How to Clean and Lubricate a Wood Turning Lathe

What You'll Need
Air compressor
Steel wool
Scouring pad
Commercial rust remover
Flat bastard file
Soft cloth
Microcrystalline wax

A wood turning lathe is a must-have if you frequently undertake woodwork at home. The power tool uses a motor or belt to rotate wood at several different speeds. This allows you to carve a variety of round wooden items efficiently. Dust, debris and oil residue are left on the various tool parts due to the high speed at which the lathe operates. To keep your lathe in good shape, it is vital that you clean it after each use. You also need to lubricate your lathe regularly. This helps to prevent damage to the tool and enhances efficiency.

Step 1 – Disconnect Power

Turn off the main switch for power supply and remove the plug from the wall socket. This prevents accidental injury due to electrocution. 

Step 2 – Clear Dust and Debris

Use compressed air to blow out dust and debris from the tool. This works better than a rag used to wipe away the dirt. The air is able to penetrate fully into the small, inaccessible places. Use compressed air to clear dirt from the motor, controller boxes, inverter and headstock. Detach the tool rest banjos and use the compressed air to clear out dust and debris.

Step 3 – Remove Grime and Rust

Carefully examine the interior parts of your lathe for grime build-up. Oil residues combine with dirt to create grime in the interior components. Use steel wool to remove all grime. Be sure to extend all machine parts that are extendable to allow you to clean thoroughly. Check the metal components for incidences of rust. Use a rust removal agent and scouring pad to clear rust.

Step 4 – File away Minor Damages

Use a flat bastard file to clear small dents and abrasions from the metal components. These damages tend to develop as the machine is used. If left unattended, they reduce the efficiency of the tool.

Step 5 – Clean with Damp Rag

Dampen a rag with warm water. Carefully wipe all through the interior or your lathe. Switch to another rag once the first one becomes dirty. Wipe the housing on the outside as well.

Step 6 – Lubrication

Check with your lathe supplier in case a special lubricant is recommended for certain parts of the tool. Otherwise, proceed to apply a light coat of wax onto the movable components of the lathe. Use a soft cloth to rub the wax all over the components. Be sure to lubricate the lathe beds, headstock, tailstock and banjos. This helps to reduce friction and internal damages. It also ensures that the various movable parts operate smoothly.

Step 7 – Inspection

It is a good idea to have your lathe inspected by a professional at least twice a year. However, if you frequently use the machine, you may want to have it inspected every 3 to 4 months. This helps to ensure that all components are secure and work properly. It also enhances safety as you work. Periodic inspection also helps to keep your machine in good shape for longer.