Good Enough, Close Enough
Post-Script: Another theory is that I'm sufficiently unskilled at typewriter repair that I have to use these kinds of justifications to live with a collection of machines that's less than pristine. But really, as soon as you drive that new car home from the dealership, it's beginning its long decline into decrepitude. All it takes is sufficient time. And so it is with typewriters, whose parts are essentially no longer being manufactured; in contrast with antique automobiles where you can assemble an entire 1930s-era Ford Coupe from parts ordered from catalogs. And thus we find ourselves, as typewriter lovers and users, living with little nagging problems, the essential ingredient being not letting them nag you to bits.
I think this is one key factor in the phenomenon of uncontrollable typewriter collecting (I'm a recovering addict), that we'd like to find some specimen with that ideally perfect combination of typing action, appearance, features, functionality and reliability, all rolled into one. It's fairly easy to find two or three out of the five, but all five? A perfect typewriter? Not gonna happen! Thus the mantra indicated in the title of this piece.
But I did take the Olympia SF out to the work bench today and performed more tinkering. When I'd first cleaned it last week the foam insulation pieces glued inside the side panels fell to dust. So today I replace them with 1/4" thick black craft foam and double-sided adhesive sheets. I also added some to the inside of the top ribbon cover, which never had any from the factory. There was enough clearance between the inside of the top panel and the ribbon spool axles to permit installation without interference, which hopefully will further reduce the noise level; not that it's so excessively noisy to use, but it's also not the quietest in my collection; and being small and easy to carry, I'm more apt to use it in public.
I also looked into the wobbly carriage bearings, which I made mention of in Episode 60 of the Typewriter Video Series. I tightened the rear bearing track a bit by adjusting the set screws, then reoiled the bearings with gun oil. Now there's a bit less wobble. Afterwards I did a half page or so of test typing, and this afternoon I'm going to sit in the front patio, drink more coffee and do some stream-of-unconsciousness typing.
This morning I took the Olympia SF, in a shoulder bag on my motorcycle, down to Michael Thomas Coffee in Nob Hill and did some indoor typing at the bar adjacent to their fancy siphon coffee machines. The combination of mad scientist-looking glass lab ware, manual typewriter and wood-&-metal counter somehow fit nicely together. I didn't get any negative feedback from my typing, as I'd asked the waitstaff ahead of time, and the gal indicated another of their customers also types there. I did overhear some customer point out my typing as they walked inside, but it didn't sound all that negative, probably some snide remark about hipsters. Imagine me, a nearly 60 year-old hipster!
I also handed out more fliers for the April 23 ABQ Type-In. Now I need to get more printed up.