Sunday, June 29, 2008

Is That a Shine I See??

Yes, it is. Instead of going the complete disassemble, clean, re-paint and re-assemble route, I decided to de-grease, de-rust, scrape old paint, clean and repaint small sections at a time. One huge reason is simple: lack of space. Another reason is that I really don't think it's needed. I grew up with hot-rodders on the block, and although they were equipped to strip down a rod to the chassis, dip, cadmium plate, and totally re-assemble a vehicle and race it professionally at Bithlo, they very seldom did this. They pulled engines and trannies, rear ends, etc. but they didn't take the doors off, take out the window glides, remove the dashboard, pop out the windscreens, remove the bootlid . . . I think you get my point. The fellas restoring the 1909 Opel Doktorwagens or '08 T models may go this far, but again, only if needed.

The "tranny" of the Pearl is just fine. There is no rust, and the oil ports function fine. The only thing that really needs treatment now is the chassis, where I am wire-brushing rust spots with the carbide steel dremel brush, a slow process. I have found an interesting way to remove half-century old globs of ink: a fine drill, hand rotated into the glob does two things, lets you know if it is, indeed, ink or metal, and if is ink, if you drill a bit, it will break away and leave the spot it once occupied fairly clean.

The Flywheel and front parts of the chassis and platen were made ready for covering today. At first I tried the Shoe-Polish suggestion, only to discover I could not get adhesion on the bare metal areas! It was great on areas where the original paint was roughed up, but where I had to take the rust down to the bare metal it was a no-go. So I followed a second suggestion which seems to be the more popular one: Rustoleum.

Wal-Mart had two types in cans: Flat and Gloss. Well sir, I chose the gloss. I think it was a good choice. It goes on good and thick by brush, and cleans up well with kerosine.

I started with the flywheel. I had already cleaned off the rust from the flat edge and the two side lips, and polished it to the bare metal. This will be protected by oil. The area immediatetly under the lip was painted with a finer tipped brush, carefully so as not to get paint on the lip. A larger brush was used for the rest of the wheel. I just did the outside. Also ready to paint were the front sides of the press feet and the front edge of the platen. I removed the Pearl name plate, which will get a separate treatment and polishing.

For you folks thinking of doing what I did: note that most of the screws I have had to remove thus far have all been brass 8-32. Just a tip to keep under your hat.

Here you can see the front of the platen just below the tympan packing area, and the part where the name plate is mounted has already been painted. Also the areas between the rails and the type bed get painted using the finer brush. On Thursday I plan to do the inside of the flywheel, more on the inside platen hinge area, and treat the rear portion of the ink disk, which needs to go on the bench grinder's wire wheel for edge rust removal, general cleaning and finally, painting. The paint takes about a day to truly dry, and about three weeks to reach full hardness. It's going to be a long restore, gang. But have you ever seen these gems restored?

I don't know if my Model 3 will look just like this, my idea was to find that middle ground between restoration and work-a-day use. This press is, I believe, at Heritage Village in Largo, Fla. Mine will be at my home shop in Deltona. Just looking at this photo reminds me that I have to get hold of Joe Cardell in DeBary. He is an ace custom furniture maker with his own mill. If I can get detailed photos of the drawers, he can knock those out while I work on the base.

This is the installment for today. I hope my documenting the restoration of the Pearl may inspire others to do the same, only don't just show the presses, use the presses too. That's why they were made.

I have a special soft spot for the Pearl. My fascination with it began in the very early 1990's when one of the AAPA folks (Bill) in St. Pete would forward me his old AAPA "bundles". These bundles included a small newsletter from an operation called the "Garden Press". The Garden Press was simply a Pearl in a garden shed. But operation is also one of the oldest of it's sort, and if I recall, it was described as having been passed from grandparent to grandchild. I believe it began in 1918, not sure. But the newsletter was good quality, interesting, well executed, and for some reason sticks in my mind above all else.

I looked for the Garden Press in the Bundles brought to the AAPA event in Tampa, but none of the bundles had anything mentioning the Garden Press. I hope it is still in operation. It's newsletters planted the seed that eventually had me seeking and securing a Pearl of my own, albeit 17 years later.

I have a newsletter of my own that is a periodical publication, which has ceased with the donation of Heirloom Press to the Pioneer Settlement. It's called "Midnight Oil", and for good reason. I'd like to follow in the footsteps of Garden Press with this publication.

That's it for now, folks.


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