Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Plan for a Plana

The Elna Plana is happily back in its cabinet and I hope to get it on the sale BUT (and this is a big one) the timing is off with a lot of skipped stitches. This little lovely was quite upset when I removed the hook to replace the feed dog gear so I brought it along to the TOGA. To make a long story short, I ended up with an entirely replaced hook and gear from a donor machine from Bob. Bill worked and worked to get it in time so I'm pretty disappointed that I will have to finesse the timing again.There is so much promise for this machine with a new motor pulley and new gears but by this time I just want it out of the house.This will be a break-even transaction since so many things were replaced but sometimes you have to consider it the cost of an education.

As I got back to the Elna Plana, I thought about the advice I get and give about skipped stitches: try a new needle. Of course, that did work and I'm glad it doesn't need to be retimed but now that it is stitching I notice I can't change the stitch length. I'm so glad I have another Elna just like this one but portable so I bring it upstairs and set it right next to the ailing Elna. Oh, does it work perfectly! I can see what is not working but don't know just what is preventing the stitch length lever from engaging.
Swivel action isn't happening unless I force it to move

I take the good model apart and look in the hand wheel side to see a small part that springs back.

Small part behind the black rubber motor pulley

I look at the ailing Elna and see there is no springing back. The bottom plate comes off and I can see the difference in the two models action.
As I followed it down to this small lever that wasn't moving

Now the plate comes off to see the feed dog gears (oh no, it's not another gear failure!) and I find a long narrow spring is not engaged. I remember unhooking this spring and then forgot to go back and reassemble it so now it has caught up to me. Although it took hemostat clamps, a small crochet hook, and a pen light, I did get it all back working. The sweet smell of success!
See that small spring?

and the spring continues.
It still wasn't stitching as it should and I almost had to get out the manual. That's right, read the manual. I really do love Elnas but they are not intuitive and you will need to read the manual until you have the process memorized. When there is a cam in the top you have to move the stitch length lever down to "A" for it to read the double sided cams that will move forward and backwards to give the distinctive patterns. How to adjust if the pattern is too close or too far apart? There is a very tiny + and - on the stitch length dial that will rotate to spread the design apart or move it closer together. It worked!

Since I have two of this model, it's a real contrast to see and feel how different they are: the one with all of the repairs works great now but the other one, bought from Sara, is so smooth and even quieter. The end result is the same but it's clear the well-maintained Elna Plana has been truely loved. That begs the question: do you love your sewing machine? Is it well cared for? That doesn't always mean taking it in for a cleaning and tune-up but taking a good look at your sewing machine, using a brush to clean out the link, then using a drop of sewing machine oil on a cotton swab to further clean out any remaining lint. Go ahead and take out the bobbin race, clean out any build up of lint. Look underneath to see if you have any broken pins or needles that could get in the way. Your manual should tell you where to oil but it's basically anywhere you see metal moving against metal. Run it without thread (presser foot in the UP position) to get the oil moving and lubricating all those parts. Wipe off the exterior of your sewing machine to remove finger prints using a good car wax then buff it like you would your expensive car. You can admire it, cover it up with a nice soft cover to keep dirt and dust from harming it. Your sewing machine might not work any better than it already does but it should be at the top of its game. Wouldn't you like a treat like that, too?

Elna Plana in her blong wood cabinet (so very 50's)

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