Royal Parts and Mild Self-Loathing

Being a perfectionist sucks. Lately it sucks because this long-neglected 1916 Royal #10 is capable of being perfect again. I’ve already gotten the innards and mechanisms repaired, adjusted, tweaked and balanced so they’re humming along wonderfully. It types like a dream. The tragic mess of a repaint job has been painstakingly scrubbed off, exposing the original paint, logos and pinstripes trapped beneath. Said original paint has been laboriously buffed out to a glorious mirror finish. All well and good. Damn this thing is looking sharp.

Why would you do this to a typewriter?
Let alone one that looked like this.  HELL YES!
Take that, probably long-dead typewriter repainter!

Except there’s just one problem.  Now that the paint is all snazzy, it’s apparent the nickel-plated parts ain’t gonna fly in the condition they’re in. I saved them for last in the hopes that a gentle bath in rust remover and maybe some wire-brushing would be enough to get them back in fighting shape.

Nope. Just nope. Hilariously sad levels of nope. Various tests of different chemicals and techniques only served to prove the obvious: Pretty much all of the plating is totally ruined. I would say “all” but there may be a fragment of shiny nickel under the grime somewhere still.

Sad trombone.

This is where the perfectionist thing starts to suck. I can’t just leave it like that! Not on an otherwise pristine machine. There’s only one option left, and that’s the full bonkers nuclear option. The one that will take more time than the rest of this typewriter combined. The “if I charged by the hour, you could get three shiny screws or just go buy a whole new typewriter” option.

Yeah, as you can tell by the picture, I went there. Every single plated piece is getting removed and refinished one by one. Even the individual tiny screws because they would look stupid otherwise. Anyway. The ruined plating gets sanded off, followed by slowly working the scratched ugly bare metal up to a brilliant mirror shine. Half a dozen grits of sandpaper, mostly by hand because the Dremel can’t get into the curves, and then buffing on a polishing wheel, and then redoing hazy spots until it’s right.

Final step is dunking it in a bath of rust protectant and applying a healthy coat of wax, because otherwise the naked metal would start rusting again within days.

No sane person would ever attempt this. You don’t need to tell me that. But the completed pieces look so nice! And when I finish (a month or two from now at the soonest), and then painstakingly reassemble the typewriter from its hundreds of tiny pieces, and *then* adjust and tweak and balance it all over again, this will be the finest looking Royal #10 on Earth.


Perhaps then I will finally be at peace.


3 thoughts on “Royal Parts and Mild Self-Loathing”

  1. It’s in the best of hands. And I understand the need for perfection all too well. Its why I’m driven to dismantle my machines entirely, just so that each and every little spot of dirt and debris is annihilated. Any imperfection gnaws at my sanity.

    Liked by 2 people

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