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Thread: Help with Elna Supermatic

  1. #1
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    Help with Elna Supermatic

    Hello, I am new to vintage sewing machines, I have already learned a great deal from this forum and really appreciate everyone’s knowledge and willingness to share.

    I have a chance to buy two Elna Supermatics, early versons. I like the styling, portability and (I confess) color of the Elna’s, and per reviews they are great machines when working well. These two were serviced a year ago but then sat and one seems to have developed a flat spot on the pulley (I was told both pulley gears were replaced when they were serviced). They are not cheap, the seller wants to recoup the $120 paid for the servicing at least. And they are not pretty, both were well used with scratches, chips, worm areas, even ball point pen on them! The cases both have rust, scratches, missing rubber. There are cams, feet, and bobbins although the bobbins are well worn too. I would like to use the machines, and think refurbishing the cases might be fun.

    I am wondering:
    Will the machines still have a long life given they are already well used?
    Does anyone have experience refurbishing the cases?
    Shoud I hold out for cheaper, prettier machines?

    Any and all advice welcome

    Thanks!

    Marg

  2. #2
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    Bobbins don't get that worn usually? The paint on these are much the same as on Berninas and is on the delicate side. If they have seen lots of use they are bound to have a few signs of wear. If they run and stitch well they are probably worth going for, the internal parts seem to be rather tough and durable. There are a few plastic gears in these, the advatage with them are mostly the double layer cams, few vintage machines have them, at least if you aim for all metal models. They take lare size needles too, so up you can up the size from the standard #18 if you can find any. I sew all kinds of strange stuff sometimes, like plastic lining, carboard, bull denim,... The larger size needles can have an advantage.

    I have a two tone beige and tan Supermatic, I like it. If there are lots of cams with the machine it's probably worth the price, but only if you want them. The case can clean up, it can be a bit of a bother because of the crinkle finish, but with the right stuff and soft brush it eventually cleans up. Refinishing should be within doable. My machine cleaned up well with liquid resin type polish (for car paint), but be careful with the crickle finish on the case, it's nearly impossible to buff out the polish in the creases.

    A common issue is the friction wheel behind the hand wheel; as you mention it can develop a flat. The rubber can easily be sanded down to even it out, if it's good quality it will last years. I ended up with an aluminium replacement wheel with rubber O-rings, there solutions and options. There have been problems with some of the replacement rubber wheels, they haven't all been as sturdy as the original. The flat spot has always been an issue, remember to release the hand wheel before the machine is stored away.

    Make sure you get the right bobbins, they make a difference. I have seen some use class 15, but you will end up with problems with bobbin thread and tension spring. The right bobbins have a groove across the inside of the"hub", it's needed for the bobbin winder to work properly. They are easy to find, but you have to identify the correct type.

    Newly serviced machines in good condition often go for a bit more. I payed abouth $40 dollars for my Supermatic, it needed quite a bit of work, replacement pulley, a few additional bobbins, and lots of cleaning. My machine has been a DIY project, but the replacement parts have probably been at least $60 in addition to the purchase. If it's very worn and in need of cosmetic touch ups, I would hesistate a bit. I have several vintage machines by now, and I'm only willing to pay for that special one I'm looking for. I tend to go for bargain machines.
    Last edited by Mickey2; 03-31-2019 at 05:21 AM.

  3. #3
    Super Member leonf's Avatar
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    Supermatics are built to tight tolerances and they don't like sitting. Be prepared to spend a long time oiling, jiggleing and using a hair dryer to heat up old oil to get them running.
    Since they were recently serviced they may not need the oiling routine, but be prepared. I haven't changed a drive wheel on one.Name:  Elnas front and rear b.jpg
Views: 220
Size:  338.8 KB but I just recently bought some that are 3D printed and use O rings.
    "Sacrifices must be made." Otto Lilienthal

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    Thank you Mickey2 and leonf! I think I will give the green girls a go, I’m hoping to pick them up next weekend, and then I’ll probably have more questions.
    Thanks for your help!

  5. #5
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    There are tube videos on changing the friction wheel. Great machines.
    Never let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.

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    Thank you Miriam, from what I have seen on line it seems that finding the friction wheels is a problem these days, unless I am misunderstanding. If anyone has any leads I would appreciate it. Thanks!

  7. #7
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    Try sew classic
    Never let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.

  8. #8
    Super Member OurWorkbench's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Margsos View Post
    Thank you Miriam, from what I have seen on line it seems that finding the friction wheels is a problem these days, unless I am misunderstanding. If anyone has any leads I would appreciate it. Thanks!
    From my understanding there are a couple of 3d printing places that have them for sale. Also there is a Yahoo Group for vintage Elna machines including the Supermatic. I think Mickey2 was able to get an aluminum one but I don't think anyone is making them now for the 'public.'


    Janey - Neat people never make the exciting discoveries I do.
    Janey & John

  9. #9
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    I think I have one John made but I haven’t installed it yet.
    Never let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.

  10. #10
    Super Member leonf's Avatar
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    I haven't installed my 3D printed ones yet.
    "Sacrifices must be made." Otto Lilienthal

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    I was a bit lucky when I bougth mine. There is a yahoo vintage Elna group, a couple of times a year some of the guys there have said they are making up a few metal friction wheels and ask if anyone else is interested. Some have contacts others have their own lathe machines. It's the ideal solution if you can get it, O-rings last a long time, and are easy to replace. You will get much more detailed help on the Elna yahoo group, at least with the difficult stuff. Some of them are expert repair guys.

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    Great suggestion, thank you. I have joined the Elna yahoo group, so I will post there and can report back here too. It seems like that could be helpful. I am still waiting to get the machine...

  13. #13
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    I think Farmer John put a screw in to push the motor away from the shaft and keeps the tire from going flat. I saw that on Victorian sweat shop forum.
    Never let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.

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