Smith-Corona Skyriter Restoration Part 2

Simple title and to the point. In this section, we’re going to stop just short of removing the carriage. To be frank, I don’t think I will for this restoration for a variety of reasons with the top most being that I can reach all the dirty areas! In this section, it is basically a general tear-down, moving all the obvious bits from the back to give easier access to the bits under the segment. Now, this is majorly picture rich but I was also working at night with really only one OttLite. So for some questionable pictures, I’m sorry. I am also sorry if the mat that the typewriter is resting on offends any anti-gunners out there since it is a Glock disassembly mat. Leave the sentiments at the door, please. I deal with enough drama as is. Thank you. Let’s get to it shall we? As a note: all screws on this machine are slot heads so it is to be understood that any sizes given randomly like 3/16 or 1/8 are screw driver head sizes. Because of my friends in other countries… I’m used to translating from in. to mm. So, scattered through out are conversions, but the screwdrivers (for my own sanity) are referred here only once below:

  • 1/8 = 3mm
  • 3/16 = 4mm or 5mm will work. (True value is 4.7625, so… choose, haha!)
  • 5/64 = 2mm
  1. Remove the ribbon. This is easy enough on practically any typewriter. Here, it is hooked/caught at the front so using both hands you can lift up to bring it out of the first hook then down and back to remove it completely. From there the spools simply come out.
  2. Remove the lid. Here I used a pair of pliers to gently bend the left side holding section toward the inside while lifting up on the lid a bit. It came free with little effort this way and allowed the right side to slip free. The bending was gentle enough to not cause any damage or deformation.

    Lid Hinge

    Lid Hinge

  3. Remove the outer shell. Two screws hold everything in place. These can be removed using a 3/16. Once both screws are removed, pull up on the carriage, using both hands, on the knobs then gently pull back. The entire machine should easily lift free after a possible pop from the tension that was placed upon the case. (Don’t worry about the pop… it’s normal.)

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From here you can go two routes. One just adds a step that isn’t entirely required, but it does allow you to see the ribbon automatic rewind mechanism better — which may need some attention, like this one does. I am including it here as a step to be more thorough.

  1. Spool cradles. (Optional) 4 screws in total, 3/16. The left side requires the loosening of the screw that holds the touch regulator/adjustment in place. (Do not remove at this step!) This screw requires a 1/8. Retighten after cradle is removed.
  2. Platen. This is the part everyone loves to seem to do — and I don’t disagree at all. I think it’s mainly because it really shows you’re doing something… fancy, I guess. Lift the paper ruler up and turn the platen to reveal the right set screw — loosen 1 turn or 2 using a 5/64 or thereabouts. Gently pull and the knob will come free. (May require a bit of wiggling, but it will free itself.) The left knob comes off in a similar fashion revealing the rod. The rod on this model does not come out! Lift the right side up as you push on the rod gently; the platen will come free. It may grip on a roller that controls weither it can spin freely or not. Simply push the roller down and to the left so it is out of the way.

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  3. Platen support.  This can now be removed as one unit with a little wire. I used 22AWG  from my soldering kit. A length of no more than 6 inches (~15cm) is really all that is needed — more if you want more grip. Drop the support so it rocks freely. Thread the wire under the hook of the spring then, while keeping the support steady, pull up on the wire and the spring will unhook. String works here too, but you risk fibers begin caught. Once the spring is free, the support may be rocked forward and lifted simultaneously to lift it out of the machine. The support is actually rather neatly done physically in that the spring places a pulling force upon it which causes it to stay put within the two prongs on either side. Between the prongs and the metal segments that go into them, it creates a durable pivot point.

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  4. Back plate & paper margin stops. This requires a 1/8 or 3/16, your choice, so long as either can fit through the hole. Remembering how this is assembled is important as these two screws alone hole the back plate and the paper margin stops! Take a picture and/or make a note. Loosen the screws 2 turns each then loosen the left and right screws holding the ruler in place. The back should come loose after some wiggling and lifting up. Finish unscrewing the screws that hold the paper margin stops.

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This is what it looks like at this point.

Gettin' kinda bare, yeah?

Gettin’ kinda bare, yeah?

Here the paper ruler may be removed using the same 1/8. First take out the left screw (keyboard facing away) and disengage the attached spring. The right side requires the use of the same 22AWG wire, but stripped to hook under and lift up the spring hook to disengage it. After that, the screw can be undone.

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Well! There we go! Everything that can be painted or should be painted is off the typewriter. Woohoo! From here the paper release lever can just easily be wiggled free and the return lever can be removed as one unit by taking out one screw (1/8).

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And that’s that! Overall Angle, Everything Removed

Hope you guys enjoyed this break down of the Skyriter. Hope y’all have a great day and be safe out there. Thanks for reading! Next up is cleaning the removed parts.

(Disclaimer: This is not an authoritative guide nor should it be perceived as one: this is an opinion based how-to. I cannot be held responsible for any damage caused to you, the typewriter or anything else if you so choose to follow these steps. What worked for this typewriter and me might not work for yours and you. I figure this is common sense, but… just coverin’ my bases.)

Everyone Has a Road to Take

Typecast or not typecast… that is the question. I actually started typing this post on the Skyriter while in the hotel after I had posted a comment on Twitter (which got Specialized to follow me… which is very cool) about cycling. I… I think I’m not going to typecast this post. So… here we go.

There are a few major things that hold my love. First and foremost is my partner (and our family). But two others battle it out on a near daily basis: typewriters and cycling. And right now, I want to talk about the latter.

Cycling is dangerous. But not in the traditional sense. It is dangerously good. Sure, there is the possibility of physical harm, but I feel there are a lot of “loves” that can cause that. What I mean by “dangerously good” is that without you knowing, you suddenly become addicted and through that you become healthy in some way — almost the anti-definition of what often being addicted to something implies. It is “dangerously” addictive but the results are oh-so-good.

I’ve never been good at sports or fitness. I either don’t like the idea of the competition or it simply doesn’t hold my attention. I rather fancy myself as a numbers person, a mathematician. So, I guess, I fall into a kind of stereotypical mold. But that doesn’t bother me — not sure why it should…

But cycling is different. Cycling is a sport in as much as a discipline and a lifestyle. I am not sure the same could be said for football, soccer, golf, rugby, ultimate Frisbee, swimming, or a handful of other sports — or more. Cycling is a sport of the highest level, complete with a long history, old events, worldwide recognition, an Olympic placement (that includes several events), world championships, and an illustrious history of drug abuse and drama. I think that defines a sport rather well… don’t you?

I feel like I needn’t explain why it is a discipline but for the sake of completeness: cycling is one of the best cardiovascular exercises one can do. Not only can you get a cardiovascular work out and thus strengthen your heart (and increase your overall health), but it also works out your core muscles. I’m a road cyclist. And in the typical position, people often think we hold ourselves up with our arms, placing weight upon our palms, etc. This is true — but only to some extent. Because we, in fact, if trained properly, actually use our back and core muscles to hold ourselves up mostly. This allows us to be light on the pedals, keep pressure off our palms, and all sorts of good things! (That is a little known fact, it seems…) The saddle is there for us to just sit, the bars the guide the front wheel. A road bike (really, any bike) is a near perfect example of how man and machine can meld seamlessly.

Now… cycling is a lifestyle. This point can go on for hours, if not days and weeks. Cycling is all consuming because of one simple fact: it is a form of transportation. This applies all too well to joggers, runners, walkers, etc. You can’t be transported with a soccer ball or a football or a Frisbee or a golf ball or… But it isn’t just transportation: it’s a totally different mindset. You see things differently all together. You see curbs and streets and sidewalks and other things as avenues to get from point A to point B with as little effort as possible (and as safely as possible). Little lines start forming as you pedal along, showing you possible routes of where to go: you become your own GPS, knowing the streets, the drivers, the environment, far better than any driver or pedestrian ever possibly could. This teaches so many things… so many. Self discipline. Strategy. Planning. Safety. Not to mention cycling skills like bunny hopping, tactical up/downshifting, and accurate bike handling skills.

Every cyclist has a road they take. Some route they adore or aspire to conquer with the grace and agility of their idols. My road is a bit complicated, to say the least, but mine is paved by none other than Olympic medalists. I have AFib and Mitral Valve Prolapse. An Australian triathlete by the name of Erin Densham won the bronze medal in the London 2012 Olympics after defeating a heart issue that causes a racing heartbeat. Mine simply doesn’t beat steadily. But if she can conquer the Olympics with a heart issue (even if corrected with surgery), why can’t I?

My road certainly isn’t the Olympics but instead to… simply live and enjoy life. AFib isn’t a death sentence if managed. That is my motivation. That is my drive. Cycling is my life but not because I rely on it for fitness, to exercise my heart, but because it gives me the drive to learn self discipline, to strategize over how to do things better, how to plan my dietary low cholesterol/low(er) sodium needs, and to safely carry all these things out.

I am many things. But always in the top 3 things that come to mind — even if my body doesn’t reflect it! — is that I’m a cyclist.

I am a cyclist.

A More Formal Introduction (SMC Skyriter Restoration Part 1)

Okay, so here’s a more thorough introduction to the 1958 Smith-Corona Skyriter that is going to end up being, I feel, part restoration and part customization. This typewriter is simply a joy to type on — despite its simplicities/limitations (lack of +, =, and tabs; no ribbon selector; special spool size; and slightly awkward paper support).

I’ll start with what it looks like on the outside: the case. I simply love this case and I want to do some work on it. I do have a to-do list, so I’ll post that down below after the galleries.

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As you can tell, some work does need to be done. I’m hoping some basic cleaning will take care most of the filth.

The typewriter itself doesn’t have as many pictures… oddly. I don’t know why I’m so fascinated with the case. Maybe it’s because all of the ones I own currently — with this obvious exception — have hard, heavy cases. But the typewriter fits to this case with charm. They both just need cleaning!

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If you’ve looked at the photos, you’ll probably agree this is going to be mostly cleaning. I have an inkling that this was oil dipped. Unfortunately, this was a common practice back in the day as it left the machine in perfect working order. But over time it gummed things up, makes keys stick and dirt just clings to everything! I am literally going to have to strip this down as far as I can without destroying it to get all this gunk out. Since it still types, I’m hoping I can skip a few things, but… It is simply gross how dirty it is.

Okay, so, there it is. In all it’s “CLEAN ME!” glory. I love this little sucker. At the motel, I was typing with it everywhere and it is unbelievably quiet. I can’t imagine what it will type like once things are cleaned and Bristol shape. (…sorry, was watching Mary Poppins.)

However… this is where my to-do list comes in and… some ethics. To be frank, I want to do some customizations on it. Paint mostly — as the rest could be considered restoration actions like spring replacements, etc. The ethics comes in in that this is branded in two ways and both are perfectly sound with little to no damage or wear. If I paint it, only one will survive: the name plate. There is a technique I’ve used before in both water colors and penmanship where masking is applied over areas that do not need to be inked/colored. This may work for this… but it certainly doesn’t have any guarantee. But anyway… The to-do list.

To Do:

  • Fix lid (reattach)
  • Tighten paper rest
  • Rebend lid locks
  • Clean case
  • Clean segment
  • Disassemble & deep clean
  • Clean platen (good as-is, for thoroughness)
  • Fix bell! (Carriage gets in the way!)
  • Fix touch adjustment — spring
  • Investigate ribbon direction mechanism
  • Unbend left shift slightly

Okay, that’s the basic list. Notice the painting isn’t included nor another customization: fixing the case up a bit to make a nicer. I’m all for keeping things in their original shape because it’s kind of like holding a piece of history, but… I’m also for making things your own if you can and/or have the ability. So, I’m a bit torn.

Well, I’ll figure it out. It’s a process. And this typewriter is certainly going to be one! Next up will be the Disassembly Guide.

Y’all have a great day and be safe out there! And, as always, thanks for reading.

News Report

Alright. I’ve been busy… Sorry for the zero posts as of late. So here’s the news.

1) Went to the doctor and found out my cholesterol is too high and too low. 144 for the bad (should be maximally 130, ideally 100) and 33 for the good (ideally 45). The latter, lucky me, is just genetic bad luck. The former, thankfully, can be helped partially due to my age when combined with diet and exercise. Next appointment in November — 3 months time. Let’s get to it, shall we?

2) My partner’s grandfather died, so we’re scrambling to figure out what he can do to at least be with some family. Found a solution, now we’re heading towards it.

3) Writing an article on a fountain pen I just adore. Should be up fairly soon. Just need to take pictures.

4) Going to be doing another restoration project! This one is serious… Recently got a 1958 Smith-Corona Skyriter that needs some tender loving care. Had to bend the ‘M’ typebar back into place, but it works perfectly now. More to come in an article for that — will do this one in segment probably!

5) Due to 1), I am back on my bike and cycling away like mad. 5 days a week for 40 minutes (5 minute warm up, 30 cardio, 5 minute cool down). Diet has changed completely. Already losing fat. Thanking my stars that I used to be a more serious cyclist so my muscles are remembering everything. Goal is 200lbs overall. I’d like to get my fat percent between 10 and 20 percent. Already at 177 lbs of muscle, so… that gives me a fat percent of 11 to 12 percent… a little extreme, but I can try. (Tearing down muscle isn’t something I want to do… but if I have to… ugh…)

6) Y’all are awesome, never forget that. Keep safe n’ sane. Have a great day!

Where’d It Come From?

Wow, okay. Busy out of no where. No time to type or do anything. Got a WikiChain coming (rather… large) and another typecast. Also working on a math problem that I’m nearly 100% confident has already been done, but I want to do it myself. I’ll post the results for that as well in a new section!

Until then, just putting this up and doing a small non-typecast rant.

Parking Spots

Okay, so… This is a tender issue, but I see it more and more. It’s one of those subjects that people don’t often talk about because it is taboo, improper, &c.

Handicap parking spots. Is it just where I live or is the parking of these individuals horrific beyond all means often taking up the second handicap parking spot next to it? It’s horrible I’m about to say this, but really guys… are you trying to prove you deserve to park in those spots?

Deserve. That’s another thing. My partner and I just came back from the market. What bugs me is this: there was a SUV parked half in the handicap spot, half in the fire zone at a near 45-degree angle to the post indicating the parking spot. We happened to be graced by who owns the vehicle: a perfectly able gentleman carrying flowers that was able to keep pace with us. (We walk rather fast.) Add to this that the parking spot was no where near the front door but instead intended for a medication pick-up/drop-off window built into the wall of the building. This spot is about 30-40 yards from the main entrance. (For those of you who are used to outdoor shooting ranges, imagine the 50-yard shooting line but just a bit less.)

So answer me this: isn’t that abuse of parking privileges? What if a genuinely handicapped person who has to use a walker or a wheelchair or whatever needed that spot? But no, this gentleman decided his bunch of flowers was far more important than someone’s ability to actually get their medications that they might need to manage pain, help with an illness, &c.


Dr. Venn’s Birthday!

Okay, so for the math people out there — which I imagine isn’t very many… sadly — it’s Venn’s birthday! Woohoo! The creator of the Venn diagram that is ever so helpful in understanding Set Theory and other subjects. Happy B-Day Dr. Venn!

Everyone have a great day and be careful out there!