Wednesday, February 2, 2011

It's a Typewriter Month Miracle!

The Maroon Olympia is fixed! The problem was in the carriage release which was not releasing properly when the escapement advanced. It was as simple as removing an errant piece of metal that had jammed up the machinery. I am much happier now it is working properly.

I promised a blow-by-blow account of the process, but I forgot my camera was there. I did catch a few informative images that might help others in their own restorations.

I know that I promised wanted to use a water bath and dry the machine in the oven. I was a little apprehensive about the process, so I used penetrating oil instead. It was still a very dunk-like job.

A towel is the most important thing to
have in all the universe.
It was a nice, warm, and sunny day. It made the machine warm to the touch and aided in making the penetrating oil run nicely. I wanted to have a way for the oil to drip off the frame freely. I had an old metal screen and placed it over a trashcan. In the bottom of the can I had a pan collecting the oil that dripped off. The larger can was tall enough that I didn't have to stoop and bend. I placed the typewriter on top of this screen and applied the oil all over the place. After a few minutes elapsed, the machine was noticeably cleaner. I used an old toothbrush to scrub some of the tougher parts. There was a ton of junk in the bowels of this typewriter. All sorts of gunk grime, goo, and eraser dust worked loose and ran out the bottom of the frame into the drip pan.
Shiny and new.
The only negative would be the distinctive smell of the penetrating oil. I have no doubt that the smell will dissipate over the coming days and months. I was really surprised with how well everything cleaned up. It looks like a new machine on the inside.

Sticky platen.
I thought that belt dressing would be a good way to make the platen a little more rubbery. Standing it on end I lightly sprayed the auto belt conditioner. After a reasonable time elapsed the platen was sticky and gooey. I must have added too much or this product just isn't suitable for platens. I tried rinsing the sticky layer off with some water, but it wouldn't come off. I then tried some rubbing alcohol. A thin layer of grime and rubber came off revealing slightly softer rubber below. I took some wet/dry sandpaper and gave it a good scrub. After the treatment it was noticeably better.

I cleaned the body panels with some warm water and All (free and clear) laundry detergent. Laundry detergent has a bluing agent that give everything a little glow. I like it. I used a soft toothbrush to get in the crackle paint. After the panels were dry I went over them with Pledge. Pledge was a suggestion from Richard Polt's web site and it worked really well. The body has a nice lustre. There is still the scratch from where the carriage return lever scratched the body, but it just ads to the uniqueness of the machine.

Take a look at an after and before. 

Nice and new (After)                                   Dirty, unloved. (Before)
 Overall, the project was a success and I learned a great deal about typewriter cleaning. Primarily, I need to take my time. I think rushing this job would really ruin it.