Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Clean as a Whistle

The Underwood Universal in my collection had some pretty sluggish type bar segments. I hadn't been able to get them as clean as they needed to be. As such, I had no idea how nice a feel this typewriter had until I was actually able to use it. 

What gummed up the segments was a mystery, but I got to talking to a gun fan about some of the products sportsmen use to keep their firearms clean. We talked back and forth about what factors would gum up a type bar segment. I argued that metal grit, old oil, and fouling from dust would be the main factors determining whether a type bar segment was sluggish.  With barely a moments hesitation he recommended:

Hoppe's No. 9 is a solvent used for cleaning gun bores. Lead, old powder, and other flotsam falls prey to the power of this kerosene-based cleaner which–to my eye–leaves very little residue. Using a skewer, I placed a few drops of this cleaner in the offending segment. I let it do its work and then came back to clean up what was leftover. I am not one for miracle products, but this stuff worked quite well. There was a black residue that worked its way to the surface of the segments. I wiped this away as it appeared and with time–and regular typing–I was able to get the segments as clean as they were off the line.

The difference between what was there and what came out is the difference between night and day. Lithe and responsive, the keyboard is a joy to use.