Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Tuesday at the Press Club

Underwood S
“Tuesday at the Press Club”

Post-Script: I've spent most of the last few days working on the Underwood. It's working pretty good now. I ended up threading the ribbon directly onto the machine's spool hubs, instead of using a ribbon wound onto their own spools. This is the generation of Underwood that uses the Remington-style spools with the wide center hub and the auto-reverse lever that senses end of ribbon by ribbon slack and causes a little spring-loaded lever to rotate out a slot in the hub, dropping a linkage through the hollow ribbon spindle that engages the drive shaft to shift sideways to reverse the ribbon. It wouldn't work reliably with the ribbon spooled onto Remington-style spools, but works fine directly threaded onto the machine's hubs. But it does tend to wind the ribbon a bit wonky, causing the ribbon to creep up the pack as it's wound. Perhaps something to do with the angle of the ribbon drive shaft verses the vibrator's guides, but I haven't fully figured it out. But at least it works.

Now the final cleaning is in order. I'm using a spray degreaser and gentle application of a Scotch-brite pad on the textured paint, with care it seems to remove the years of nicotine stains pretty well without affecting the paint.

I still have to wind a bit more tension onto the spring motor, as the carriage gets a bit sluggish near the right margin.

I like the easy-to-remove platen feature, a bit easier than a Smith-Corona 5T series to operate.

A major issue will be cleaning and reattaching the ~3/8" thick sound proofing pads. Has anyone had luck washing these pads with water, or do they disintegrate when wetted? I'd like to remove as much grunge and mold as possible.

I think this is going to be a good typer for its owner.

Our ABQwerty Type Writer Society seems to be gaining traction, with several newcomers showing up on Sunday. It's going to be fun seeing where this goes.

Kevin and I had a deep discussion tonite about the future of the typewriter hobby. When we get old enough, I hope we find good homes for our collection. More importantly, I see the need to evangelize the younger folk into learning typewriter repair, to keep the torch burning. There are a finite number of machines out there, despite the fact that millions were manufactured over the years; million were also trashed after their useful life was over. And a number of machines end up getting ruined through improper packing and rough handling during shipping, so it seems that, ironically, our desire to collect and preserve these machines ends up ruining some. It's best to check out a machine in person and personally transport it ourselves; but that isn't always possible.

We've noted that us older guys end up doing most of the typewriter tinkering in our Society. It's important I feel that we get others involved in the hands-on repair and restoration work.

What do you think? How do you plan on passing the torch?

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3 Comments:

Blogger Bill M said...

Nice work on the Underwood Joe.
I'll look around. I think I have some of those original Underwood ribbons (dry of course) on the correct Underwood spools. I'll look around over the next few days.

11:56 AM  
Blogger Mike A. said...

I admire your courage Joe. I wouldn’t have the guts to crack the case on a typewriter. I’d have bearings all over the place.

I like your idea of passing down knowledge to the next and younger generations. I believe the non digital skills will be essential in their future... apocalypse or not.

9:42 PM  
Blogger Mary E said...

That Underwood badge is something else.

I try to do "catch and release", finding typewriters in the worst shape to work on, fixing them as best I can, and then sending them out into the world. The nonfunctional "junkers" are cheap, and I learn the most from the most broken. Also, I don't feel terrible if I can't fix an already broken typewriter.

8:11 AM  

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~Joe

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