Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Underwood Electric: The keyboard's ready

For the extra five keys needed by the Underwood Electric, I took the keys from an old Underwood no. 5 that was shipped inadequately and had its carriage broken, becoming a parts machine. This kind of key pulls off the stem very easily ...


... but removing the metal rings from the keys was very hard. I used to have a great tool for doing this, but now I can't find it anywhere.

Finally I was ready to insert the key legends -- but I found that the ivory paper I used was too light to match the rest of the keyboard.

PB B'laster to the rescue! This yellowy degreaser/lubricant gives just the right antique look when dabbed on with a Q-Tip.


And now I'm ready to show you the whole keyboard.

The five new keys were glued onto the stems with JB Weld.

The base of the typewriter has now been reattached. I painted the distinctive "tube" that loops out to protect the keyboard; the rest is unpainted aluminum.

The black tab bar came from a '40s manual Underwood which will be getting this machine's gray tab bar—they're identical except for the color.

Am I heading in the right direction?

In case you don't remember, the typewriter originally looked like this.



  1. Looks fantastic so far. I can't wait to see the finished project!

  2. That is some wonderful work Richard. Congratulations on the great looking typewriter. Now for the completed machine.

  3. Definitely heading in the right direction, nice work!

  4. Really wonderful. It all looks as it should!

  5. Yes, very much the correct direction. Super-sharp! :D

  6. That looks fantastic! I can't wait to see the end result.
    Say... I don't suppose I can buy a couple of underwood 5 parts off you?