Skyriter Manual Update

Okay guys.

Got one Skyriter on the way. Got sent out today.

I just (literally not more than 2 or 3 minutes ago) ordered a second one. Different time periods. One with a metal case and the other with the soft carry.

Both need some TLC but work. But I think that’s the point, yeah? Going to go farther than I did last time in terms of restoration on both.

Keepin’ y’all up to date. ūüėÄ



MAJOR score guys. I just found a Skyriter in epic condition. Usual wear and tear. But it has the original manual and typing instruction booklet, etc. Just bought it. Will have it within a week or so.

Couldn’t wait to tell y’all! Eeee!

Once I get it, I’ll do the photo montage that I did last time. I have a legit working area now, so the lighting should be far better — and consistent. Once I get ‘er cleaned up nice n’ good, I’ll move on to doing the manual!

Smith-Corona Skyriter Restoration Finale

It. Is. Done. I didn’t end up painting it like I said it was going to — that’ll come at a later date. But it is cleaned and put back together! In the process of cleaning the typewriter, I also cleaned the carrying case and the difference is rather startling.


This is a bit of a retrospect, I guess… Working with this typewriter in a rather intimate fashion gave me a good deal of self-confidence to try this with gradually more complicated typewriters. It’s all about studying before you do: the whole “measure twice, cut once” idea. Taking pictures and notes is absolutely key as well.

So, I really feel like this is something everyone should do with an equally simple typewriter — down to even removing the carriage assembly like I did. It isn’t as scary as it sounds for this one, it went back on as easily as it came off. I had to do some adjustments (let’s hear it for digital calipers) so I could get the card holders centered again, but that was a minimal amount of effort. If anything, the most tedious bit was cleaning all the painted bits. (Sangria helped with the monotony… as did Pirates of the Caribbean… and our cat Maze, who¬†believed that I needed a lap warmer…)

Speaking of cleaning, I cleaned anything I could reach. What I didn’t touch were sensitive areas that I felt leery about touching. The¬†things I used for the typewriter itself was Soft Scrub, lent-free rags, q-tips, Dawn, 90-something% alcohol, compressed air, and patience. Patience is key for cleaning in as much as taking the typewriter down into its parts. It doesn’t take much pressure to clean surfaces and if you press too hard, you risk damaging what you might be trying to get clean. As for the carrying case, I just used leather cleaning wipes — many of them. Though the case is faux leather, the wipes cleaned it very well and left the surface looking and feeling fantastic.

Overall, I’m extremely pleased with the results!WP_20140903_13_35_46_ProIf you notice, I left the repair shop’s sticker on the front. On the bottom of the typewriter is also a repair sticker that gives the date, who I imagine the customer was (or repair person?), and a repair code(?). Being a former framer/preservationist, I protected that from harm since it is part of the typewriter’s history.

Any case, I hope you guys enjoyed this small project. I’ll be posting up another project soon — possibly dealing with the J5 since that needs some TLC! If you guys have any suggestions for a next project, I’m definitely up to hear them.

Y’all have a great day and be safe out there!

Smith-Corona Skyriter Carriage Study

I’ve been looking at the carriage a bit more on this guy and aside from the obvious scary amount of tension on it, there’s¬†a few other things that might be worth mentioning…

The entire carriage is attached¬† with 2 sets of 2 screws. The law of two,¬†as Scott K mentioned in a comment!¬†It is mainly attached to what I’m calling the Shift Plate. Then it is also attached to the frame by 2 other screws which creates the pivot point for it to¬†allow the shift action.

The Shift Plate itself is the foci, to some extent, of tons of attachments. Not only is the carriage attached to it, but the ribbon guide as well as the line indicators. Which means, if the Shift Plate is detached from the main mechanism, the entire carriage comes free along with everything else! This leads me to believe that this was build in a modular way because this kind of piecing would allow someone to focus on just that section and attach it later.

That thought lead me to another point…

Carriage Assembly

Why not remove it?

This was a bit tricky because there are things attached:

  • The backspace¬†is attached¬†in the form of a bar that pulls on a pivot that pushes another bar into a ratchet that pushes the carriage back one space. This is a simple hook. However, there is a screw that may be undone.
  • Also attached is the bar that causes the keys to lock. This is on a horizontal pivot about a screw. This mechanism is insanely elementary as it simply blocks the movement of a striker. And what makes it even easier is that it’s attached by only 1 screw.
  • There is a more complicated bit that associates several key functions but, yet again, it follows the law of two screws. One of which has its own hole drilled into the frame clearly suggesting its modular design nature.
  • Lastly there are the two screws that act as the pivot for the shift to work. To add to the complication, I believe they need to be set “just so” in order for everything to work. There is a degree of freedom to either side in order for the shift to work, which means this sucker has to be centered based on these two screws alone! If you’ve got calipers — specifically digital ones! — get them out now.

There is a definitely order of processes to this. The very last thing you undo are the two pivot screws. In order to get an accurate measurement for either you need to undo both of the screws that control the complicated functions. Before this you can undo both the backspace screw and the key-lock screw.

Let’s get to it then, shall we?

I started with the key-lock screw. Just move the carriage to the right to get access to it then use a 3/16 (5mm). This screw comes with a post, so do not lose it otherwise things won’t line up correctly! Once it is undone, you can push up on the rear of it so it comes free from the back. Now, you do not have to remove the rod! In fact, I would suggest you don’t: if you do, it has to pass through the front of the typewriter under the keys.

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With that connection done, I went for the backspace connection. Using the same 3/16 (5mm), unscrew it. Now, don’t do anything else with it! Let it be, just take out the screw and set it aside. You’ll see why soon.

The screw is easily accessed once the carriage is moved.

The screw is easily accessed once the carriage is moved.

Now for the major connections. I did the one with its own hole in the frame first. Same 3/16. This would appear to be a total beast to put back together but if you have magnetic tip screw drivers, you’re set. This comes out easily enough and with a little jigging, the screw comes free and you can add it to the growing pile. The second screw, which you can probably tell from the angle of the photo, is just a bit tucked away. This too can be undone with a 3/16 — just make sure it has a long shank!

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All the screws are now undone and the only thing remaining is the most stressful bit: undoing the pivot screws. Take out your calipers and take photos. These screws have to be set exactly the same way again! My left screw had 1.81mm of clearance from where I measured. My right screw had 4.92mm from the nut to the first turn. Now, these have nuts on them so they are designed to be used as markers. You do not have to turn the nuts. Just turn the screws. Remove both. I did the right then the left. The entire mechanism should come loose. There is a spring attached to the frame on the left side that connects to a black plate on the carriage: undo it from the frame, not the black plate.

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Here is why I said not to bother with the backspace bar: you can undo it now! I happened to just jiggle it a bit and it came right off.

Carriage Assembly Removed

And there we go!

Hopefully y’all enjoyed this. Thanks for reading, have a great day and be safe out there!

(Per usual, this is an opinion driven guide. Do what you will at your own risk. I cannot be held accountable for any damage to your typewriter, your person, or anything else.)

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.)