decals are a must on any old typewriter. They can be ornate pieces
of illustration. But sometimes they wear off or are damaged in other
ThisChicago now has a new decal. Check the end
of this page for the result.
There are three things you can do:
1. Replacement parts
- Find a replacement
- Restore the original
3. Get a replica from the Typewriter Decal Shop.
Replacement parts can be found, but you'll see that
finding parts with good decals on them will not be easy. Obviously,
we'll all use the best decals on the machines in our own collections.
And obviously, parts with decals are most wanted and most asked for.
Robert Nelson provides
the following method to restore gold decals on machines, using amber
colored shellac. Warning: Shellac is very difficult to work with as it dries almost instantly. Shellac is a natural lacquer, secreted by an Indian
tree louse (ok, you didn't ask, but this is one of those things you
should know). Shellac can be obtained through specialized paint shops.
The amber kind is rare. If you live where I live, you'll have to ask
a friend in the United States to send you some. (Thanks, Robert!)
For more information on Shellac, check out the producer of
- Clean the part very well
- Brush on several coats of shellac until you get the desired
shade of gold. (Let dry between coats and use a good brush.)
- Sand the piece with 600 wet sandpaper until it is smooth.
- Apply several coats of spray clear lacquer
- Sand again with 600 wet and, if needed, with 1000 wet
- Rub with fine, white compound.
Possibly, the piece will now
be so shiny, that it doesn't fit the rest of the machine anymore.
In that case, polish it with clear coat polish compound to dull
it a bit.
Another negative side to this approach is that the shellac will result in a haze of gold over the entire piece, when placed in direct sunlight.
3. Get a replica from the Typewriter Restoration Site
I have produced dozens of different decals in the last couple of years. A complete list is on the right side of this page.
They are all available. I have put a number of them in an Etsy sthop There are direct links to them in the list. For the rest: Just drop me a line and tell me which you need. If what you are looking for is not on the list, you can still ask. If good examples are available I can make them for you.
Decals and Silk Screening
Bob Aubert volunteers the following on the traditional method of
To make a decal as it was done originally, a special
paper is required which has a tissue layer on a peelable back sheet.
A mirror image of the decal is silk screened or printed on the tissue
side. When ready to apply, the image area is sprayed with varnish.
This is absorbed by the tissue paper and tends to dry quickly, but
on the decal the varnish dries more slowly. When tacky, the image
side is placed down on the surface where needed. After the varnish
has set, the backing paper is peeled off. What's
left is the tissue layer with the decal in place beneath it. Warm
water is then used to dissolve and wash away the tissue paper. Over
spraying with clear varnish will make a decal more durable.
Of course, a silk screen can be used to apply an image directly
on to a typewriter. However, this is only recommended for flat surfaces.
Printing to a curved surface requires considerable skill, experience,
and in some cases special equipment. The screen is usually coated
a photo sensitized material, it's exposed, developed and fixed.
special paste-like paint is squeegeed through the screen to lay
print. A multi-color image is much more complicated and not usually
applied by direct application. Ideally it should be done by making
decal first and making the transfer as described above.
For pin stripes you
can use factory produced pinstripe tape. It comes in different widths
It is nicer to paint an original pin strip back onto the machine,
or to restore the original stripe, like this:
- Mask off the area to the side of the pin stripe using pinstripe
tape or typographer's tape (used to place black lines on offset
models before reproduction). Make sure the tape sticks out, so
you can pull it off again. (Check www.finessepinstriping.com
for all sorts of tape, brushes and paints. Nice people!)
- Use gold leaf paint (the real stuff, not model paint) and apply
it with a very small brush.
- Pull of the tape before the paint starts to dry.
- Recoat and rub and polish and wax.
- For an example, Check the Molle