IBM Model F XT restoration (Work in Progress; lots of images)


07 Mar 2019, 19:03

A sign? more like a cry for help :lol:

Bottom plate is currently waiting for it's last coat of paint but it's raining (expected in the UK) so I can't get that finished just yet.


13 Mar 2019, 20:40

I was eyeing this up on Ebay at the time, and I was gutted when I didn't get it (the listing finished a day earlier than I expected, for some reason). Really glad I didn't win it though, otherwise I'd have made a thread like this... haha.


13 Mar 2019, 20:50

If it's any consolation, it probably wasn't worth it. It's been like 2 weeks now and its still not finished. I've even had to borrow a bar clamp!


15 Mar 2019, 18:00

Update - Foam has arrived however some cockwomble from the place I bought it decided to fold it in the middle. No, it wasn't a flat parcel, it was a tube. They folded it and rolled it. After punching out the holes (and slicing my finger in the process), the holes are VERY out of line because of the crease in the foam. I doubt this is going to work as a result. Today was a bad day for the Model F.


15 Mar 2019, 19:41

Update 2 - Got it back together. Bar clamp method didn't work one bit, most likely because the foam was too thick. This time, the keycaps went on first try for the most part. Everything works however the keys sometimes the keys activate random ones but that's probably down to the fact that it's a 30+ year keyboard thats been submerged in water.

Some pictures (will post more tomorrow)

Close up showing fixed plastic and red plate.
close.jpg (1.19 MiB) Viewed 715 times
10 days late...
sticker.jpg (1.14 MiB) Viewed 715 times


16 Mar 2019, 10:46

Here are some more pics of the completed keyboard -
top.jpg (2.3 MiB) Viewed 697 times
bottom.jpg (1.44 MiB) Viewed 697 times
alpha close.jpg
alpha close.jpg (1.13 MiB) Viewed 697 times
All I need now are some adhesive pads to call this complete!

Regarding the 2nd keyboard, I've fixed the bottom plate by hitting it with a hammer a few times over a block of soft wood. This has worked really well but still bulges a tiny bit.
fixed plate 1.jpg
fixed plate 1.jpg (1.79 MiB) Viewed 697 times


20 Mar 2019, 11:48

Hey, I know this is late, but I just want to know how it turned out in the end. I hate taking apart Model F keyboards, because if your technique isn't right you can mess up the key feel and sound quite dramatically. You got a sound test of the keyboard in use?


25 Mar 2019, 16:59

Sorry about the late reply, I've been fairly busy! I think it turned out pretty good however the foam really annoyed me - it took a lot of time to get right and I even ordered a thicker sheet as the first attempt was probably too thin. I think I should have used neoprene instead however there isn't much information about what size to use and it isn't cheap. As for the sound, I will try to do a recording hopefully be next week (I'm getting a nice ribbon mic that needs a lot of work so I want to use that rather than my current one). The keyfeel is different to what I remember - I'm not sure if better or worse. On one hand, it feels smoother because it doesn't have dirt in it but on the other, it feels somewhat unresponsive. The keys only register when at about 95%+ travel which for all I know could be normal but I have a feeling it isn't. I ideally want to get the other keyboard finished but the farthest I've gotten with that is sanding the barrel plate and hammering the corner of the bottom plate flat.

User avatar

25 Mar 2019, 20:58

I had good luck with my first XT restoration. I used 1/8-inch thick silicone foam for the foam replacement. This resulted in all the keys registering properly, but it was very difficult to get the plates to slide into position. I had to get a heavy-duty clamp and use considerable force. It was also tricky reinstalling the spacebar, but the fishing-line trick finally worked. Although I don't care for the layout, the XT is one of my favorite boards with respect to sound and feel, and the layout is manageable with some Soarer's remapping and keycap swapping.


25 Mar 2019, 22:31

I thought about silicone as well however I couldn't find a piece big enough and wasn't sure how thick it should be. I'm considering either neoprene or silicone for the next one (if my hole punches can even cut through them, they struggled with foam, lol). I tried using long clamps but no matter how hard I compressed, the plates never moved, possibly because I used those quick release ones where you squeeze them. I ended up using a hammer and a piece of softwood which worked great (I didn't whack it really hard this time).

Post Reply

Return to “Workshop”