What the hell is a draw band? It is a length of fabric attached at one end of a typewriter to the main spring drum and the other to the carriage. Technically speaking a draw band (or a draw string) transmits power by way of the main spring to the carriage. This provides the back and forth motion that makes escapement action of each plunk of the key happen. In other words it transmits the tension needed for the carriage to move each time you tab, backspace and type!
I am constantly amazed at the lack of resources for replacement draw bands and see many resort to things as common as shoe laces. I admit, when I first started in the business I was a little taken aback that replacement ink ribbon was so easy, yet the one thing that typewriters rely upon to function was left to people’s ingenuity.
I’m ALWAYS on the look out for reliable replacements for draw bands. In the typosphere I get everything and excuses and no real solutions. A draw band needs to be strong without much stretch and soft enough to be flexible. It also needs to be capable of forming to existing draw band metal connectors.
Well draw strings are simple in the Northwest as replacement for cat gut is easily substituted with braided fishing line and the thicker types such as for Oliver typewriters are replaced with (forgive me) clothes line. Draw bands, which are flat cotton fabric 1/4 to 3/8 inch wide are seemingly nowhere to be found. . . . until, you guessed it. The Northwest’s Nordic heritage comes through to save the day!
Who would have thought our City of Poulsbo would have a solution that has provided a full service Scandinavian gift shop for decades. I was browsing the Nordic Maid one day for the latest Stan Boreson music CD and the decorative Swedish ribbons caught my eye. Now, I’ve been to all the craft stores and found them to be a bit underwhelming for this task (yes both Stan Boreson CD’s and draw band material!). So when I fondled the 1/4 inch ribbon woven in Småland Sweden I KNEW I’d found draw band material that would be the perfect replacement. No way was this ribbon going on a festive Jule Fest vest.
I’m not kidding, if you want draw band material that will last just as long as that vintage Underwood you are contemplating having restored, look no further. If you need the perfect draw band material for your project email firstname.lastname@example.org. The material is available by the foot, plus first class postage. You will never go back to using shoe laces again.