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What do you use to clean and protect lathe ways?? - Printable Version

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What do you use to clean and protect lathe ways?? - shoottmx - 03-24-2021

The ways on my 3520 are in nearly pristine condition so I'd like to keep them that way. Wondering what you guys use to prevent rust and lubricate for banjo/tailstock movement? In the past I've used WD-40 to clean and then Johnson's paste wax after wipe down of the WD which has worked OK, just wondering if there's a better solution.

Thanks,  g


RE: What do you use to clean and protect lathe ways?? - iclark - 03-24-2021

I am in the Johnson's Original Paste Wax camp for the protection and maintenance of the ways.
If you buy the Johnson's Paste Wax in the floor wax section (and it does not say "Original"), then it has the OSHA-mandated non-slip additives. You want the Original version sold in the furniture wax section.

WD-40 is not a great choice for cleaning (or lubricating) despite many people using it for both. It is a Water-Displacement (the 40th formula tested (hence, the WD-40 name)) material developed to inhibit rust on clean iron/steel. Once it dries, some of its ingredients can actually encourage galling.

If you have light surface rust, then Autosol and a paper towel is a good cleaner.

If you have tree sap or a finish stuck to the steel, then you want a cleanser specifically for the crud or just some wet paper towels. Let dry thoroughly and then wax.

Be sure that you move the banjo, tailstock, and headstock (if applicable) back and forth during cleaning and drying to be sure that none of the liquids wicked in underneath without getting dried off.

If you are wet-sanding plastic on the lathe, be sure that the ways are dried off thoroughly at the end of the day. I know a couple that had some "discussions" about that issue. She did not always dry off the ways after turning plastic pens and he would find the surface rust when he went to turn the next day. No


RE: What do you use to clean and protect lathe ways?? - AHill - 03-24-2021

Johnson's Paste Wax for me too. I lube the gears per the manufacturer's recommendations. As required, I'll take my chuck(s) and jaws, soak them in a cleaner, and reassemble them. Cap'n Eddie had a good video on that a few years ago. There are at least a dozen YouTube videos on chuck cleaning, lube, and maintenance.


RE: What do you use to clean and protect lathe ways?? - charliez - 03-25-2021

Johnson's Paste Wax


RE: What do you use to clean and protect lathe ways?? - Wipedout - 03-25-2021

[attachment=34349]


RE: What do you use to clean and protect lathe ways?? - Arlin Eastman - 03-25-2021

(03-24-2021, 04:58 PM)iclark Wrote: I am in the Johnson's Original Paste Wax camp for the protection and maintenance of the ways.
If you buy the Johnson's Paste Wax in the floor wax section (and it does not say "Original"), then it has the OSHA-mandated non-slip additives. You want the Original version sold in the furniture wax section.

After trying several ways I now do it this way all the time.


RE: What do you use to clean and protect lathe ways?? - charliez - 03-25-2021

That way oil is for metal lathes, very different than wood lathes.


RE: What do you use to clean and protect lathe ways?? - shoottmx - 03-25-2021

Thanks guys. I've never hears of Autosol but will give it a try, there are a couple small rust spots that don't clean up with WD and scotchbrite. Will continue with Johnson's.

Thanks again, g


RE: What do you use to clean and protect lathe ways?? - Wipedout - 03-26-2021

(03-25-2021, 02:31 PM)charliez Wrote: That way oil is for metal lathes, very different than wood lathes.

That may be but I've used it for years without issue


RE: What do you use to clean and protect lathe ways?? - Arlin Eastman - 03-26-2021

I recommended the ways oil for several years and use it once in a while if i am doing wet wood and still have part of a bottle.  I found wax lasts as long and waxes the headstock, tailstock and bango at the same time while moving them around and the Ways Oil works great on top of it for wet wood and then wipe all of it off after the wet turnings.

Like double protection