Cleaning and Refinishing

At this point, the things are ready for cleaning.
If you are using the box system that I recommend for dividing parts into subgroups, the number of parts in each of the five boxes (painted parts are another category) will be about right for a single cleaning session (one to two hours, in my experience). Donít try to do it all at once.
As much as I love working on these old beauties, cleaning parts is my least favored activity. Once I get the castings painted and ready to receive parts, my usual approach is to clean whatever box of parts is needed next and then proceed to reassemble them. This breaks up the boredom. Use your favorite cleaning technique.
On the mainframe, most of the crud is going to accumulate on the top surface. Often, little dirt is found on the underside, and this is why some of the underside stuff can sometimes be left in place. Air blasting, scrubbing with solvents and toothbrushes and blowing out the nooks, crannies, and bearing surfaces with solvent will often be perfectly adequate. Please note that I do not advocate the use of toxic chemicals.
If you are going to use something like carburetor cleaner or engine starting fluid, be safe. ALWAYS use these things OUTDOORS and ALWAYS stand UPWIND of the operation. Starting fluid (which does a sterling job, by the way) is mainly ether, a surgical anesthetic. DO NOT breathe the fumes!
Brass and steel wire brushes and plenty of steel wool are the main materials I use in combination with responsibly-used solvents and cleaning agents to complete the job. When parts are clean, unpainted parts were sprayed with protective oil and things that needed paint were carefully degreased. During the disassembly and cleaning process, I identified a number of parts that were missing, damaged, or shabby, and made use of a little ingenuity, as well as good friends on the typewriter lists, to replace them. I would like to extend a sincere thanks to Paul Robert for the decals, to Peter Weil for key tops, typebar comb, space bar, and several other small parts, and to Bob Aubert for new rubber feet and some good advice.

10. Wood key tops that someone made to replace missing originals
11. Original cast non-metallic key comb with missing teeth that was replaced with the comb from an Oliver 3.


All leather components (typebar rest cushions, space bar rest cushion, and carriage strap) were replaced as well. Five of the key tops on my machine were missing, and someone long ago had fashioned wooden replacements, obviously spending a lot of energy trying to do a good job (See Photo 10). Replacement key tops from Peterís Oliver 3 parts machine match beautifully. Nevertheless, all the key tops were showing their age. They all had tiny cracks crisscrossing their surfaces and appeared to be in danger of disintegration. So after cleaning with Formula 409 and a toothbrush, I sealed the surfaces with clear polyurethane to increase their life expectancy. This also restores some of what I imagine was their original luster. The fact that the machine had lost five key tops over the years also prompted me to put a drop of super glue onto the base of each one, new and old, to secure it to the key lever.
Another problem was the key lever comb. The original (See Photo 11) was a plastic (for lack of a better word) casting. It had three teeth broken out of it, and for a while I entertained the idea of repairing it with glued and screwed-in replacement teeth carved from new material, but in the long run practicality won out and I replaced it with the comb from an Oliver 3. The slot spacing is identical. One hole had to be drilled in the replacement comb and the whole thing was angled to the rear slightly to bring the wearing surfaces of keys and comb together, but with the machine reassembled nobody will ever notice the difference unless you tell them.
For historical purposes, of course, this means the machine is no longer "original," and I think it is important to retain a record of any such changes and also to keep the original defective part(s) so that if the machine changes hands the new owner will know what was done. All original parts that were replaced in this project (including the homemade wooden key tops) are in a labeled plastic bag that will follow the machine from now on.
The single ribbon cover that came with this machine may not have been original either. It is identical in design to the covers used on the models 3 and 5, and while I have seen another model 2 pictured in Darryl Rehrís book with the same covers, that is no guarantee of originality. I have been told that the model 2 should actually have covers with round holes. Until something like that shows up, however, I will continue to use the one I got with it, along with another one like it salvaged from a model 5 parts machine.

Since repainting was part of my project, duplicating (or at least approximating) Oliver green was the next step. If you can get it done, a computerized paint match by an auto paint supplier is the best bet. This was not possible for me, so after priming the parts with Krylon primer, I approximated the color with two parts Krylon High Gloss Hunter Green (KDH6118) to one part Krylon High Gloss Leather Brown (KDH6119), appropriately thinned for spraying. I give this paint formula ONLY as information about what I did, NOT as a recommendation for your own color. I cannot guarantee that you will be happy with it. It is fairly close, and I believe Oliver did vary its own paint formula over the years, but I encourage you to experiment on your own with paint until you find something that satisfies you. If you lack spray painting equipment, most auto paint suppliers and even hobby shops will have an ingenious little device made by Preval, consisting of a compressed gas power cartridge and a glass paint jar. Fill the jar with your paint and proceed as with a spray can. It works great! I was able to do the entire machine with one gas cartridge. Once the paint dried thoroughly (Rule of thumbóif you can still smell it, itís not ready), I went over the painted parts with polishing compound and auto wax until I got the appearance I wanted.

12. Oliver 2 decal by Paul Robert


Paul has published several articles on this site detailing how to go about perfecting a finish, and I cannot offer any better suggestions than his. Locate any bearing holes or bearing surfaces that may have been painted over, such as the holes that the ribbon shafts go through on the frame, and the slot that the carriage rail assemblyís centering block rides in, and clean them off. Also, with the painting done, now is the time to apply new decals. My Oliver 2 only has one decal, on the paper table, and I used an excellent decal produced by Paul for this purpose (Photo 12).

And so, it's time to reassemble: