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Thursday, September 16, 2010

For starters: Basic restoration

One site I've found amazingly full of tips is this one.
However, the wall of text is a little confronting, and some of the advice doesn't really apply to everyone. Anything I mention can be easily found in Australia.
I've taken a little time to summarise some of the best and some of the ones I've found most useful.

Note these tips are primarly for cosmetic/rust-removing restoration!
  • Clean white cloths: the site recommends these, and they're great. Make sure you get ones which won't leave too much fluff or any threads, and often parts on a typewriter can be a little sharp or jagged and tear them up. For this reason, tissues or cotton buds are useful only for very gentle cleaning, or on the smooth surfaces. 
  • WD40 (and other degreasers/rust-removers) is absolutely amazing. Often typewriters have been over-oiled, and over time this oil has mixed with dust to become a sticky mess. Not only does WD40 get rid of this mess fairly easily, it also attacks any rust. Make sure to wipe off any excess so the process doesn't repeat!
  • A toothbrush works really well at getting at some of the deeper reaches of a typewriter. You can  apply a degreaser or other product to the end to aid in your scrubbing. Just make sure to clean the head often so you aren't just pushing the rust/grime around, and replace the toothbrush before any bristles go missing.
  • The pictures (or decals) on a typewriter can often become faint or damaged over time. This is a tricky area; often new decals are very expensive or incredibly hard to find. Often sites which claim to sell them are incredibly outdated, so make sure the information is still current. I've found that a nice clean can bring the decal to an acceptable level, and often the state will be accepted as rustic regardless.
  • Rust: you may need to prevent it or remove it, but it's almost always a problem. For preventing, once you've cleaned up the machine and removed any rust, use a degreaser then apply an oil very lightly, removing any excess. Removal of rust is difficult.  Depending on the part, it may require a small application of WD40 and light scrubbing, fine steel wool or very fine sand paper. Make sure the part won't suffer from whichever method you choose.
Hopefully these tips are somewhat helpful, I'll be back with some more starters on purchasing (and selling too perhaps) soon!


  1. you're making me wanna bust out the ol' black typewriter and spiff it up. Thanks for helping me rediscover the glory days..

  2. Damn, that's awesome. Another thing WD40 is good for. That's like a miracle lube. It's even great for fishing.

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