Typewriter Talk

You are not logged in. Would you like to login or register?



11-8-2017 09:24:01  #1


Wintergreen oil for hard rubber

Hi everyone. I've asked a fair number of questions on this forum, so today I've decided to change it up and post a tip of my own that I found while experimenting. I haven't seen anything on this forum about it, so I thought I would throw it out ther, because I know a lot of pepole have asked about refreshing the rubber parts on their types. So, here's what I found.

I've spent the last couple days soaking a hardened platen in a mixture of wintergreen oil and alcohol, and the results have been better than expected. I discovered this on a few automotive sites where people were attempting to refresh hardened rubber hoses on their vehicles. Because I'm no chemists, all I can say is that some mystical property of wintergreen oil has some sort of power to return the elasticity to rubber. I'm not sure if we're dealing with the light side or dark side of the force here, but it works pretty well.

The platen I used was off my Remington model 5 portable and it felt as hard and smooth as a PVC pipe. Two days soaking in a mixture of alcohol and wintergreen oil and it's got enough give for my fingernail to leave an impression and it feels softer overall. (Not to mention it smells like a Christmas tree). And I didn't even use a high concentration of wintergreen oil. Most of the people I read about used a 2:1 ratio of alcohol to wintergreen. Mine was probably closer to 10:1 or 15:1. The alcohol is necessary to help the oil penetrate the rubber, or so I'm told. Either way, the process takes between a few hours and a week (after which time there won't be any more softening so there's no fear of over softening.) I'll see if it lasts, but I'm hopeful.

The only downside to this all--wintergreen oil gets a bit pricey. But I think it's not terrible. Hopefully that can be of use to someone out there.


There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed. -- Ernest Hemingway
 

11-8-2017 11:13:49  #2


Re: Wintergreen oil for hard rubber

Huh. Interesting. I wonder if there are any long-term effects...? Like if the platen somehow turns to dust after a week?  I'd like to watch how this all turns out!

 

11-8-2017 11:47:18  #3


Re: Wintergreen oil for hard rubber

Markmotown wrote:

Huh. Interesting. I wonder if there are any long-term effects...? Like if the platen somehow turns to dust after a week?  I'd like to watch how this all turns out!

Ha! Let's hope not. I'll be sure to update this post if something undesirable does happen or if the springiness wears off. Worst comes to worst, and I'll just strip the rubber and send it in. That was the original plan, but I just had to give this a shot.


There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed. -- Ernest Hemingway
     Thread Starter
 

11-8-2017 11:50:11  #4


Re: Wintergreen oil for hard rubber

What I'm curious about now is whether I can use this technique to help refresh my squashed feet. 


There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed. -- Ernest Hemingway
     Thread Starter
 

11-8-2017 13:17:07  #5


Re: Wintergreen oil for hard rubber

I'll be very interested to see how this plays out
And was it quieter as well, when typing?
I assume so...

 

11-8-2017 13:20:20  #6


Re: Wintergreen oil for hard rubber

You submerged the entire platen in this mixture? I don't know offhand if the platen on a Model 5 has a wood core, but if it does you may have just destroyed the entire platen. The cocktail you put it in could possibly cause the wood to swell and that would be the end of it.


"To save time is to lengthen life."
 

11-8-2017 13:51:39  #7


Re: Wintergreen oil for hard rubber

Uwe wrote:

You submerged the entire platen in this mixture? I don't know offhand if the platen on a Model 5 has a wood core, but if it does you may have just destroyed the entire platen. The cocktail you put it in could possibly cause the wood to swell and that would be the end of it.

I did what I could to cover one of the ends tightly. The other end was secured just above the surface of the liquid. I didn't think to would be good to get any on the inside. I don't think I did, but I will keep an eye on it to be sure.


There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed. -- Ernest Hemingway
     Thread Starter
 

11-8-2017 14:07:49  #8


Re: Wintergreen oil for hard rubber

Well, that was good thinking. Hopefully all will be good then.


"To save time is to lengthen life."
 

11-8-2017 17:34:12  #9


Re: Wintergreen oil for hard rubber

Uwe wrote:

Well, that was good thinking. Hopefully all will be good then.

 

Haha. I should rephrase that. My wife didn't think it would be a good idea. But I agreed with her. She's ussually wiser than I.


There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed. -- Ernest Hemingway
     Thread Starter
 

12-8-2017 09:51:14  #10


Re: Wintergreen oil for hard rubber

Where did you get your wintergreen oil?  I found it on a racing supply site once (for softening tires) and it was a good price per ounce but a big container.  I know this has been discussed at length so not presuming to add anything new just sharing the results of previous researches and speculations....

1) Wintergreen oil is a surprisingly simple molecule (aka methyl salicylate) and what you bought may be synthetic
2) Food grade is naturally more expensive and not needed
3) Xylene aka dimethylbenzene is the other common chemical used to soften rubber - found in paint thinners

Wearing a distant class in organic chemistry I note they are both based on a single benzene ring with doodads (not accepted nomenclature). Benzene is dangerous to your health, xylene maybe less so and wintergreen oil, with bigger doodads, presumably even less so but I would wear gloves all the same.

Blends of these and other chemicals are available marketed as rubber softeners and some would say stick to a known product rather than experimenting, but given a large supply of hard platens I see no harm in experimentation if you enjoy that sort of thing.  Since they are not large molecules they presumably work by worming their way into the hardened rubber and staying there; this is not the original state of the rubber but may be an improvement.  I find some miraculous typewriters type quietly and do not stitch paper even with hard platens and I would leave those alone!

 


"Damn the torpedoes! Four bells, Captain Drayton".
 

Board footera

 

Powered by Boardhost. Create a Free Forum

Typewriter Talk