Saturday, May 6, 2017

Speed Restoration

If my calculations are correct, when this baby hits 88 WPM, you're going to see some serious shit.

I fully expected it to take at least a solid week, based on my usual habits regarding time spent in the workshop. But for reasons not to be explained, I decided to see just how quickly I could get one of these turned around (especially due to them being my specialty).

The results were positive, though the expediency of the cleaning efforts was certainly helped by the fact that the machine actually worked with me, whereas most seem to actively resist my cleaning and restorative attempts. Save for the one thin rod not wanting to come out, all other screws and parts came apart properly, the rust was only a real problem on the topside of the carriage, and  by golly even without oil the cleaned pieces worked right.

Behold, El Zorro Espanol!

 Yes yes, I know I'm terrible at taking pictures. But it should be easy to tell how much cleaner this Fox is now. The paint is a bit iffy, and there is evidence that it was actually repainted previously, but I decided to just give it a layer of protective wax rather than really try to buff it up or anything. Apparently having sat in a Texas storefront for the better part of a few decades, I like to think it has a "Texas Sun-baked" sort of look.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Line 'em up, Knock 'em down

Welcome back to FNN, the Fox News Network, bringing you round the clock information and pictures about everyone's favorite typewriter brand.

I decided to crack open the Typewriter Repair Bible just for the heck of it as I worked on the Fox 24.

But there were no sections on Fox. A wonderful resource for the sane individual who doesn't completely dissect his or her machines for cleaning and repair without hesitation. I am not sane. Still, at some point I will most likely look for helpful tips within this magnificent tome; for now, I know Fox well enough I suppose.

The finished No. 24 in all its glory. I was able to find quite a few small changes that the company made by this point, outside of the obvious ones like the keytops. Most of the changes seemed to be aimed at making it cheaper to manufacture.

Typesample, complete with little accent markings so that the machine can be used for a multitude of languages I presume. Cool little curly F which I assume is some country's currency symbol.

Cash Register: Check
Fox 24: Check
Fox Sterling: Entering Restoration Stage 1

You were introduced to this wonderful little Fox Sterling a few posts ago. It is special due to its spanish keyboard, of which I know of no other Fox portables to possess.

Everything is set for the operation. For once, I decided to time myself to see how long it takes to disassemble the machine.

It took a whopping 4 minutes for me to get to this stage.

Carriages are cleaned last in this workshop, so here we have the main body of the machine.

And roughly 34 mintues later, here's what we have. I was slowed down quite a bit by the thin rod that runs along the back of the frame (holding in a part of the keylever system) which refused all attempts to come out. I had to be a little unorthodox in my methods, but I eventually got it out.

It may look like a mess, but beleive you me; This is a well organized disaster zone. I've done this enough times, after all.

I was thrilled to find that what I thought was rust was really just a dirty, old oil coating. There is still some rust, by all means, but nowhere near what I had expected. Here, you can see how nicely the keylevers will clean up.

 This episode of the Fox News Network brought to you by Purple Power industrial strength degreaser; when steel wool just isn't as efficient as it should be, cut through the dirt with highly corrosive chemicals.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Magic Trick: National Cash Register

Want to see a magic trick?




 This cash register can now register cash again.

The original nickel plating was long gone; all that was left was a layer of paint someone else put on the machine, so I had the choice of either cleaning up the old dilapidated paint, scrubbing it all away to showcase the solid brass, or give it a new paint job. I chose to repaint it because getting the old paint out of every nook and cranny would have been a insanly time consuming task. Some day I may do that, or even get it properly re-nickel plated. Until then, here are some pictures of the process I took.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

The Workshop Ramps Up To Tackle Projects Galore

Relatively warm weather has arrived (between the bursts of rain and heavy wind, at the least), and with it my "workshop" begins to ramp up operations after a rather uneventful winter.

First we have the lovely Fox 24, with 90 some years of dirt and grime. I'm curious where this stuff actually comes from at a point; does dust congeal over time, especially in humid environments? Just one of those things I guess.

Dirty typebars.

Dirty keys.

Dirty everything.

After a short while on the workbench, a bit of steel wool, dremeling, and some glass cleaner, the keys look quite a bit more presentable. They'll never be perfect, as the celluloid has at a core level become faded, and some are cracked, but the nickel is shining and all legends are easily readable.

A bit of work has started to make the longer typebars more presentable as well, though they still have a ways to go.

Though on the operation table, the Fox from the Netherlands met the Fox from Ohio. This little Sterling arrived safely and soundly from the collection of Mr. Richard Polt, and will be getting the full restoration treatment. I suppose I've specialized in Fox portables, honestly.

The main reason I wanted this machine; it's Spanish keyboard.

It's a bit worn, but impressively enough it seems to currently be operational for the most part (Fox portables rarely seem to be). It wont clean up perfectly, as I assume a good bit of the nickeling is beyond saving, but it will gleam again.

One of the best things with Fox's: They're just so dang easy to take apart for cleaning. To this point. Any further and you'll need an expert mechanic to help figure out what the heck to do.

A bit of organization led to this picture of my Shelf of Projects and Parts;

Represented here, we have a Fox Sterling, Fox Portable 1, Fox 24, two Philco radios, a Hammond Multiplex, an Emerson,  an Underwood 3-bank in green, a Royal P, a Royal Deluxe, a Royal O, an Olympia Simplex, an Underwood Noiseless, and an SMC grey machien from the 60s that I cant remember the name of. Sterling, probably.

But though typewriters are my main interest, I grab other objects of interest at times. I picked this particular thing off Craigslist just the other day;

An NCR 313 cash register, meant for smaller shops back in the day. It was at one point nickel plated; I have determined that the nickel plating must have gone to hell, because what you see on it now is actually a layer of faux-silver paint, which I may or may not take off. This machine is near solid brass underneath the paint, so that would look nice as well.

Mechanically, far simpler than any typewriter (though considerably bigger and heavier).

A cool registration sheet of sorts was on the bottom of the drawer; this sucker was made in June of 1916.

I've only cracked one cash register open before, but it made sure to let me know what to expect when you pull the bottom and sides off; more dead bugs and dirt than you can shake a stick at. And, oddly enough, a bunch of pennies from the 70s.

Just like typewriters, these things have nickeled keys which clean up beautifully. Heres the 5 cent key after just a few minutes.

Moving between the Fox and the cash register lets me avoid getting tired of a single task, so there's that. Here's the base cash register.

So many projects. But it's always nice to clean and preserve things like this, and it will make a fine addition to my collection of antiquities.