Friday, April 9, 2010

I Feel the Need

...the need to paint. Must be the sudden burst of Spring in the air, but I'm looking for another victim-typewriter to doll up, after seeing Duffy's marvelous job on his big honkin' Royal and seeing the "Twolympia" (an SM9-in-a-SM3 body) on the Portable Typewriters group. I spotted a modern Royal Safari III the other day featuring the same yellowed-with-age plastic body style as the Pimpwriter. I passed it up, but I'm starting to think that maybe I need to take spray-can in hand and do another one up...

Also, I'm itching to try the "sheep dip" method of cleaning out a typewriter, namely, dunking/flushing the whole thing in warm soapy water and then drying it out, versus all the meticulous brushing and digging and picking that I normally do for machines. I think I'd like to try it on a beater first, before soaking a more vintage machine.

Hmmm. And it had a thick felt typing pad and everything... hmmmm!

Post-Thrift Update:

Or maybe not. I gave the Royal a hands-on try, and a more careful looking-over. Mechanically, it was fine, but the ribbon cover panel was completely MIA, so... not worth it. Although it did jog my memory about the Remington Premier that I have around:

Sperry-Rand Remington Premier, c 1960s?

This one could certainly use a deep-cleaning, and it's that all-plastic body that loves to be painted. I'm looking into paint color choices now.

11 comments:

jahearn said...

Yup, me too, I feel the urge both to sip and paint. I have an old beat-up SM7 that I will probably do both to. Question on painting: how do you figger out what paint or dye to use? And do you have to prime first?

mpclemens said...

For my Brother typewriter, I used a spray can of vinyl/fabric paint from an auto parts store. It's meant to be used on dashboards and car seats, with no priming. As near as I can tell, it's regular paint with a solvent mixed in that either absorbs into the plastic, or just makes the stuff very, very runny and hence makes the coating thin.

For a metal-bodied typewriter, I would use a regular metal-friendly paint, though the Twolympia was professionally done by an auto painter. I think they stripped the old paint first, and maybe primed? You'd have to ask on the list.

Taping and masking is absolutely essential if you cannot dissemble. Check out Duffy's photo stream on Flickr to see the pains he went through to paint. The brother was simpler, as it was just two plastic parts that screwed together through the feet. If the Royal is anything like that, then there's a good chance I'll pick it up.

SnohomishWriter said...

I've been considering a paint job for my Olivetti 21 but I have to decide first if I'm going to keep it for a long time.

Olivander said...

I'd have bought that Royal just for the felt pad.

In answer to jahearn, it depends upon the finish and the condition that it is in. I personally prefer to strip clean down to the metal. By the time you add primer, a couple layers of paint, and a couple layers of clearcoat over the existing finish, you may build the thickness up too much for the body parts to fit back together well.

If you're painting over an existing surface that can't be stripped (like the SM7's), I definitely recommend priming. It will help prevent separation/bubbling, and you can use white, grey, or black primer to help control the brightness of whatever color you're putting over the top of it.

I've "sheep dipped" two now, a Remington Seventeen and a Royal FP, and both came out the better for it. Got most of the water out with a hair dryer, then--because it was a sunny day with a light breeze--I set them on their backs out in the yard and let nature do the rest. Afterward misted down the innards with a mixture of mineral spirits and 3-in-1 oil, which should help prevent oxidation from any stray droplets.

mpclemens said...

Olivander, I considered it just for the pad. I managed to do a little inspection under the wary eye of the store staff: it's thicker than my own hand-knit ones, but by no means denser. I could whip up something equivalent in My Choice of Fashion Colors, no less (this was the standard industrial-felt-brown.)

Besides, I just lightened the collection by two (and then added one right back in.) better that I don't achieve numerical stasis quite so quickly, especially after touting the departure of the two to my lovely wife.

jahearn said...

Many thanks, Mike and Olivander, for yr comments on painting. I am really primed (sorry for the bad pun) to paint my SM7 now.

Olivander, how do you strip paint on metal typer panels? Do you just sand it off or is there a better way? And, also, what do you use to clear-coat?

Thanks for the help--I am a good writer, and an avid typer, but a rotten painter.

olivander said...

What is it about that family of Royals and their ribbon covers? I have five, and a grand total of two covers. (If you look closely at those Royals on MoLG, you'll see multiple cameo appearances by the same cover.) The springs that hold the covers in place aren't flimsy or missing. I don't get it.

jahearn, I believe that it's called simply "clear coat". You'll find it in with the other spray paints. They produce different finishes (flat, satin, gloss), so note that on the can. I like gloss, but that's just me.

I strip the paint using a wire brush drill attachment. Clamp the piece that you're stripping in a vise if you value your finger flesh. I imagine one could talk an automotive shop into sandblasting it for you for not too much money.

Duffy Moon said...

Go forth and paint, clemens.
My big honkin' Royal ended up coral (NOT pink) primarily because 1) its gray finish was so discolored and nasty something needed to be done and 2) the awesome discount hardware/homewhere store in my neck of the woods had a dozen or so cans of Rustoleum American Accents paint, all in Coral, for a buck each.
Might be another coral typer or two in my future.
(They also had a half-dozen or so Krylon cans, all in some maroon-ish color, whose exact name I don't know because all the wording on the can - excepting the word "Krylon" was in Arabic. Also for a buck.)

mpclemens said...

I found some smaller "foreign car" paint cans at the auto-supply store, as well as some metallic stuff that is supposedly "great for helmets." If I do the Remington, I'll likely stick to just the grey plastic parts and leave the base and case id alone: both are black.

Also, for some reason I really want to gouge out the (stained, dirty) branding and fill it in with something cool. Maybe glow-in-the-dark model paint. Part of me also wants to mount some LEDs inside, a battery and switch.

It's a sickness.

olivander said...

"Part of me also wants to mount some LEDs inside, a battery and switch."

Ah, we're thinking alike. I presently have a disassembled Super-Sterling for which I've been looking into just that thing. (It's going to be a Vegas theme.) So far, most of the battery-powered mini-LEDs I've come across have been prohibitively expensive. This may call for cannibalizing and re-soldering some Christmas lights.

Duffy, Krylon is great stuff. It's what I use 90% of the time. For a buck a can, who cares what language the label is in?

mpclemens said...

Olivander, I was thinking about dollar-store LED reading lights. They should already have the electronics on board to power them off regular batteries. They could become colored LEDs with the careful application of some permanent marker.