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This typewriter is a 1937 LC Smith model 11 that I picked up at a flea market.   It had a number of problems, such as the carriage would hang (and when it didn't hang it squeaked), the space bar only worked randomly, shifted characters did not type on the same line as non-shifted characters, some of the key tops were unreadable, and the entire machine was filthy -- inside and out.

But the price was right -- $15.  And, it looked like all the parts were there.  So, I brought it home to see if I could get it back to something of the machine it once was.

Step 1: Tools and supplies required

I have no specialized tools to work on typewriters, so I make do with what I have in my little shop.  From a tool perspective, I used the following:
- precision screwdrivers (gunsmith screwdrivers)
- needle nosed pliers
- a 5/16th combination wrench
- a small brass hammer
- air compressor (for blowing out cobwebs)

In terms of supplies:
- Q-tips (about 250 of them)
- coarse automotive rubbing compound
- fine automotive rubbing compound
- automobile wax
- alcohol
- acetone
- metal polish
- and more rags than I could count
<p>nice job great restoration. Thanks</p><p> When I restore one of the old machines I remove all the covers and the platen. I then use a small brush to get out all the cobwebs mouse damage etc. Now here is my time saver I use a dremel with a brass wire brush to clean up rust and old crud.from the bright work and exposed metal parts. A cheap bench polisher from Harbor freight is also good for individual small chrome parts. Rubber feet from ebay and rubber rejuvinater from a print shop supply company for the platen and rollers after a quick sanding.</p><p> I'm finishing up on a very badly rusted old royal and will have probably almost 15 hours in it before I'm done. I'll never be able to charge my customer for all my time but as we say these things are a labor of love.</p><p> next is . </p>
<p>I just found an identical TW like the one on your pics, quite rusted but recoverable. Came in a bundle with another I have yet to figure out brand &amp; make (see attached pics). Your help will be truly appreciated, and in return, as I read on one of your posts, will send you a couple of Johnson floor wax cans (am the site director for SCJ's last place where we make it!)</p><p>Kind regards,</p><p>Mexico</p>
<p>Hi JorgeH17. Your typewriter is an Oliver No. 5.<br><br>Kind regards,<br>Stephen </p>
Wow! Any guess on the year? Looks quite an antique.<br>Thank you.<br>Jorge
<p>No problem. This model was in production between 1907 and 1914. Can you find a serial number? The number will help to identify the exact year.<br><br>Unfortunately, Oliver typewriters are notorious for having serial numbers in hard-to-find places, so it could be anywhere on the body. It also looks like many parts on your typewriter are missing (including the front plate and entire carriage), so I'm sorry to say the serial number may no longer exist.<br><br>Good luck.<br>Stephen</p>
<p>So I finally got around to cleaning my 1938 Underwood, and fixing things one by one, using a trial and error, what-happens-when-I-wiggle-this-lever method, and the one thing I can't figure out is how the bell works. How does yours work?</p>
<p>Sounds like what I plan to do! And sixteen bezillion levers later.... may the Remington will be working again!</p>
Start with the bell and follow the linkage. At some point you will probably find a small metal part that should swivel as the carriage passes. When the carriage passes one way it rings the bell, and when it passes the other way (on a carriage return) it pivots out of the way (upward on most typewriters). It's probably stuck in its upward position. Manually free it, then clean it until it pivots easily.
<p>I have an old Remington Model 10 with a serial number that dates it to 1913...eighty-three years before I was born! I found it in my great-grandfather's attic along with a Remington 17 KMC from 1946. I think the Model 10 will be a great on-again off-again summer project. Thanks very much for a really interesting and informative series. </p>
<p>Aloha, I just got a mini Corona Agency Typewriter.made in N.Y. It is very rusted</p><p>but all keys and space bar work. There is even the original black ribbon in the</p><p>spools. Should I use water on Q tips to clean it or should I use Q tips dipped in the automotive oil to clean it. I haven't done anything yet because I'm afraid to ruin it. </p><p>Mahalo &amp; Aloha</p><p>Melani from Hawaii</p><p>I </p>
<p>You are a life savior! Thank you so much! I had a jammed carrier but now everything is functional again! </p>
<p>Thanks for sharing! I have the 1940 version of this model which is in decent working order but needs a deep clean &amp; the space bar is giving a little trouble. It has been a journey figuring out what all the levers do! At first the carriage didn't move all the way to the left but playing with the margin lever finally got it in place. Why is the ding of that bell so satisfying? It probably used to drive the people who had to use it daily nuts! </p>
I have an Underwood No. 5, not too rare to learn by trial and error. I've disassembled it (chronicling everything with photos) but I'm afraid to take anything else apart. My question: dipping the entire thing in warm water with a smidgen of detergent, and ensuring it dries properly, is not recommended? We used to do that with M16s in the Army, which was also frowned upon, but it saved a lot of time and effort.
I've read about people dipping typewriters in order to clean them, but I've never done it myself -- sort of have a fear of rust developing in tight places. My own method is to first blow it out with compressed air, then flush out crud with alcohol, then only add a tiny bit of thin oil to key pivot points (but not the type bar slots). In terms of disassembling, only dissemble what you absolutely have to. Old typewriters can have somewhere around 2,500-3,500 individual parts (including screws), and it would be virtually impossible to completely dissemble one and then get it reassembled properly. Speaking of dipping M16's -- I have a friend who puts his black powder revolver in the dishwasher to clean it. Works for him, but it has a lot few parts than a typewriter! Good luck with your project.
Ahh i see. i thought it had something to do with the colour. this however makes more sense. i've bought a typewriter today. its from new york. remington number 12. it's gonna need a very big clean up though. thanks for your help
may i ask why you had to use different coloured rubbing compounds?
The white compound is much finer than the red. I start with the red, then move to the white. It's sort of like starting out with rough sandpaper and moving to finer.
Very nice work, sir. I have collected a few old typewriters myself, in various states of wear, and your instructable has given me enough information (and inspiration) to try to clean them myself, instead of looking for a typewriter repairman somewhere (or just leaving them be). Many thanks!
Good luck! Restoring old typewriters can be both fun and frustrating! My approach is to first fix the mechanical problems, then work on cleaning. You can put a lot of hours in an old typewriter, but if you enjoy the satisfaction of bringing an old machine back from the dead, it can be very satisfying. Again, good luck &amp; thanks for the comment.
I see you waxed your project when you were done. I wax a lot of stuff myself to protect it. One other thing I do often is I spray stuff with a clear over coat of spray paint. I can hardly see it on bare metal but it gives a durable protective coating to surfaces.<br><br>Stuff I have in my garage now for that is called Krylon Acrylic Crystal Clear. Wax works, but the spray holds up better.<br><br>I buy lots of old junk myself and restore it. I find the task very rewarding. Like you said you can't think about the time if you are doing something you enjoy.<br><br>I think you did a great job and the machine you revived looks fantastic!
Thanks, pfred2! I use wax to protect a lot of stuff, too -- Johnson's paste wax for wood, auto wax for metal. I used to use some really expensive wax ($20 for just a few ounces), but I find the regular stuff seems to hold up just as well. I'll have to give the Krylon Acrylic Crystal Clear a try. Thanks again.
Be aware it is paint, just a clear colorless one. If you lay it on really thick it may seem like there is a plastic coating on everything. But I find a thin even coat is kind of nice over bare metal. Can be hardly noticeable.<br><br>Where I live it is a constant battle fighting rust and sometimes just wax doesn't cut it. But I know often it isn't right to paint some metal pieces a color either. So the clear coat is kind of a compromise in between to me.<br><br>Basically I guess this spray is a bit like car clear coat in a can. Which really puts it squarely between wax and paint doesn't it? I just figured I'd throw it out there.
Thanks for the info. This sounds like it could come in handy for some of my projects. I appreciate you taking the time to educate me about it. I'm going to give it a try.
Sure np. Just like the instructions say try it in an unobtrusive area first to see how you like it. Here Fido!

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Bio: I enjoy taking a pile of junk and making something unusual out of it. I like wheeled vehicles, and currently own two motorcycles, two electric ... More »
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