July sky

I’ve had the same set of watercolours in a Windsor and Newton black enamel tin since I was a first year art student at Falmouth. Over the years the pans of colours have been renewed but it’s one of those little constants I return to that makes me feel secure. I started doing quick sketches in watercolour of lockdown skies in March. I didn’t think I would need to make another sketchbook to contain them all. Yesterday it was an even pale grey all day so I didn’t bother painting it. Today it looks more interesting so I may well do several. There are no rules other than to be guided by the wind.

Ting a ling

The Underwood 5 bell before
The Underwood 5 bell now

I would have preferred to polish the bell off the machine but I don’t have a long enough screwdriver to go in all the way from the opposite side of the typewriter. Brasso and wet & dry paper. Carefully, slowly turning the bell. The metal is pitted from the rust but so far it’s looking a lot nicer.

Underwood 5 progress

Emergency drawband repair!

As soon as I had got the valentine underwood home, I saw that the drawband was so frayed it was about to go. Before I did anything else, (even brewed a cup of tea) I found some strong linen button thread and put some stitches into the strap. However I could see that just poking the needle through would break the strap, so I held it steady with a pair of tweezers. There are no in-progress pictures as it was touch and go. The strap broke after a couple of stitches and I heard the mainspring lose a bit of tension, but the thing held and I finished off with a few more stitches.

No serial number

I looked long and hard for the serial number and consulted a lot of photos on the database to check I was looking in all the right places. Eventually I discovered this ground down plate under a layer of rust and grime… Thanks to Richard Polt for pointing me to the secret back-up serial number hiding place under the nickelled plate on the right of the carriage!

Serial number hiding place

Everything was stiff and rusty, especially the margin stops. I struggled to get them to shift and too impatient to sort it, I wrote a letter with a rather narrow format. Then in the evening we burned the rice for our Valentine’s Day curry while we tried to work out how to shift the stops. Badly. However with all the windows open to let the freezing night air in, and the smoke out, the air cleared enough to get a screwdriver into action and take the ruler off to clean up the stops…

This stop is for the right hand side! Of course it is!
And this is the left margin stop. Slightly different arrangement under there.

You might notice the plastic spools on the machine at this point. I was too excited to try typing to be bothered respooling and found that the lettera 22 spools worked ok for a test run. I’ve missed having a filthy thing. On with the cleaning!

Totally smitten with these stained legends