Friday, April 10, 2015

My Selectric Refurbishment Process

I took some pictures of some of the steps I take when I refurbish an IBM Selectric. This is a very labor intensive, time consuming process, but it is necessary to return a Selectric back to it's full operating potential.

 First step is to strip the machine of the housing, platen, feed rolls, motor and wiring. I then chemically wash the machine in my typewriter washer to remove decades-old grease and oil. I then check and perform any needed repairs and then re-lubricate the machine with synthetic oil and grease Photos below show the machine after it has been washed.

I overhaul the motor, centrifugal clutch and switch and reinstall the motor and wiring.  At every step, I check each mechanism as I go, making sure adjustments are correct. I then test all the machine functions as well as impression quality, selection and noise.

It's hard to photograph the mechanical reconditioning process. Rest assured, the mechanical components are thoroughly cleaned and checked and any repairs and adjustments performed as necessary. My goal is to return the machine to "Like New Condition".

Once the interior mechanism is functioning properly, I work on the parts that everyone sees. I strip the old foam out of the case and remove all the hardware and emblems to prep for repaint. I even remove the platen knobs and refurbish them by cleaning, polishing and adding new numbers on the page-end indicator as shown below.. 

 I then put a coat of clear over the numbers to prevent them from rubbing off like the originals.

The housings are then cleaned, stripped and sanded (if necessary) and then repainted with an oil-based enamel paint. Original paint colors and texture are used to retain the original look.
 All emblems, margin scale and trim is reconditioned and repainted if necessary.
 This emblem has been reproduced using a scan from an original.
 New noise-reducing carbon gray foam is cut to fit the machine and then attached to the interior with spray glue. Even the paper table gets a new strip of foam to reduce rattles and buzz.

The power frame assembly is then refitted to the base and more checks are performed.

The plastic dust shields that fit below the carrier are cleaned, and heat-formed to remove years of warping. The photo below shows the straightened shields ready to install.

 Dust shields installed and clearance-checked.

 Noise-reducing foam shown installed inside the case.

Upper housing ready to install with paper table, emblems, margin scale, margin rest and latching hardware reinstalled.

When I finish assembling and testing this machine, I'll post the finished photos.


  1. Could you please send/show me a pattern of the inside
    'noise reducing sound' and from where I can buy this
    Thank you.

  2. Yes I would be pay a few bucks for the templates to reward you for doing the work and putting them in a pdf.