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
- 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
- metal polish
- and more rags than I could count
Step 2: Fixing the Space Bar
Turning the typewriter on its back (photo 2) I found the problem, actually two problems. First, a screw was missing that attached the space bar to the space bar lever (noted in photo 2). Also, the stops on the space bar had been bent downward, probably from someone pulling up on them because of the problem with the carriage hanging up. I bent them back into position using my needle nose pliers, replaced the screw, and all was well once again in space bar land!
Step 3: Fixing a Jammed Carriage
Step 4: Fixing a Squeaky Carriage
Step 5: Adjusting the Shift Alignment
Step 6: Cleaning the Inside of the Beast
This is where the acetone, alcohol, and q-tips came in. Using q-tips and cleaners, I cleaned every surface possible inside this machine. The first three photos show the condition before I began, and the last photo shows the improvement inside the machine. This was a lengthy process -- I worked on this off and on for almost a week, but when I was finished, 74 years of accumulated dirt and grime were gone!
Step 7: Cleaning the Carriage
The first thing I did was remove the platen and go over everything painted black with a mild cleaner. I used a few drops of dishwashing detergent in a bottle of water as a cleaner. I scrubbed everything I could reach with this cleaner, then dried it carefully.
The next step was to go over everything with a strong automobile rubbing compound (red compound). Using a lot of pressure, I used this rubbing compound on no more than two square inches at a time. Next came the fine (white) automobile rubbing compound. During this process I began to see the beginnings of a shine starting to come through. In several places I had to apply the white compound several times to really begin to see improvement.
The final step for the black metal parts was to use regular automobile wax.
For the plated (shiny) parts I used a metal polish.
Step 8: Cleaning the Type Bars
Step 9: Cleaning the Case
I decided to not touch up the areas where paint had worn off on this machine -- I sort of liked the looks of the battle scars.
Cleaning the outside of this typewriter took almost as much time as cleaning the inside, but what a difference it made!
Step 10: Replacing Bad Key Tops
Using a special font on my computer, I printed new key tops on a piece of off-white paper, and laminated both sides with a cold laminating film. The film on the top side is designed to mimic the original finish of the key tops, and the film on the back side keeps my glue from discoloring the new key top.
I cut these out and glued them onto the old key tops (see the last two photos).
I then cleaned each key with metal polish.
Now I had a fairly respectable keyboard!
Step 11: Completed!
Most people would probably have considered this typewriter beyond help due to the condition I found it in. The secret to bringing something like this back from the dead is not to be overwhelmed at everything that is wrong, but to tackle each problem one-at-a-time and fix it. If you stay with it, eventually you have success.
I hope you enjoyed this instructable, and my hope is that it inspires a few people to discover the enjoyment of bringing something old and neglected back to life!