Friday, November 15, 2013

Fun with a Frozen Facit - and a Rattly Space Bar

I've been having a delightful week. With my day-job consulting at a temporary ebb I've set aside the 'to do' list and given myself the gift of hours in the work shop tinkering with typewriters. It's a great pleasure to sit on my stool down there and puzzle out some intriguing mechanical issue and set one of these fine vintage machines going again. It's especially pleasurable when these successes result from connection with the internet community.

And so it was with a Facit 1620. It had arrived a couple of months ago looking lovely, the carriage sliding very smoothly to and fro, all the keys jumping up to the platten when bidden and then bouncing back into place. Just one thing - the carriage did not advance. And the space bar action was wonky. Recalling a note in a comment from Nick Beland on one of my blog posts a while back regarding the issue of the 'Frozen Facit', I fired up the garage computer and tracked down his solution, which involved application of Goo Gone to the escapement wheel and patience.

Lacking in patience, I also sprayed liberal amounts of Kroil here and there, then turned out the shop lights and let everything sulk overnight.

In the AM the wheel would still not budge. Time to get the hammer. In this case a plastic mallet applied with gentle tapping to a nail set placed against one of the escapement wheel teeth. A bit firmer tapping. A slight movement. Eventually I nudge the wheel around about a quarter of a turn. More Kroil and Goo Gone and a bit more time are applied. More work with the mallet and nail set. Is it perhaps moving slightly easier?

Eventually I can work the wheel back and forth and haven't even broken of one of the teeth yet. And then, after a couple of days, suddenly the wheel is completely free. I turn the machine over excitedly and begin tapping on the keys. The carriage advances. It advances in exuberant fashion, up to several spaces at a time. Oh - that spring I had dislodged while whacking on the wheel is still in the parts tub. Eventually I not only get the spring back where it belongs, but also get the space bar properly linked up and suddenly everything is fine. A bit of clean up of the excess solvent, cleaning and polishing of the body and case, and there is a nearly-as-new Swedish typewriter.

Except for one thing.

Although it typed fine, there was an obnoxious tinny squeaky rattle whenever the space bar was activated. Not only irritating, it made the machine feel far less than precision. I traced the racket to a linkage connection. A slyly deployed rubber band now prevents the rattle and we have a tight-feeling, slickly-operating precision typer. I humbly offer this high-tech solution to the community.



  1. Those Facit machines have a long history of having glued up Escapements. They do come good with a lot of solvent washing and working in. Nice improvisation on the fix!

  2. Never underestimate the power of a rubber band!

  3. Clever solution with the rubber band.

    These machines have a certain futuristic design that's very appealing.

  4. The best use of a hammer and a rubber band! Congratulations!

  5. Rubber bands and BandAids have long been used to keep thing working. (Bailer twine and lashing wire for the heavy work)
    Nice repair.