ADJUST THE PRESSURE! Now, anyone using it for any fabrics I think would never miss it, however, for leather you often need to wind up the tension because the leather grips the needle on the way out and can lift the foot.
Bobbin load: The bobbin is standard but the access is not; you have to learn the tricks of finger placement and what things look like when it's correct. Without a great deal of inspection and contemplation you would never see the details of how the thread comes out of the tension spring, but  once correct it is there for good. Just like the Lotus the bobbin thread tension is made to be adjusted instead of the "Oh my, what have I done" method used on all other machines.
Sewing: Having a rub wheel instead of a pulley I expected that the start up would be terrible, but no, it is quite good, even thru leather. The hand wheel however takes getting used to. It is a noisy machine, this may be (like the 301) a function partly of being made of aluminum?

It's an easy machine to thread the upper and the thread tension are easy to use. I can see why the following is so strong it is a nice clean machine. I don't have the discs but I don't care for anything but straight, ZZ, and  left & right of center, these are what I need and use.

For my automotive reference nothing could come closer than the irreverent SAAB 96; different in every way loved by its fans, laughed at by the uninformed. I of course had two of these little gems in my younger days. It is Swedish not Swiss and 70's not 50's illustrating again how Elna was ahead of its time. The 96 really is crazy and that's why we love it. It was a North / South front engine, front wheel drive, had those large diameter wheels, a V4 Ford tractor engine, had lots of interior space, and was Spartan, just to name a few. Revered for its toughness it was the go to choice for Moto-Cross in Europe back in its day. 

Circa 1975 


October 17, 2012

The Stable: the Necchi Nora and the Pfaff 360

After a couple of years of collecting, playing with, learning about, and restoring machines I have boiled it down to a couple of domestic machines that are the best for my leather work. Not that there aren't many other machines that could and would fit the bill it's just that I like the function, sound, and reliability of these two machines.

No they are not on the table they are in the cabinet!

In the cabinet (specially reinforced to take the load) are the Nora and the 360. Along with the machines on the shelf above are all of my heavy duty threads. The machines come right down onto the table and back away as soon as I'm done; I love open work benches. I keep both of the foot controls plugged in and hung an a hook below the table. All is good in my little shop.

At one point I thought I would never settle down on any particular machine; deciding that each new machine was now the greatest one I had ever used. But alas I have. These two machines together with the Juki 246, the Cowboy 8810, and the Singer 29 - 4 make they up the 5 machines that I use in shoe making. Not that there aren't a couple of shoe-only machines that I still want, but that is another story.

For an automotive reference I guess I had to add what I hope is something I can afford to own someday; a 65 Chrysler Imperial.
Chrysler scored a coup by hiring Elwood Engel away from Ford, where he had designed the 1961 Lincoln Continental.(Wikipedia)