Wednesday, September 9, 2015

How to Assemble a Typewriter Cleaning Kit

It's midnight. Your phone goes off and your heart stops. It's a friend who told you there might be an old typewriter in their basement, some holdover from grandpa's estate sale. He says, "I found the typewriter, but it's filthy! It probably doesn't work anymore." You ask for pictures and your heart stops again. Mildew. White-Out. Dust. Rust. Cobwebs with a "vacancy" sign lit up!

What's a guy to do???

Fear not! I'm about to show you how to assemble your very own typewriter cleaning kit! With this little box of goodies, you'll be prepared for any crisis that confronts your collection.

There's a new store in downtown Ste. Genevieve called Zeilinski's. It's not a thrift joint, but it's not an antique store either. Anyway, I took three of my typewriters down there to sell and they were happy to have the business. One item that caught my eye was a tiny attache case that Courtney picked up for the sum total of $3.

I've seen cases of similar size and width, but never with the folder on the inside. The mini calendar says 1923. Not sure if that's accurate, but I like to think it is. In theory, this case might also serve as a transport for my Corona 3, but I've already got plans on how to make that happen. A box like this is a good choice, since it clamps shut.

The cleaning supplies were part of a combined wedding present from Vern at Jones' Typewriter and my lovely wife. The basket makes for good presentation, but not so good for storage. I've had things spill out more than once, and those tiny white brushes can get lost in the paper confetti.

So, think I can get all of that into such a little box?

Step 1: Padding

The box is vintage. Protect is as much as possible. Thankfully, I had some foam padding left over from when my Royal Deluxe was shipped.

Step 2: Layering

After cutting one big strip in half, the first piece cushions the bottom of the case. The second piece will separate the rest of the tools from the canned oils and solvents.

Don't panic. The WD-40 is only for ribbon restoration.

Step 3: Tweaking

Of course, it wasn't practical to get all of the stuff inside the box, but I got enough! After a rubber band or two, just slide in some sheets of testing paper, extra ribbons, and you're all set!

That's all there is to it! A good basic kit in a nice package. 

Power to the pen!


  1. Nice! Much classier than my old red toolbox ;)

  2. How fortunate you are to have a typewriter repairman that is so willing to pass on the knowledge. Great post as always!

  3. Imaginative use of a very nice attache case.

  4. Really neat little case! I use a small fishing tackle box for my kit, but the cans of LPS1, Carb Cleaner and P'blaster don't fit inside. The little sectioned trays are great for the little do-dads like eyeletting grommets, q-tips and rubber washers though. (: