Scratchy Model F - can you lube these?


23 Dec 2020, 09:44

Hi all, my Model F is here and it's a bit scratchy. I was wondering if it's a good idea to lube the inside of the barrels, and with what? I know it should be something that doesn't degrade into something else, and I have a feeling some sort of thin oil would be best here, but I honestly don't know. I assume oil dripping down on the PCB will not be an issue since the capacitance sensing mechanism is contactless anyways.

Note I'm not talking about lubing the spring or filling the barrel with almost-solid silicone grease. I know this is done to dampen the keyboard's action. I want it to be just as loud, just want it to bind a little less, that's all!


23 Dec 2020, 14:32

I think most people go with a dry silicone/PTFE lube if any at all. I've had a couple pretty scratchy model Ms that were fixed with a good cleaning of the barrels and key stems - worth a try if you haven't already.

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23 Dec 2020, 15:57

I've had some success with relieving scratchiness (in Model Ms, not Fs) by using a damp cotton swab to clean the inside of the barrel to remove any micro particles that cause unwanted friction.

Edit: I'm not saying it won't work with Model Fs, just that I never had to try it.
Last edited by digital_matthew on 23 Dec 2020, 18:00, edited 1 time in total.

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E TwentyNine

23 Dec 2020, 16:17

Just clean it. You don't want anything in there.

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Elder Messenger

23 Dec 2020, 23:52

This thread made me reflect on my own process. I have not bought an IBM keyboard in 3 years or so, but in the 5 years preceding that I probably bought a dozen each of Ms and Fs, as well as refurbishing a few for friends.

Almost immediately, I fell into the habit of completely dis-assembling the keyboard as soon as I get it, and cleaning every piece as best I can. That means washing everything except the electronics in hot soapy water and, at the minimum, blowing or vacuuming everything else and wiping it down with alcohol or water.

My reasons are not entirely performance related. I am not a germophobe but I like for my gear to be as clean and sanitary as possible. That means being suspicious of anything bought used (and the overwhelming majority of my possessions were bought used) and wanting it clean and sanitary inside and out.

With ancient IBM iron, you can easily pull all of the keys and take the internal assembly out of the case. Then wash all the plastic and shake out and vacuum the rest.


26 Dec 2020, 10:34

Whatever you do, don't pull off a model F's spacebar though, either you will need to disassemble the entire keyboard or carefully mod your spacebar keycap before it will be able to be properly seated again.

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Elder Messenger

26 Dec 2020, 16:00

XT or AT that is. 122-key space bars are conventional.

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31 Dec 2020, 23:19

what type of model f do you have? Generally imho the model f relies on slick keycaps and slack between surfaces to lubricate. This is why I would echo fohats notion of cleaning. Often the model f will just have stuff inside it causing friction. Disassembly and cleaning is almost always the way to go.

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