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Best Oil for Watchmakers Lathe Cone Bearings?

WoodyR

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Jan 27, 2021
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What oil should I apply to my Derbyshire hard headstock cone bearings? In 2003, Archie Perkins ("The Modern Watchmakers Lathe and How to Use It") wrote Nye® lathe oil is the best but also listed Nyoil® or a good grade of clock oil can be used. I think Nye® lathe oil and Nyoil® can still be acquired. I have a large bottle of D5 (doesn't everybody?) if that's a good lubricant for the job.

Thanks! Woody
 
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gmorse

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Jan 7, 2011
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Hi Woody,

I use Castrol Hyspin E5 high-speed spindle oil in my 8mm Geneva pattern watchmaker's lathe. It's quite thin and designed to flush through any debris that gets into the bearings.

Regards,

Graham
 
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glenhead

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Nov 15, 2009
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Any sewing machine oil is great for the cone bearings in lathes. Sewing machine oil is a very clean, very lightweight oil. I use Zoom-Spout oil because I like the extendable snout on the bottle. It helps that it's cheap.

There's no such thing as too much oil in this instance. (Well, within reason. Let's don't get our panties in a twist and yell about that statement, ok?) The more oil you use in these bearings the more it keeps the grunge flushed out. You should add a couple of drops of oil every time you use it, then add a couple of drops every ten minutes or so if it's a marathon session. You'll end up putting a tremendous amount of oil through the bearings, in other words, so the specific oil is pretty much "whatever". Zoom-Spout, Singer, whatever. Lightweight, clean oil.

Glen
 

karlmansson

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Apr 20, 2013
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I used to use sewing machine oil before as well but it was pointed out to me that lubrication properties are taking second fiddle to it not staining fabrics and such. Which is less of a concern in watchmaking!

I had trouble finding Hyspin E5 in reasonable quantities for a reasonable price. So I now use Mobil Velocite No6, which is a spindle oil with much the same properties. I’m happy with it! I use the heavier weight Velocite No10 for my 102mm center height tool room lathe.
 

WoodyR

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Jan 27, 2021
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Thanks for the replies, folks! I really appreciate the help.
 

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