Simple box

Here’s a simple box I made to house the real present. My boss bought an antique typewriter at an estate sale to give to his blogger daughter. He didn’t notice that although it all seemed to work, the carriage didn’t actually move when typing. He asked me if I knew what might be wrong. I thought it was a pawl used to ratchet the mechanism so told him I’d fix it for him.

Unfortunately it wasn’t that easy. :slightly_smiling_face: I found I could make it work if it was on a 30 degree incline but couldn’t find any obviously broken parts. Dug through the Internet and found things like the manufacturing date (March 1914) and even a copy of the original manual. Didn’t solve my problem. Went to the patent files and finally figured out it was missing the tension belt that provides tension to the carriage via a clockspring mechanism.

Couldn’t find a replacement belt. So I made a new one. Then cleaned the machine of 100 years of oil & dust. Relubed it and the typewriter was ready. Didn’t do a full refinish because the whole point is it’s old and has the character of a well used machine.

I thought it would be nice to have some sort of box to put it in and maybe act as a display. Finger joint boxes seem to have something of a rustic old-time vibe so I made one to fit the machine on the laser. Engraved the top with his daughter’s name and her blog (small things). The typewriter is an old school blogging tool :slightly_smiling_face:

Replicated the machine’s labeling from the front, added the info on mfg & serial number to make it more like a factory box. I glued and pinned all the sides except the front. It’s designed to let the front panel pull off so the typewriter can be pulled out. It’s pretty heavy & pulling it out from the top would be harder.

A couple of coats of a Danish Oil finish and it feels like something that might have come from 1914.

Either piece of the pair is pretty neat, but together they make something unique for a present. I also included a copy of a pre-war pamphlet on typewriter first-aid and a copy of the original Remington Standard No 10 Owner’s Manual. I really like laser projects that aren’t all about being a laser cut thing but part of something else. Compound creations as it were :slightly_smiling_face:

Here’s a pic for some laser porn :wink:


Wow! I hope your boss is paying you for all that work! It turned out looking great. We have an old typewriter on our living room table. Purely decoration though. They make amazing decorations though.


Nah. Pro-bono :slightly_smiling_face: He’ll get nice dad points Sunday.

Started out as a challenge to fix it. I mean, I’m supposed to be a master of 21st century technology, a 100 year old typewriter shouldn’t have posted an issue :slightly_smiling_face:

Once it was fixed, the somewhat creative side of me took over - wanted to make it a little more special.

These kind of projects can turn into rabbit holes. But a laser cut box is pretty easy. Also provided a way to tie in some of the results from research I did. Fun project and a great way to wash & dry the brain.


That’s great. I’m sure he’ll be very appreciative and his daughter is sure to love it.


That extra mile you went, the manual, the engraved box for the repaired cleaned machine really made it!


Beautiful box, beautiful work all around.


Gorgeous machine and awesome job on the box for it!

( Lucky gal!) :four_leaf_clover:


All of the new laser users are going to have fun when they get their Glowforges :slightly_smiling_face:


Fantastic work on both the typewriter and presentation box. Great added touches on the box detailing and manuals. Bravo! :trophy:


lucky boss and lucky boss’s daughter - great job. All those extra touches really make it a wonderful gift.


Well done sir! :+1:


What a wonderful one-of-a-kind gift! He must be a pretty good guy for you to go to this much work so his dad-points can be upped!


Wowsers! That looks amazing and that’s gotta feel good to know you fixed something…wish I could say the same about an old penny slot machine my neighbor asked me to fix. After tinkering and breaking something (which I then fixed), I gave it back as good as…well, as good as still broken :frowning2: There were a lot of moving parts in that small box!

I digress, spectacular job on it all!


Can I get my hands on it? I love tinkering with old machinery. Spelunking around in their guts figuring out what the things do and how they got it to work is always a heck of a lot of fun. And then when you figure out how to actually fix it, that’s cool - “I’m as competent as a 1930 mechanic with a 6th grade education” :wink: Old machines are a great window in the way people think and how they approach problems.

With the typewriter when I mentioned that I couldn’t find the part that was broken the prevalent response was “too bad it’s just going to be a paperweight”. When I said I’d just make a part to fix it I got this goggle-eyed look like I was some kind of alien. To which I responded with a goggle-eyed look like they’re aliens. I don’t understand people who don’t think that it’s within their ability to make something to fix something else. (It does irritate the stuffing out of my wife though - I will keep fixing things long after she would have preferred getting a new & improved model :slight_smile:).

At least the folks here get it :smile:


Couldn’t agree with you more on this! I often wonder if I’ve gone too far sometimes.

We’re in Madison, Wi…if we could meet up, I’m sure he’d be willing to have another person look at it. It humbled me tremendously. I have a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering and couldn’t exactly figure out how everything worked. My only excuse would be my wife wanted it out of the house ASAP as it consumed the dining room table (prior to me having my shop setup).[quote=“jamesdhatch, post:14, topic:4340”]
Old machines are a great window in the way people think and how they approach problems.

I loved looking at it and tracing the steps it took to make it all work. So many springs and levers coupled with my lack of patience and somewhat ADD manner in which I look things over, I quickly lost-sight of how the thing worked (I couldn’t figure out what made the wheels spin). I hope to have a second chance at it someday!


I just did. My wife is sending my daughter out for a new Keurig. It keeps asking to be descaled and I was in the middle of the typewriter project so I couldn’t jump on it.

I did tell her I’d hack the DRM they added to the 2.0 version. She said she didn’t want any extra bells & whistles and I told her DRM wasn’t a bell or whistle and it wasn’t optional :slight_smile: I’ll just make it go away so she’s happy with her new one (& I won’t be able to play with the old one because they’ll have trashed it while I’m at work).

I wouldn’t let her get a new KitchenAid for 10 years after it broke the first time. Just kept fixing the old one as different parts wore out. New ones just aren’t made nearly as well - motors are junk and the transmission gearing & housing are just poorly constructed now.

I want @jkopel’s garage of old machines so I can make more parts to fix old machines :smile:


I am not complaining, but a garage full of old machines means I am ALWAYS fixing old machines. For instance at the moment I need to pull the gearbox out of my bandsaw since it is going “clunk clunk clunk” in the high speed range and the band is not moving. Parts from DoAll are made of solid gold, so I am sure I will be stuck fabricating whatever I need.

Since I can’t do any “new” machine projects at the moment, it will keep me out of trouble.

That is a fantastic box and present BTW!


Where have I heard this before?


I love this line…gotta remember to use it more often!

Ain’t that a pain?! I have an older one, but my dad just cut tore the top off of an official Keurig cup and I taped it up in there so it always sat on top of whatever new cup we placed in there. Not as elegant as disabling it but! Good to know that’s possible (hindsight makes me wonder why I didn’t think of that before…but I’m also not the kind of person courageous enough to hack something that is new)!

Hate when that happens! Perfectly good components still in there that are just waiting for a second chance at life in something better!