Monday, April 8, 2013

Dear Mr. Remington: Well-Played, Jerkface

Is there no depth to which my old nemesis refuses to sink? I was ticked to find that Scott's 3-D printed part should -- with some care -- fit my new/old Underwood Noiseless, and while I wait for his part to be printed and shipped, I've been looking at the drawband problem.

Here, in essence, is the problem:

Drawband and drum
(All that hair is actually wool fibers from the homemade typing mat.)

That piece of cord doesn't extend very far out of frame, and only a few molecules of that classic waxed twine is left on the carriage end. No matter! I have replacement code left over from my last Remington re-stringing, and I see that this has the same, annoyingly-small hole in the side of the drum. On the Monarch, I had to expose the spring to retrieve the old cord's knot and feed in a new knot. Scary, but not impossible.

So I've got the Underwood (née Remington) on its back, and I prepare to undo the back plate of the drum to get at the spring. And here is where Mr. Remington's cleverly-laid trap was sprung! (Every pun intended.)

Against all reason, the spring on this machine is sealed up tight -- the drum is crimped together like a tin can. The screw that I thought held the backplate on actually fastened the whole drum to the machine. The damned thing just fell out in one piece, which is why you're looking at a photo of it sitting on a typing mat, and not a photo of a spring seeing sunlight for the first time in decades.

Put drum here
(What's missing from this photo? See the other photo.)

Clever, Mr. Remington, very clever! Did your repairmen have a big box of new spring-and-drum-and-cord assemblies to fit in, or did your salespersons just try to upsell the next model to the poor suckers customers who walked in to your shops with a bad case of Dangling Drawcord? It's Draconian. I salute you, sir.

Maybe, just maybe, I could pry the drum apart to get at the remainder of the cord, get a new one in, push the drum together again, and it will all work fine. Or maybe, just maybe, I don't want to suffer. So I'm going to see about finding or fashioning a tiny hook and attaching my new line to that hook, and if that works, just clipping the old line away at the edge of the drum. It's been kicking around that spring for 70-plus years, and it would be shame to break up the set.

[Shakes fist angrily in the air while striking a heroic pose]

I will defeat you, Remington! Do you hear me? Remingtonnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn!


Rob Bowker said...

Living dangerously. I reckon some wire crimped around a short end and a stopper knot would work well but I'll bet Mr Polt has a workaround for this.

Michael Clemens said...

The remaining cord is in pretty bad shape at the junction between it and the drum: I'd rather get some kind of anchor point on there, in case my knots prove to be shoddy.

Scott Kernaghan said...

Yep. Cheap replaceable drums. This part would have been very cheap to produce, and swap over - back in the day. And this is where I thought you would get a bit stuck. You would tie off a string to it, but I know, this doesn't seem like a very good idea. Is the pulley I spoke about still moving?

Michael Clemens said...

The pulley seems to be fine. I have two other machines with the same drum-and-pulley setup, so I can see how I'm supposed to rig it all up.

There's a binder clip here at had that might have to give its life so that the typer will work again. I'm imagining making an S-shaped hook, and then giving one end of the S a twist so it lays parallel to the surface of the drum.

professorc30 said...

Okay, don't shoot me but I think this is what I would do. I would drill a 1/4" hole on the side of the pulley closest to the drawband hole. Don't go deep enough to damage the spring. Then you could retrieve the old knot on the cord, slip the new cord in and tie a new knot. Wouldn't that work?

Dwayne F. said...

I know this surgery! I have a Remington 8 sitting on my bench in a similar state. The plate on the drum is a bit stubborn, but it does come off without shooting the coiled up spring out at you. I used a large set of channel locks and a flat blade to take mine apart.

Here are the (two) worst parts:

1. The string is nearly impossible to work through the carriage mechanism! I think it might be easier to thread the string through the works first before attaching it to the drum. Even then, the experience sucks and I have not completed mine.

2. Beware of the impossibly small bushing on the ratchet side of the drum. It is super easy to lose. "Oops! There went that pesky bushing! I'll have to order you the Remington carriage rebuild kit since they don't sell that part separately."

shordzi said...

Confucius says: You will open the drum.

MTCoalhopper said...

At least it's encouraging to find that other Typospherians have this problem. My own Rem Noiseless 8 had a broken drawcord, and Dwayne reports the same cord-threading difficulty I had. And, yeah, that little bushing insists on escaping to parts unknown.

I'll add one more potential headache, from my experience: the bolt that holds the spring drum in place engages its mounting plate with, like one thread. Having managed to replace the drawcord*, and threading it through the mechanism, I stripped the threads.

Until I can find the time to make new parts, the Rem Model 8 has to sit on the bookshelf, looking awesome, but non-functioning.

*I am a "retired" engineering machinist. Anything is possible, with the right tools and enough time. The time is what I lack. However, this discussion makes me want to dust off my drawings and get out in the shop.