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17-7-2017 13:24:58  #1


Mineral Spirits made my keys stick much much more

I bought an older Skywriter at a flea market Saturday.
Based on a lot of reading it seemed like Mineral Spirits was a good way to go. Lowes has a Jasco green odorless version I used.

The keys worked pretty well when I bought the typewriter. After flushing them and cleaning them with mineral spirits, every single key sticks now.

What did I do wrong? Is there something I need to do to clean between the arms?

Pretty frustrated.

I appreciate any input! Thanks
 

 

17-7-2017 13:41:17  #2


Re: Mineral Spirits made my keys stick much much more

It's normal that an initial application of mineral spirits can seemingly make things worse, so keep cleaning. Cleaning the type bars is a good start, but you really want to get into the segment - the metal plate that the type bars swing into - because that's where most of the grunge lives. Soak a cotton swab (Q-Tip) in mineral spirits and work it against each slot of the segment from top to bottom. Depending on how filthy the machine is you may have to repeat this process a few times. Sometimes you'll also get a few type bars that are more resistant or will stick on occasion. They'll just need a little more attention (this is of course assuming that there isn't any mechanical issues with the typewriter).


"To save time is to lengthen life."
 

17-7-2017 13:44:41  #3


Re: Mineral Spirits made my keys stick much much more

Uwe wrote:

It's normal that an initial application of mineral spirits can seemingly make things worse, so keep cleaning. Cleaning the type bars is a good start, but you really want to get into the segment - the metal plate that the type bars swing into - because that's where most of the grunge lives. Soak a cotton swab (Q-Tip) in mineral spirits and work it against each slot of the segment from top to bottom. Depending on how filthy the machine is you may have to repeat this process a few times. Sometimes you'll also get a few type bars that are more resistant or will stick on occasion. They'll just need a little more attention (this is of course assuming that there isn't any mechanical issues with the typewriter).

Thank you for the information!
Should I used a brush or just a qtip? Doesn't seem like a qtip would reach between the area at the segment.
Is mineral spirits the best thing to use? Should I try denatured alcohol instead?

     Thread Starter
 

17-7-2017 16:32:57  #4


Re: Mineral Spirits made my keys stick much much more

The brand of mineral spirits may be an issue as well. I would like to know what brand people are using, because I don't think all mineral spirits are equal. I had problems with Klean Strip Odorless, and would never use it again for anything other than cleaning type faces. In the US, most of the big box hardware stores only carry odorless, which I am questioning whether it works the same based on what I read in other non-typewriter forums; many auto guys were complaining about the odorless and 'green' mineral spirits being ineffective for parts cleaning.
As far as brands--available in the US--I have had good results with the Startex Paint Thinner, sold at Sherwin Williams, which is 100% mineral spirits. It is the stinky kind. Ventilation will be important.

 

17-7-2017 20:22:05  #5


Re: Mineral Spirits made my keys stick much much more

I use lighter fluid (Ronsonol is a common brand in the US), which works really well. 

 

17-7-2017 23:51:14  #6


Re: Mineral Spirits made my keys stick much much more

Greetings All

​If you can find the Varsol brand of solvent, this seems to work well without being damaging to plastics. Naphtha camp stove fuel is another alternative, but tends to evaporate rather quickly. For cleaning the slots in the segment, go to your nearest tobacconist and buy a packet of cotton pipe cleaners. The things they pass off as pipe cleaners in hobby and craft stores are made of some form of polyester or the like and don't hold up nearly as well as the original cotton ones.

​Another good product for getting the gunk out of the segment is carburetor cleaner in the spray can with the plastic straw. Just be extra careful not to get this product on any plastic parts or painted surfaces. In other words, take the mechanism out of the case and wear safety glasses before using this product. It stings like crazy if you get it in your eyes. take care and all the best,

Sky

 

18-7-2017 08:50:37  #7


Re: Mineral Spirits made my keys stick much much more

Having cleaned the slots of at least twenty-five machines, I can confirm that apparent worsening of the condition happens now and then, but I don't know why.  I can also confirm that patience and even more cleaning brings matters right eventually.   I don't like to use anything harder than a tooth-pick in these slots, and that only for the very worst of cases.  Neither do I use cotton tips or anything with fibres that can lodge in the slots.  Favourite tool for scrubbing slots is a worn-down artist's hogs hair brush - worn such that the bristles are short and stiff.  Good luck.


Sincerely,
beak.
 
 

18-7-2017 12:03:39  #8


Re: Mineral Spirits made my keys stick much much more

skywatcher wrote:

​If you can find the Varsol brand of solvent...

​I use Varsol as well and it works extremely well. It works so well that it's the only cleaner I use for the mechanical components of a typewriter. I think Varsol might be an Exxon/Esso brand, and it's possible that it might only be sold in Canada under that brand name. 

​Re: Getting worse before it gets better. The OP's initial description read - to me - that he had only attempted to clean the type bars, so it wouldn't be a surprise that when those type bars moved through the segment that they began to dislodge the dirt that was inside of them, causing everything to get gummed up and make things worse. Even when you clean the segment at the same time this can happen because everything remains 'fluid' and therefore in an artificially lubricated state until the spirits evaporate. It's not until all the dirt and grime has worked itself out of the segment and pivot points that you can expect proper operation.

@comma: I use Q-Tips all the time, but I'm not trying to get the head of the swab in the segment slots, I'm just using it to deliver a 'targeted load' of cleaner to them. Soak the swab and then press it against the segment slot to release the fluid, and then work the type bar manually up and down to work the solvent into the area. I've literally cleaned hundreds of typewriters this way and I've found it to be a quick and effective method.
 


"To save time is to lengthen life."
 

18-7-2017 12:35:53  #9


Re: Mineral Spirits made my keys stick much much more

Thanks guys! There is no Varsol brand products around me here in the US.

Can anyone else attest to using lighter fluid? Is it a good alternative to mineral spirits?

Thanks!

     Thread Starter
 

18-7-2017 13:00:59  #10


Re: Mineral Spirits made my keys stick much much more

Naphtha works well but quickly evaporates. White lamp oil, the kind used in smokeless oil lamps (NOT tiki torches) is very similar and much less expensive than buying little containers of lighter fluid.

For cleaning in the segment slots, genuine pipe cleaners are good, as are disposable mascara brushes, purchased at beauty supply shops. These have a flexible tip that you can bend to shape.

I like to alternate between naphtha and isopropyl alcohol, working the type bar back and forth for it's fullest extent. Any metal-to-metal surface needs to be worked alternately with naphtha and IPA to get the grunge out.

 

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