Updates and Painting Skyriters

Okay guys…


A lot has happened the last few days that I haven’t been able to actually sit down and do a typecast then post it. Yesterday (Friday) and today, I’ve had a friend over. Didn’t cycle yesterday or today, but still lost weight, so I’m good with that. Haven’t worked on the Skyriter lately, but I just got my sewing machine back, so I’ve got to clean up the quilt room and set up my machine again. Woo!

I need to do some shopping for the Skyriter. Nothing big — nothing that deals with replacement parts or anything like that. (Though, the key tension adjustment needs a replacement. Moving the lever from ‘L’ to ‘H’ does nothing since there is no actual tension from the spring!)

If I do any work on it today, it’ll be removing the carriage like I did last time to separate it into its two parts: carriage and register modules. From there it’s just a matter of just doing work on it slowly but steadily.

A commenter on a previous post wants to do a color change for his Skyriter, so I might cover how to do that in later posts. (Shout out to Teeritz.) The trick about these machines is getting the colors right. These early ones have Hunter Green keys that are difficult to get some good color combinations with. Some suitable colors are in the wheat family, deep to medium purples and a very selective collection of blues. The wheats will bring out the Hunter Green in a very big way while the purples will complement and harmonize more. The blues will tend to give a more ‘relaxed’ feel.

These Skyriters also have metal cases. So there is a lot of potential of having fun there too.

The biggest issue, as I mentioned in my reply to Teeritz, is that this paint could contain lead. That is obviously bad. You don’t want to exactly inhale lead dust unless you want you screw yourself over in an awesome fashion.

If you decide to go the sanding route, for the love of all that is good and holy, wear the appropriate respirator! Do all work by hand, unless you’ve a sander that collects dust — even then I wouldn’t risk it. Clean up is annoying. The entire work area has to be vacuumed with a HEPA certified vacuum. Then all surfaces that could be contaminated need to be wet mopped to prevent spread of the dust.

If you want to do any painting to any of these older typewriters, I would highly suggest finding a primer that doesn’t require sanding. They exist — I have a quart sitting on my work area right now. The one I plan on using is called Bulls Eye Water-Base Multi-Purpose Primer and Sealer by Zinsser. This stuff will stick to any clean surface so sanding is not required.

As a rule, do two coats of primer. Several of the color, sanding lightly between each to remove any possible unevenness. (Use a spray applicator for the color if possible! The sanding should be done with fine grade sand paper so you’re just smoothing the surface and not really removing paint.) After the final coat of color, apply a sealant/protectant like polyurethane. (For those who have done any refinishing of any kind, especially on guitars, this process will be all too familiar.) The coats of the protectant  should be the thickest of all layers since its job is to protect that paint. Choose whatever finish you want (matte, satin, gloss, semi-gloss…) but make sure you use a spray applicator and get everything evenly! Patience is key here, y’all. Don’t rush. Go to your place of Zen, take your time, and have happy thoughts on how awesome your typewriter will look.

Until later, be safe and have enjoy y’all’s days,


2 thoughts on “Updates and Painting Skyriters

  1. Baesun, thanks for the tip about possible lead paint. I may try using a solution called “Ripper Stripper”, but I’ll check with the paint guys at my hardware store. I think I’ll have to give some serious thought to all of this. Done properly, it sounds like a bigger job than I first thought. This Skyriter works very nicely, although the carriage lever/line spacer is a little stubborn, so I might not spend too much time and energy sprucing it up. Either way, I got some thinking to do.
    Thanks again, Bae! Very helpful.


    • You’re welcome! 😀

      The reason why it seems like a lot of work or steps is because this method would allow you to use any paint you want for the color. There /are/ one step methods if you use suitable metal paint — especially if you’re going to chemically strip the original stuff off.

      When they painted these typewriters, they used a different kind of paint all together that was an all-in-one. (I believe.) It’s very similar to the much older typewriters from the ’20s and ’30s where they literally just used enamel as the all-in-one.

      Enamels do exist, but I’m not practiced in their usage. My personal refinishing background comes from guitars, furniture and the occasional metal item. If you want, check that kind of thing out. 🙂 They usually come in the basic colors (black, white, red, yellow, blue, green…).

      If memory serves, I believe there may even be a mixture you add into a paint color that turns it into an enamel… but don’t quote me on that!

      (OH! P.S. The Skyriter logo on these ’54-’55s is just stamped through the top cover. If you remove a section of the backing felt, the logo may be pressed through without harm to it at all — takes some coaxing with even pressure, but it’ll come out. Not sure if you had already done that or not, so I figured I’d mention it so it’ll be safe.)


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