Sunday, August 14, 2016
Typewriter Case Replacement for a Remington Noiseless 7
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.
Posted by David Randall