Sunday, November 14, 2010

Weekend Project

Between all the regular things you do on the weekend, I began to paint the Remington Travel-Riter that I found. The surface of the old machine was rusty and very ugly. The platen was fossilized. I had it in my mind that this would be an easy project. The first challenge to that notion was the platen.

The first problem was removing the platen. The platen on this typewriter was clearly never intended to be removed by human hands. Bolts, nuts, weird compression-fit line ratchets all met to foil the work. The biggest hurtle to disassembly was a steel rod that extended the entire length of the platen. To remove it I had to take a pair of pliers and wiggle it loose. That took some time.

The dumbest idea was that I could find a suitable replacement for the platen rubber from something around town. I struck on the idea that auto heater tubing might be good. It's made from real rubber and I figured that it would be inexpensive. I went to Checker and asked the clerk if he had something that fit the bill. The tube that they did have fit on the inside diameter, but the outside diameter is a hair larger than the original platen diameter. At the time I thought it wouldn't be a problem. It would later be a problem.

Trying to feed the tube over the platen was a challenge. I won't give you the boring details, but an hour of work let to a newly shod platen and a broken line advancement ratchet. It was attached to the end of the platen via a compression fitting. I popped it off and had to re-attach it. It ended up being alright. When I reinstalled the platen, the size was a little larger than before, so things were too tight. I had to adjust the feed roller and the paper release lever so it would work. After fiddling for a while it seems to be working well. Or at least well enough for me.

The most exciting part was the painting. I hemmed over what color. I wanted something green, but I was concerned over my painting ability. When I was at Ace I noticed that Rust-Oleum had a Hammerite finish paint in colors. Hammer finish paint really hides irregular substrates and has a very glossy surface. The green color was perfect. I followed the instructions and here is how it turned out.


The hammer finish is a look. I like it. I know some people would prefer it to be a mirror finish or something smoother. It says 1950s to me so, it stays. I have quite a few more panels to paint and I will be finishing those over the course of the next few days. When it's all done I'll have a newly painted Travel-Riter.