Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Vilhelm The Underwood 5

In light of finding out that Mr. Munk's own Underwood was given the wonderfully draconian name "Drago", I found it necessary to name the first, and only, typewriter I would ever name. And thus, I name this newly rebuilt Underwood "Vilhelm". 

I'm sure you grow weary of seeing dang near the same thing, over and over again (most of the aesthetic work was finished like 3 posts ago), but here it is. The finale. The end of the line. The Underwood has arrived.

It's hard to get proper color shots. The red is a more dark and rich shade then the pictures would otherwise indicate. 

Thank you for bearing with me through the month as I needlessly dumped posts. They served as a sort of forced inspiration to continue. Next month, be prepared for an onslaught of....

A Foxy Restoration!
(Cue Confetti)

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Tuning an Underwood 5

You know, it just so happened that back in the day, when a machine came off the assembly line, it was adjusted and tuned by specially trained individuals who were, so far as I am able to discern, paid quite well for having a fine honed skill. Yet though I  assembled this machine, I must also act as the adjuster; a task that requires far more patience than predicted.

Preparing the Underwood for use, I have sat in my garage pondering and tinkering, trying to get the machine to work as best as possible. These are the truths I discovered. May they help someone, someday.

Here you see the prey; an Underwood 5 typewriter. It lurks in the twilight between "fully functional" and "kinda functional".

Adjustment No. 1: Bell Ringer
Do you hear the bells of liberty ringing? Wonderful. But you should be hearing an Underwood bell ringing. This little doohicky, shown below, is the right margin stop/bell ringer/typebar stop.

In its natural state, it should be up, and when pushed down, spring back up readily. Here inside the machine, looking to the left behind the typebar rest and to the right of the front frame, we see the end of the margin doohicky. You will notice that as the margin is depressed, this moves towards the front of the machine, pushing on the back of the actual bell ringer, and then once the right point it hit on the scale, it moves forward enough to click the typebar stop into place.

For this machine, that was working fine. The spring seemed to be strong, and the bell ringer positioned to make a beautiful ring. So what might the problem be if you think this peice is working correctly? I have an idea that what you are about to see might come as a shock and, truly, as the reason your Underwood no longer hits the bell right.

Here we see the front of the carriage. You will also note that, rather than using "The quick..." etc for checking typing, I actually use, despite it not having all the charecters of the alphabet, the opening line of The Animals hit song, "House of the Rising Sun". Why do I do this? Even I don't know. Anyway, on to the matter at hand.

Flip that sucker over, and behold... part A14. I'm out of creative names. This part ensures that the carriage scale indicator matches up to the actual scale, and, more importantly, runs along and causes the margin stop doohicky to depress. This is the only other real part that belongs to the bell ringing system, but how could this be affecting it? I mean its a solid, straight piece of steel....

HOLY JUMPIN' JACKRABBITS! You may find that, due to the age of your machine and the relentless typing it has undoubtedly produced in its lifetime, that american steel has actually worn down! As you can see, the part has been cut by the margin piece over time, and I was able to see that it conforms perfectly to the edges of the part. To test if this is the real cause, I threw washers under the part Al4 to lower it a bit, and sure enough it made the bell ding happily. It also, however, threw the typebar stop prematurely. I either need to find slightly thinner washers, or get a non-worn part Al4. Regardless, this may be your problem. Check for yourself!

Adjustement 2: Escapement

Do not make the mistake I did. I foolishly, in my reassembly, unscrewed a small escapement action screw. Turns out, youll want to keep that screw in factory position so that all other parts can be brought into adjustment by aligning it to the action of this one tiny screw (shown farther below.)
Here is the escapement in action:

 Wow wasnt that exciting? If you cant see it, the bar to the right of the bright red (the universal lever, activated by the typebar itself rather than the keylevers) moved to the right (backwards), which trips the escapement.

This small screw (locate just above the pointer) is the escapement screw. It adjusts when the universal bar actually hits the escapement. An Underwood is a simpler machine, but in being so, any small issue can cause big problems. I had set the screw to far in, so that the typebars were getting way to much resistance just at the typeguide. The result? half faded letters, some not even making it to the platen at all. Adjust this screw ever so slowly, so that in the end the typebar can reach its full stopping point without any extra effort upon the key, while still tripping the escapement before fully coming to its stop.

Adjustment 3: In relation to the escapement trip, we now have to mess with the spacebar (which for me stopped tripping the escapement entirely after the previous adjustment).

This here is the screw to loosen, then move the bar so that it just barely does not connect to the action point (If need be it can touch, but it may produce a slight squeak).

You cant see it here, but below the forked bit with lever in the middle is where it pushes on the forked bit. 

Adjustment 4: Shifting
My shift bar wasnt sitting low enough ( check by looking at ribbon vibrator switcher holes in comparison to actual ribbon vibrator tiny rods. If that makes any sense.)

Make sure that the part shown just above the bottom most black bar is allowing the left shift key to cause the shift bar rod end to swivel in this part from point to point. The bar rod end has a small jut to catch within the opening.

You can adjust the carriage shift tension with this spring, or...

IF something has already messed with its adjustment, this super spring on the carriage itself.

I found, oddly enough, that the keylever comb was actually causing the shift rod to stay too high. By lifting the comb up, the shift keys could then rise up a bit more as well, resulting in a lower bar.

When messing with the shifting bar's horizontal positioning, make sure the ribbon vibrator is loosened. Otherwise, it will cause the machine to freeze up and shifting will be harder than it should be.

This concludes the first portion of how to tune an Underwood. I'm unsure of what else there will be to show you, but by golly if I find out anything else I will do just that.

Also, in preparation for November being Fox Restoration Month (October having been Underwood Restoration Month), I would like to ask the following:

If a Black Fox were to be repainted or plated, what would it want to be?
-Dark Red
-Nickel (plated)
-Gold (plated)
- Dark Blue
-Light Blue
-Other (describe in comments)

I'm not sure yet as to whether I will mess with the paint on the Fox, but I have the notion that it's a machine (due to the special keys) I would like to make pristine and pretty for use in an office setting if I so desire, and to keep for quite some time. I was also so impressed by the decals from the typewriter decal shop, that I feel I could do it justice.
Let me know what you think.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

An Underwood Dream

As a gathering of typospherians occurs in West Virginia tomorrow, I remain in far flung north Idaho, working diligently upon my Underwood. If anyone going to the meeting desires to do so, I would love to see photos of the many Fox's at Mr. Price's museum (I think he even has an extra-long carriage standard, something I've never seen on a Fox).

To keep myself from being sad at being unable to attend the event, I went ahead and threw the finishing touches on the appearance of the Underwood. This included, in my opinion, the true showstoppers; decals. Save for a broken carriage (the shifting part), this machine is done.

I was able to rig the carriage assembly in place and force it to work (as best as I could get it to) by guiding it with my hand. This cryptic message was produced.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Nearly there; The Underwood Restoration Continues

The Underwood nears completion. The body of the machine is for the most part done, requiring only a few spots of paint touch up, and a bit of tweaking of the key springs and escapement. As I deal with painting the carriage, having already cleaned all the carriage parts, I worked on edging the old dilapidated scale out of its casing.

The thing was flaking off at the touch when I first got the machine two or so years ago, so I hit it with a layer of gloss enamel. That only made the flakes that were coming off shinier. So here I am, trying to replace it.
On that note, if you have an Underwood 5 with a 9 inch length scale (From metal to metal) with markings for 10cpi typeface that is in good condition, I would appreciate a detailed scan of that so I can print out a replica.

I hear that every time a typewriter bell rings, a machine gets a fresh coat of paint. 

The body of the machine is basically done and ready for action!

I have the feeling this thing will be much fun to use 

Also of note, a peculiar parcel arrived, containing an odd arrangement of paper pages with ink upon them.
I would like to mention that, so far as I have read, The Typewriter Revolution is well worth the very affordable cost, and I highly recommend it. The only oddities include the Fox not being named the typewriter every person needs, regardless of anything else, and the fact that under the Underwood description, it is mentioned that one should AVOID those standard machines which have only a shift-lock key on their right. I told my Underwood (which has said "feature"), and it was mortified that someone would avoid it due to such a "wonderful" quirk!

(In all reality, though I will enjoy typing on this machine, I must concur with Mr. Polt in that it is preferable not to have the shift lock when you try to use your right hand to shift. I can forsee myself having a lot of half-capital words in the future.)

Friday, October 16, 2015

Another Belowtree Update

The Underwood keeps slowly coming together. In cleaning the machine, I'm always glad to take the time to compare before and after pieces so that I can assure myself all is going well, and looking better.

Nice and shiny new lacquer on the left, dull dirty dusty tarnishing on the right.

This immediate difference made my day:

The left bar had previously looked like the right bar, but steel wool put an end to that.

I have every single remaining part of the body of the machine cleaned and painted, ready to be installed. That is just waiting on... 

41 typebars. Yay for countless forthcoming hours of sitting like a zombie at the bench, dremel-ing away.

FUN FACT! The Underwood is designed to allow you to take out the type-bars without much dissassembly. Simply throwing the escapement and another bit allows you to wiggle type-bars out. Now you have no excuse to not clean your Underwood type-bars fully!

Has progress occurred? You decide!

Before being torn asunder

Trust me, it looked worse than the picture would lead you to assume.

Torn asunder, all the way to the frame.

Everything taken off, including the paint.

A new paint job

Assembly begins

Current stage:
Keyboard completed, Ribbon assembly installed and tuned, Escapement, slotted segment, and type-bar rest installed, type-bar installation beginning.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Invasion of the Foxes

Either there is something natural about Foxes migrating to north Idaho, or I'm secretly trying to collect them all. The world may never know.

You may recognize this battered machine as the one and same Fox Typewriter previously possessed by Mr. Mark Adams of Type-Writer.Org. In obtaining it from him, I have secured that most vital piece of the restoration puzzle I have been missing; a parts machine. Though I believe that with alot of time, effort, and love, I could have made this machine whole once again, this machines sacrifice will provide for the currently dissassembled No. 23 two shifting arms, a nickel carriage push, an unbroken front bar, and any other odds and ends I might need. For my No. 25, it will provide tab stops and a stencil key top. And its ball bearings will be of great use.

The Foxes continue to arrive en force. I also was able to purchase, in a weak moment (though for a very reasonable and worthwhile price), another Fox, this one a No. 24. Most excitingly, it had its case! And I must say I've never seen such a heavy duty case. Don't mind the dings, this things thick steel.

And finally, having arrived with the currently disassembled No. 23, my new watchful protector. He protects the workbench at night from the evil that would harm any innocent typewriter.

 The invasion has changed the pecking order for my current list of machines. Previously, Underwood took top spot in terms of numbers, but it now ties with Fox;

9 Fox's
9 Underwoods
3 Coronas
3 Royals
3 L.C.S&Corona
3 Remingtons
2 Olivers

 Extra tidbits:
Before the invasion began, I had just finished up on this little guy. The original layer of paint had been messed with pretty badly by some previous owner, so I went ahead and scrubbed it all off. With a little polish, and some water avoidance, this steely little 3-bank stands out amongst the crowd.

The Underwood 5 now has its full keyboard. The freshly painted key levers contrast outstandingly against the red frame, and the cleaned nickel just adds to the whole look.