Common tools, solvents, chemicals, and their Uses
Though typewriter repair may appear to be a dark art, requiring complicated and specialised tooling, most --if not all-- typewriter issues can be fixed with simple household materials and materials from the local hardware or surplus store. This is a list of common tools that you may encounter.
Tools are very important for getting inside your typewriter and for removing parts. Here are a few tools that should be included in every repairman's case.
You’ll want a nice set of screwdrivers. Long precision screwdrivers are very nice, and you’ll also want some with bigger handles for a better grip and for use with larger screws. Flat-head screwdrivers are most commonly used, you will rarely find any other kind of screw head. Holdy screwdrivers are also nice for driving hard-to-hold tiny screws. You can never have too many screwdrivers.
Another essential tool of a typewriter repairman. Pliers are great for holding things and forming parts. Get a set of needle nose ones and some regular ones.
Many typewriters have nuts and bolts, along with screws. A good set of wrenches are essential for loosening these. The most common nut/bolt you will come across is 1/4”. An adjustable wrench is also good for those odd sizes you come across every now and again.
Highly recommended; it is peerless when it comes to removing gunk from thin areas. One end may be bent into a hook to assist drawband pulling.
Spring Hooks are similar to dental picks, but are specifically designed for attaching extension springs. Useful, but not essential. Most dental picks will do the same job.
Solvents and Degreasers
Solvents are commonly used to loosen caked on dirt, dust, and other gunk. Here are some common solvents and degreasers. Be careful with these as they are not good for paint or rubber and will also dissolve those. Do NOT EVER use these on decals.
Isopropyl Alcohol is one of the less aggressive chemical solvents. It does not smell too harshly, and evaporates quickly. Isopropyl Alcohol is more accessible and less volatile.
Mineral Spirits are more volatile and aggressive than Isopropyl Alcohol. Be very careful with this, as the fumes are not good for your brain.
Good oil is essential for keeping your typewriter in tip-top shape. Machine oil, gun oil, and other synthetic oils are an essential part of typewriter upkeep. These include Rem-Oil, Hoppes 9, and even trumpet valve oil.
Despite popular belief in some places on the internet, oil is good for typewriters, in certain places. DO NOT OVEROIL AND NEVER OIL DIRTY PARTS. Keep oil to places like carriage rails, carriage wheels, and the escapement. Sometimes the ribbon system, backspace, and tabulator mechanisms need oiling too. It is generally not recommended to oil the segment.