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13-1-2014 06:16:01  #1


METHYLATED SPIRIT ALERT - warning.

While cleaning a recently acquired Smith-Corona Stering from the 1940s, methylated spirits splashed onto a couple of the heavily textured panels, one at the top of the fascia, and one directly behind the platen. 

The textured black paint turned glossy immediately, and began to disolve.  The panels now have patches of sticky black paint which seems not to dry again, two days now, and they are still sticky, and trying to wipe these surfaces just removes the paint entirely.  The meths has acted in exactly the same way that a paint-stripper would have done.

I have no idea why this should be, since it is hard to imagine a manufacturuer using a finish that would disolve so quickly in such a common and weak solvent, but there  it is.

Luckily, I have plenty of experience in creating paint finishes, so should not have much trouble reproducing the finish to put matters right, but I was very surprised, and thought I should sound this note of caution.

Last edited by beak (13-1-2014 06:16:41)


Sincerely,
beak.
 
 

13-1-2014 07:01:28  #2


Re: METHYLATED SPIRIT ALERT - warning.

Yes, be careful.  Methylated Spirits used to be the solvent of choice for the typewriter trade, and was always safe on most plastics too.  I'm pretty sure that the makers now add acetone, and this is what now attacks plastics and paint finishes when it is used.  Never, never use it to remove white correcting fluid from the plastic linescales (which used to be standard procedure).  Surgical spirit should be OK, or maybe even vodka (what a waste !) http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/happy.png

 

13-1-2014 08:24:35  #3


Re: METHYLATED SPIRIT ALERT - warning.

thetypewriterman wrote:

.......... http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/happy.png

AAAAAAAAAAARGH - why can't they leave things alone!  Perhaps I could sue them?

It says nothing about acetone on the bottle, but I shall get in touch with the manufacturers and find out.  Generally when I have tried to ask anything like this, I'm answered by echoing silence - we shall see.


Sincerely,
beak.
 
     Thread Starter
 

13-1-2014 13:23:59  #4


Re: METHYLATED SPIRIT ALERT - warning.

Denatured alcohol is getting harder to find in Canada. I don't know why that is, but it doesn't effect me as I've never used the stuff to clean a typewriter. For gummed up, greasy, or otherwise fouled metal parts I always use Varsol (mineral spirits) to clean them. Of course I'm careful to keep it off the painted surface of a typewriter, but even then I think it's safe to use on a machine's exterior if it has been sufficiently diluted.


Stay Safe! 
 

14-1-2014 05:33:42  #5


Re: METHYLATED SPIRIT ALERT - warning.

I use methylated spirits to clean the typing mechanism, but that's it. Apply it sparingly, using a small paint brush. 

For cleaning the actual BODY of the typewriter, I'd use Windex. I've used that in cleaning various things in the past and it seems to work very well. From what I've seen, it doesn't damage anything. 

Last edited by Shangas (14-1-2014 05:35:40)


"Not Yet Published" - My History Blog
"I just sit at a typewriter and curse a bit" - Sir Pelham Grenville "P.G." Wodehouse
"The biggest obstacle to professional writing is the necessity for changing a typewriter ribbon" - Robert Benchley
 

05-3-2014 19:05:47  #6


Re: METHYLATED SPIRIT ALERT - warning.

Most wrinkle pain is soft paint and can easily be damaged.  I've damaged it with water by rubbing a bit too hard, scrubbing bubbles, window cleaners, and a few other cleaners.  Now if I clean wrinkle finsih paint I do it very carefully with scrubbing bubbles and rinse it in a few short minutes and blow it dry with a heat gun.

I seldom clean anything on the machine while the machine is still in the housing. 

If I clean any plastic and need to use anything stronger than Windex or Super 88 I do not use anything stronger than rubbing alcohol or naptha.  Sometimes I've used GooGone too.

 

13-5-2014 12:48:26  #7


Re: METHYLATED SPIRIT ALERT - warning.

Great information. Thanks

 

14-5-2014 20:52:52  #8


Re: METHYLATED SPIRIT ALERT - warning.

The same thing happened to me on a Smith Corona or the 1950`s.  The machine was given to me and I noticed the stick paint on the back panel of the cover (outer housing).  I thought the previous owner had tried to repaint the back.  I tried paint thinner to remove it but it was emi-effective.   I am not worried about taking it all off, but why it was there was a mystery.  
   That denatured alcahol is not available is not available in Canada is another mystery.   It is very common in the US.  On line, denatured alcahol was recomended as an excelent  solvent for cleaning a typewriter, expecially the key bars.  Of course, one must reoil the the joints again.  I have used it with success.  

 

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