Which Where When Why
When you get an old machine, you invariably find out that it requires a lubricant that is old and outdated. You can feed it like this, but that's pretty expensive.
Or you can dig around and see what others are using. If you ask on the big machinist's blog, you will get forty-seven answers and 600 lbs of crap for "using an old boat anchor to try and make parts." I'm not a production shop making nuts and bolts for replacement bile ducts, so I'm okay... I don't need a 1000 part a minute 7 axis cnc with a 50 HP 5 phase motor that runs on whale oil either. This is machine shop on a budget...
My old LeBlond spec'd some odd oil that was either too expensive, or was out dated.... I asked an old timer and this is his recommendation.
Disclaimer - this is an old lathe, spec'd out in 1942, delivered in '43, it's survived horrible abuse, and will outlast me and my attempts to take care of it.
He recommended using hydraulic oil in the headstock, with a sticky additive. I got 5 gallons of Super S ISO 68 oil (or Tractor Supply's Traveller ISO 68) with a gallon of Lucas Oil additive in it to make it sticky-er (why yes, that is a 5:1 ratio). And it works a treat. Down here, near the surface of the sun, the ISO 45 seemed a bit thin to me. He is up in PA, and with their cooler weather, 45 was his goto oil.
I use this stuff to fill the headstock, the apron and as way oil. And it works. It works well. In the winter down here, during the odd cold spell, it's tough to pour into the apron. It needs a bit of warming up.
The Logan lathe likes it, too. Nice paint brush to smear it around on the ways. Crank a bit on the apron and the cross slide, as well as push around the tail stock to make sure it's under everything.
Well, as a matter of fact, I do use the same oil on the ways of this machine, too. It just works. It sticks, it's cheap, and it works. It keeps the rust at bay, slicks the ways, and fits in the one shot. What's not to like? I still have some sticky way oil I bought for 20 bucks a gallon years ago. It seems to have the same consistency as the ISO 68 with Lucas. I should compare them head to head sometime.
On the head, there is a little grease zerk on the right side.
|I just leave this finger tight.|
|Plain old assembly lube in a tiny tube|
|Dualco, ain't it cute?|
It's a Dualco bicycle grease gun.
It works wonderfully to give the head a spritz of Lubriplate whenever it needs it.
Special Ops - Clausing Hydraulic Speed Adjuster
The old Clausing lathe has this cool reservoir that holds some magic oil for the speed control. When it was shipped, that got sheared off and wound up in the chip pan. I replaced it with a cup for a HVLP spray gun (Northern Tool as I remember). It works fine, but what to feed it?
I read all I could find, and simple power steering fluid fills the bill. I didn't want to put my sticky mix in it. Should have reserved a bit of the ISO oil, but wasn't thinking. I'm sure any hydraulic type oil would work, even Type F. It's not under a hood, getting circulated through heat and demanding aggro-driving. It hardly moves any thing, so budget is good enough.