Sunday 21 August 2011

Keys to the Kingdom- Considering a Modification to My Royal QDL. Good or Bad Idea?

No, I'm not planning to attach this lamp to my typewriter. I'm saving it for my smartphone.

What do you all think? How many times can you bend these little prongs back and forth before they snap? I only plan to bend them once.

Despite what you've just read, I do actually know how to spell the word 'decide'.

The Georgia font seems to be the boldest and clearest to read, although I may end up choosing Garamond. But Copperplate Gothic looks so cool.

***I dream lo-tech took a better photo of typecast-with-stapler.***

So have I covered everything? Have any of you tried this kind of modification and was it successful? I know that Robert Messenger has changed the keytops on an old '30s Royal Portable and he got very good results. But he's a master with these things. I'm a novice. Is there anything I should be wary of?  Or should I just sober up and get on with my life?
I figure that I really only get one chance to do this properly.

All opinions welcome.
Thanks for reading!


  1. Honestly, your ambitious project is making me nervous. Such a handsome QDL, the aged keys are part of its appeal, part of its soul. Just my two cents'- go polish your watches or something and leave the QDL be!

    Stapler expert, that's me! LOL

  2. I would leave it be as well. It's part of its appeal to me.

  3. It looks to me as if its just that the covers are scratched up? If so they may not improve much. However if I were to go to all that trouble I'd do something a bit more radical with color, background or font. Plan b might be the plastic key cushions they used to make. I have a set from an old machine, can't decide if I like them or not.

  4. Metal fatigue is certainly going to be your enemy here. Back in the day, typewriter shops could replace the keytops because I'm sure they had a stock of replacement rings around. But now... no. Even *one* broken prong would be too much to risk, IMHO.

  5. You should do it because you'd be a solid-state Hero if you succeeded. It's probable that you'll have to clean the glass keytops too anyway. If it were me, I'd first ask my local typewriter shop if they had a drawer full of replacement rings, just in case. (although the *square* rings for the shift keys are gonna be a serious issue to find spares for!)

    Also, Copperplate Gothic FTW! :D

  6. I think it's a fun project that's worth trying. You may start a trend!

  7. I also think you should take a chance - you've come this far with the planning stages, why stop now? Give it your best shot and let us know what happens. If the worst happens, at least it is not a super expensive/ rare machine (I hope).

  8. Hi, in my experience you can remove the key rings several times before getting worried. Just take care, minimum of movement etc. Re-placement rings would be hard to find. I can still remember throwing whole cards of key tops into the bin thing who would want these old obsolete things!!
    I just want to cry now....

    1. Thanks for dropping by, McT! I've put this little project on the back-burner till I have a decent work-space where I could take a few days to a few months to tackle this job properly. I had a feeling that I would be able to bend the metal a few times if I had to, but I only plan to bend it once. When the time comes.
      Thanks again.

  9. I see you have gone for it! Best of luck. It was painful to get those keytops off.

  10. Looking good and worth the effort, if only to keep you out of trouble for a few months :-) What other pastime gives such long lasting engagement for so little cash?

  11. @ Scott, yes, I have commenced this project, but I'll go slowly due to space constraints. There's nowhere in this house (or garage) where I can leave this typewriter sitting for days on end.

    @ Rob, ha, ha, ha!!