Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Finally, an Olivetti Lettera 32 Added to the Collection

Warning there are a lot of boring images after the typecast...

After cleaning the type slugs the typeface is now clean and clear.  Also, I got so used to using acetone it seemed like it took forever to dissolve decades of accumulated hardened ink and dirt with denatured alcohol, even using a dental pick.
First things first. On a warm sunny spring day, set up the Harbor Freight work table, place typewriter on top, open ribbon cover, remove ribbon.

Next remove the 4 screws that hold on the cover.  Remove the cover. Notice it must be removed left to right because the carriage lock lever prevents removing it right to left.

Washers are squashed so I measured for new ones.
More accurate measurement, measure the O.D. of the washer.  Convert to mm later.
Example of the dirt.

More dirt.

Remove the cover by placing a screw driver under the washer between the frame and washer.  Twist the screw driver and pry the cover up off of the T-shaped post.

One corner loose.

I had a better idea. Use my bent-nose pliers.  These are 90-deg. 60-deg. may have worked better.

Work the pliers between the grommet and frame. Rock the pliers back. (in the image this would be rock them handles to the right) to pry the bottom plate free.

Now the bottom plate will lift free.
Front of the plate is held by tabs placed into slots on the next image.

Pointing to one of the slots.

More dirt.  Note the loose spring that can be seen in the hole in the center of the image.

Looking for where it fastened, I found this tab under the adjustment screw.  Looks like this is where the spring is anchored.

The bar on the right in the image is the margin release. The M.R. key would not return after it was pressed. Notice the brown blotch? It was rubbing against the felt on the bottom plate. I checked the plate for flatness. It was fine. The bar was bowed. I straightened it.  Fixed.

This crack was not on the ad for the typewriter.  The image on the ad clearly shows no crack.  I'll be getting some JB Weld to reinforce the housing behind the crack.

I did not and do not want one made in Spain.
The way Starrett oil is packaged. My can is several years old. Oil lasts much longer in a sealed can than in sealed plastic.

Portable workbench is from Harbor Freight when they have them.  Normally they are about $50 and often they have them on special for $20 or so. I got this one for around $10 before the price increased.  The air compressor (from Harbor Freight) is great for those who do not have room for a full size compressor. Runs about $100 when not on special. I think I paid about $50 for this one last year on one of their summer holiday 3-day special sales. The green Flexilla hose is extra.

A few tools of my electronics trade that work great for quick typewriter adjustments and repairs in the house.
If the images were not too boring and you made it this far, The last thing I did was clean the type slugs and test the typewriter.

I'll be making a trip to the hardware store for some acetone too.

The Flexilla hose shown on my compressor is a piece I made from a bulk spool of Flexilla air hose. It is some of the best, most flexible, and wear resistant hose I've found. When I worked in FL my boss bought a spool to try.  Everyone who used the hose loved it. After some was in service for about a year or more it was still in good shape.

Needless to say that all the rubber hose went to the dump.

Flexilla is made in Taiwan.  The company also makes excellent cold weather electric extension cords and garden hose.  I hate to admit, their products are better than equal U.S.A. made as I have had and used both.

Until we moved to Michigan I always used (like for 40 or so years) Gates Soft & Subtle garden hose because it was flexible year-round (even in PA and VA winters). I had several USA made extension cords that were to be good in winter. but none stayed as flexible in the snow as Flexilla. Now I use Flexilla.

Now for what I do not like about Flexilla.  The plastic fittings on their pre-made air hose.  I cut them off and install good brass ones.  I do not like the aluminum couplings on the garden hose, but so far they are as good or better than the brass coated steel ones on all other brands of consumer grade hoses.

When my pressure washer needs a new high pressure hose I plan to give a Flexilla high pressure hose a try, after all all the other ones come from China.


  1. Great work. That's one lucky Lettera!

  2. Steve, This is the third Lettera 32 I've purchased this year. 2 arrived damaged beyond repair and were returned. This one only had this minor crack. I'm guessing Olivetti used a cheap quality aluminum casting by the time they produced the 32 since I have found many examples of broken housings on the 32 yet few Lettera 22 or Studio 44 typewriters with housing damage.

  3. This onexwas a wee bit of a challenge for you Bill, just the way you like it ☺ Happy weekend to yourself and Mrs M.

  4. I'll need to get myself one of those tables! Thanks for all the equipment recommendations; I've got a few machines in need of some sprucing up!