Monday, January 31, 2011

The Best Laid Plans

I still need help.
The Maroon SM3 (pictured to the left) was in a rough-ish state. The carriage return lever struck the body, the carriage itself wouldn't move very easily, and the typebars were a little sticky. I was confident that I could take this machine and restore it to some semblance of it's former glory. At least, that was the plan.

The restoration started off well enough. I took my time and removed all the body panels. There was all manner of garbage hidden behind those panels. I took my time using penetrating oil to clean the mechanism. Everything loosened up and worked very well. Then, I tried to re-install the machine into the body panels.

For some reason, after the outer case was screwed down, the carriage refused to advance using the spacebar. That is not entirely accurate, the spacebar would advance as far as the next tabulator stop. The spacebar is actuing like a tabulator! I am sure that there is some small spring in the escapement that worked loose, but it's disheartening. The carriage was moving well before this little set-back. Back to the bench it goes.

I am sure that every typewriter enthusiast has a similar story. It's part of the learning process. Hopefully, I can get it working soon.


  1. It's tough to say why it is not advancing properly without knowing/seeing more. Regarding the carriage lever hitting the body, do you know about changing the rubber washers where the frame meets the body down each of the rubber feet?

    Good luck. I still have not found a portable that I like as well as an SM-3. I hope she gets back to life here soon.

  2. In fact, if those rubber washers are old or missing, I have a hunch that that could be causing the spacebar issue, too.

  3. Can't help with the escapement issue, though I can offer pictures of the underside of a working SM3 is you need them.

    As for the return lever hitting the machine, replace the bushings! Maybe you have done this already. On the bottom of the machine there are four screws. No, not the feet. The other four. If you unscrew one, you may be able to wriggle out a crushed, dried husk of something that was once a rubber bushing. Replace with a thick faucet washer from the hardware store. Put the screw back in, and do the same for the other three screws, one at a time.

    The SM3 "floats" on these bushings, and when they flatten, it causes all manner of dragging and scraping and carriage woes. Replacement will fix them.

  4. Snohomish beat me! Replace them first, and see what still is/is not working afterwards. It was night-and-day for my first SM3, which used to grind horribly. I agree: I think they float things up. Your issue could be as simple as some part hitting the table because the whole machine is riding too low.

  5. Thanks for the suggestions. I did replace the bushings, but they might not be high enough. I'll look at the other SM3 to see if there is something I missed. That could be a real possibility because this machine has thousands of little, itty, bitty parts.

  6. I may have mentioned it first, Mike, but you described it much more eloquently. You have me beat in the "eloquence" category in both postings and letters. Nice work!