I get calls from folks enquiring about repairs to a typewriter, go figure. Often the conversation starts like this.
“My typewriter appears fine and I’m sure it just needs a little help.” slow pause . . . “Oh, and the keys are like kinda stuck, the paper will not feed and the carriage is frozen. Other than that the typewriter is just FINE! I’m sure it will take just a few moments of your time and all will be well.” Long intake of breath along with another dramatic pause . . . “Oh and one more thing; it has been sitting in the back shed for 25 years and just a tad dirty.” Queue my maniacal laughter (Muh, ha, ha, ha!).
Mostly when I get call such as this I coach folks on defining what is a working typewriter. Do you want the machine to function as designed? What do you actually want from the typewriter? Is it to sit on that fine library shelf looking quite spiffy, yet not all that functional? Does you need to type with little distraction from the typewriter? Mostly it is up to the customer to let me know what they want, and then up to me to define what I am able to do and at what cost.
Many machines are perfectly serviceable with a little help. If the typewriter actually puts print on paper and all the features of the machine work just a bit slowly (tabs, back space, margin stops, etc.), then yes all that nice hunk of metal needs is a tune up. Does it need repair? Is there rust? The hours start to add up.
Fortunately typewriters that have been sitting for ages idle inside the house are mostly just very dirty and need a good degreasing, cleaning then re-oiling and minor adjustments. Some have missing parts, usually springs or a screw is loose (just like me!).
It all takes bench time and I find a Zen like quiet in the pursuit of cajoling a machine back to usefulness.