Sunday, August 14, 2016
The typewriter from eBay (Remington Rand Noiseless 7) arrived with its case, and was in pretty good shape...except for the smell. Mold. This was not a problem for the typewriter - a new ribbon and time in the open air cleared that. The case was a different matter. Even closed, it couldn’t stay in the house.
In the garage workshop I sprayed the case many times with mold control, and even Mother’s Upholstery Cleaner (heavy on the ammonia). As soon as the spray dried, back came the smell.
The only solution was to strip the hardware from the case, build a new one from 3/16" Baltic birch plywood, and fit the hardware to the new case.
Stripping the hardware.
Most of the hardware on this case is held on with rivets and washers. Some are obvious, but others, like the catch to close the lid, need you to remove the covering of the box with a utility knife to find the end to drill to release the rivet.
The latches that hold the typewriter in place also had filler over those drillable ends. To find those, look on the other side where the catches are, then cut the case covering roughly to match on the other side, and the three round, filled holes appear. The drilling point for those is dead center of the filled hole. These holes also have a re-inforcing tube that the rivet goes through.
The handle has four prongs, two on the plate at each end, that go through the wood of the case, through a square plate with two slots, and then the prongs are bent outwards to secure the handle. These prongs have to be bent up to release them from the slotted plates and the case. If you don't have a handy small crow bar, an old screwdriver might do, just keep your other hand well out the way in case it slips.
At the end of this work you'll have a bunch of hardware and an old, smelly case, full of holes, but don’t throw it away yet.
The old case is a handy set of templates to fit the hardware to your new case. I sized and cut the top, base and sides from a half sheet (4' by 2') of 3/16th Baltic birch plywood.
Setting a pair of dividers to the width of my 1/4" chisel, I marked the end of one of the plywood sides of the case to make finger joints. With the slots cut, I used it as a template for the other seven ends. Two important things. First, mark the waste parts you will cut out with a pencil "X". Second, the actual cuts should always be on the waste side of the line. Even if you are using an Xacto Razor Saw, like me, this precaution will keep your joints tight.
Then came the base. Easy enough to transfer the holes from the old case for fitting the hardware, but things can go too well. I marked it to have dovetails that would fit in slots cut in the bottom of each side, then cut them, and marked the sides where the tails would fit. I then put the project down, neglecting to mark which was the waste to cut away from the sides. Grabbing a spare moment, I cut out the slots with the razor saw and a coping saw. Then I tried fitting the sides to the base. From the photo you'll see the problem. I had cut away the wrong parts! Never hurry, it's always a bad idea.
Luckily I had cut the sides a bit tall, so went around removing the "castellations", then re-marked and re-cut the slots in the right places.
I got it right with the top of the case, no dovetails there, then glued, nailed, and clamped it together.
To cut the base from the top, so I could open and close the case, I marked the line around, making the cut with a Ryoba style pull saw. This was a Shark saw with a replaceable blade, as it was handling plywood.
For parts like the securing latches that hold the typewriter in the case and the hinges, I tested the holes I had drilled using small nuts and bolts, then replaced these with pop rivets when I was happy with the fit.
With the latch that closes the lid I kept the small nuts and bolts in place in case it needed adjustment later.
Fitting the handle meant re-bending the handle prongs.
The case feet were not reusable, so I fitted speaker feet bought from eBay to the base, and to the side opposite the handle.
I cut strips of plywood to make a lip that would keep the top and base of the case together when it was closed, and glued them in place.
In time I may cover the case in fabric, but for the moment I used shellac for the finish. I don't expect to use this case out of doors, so shellac will do.
This was one of those projects that took me a bunch of weekends, as I fitted it in between other projects that were more urgent. I now use this case with a Remington Quiet Model 1. This is because the final case was heavier than I had expected, and the Quiet Model 1 is a lighter typewriter, but with the same latching mechanism to secure it to the base. The result is okay, but still weighs as much as a desktop typewriter. Another time I will buy an aluminium tool case, or use a laptop case, as I do with my Olympia SF. Less work and a more satisfactory result.
Sunday, March 13, 2016
I bought this Sears Citation typewriter at a flea market in Bremerton last weekend. Other than a cleaning, the only problem was both carriage release levers were broken, leaving two sharp-edged pieces.
These pulled off with pliers, leaving two 3/8th inch high tabs of steel, 3/16th inch wide by 75/1000th inch thick. Experimenting with brass tubing, I found some with 3/16th inch outside diameter, 5/32nds inch internal diameter, was a tight push fit over these carriage release lever tabs.
I cut a couple of 2 inch lengths of tube to make new levers. To strengthen the tubing, and make it look better, I put 5/32nd diameter brass rod in from the top, cutting it 5/32nd inch proud of the tubing. This was filed to chamfer the top edge, then super-glued into the tube, just below the top of the tube. That way, if I need to remove the levers at a later date, they remain just a push fit.
With some cleaning and a new ribbon, this is now a well-made and functional typewriter again.
Sunday, November 2, 2014
Some typewriters have useful paper supports like the Smith Corona "Rabbit's Ears" or the Olympia fold up extending support, but others need help.
I've worked out a simple, fast solution that works for my Remington Quiet Model 1, and may work for your typewriter too.
You need a popsicle stick and a spring clothespeg:
Remove one side of the spring clothespeg, and substitute the popsicle stick:
Make sure the end of the popsicle stick doesn't go past the clamping end of the clothespeg.
Depending on the paper table of your typewriter, you might want to trim off a piece of the clothespeg end, like this:
Clip this onto the middle of the typewriter paper table, with the popsicle stick towards you, and you are ready to read the whole of your page as you type:
Saturday, July 5, 2014
Not everyone who has a Remington Noiseless 7 Typewriter has a small metalworking lathe to use to help make spool covers. So, here's a faster, cheaper, and still effective way to make do it. Instead of turning those two inch disks from brass, buy a couple of zinc plated fender washers.
My source for these was Monster Fastener - see https://monsterfastener.com/group/fasteners/washers/fender-washer?sel=icscal:Standard;icdia1:1/4%22%20(%2314);icdia2:2%22;&sortfield=icrank&page=1
This should take you to the page with 2" diameter washers with 1/4" holes. There's a minimum order with these of 15, but they are not expensive and you'll find uses for the rest.
In addition to the fender washers you need a couple of zinc-plated round-topped carriage bolts with 1/4" shanks, a couple of 5/8" diameter washers with 1/4" holes, and a length of 9/32" brass tubing.
File out the centre of the 5/8" washers to fit the brass tube.
Super glue the two washers together and the brass tube through them.
At the end of the bolt shank nearest the head, there's a square part that normally secures that end in a square hole. File the first corner down until you start to file the threads on the shank. Do the same with each of the four corners.
The bolt should be a close fit in the end of the brass tube.
Cut off the threaded part of the shank with a junior hacksaw.
Hold the end in pliers as you finish cutting, because the head will be hot.
Cut the end of the brass tube sticking out the washers so the height of the brass tube (including the washers) is 1/2".
Now glue in the head of the cut-off bolt.
Do this twice and you have a pair of spool covers, as I did for my second Remington Rand Noiseless 7 Typewriter.
No lathe required.
Tuesday, May 20, 2014
What does someone with a Remington Noiseless 7 want? Another one. I bought this (see above) on Ebay today, and it is on its way to me. Depending on the condition when it arrives, I may well take it to Bob Montgomery at Bremerton Office Machine Co. for a clean and tune-up.
This one has spool covers, and a carrying case. I will probably make another set of brass spool covers for it, but the case is intriguing. I would like to make a case for my existing typewriter, but to do that I need to see how an existing case works, how it latches onto the base of the typewriter, and how the load is distributed by the case handle.
Sunday, May 11, 2014
The Remington Noiseless 7 typewriter I bought in April needed tab stops. Bob Montgomery, the typewriter repair chap at Bremerton Office Machine Co. where I bought it, showed me what these looked like from the repair manual. They are n-shaped pieces of flat metal that slip over a bar at the back of the machine. He explained the originals that came with the typewriter were often discarded as it wasn't obvious what they did, but that replacements could be made.
The paper table folds back to show this bar, which has slots on its front and back to hold the metal stops. When folded forward the paper table rests on the top of the stops so they won't fall off.
As you may have noticed sometimes happens, Plan A, to use slotted washers cut in half, looked likely, and easy to do, but failed because the slots were too wide. That meant the stops wouldn't stop.
Plan B was to make the stops from a strip of 0.032" x 1/2" x 12" K & S brass from Ace Hardware.
Step one - make a slot that would fit on the tab bar.
Two small cuts with a junior hacksaw leave a tongue that breaks off by moving it up and down with a pair of thin ended pliers.
The slot this left was filed more accurately square with a flat needle file, and tested with the typewriter bar from underneath at the back until it just fitted.
The end of the strip with the slot in it was cut off to leave the n-shape, and the top corners rounded with a file.
With two of these in place the tab button has a use. If you need more, make them the same way.
Using the tab stops makes the carriage stop suddenly and it was sliding on the oak platform of the typewriter stand, so I put a piece of non-slip shelf liner under it. I'll cut it to fit in due course.
Friday, May 2, 2014
Next step is the platform for the typewriter. I happened to have a piece of oak that cut nicely into three 12" lengths, but choose whichever wood works for you. Plane the joining edges in pairs, and edge glue them.
Part 1 Part 2
After the glue has set for a day, level the glued up board across the grain with a fore plane, flatten the top and bottom with a smoothing plane, and chamfer the edges with a block plane.
Put the stand upside-down on the underside of the board, centre the column, and draw round it with pencil. Put a mark on one corner of the column and on the base. That will let you align the two together.
Screw figure of eight connectors to the top of the column. Note the two that will be affected by wood expansion and contraction of the top are turned so they can swivel as the wood moves with the humidity.
With the base upside-down again, mark holes for screws through the figure of eight connectors with an awl. Take away the column again to drill pilot holes, then screw the column to the platform.
Turn the stand the right way up and you can use it with your typewriter or laptop.
If you find the stand too tall, you can remove the figure of eight connectors, saw some of the column off, and remount the figure of eight connectors easily. If it is too short, you can shim the space between the column and the platform.
In use I've made this so my feet go either side of the column comfortably. When I'm sure the height is perfect, and I've added a copy holder to the back of the platform, I'll varnish the stand for protection.
Part 1 Part 2