Friday, May 23, 2014

May 23, 2014 - #2 - t1pem0nkey has a blog!

My son Ian aka T1pem0nkey, is going to be a contributor here from time to time, but the big news is that he has started his own blog!

Ian has an infectious passion for typewriters, and he'd love to hear from you at and his first post is about "the infection." ;-)

Brian @ Brumfield & Sons Typewriters

May 23, 2014 - My Nemesis, Part II

On a previous post, "My Nemesis," I tersely described the ailment of my 1937 Continental Model 35, and how its type bars do not rest correctly.

When looking at the relationships of the out-of-whack type bars, with all of the other pivots and stops and springs and the stresses imparted when pushing the type bars down, I decided to dig deeper.

I had heretofore gone through every point on the chassis of the machine to look for adjustments that might have slipped. All of these screws have no room for adjustment, they are precision located and lock their respective member in its exact, intended location.

When the raised type bars were pushed down, the lower edge of the segment would move slightly toward the front of the machine. Was this flex due to a crack? How does one look behind the segment? There's only one way I knew of, so stripped down she goes...

No cracks here (picture taken B.C. - Before Cleaning - I might add! :) )

I removed all of the type bars from the segment and removed the segment. I inspected the cast cross member that acts as the segment support... no cracks visible.

Of all the pieces that stressed and moved when pushing down on the raised type bars, the main, cast type bar cross-member was my next suspect.

Again, having no adjustment possible in the mounting of this cross-member, and seeing no visible signs of stress fractures ... what next?

When I would push down on the cross-member and the type bars would drop, I also noticed that the bell crank portion of the type levers that extend from the pivot of the cross-member, toward the keys, would rise and fall. This could be impacted by the height of the keys in their resting positions .... and I also noted that the highest type bars were the furthest row of keys (yxcvbnm,. -- being a QWERTZ keyboard).

I then looked at the various places where key height might be adjusted, and decided to remove the front plate with the slots through which the key bars protrude - they all rest at the top of the slots on this cross-bar:

I first loosened the four mounting screws for this cross-bar, but there was no adjustment possible. I then removed the four screws, and POP ... the crossbar jumped about 1/8" upwards and guess what happened as a result...

Okay, so now what? There is no vertical (or other) adjustment possible in the mounting position of this bar ... so what about the rest at the top of the slots?

Well, here's the rub. There is a plate at the top and behind of this cross-bar, where the key levers rest. There is also a rubber sheet that the plate holds in place, to cushion the levers when they reach the top of their travel.

The top bar of this front panel is riveted in place:

This plate, which I had hoped was adjustable, does not appear to have room to play:

I always try to find root-cause ... the "why" behind the issue, and in this case I can only point to this key bar rest as a suspect, not the cause... and that is because I can see no evidence of damage or change. This stop does not appear to have play for adjustment, and the change would have had to have been in the downward direction - yet there is not visible sign of a bend or stress.

So it's back on the bench with a giant question mark hovering over it. :-( Ideas?

Sunday, May 18, 2014

May 18, 2014 - My Nemesis

This 1930's Continental model 35 has an issue with the typebars resting in a tensioned position.

I cannot for the life of me figure this out. I thought there might be a crack in a casting, but I found nothing.

What a bummer - it's a beautiful machine.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

May 4, 2014 - May the Fourth Be With You! (and homemade anvils...)

Sorry, being Star Wars Day (5/4 - May the Fourth), I had to throw that in to this otherwise non-typewriter related post.

Courtesy of inspiration from this site on making your own anvil from rail road track, I set about to legally acquire some virgin RR track, and fabricate my own anvil. Largely because actual, quality anvils of a size that makes them useful (300+ pounds), are prohibitively expensive.

There are a few ways that folks have used RR track for anvil purposes, but most are considered "anvil shaped devices" that really do not serve the purpose of an anvil in the sense of its ability to absorb and impart force on metal due to its mass.

So those little pieces of RR track that have been cleverly ground into an "Anvil Shaped Device" are not what I have been after, but rather, something approximating the mass and characteristics of a fully fledged blacksmith's anvil.

So, how do you turn this:

Into this?
image courtesy of:

The fact of the matter is that you cannot. But that said, there are ways to get you close, you just have to weigh your compromises.

In my research, there was one design that really caught my eye. It ingeniously uses the mass of the vertical track segment to "simulate" the body and mass of an actual anvil. The "sweet spot" (where the center of mass of the anvil seems to be) is much, much smaller on this anvil, but with that compromise, you also gain space and mobility. This 100 pound anvil ACTS like a 350-500 pound anvil.

image courtesy of :
This is NOT your average "I made an anvil from a hunk of RR track" anvil, which usually look pretty great, but are actually very (very) poor anvils (because they lack mass and are springy) - they tend to look like these.

With my design roughly planned out, I set out to LEGALLY acquire the requisite RR track. I finally located a local railway repair depot, where they had a lot of scrap and the foreman was willing to let me have a couple of pieces because I was using it for a legitimate project (not just trying to flip the steel for a buck), and last night I set about grinding and welding the mating surfaces.

The track segments have been in my barn for about a year, and inspired by the inquisitive nature of one of my sons, namely his question, "Why haven't you done anything with the anvil project?" I decided to do something about it.

Sorry for the bad pictures, it was dark when I finished and the iPhone seems to have focused to infinity, but here are the initial pics (9 welding rods later):

The next steps will be mating the vertical segment into a tree stump base, so that I can work with it, and then cutting and grinding the head into something looking more like an anvil.

The RR track I got has the added advantage of not having been hardened/heat treated, so I did not need to cut-and-flip the rail, and could use it as-is. So I have that going for me ....... which is nice. :-)

Ultimately this will help me with some typewriter repairs. I have carefully hammered out dents from typewriter shells and frames, using the sorry excuse for the anvil-ends of my bench vises, but having this nice big hunk of steel around for serious metal working, will be a welcomed addition to my workshop - once it's finished.

Friday, May 2, 2014

May 2, 2014 - Happy Birthday to Me!

My amazing wife found this for me.

First edition, First printing!!

Howard Hutchison's "Typewriter Repair Manual" - I am nearly speechless! The thing is in mint condition, so I hardly even want to crack it open!! :-)

Thursday, May 1, 2014

May 1, 2014 - YOU (we) DID IT! Shipping John Lavery's Machine....... Part TWO *UPDATED*

You folks, and you know who you are, ROCK!

Now on to the second hardest part ... packing and shipping.

Phase 2 of this project is well under way now.

The internal skeletal "crate" is now built, and I am wrapping it in a custom cardboard container. Once the cardboard is done, the internal packing and reinforcements will take place, and I'll have a final weight for the shipping company.

I chose to mount the machine on cleats that are attached to a sheet of luan plywood. This is just to try to stabilize it as much as possible inside the crate. There will be styrofoam and various other foams and bags of foam inside the crate to cradle this baby overseas.

Inside that cocoon is a locked down typewriter. The carriage is completely disengaged from the escapement, and it is locked in place with wire ties in multiple places. The carriage ends are ensconced in egg carton. The keyboard is covered in foam. The whole lot is bundled up tightly with packing wrap, and the leading and trailing edges are protected with 1/8" cardboard L-shaped reinforcements.

The crate skeleton is done, and the outer shell is being moulded around it:

Since the picture was taken, struts have been added on all four sides to solidify the structure.

More to come ...


UPDATED 5/2/2014

5 pounds under my initial 50lb estimate!!

(Couldn't resist! :)