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headstock oil

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duncan webster03/12/2018 20:20:07
4100 forum posts
66 photos

as I reported in a post elsewhere the sight glass on my headstock has an arrangement whereby a white screen is supported behind the glass to make it easier to read. This has now twice become bunged up with gunge making the sight glass look as tho there is oil when there might not have been. I only noticed when pouring more oil in didn't affect the level. The recommended oil (for everything, slides, headstock gearbox etc) is Esso Febis K68, which is primarily a slideway oil. They also state 'oil having anti-oxidation, anti-wear and anti-foaming properties and an approximate Kinematic viscosity of 68 centistokes at 100F'
Any lubrication experts know what they put in slideway oil to make it sticky? Could this be the cause of my gunge? I'm thinking of just buying Hyspin68 or similar hydraulic oil which seems to meet the verbal requirement.

It's a bit risky to continue with Febis, this is the second time this has happened
Lathe is myford 254

ChrisH03/12/2018 21:22:17
1018 forum posts
30 photos

Duncan, I use Headstock Oil from Warco - seems to be OK, for me anyway

bricky03/12/2018 23:54:42
581 forum posts
68 photos

Duncan ,I have an old Myford S7 with a sight glass.I have used the recomended Myford headstock oil Nuto 32 But Hydraulic oil is the same and I have never had your problem in the sight glass.Because Myford charged too much for their oil I used the hydraulic oil.


I.M. OUTAHERE04/12/2018 01:28:53
1468 forum posts
3 photos

if it is clogging up the sight glass i wonder what it is doing to the oilways inside the headstock ?

I'm not familiar with the model of lathe but on my lathe the spindle bearings are lubricated using oil fling off from the gears , wouldn't a tacking agent in the oil cause it to string and not want to fling off ?

peak404/12/2018 02:09:37
1774 forum posts
193 photos

I've just bought a second hand 2003 Warco 1330 gear head.

No spec on the oil from Warco, other than the obvious suggestion to use the one they supply as suitable for the job.

They currently specify a different oil for slideway and headstock/gearbox. The old 2003 manual that came with mine suggested a particular brand of 68 weight slideway oil for the headstock. ( can't remember which now and the books' not to hand)

I went to Pennine Lubricants, my local oil specialist in Sheffield and picked up a gallon of their recommended equivalent.

They recommended TX68, which I think was about £2.60 per litre for 5 Litres. Struck me as a good price.
I don't know where in Cheshire you live Duncan, but if it's within easy travelling distance of Buxton, where I now call home, I'll happily pick you up a gallon next time I'm in Sheffield, (provided you contact them first and find their recommended equivalent of the Myford spec oil.)

Clearly they do standard 68 weight hydraulic oil as well.

Check out their web site, lots of different stuff on offer, and they do offer advice over the phone.


Edited By peak4 on 04/12/2018 02:10:21

Edited By peak4 on 04/12/2018 02:11:50

duncan webster04/12/2018 10:56:48
4100 forum posts
66 photos

Thanks chaps, after reading these comments I'm decided on the normal hydraulic oil. Thanks for the offer peak4, but I can get it from Caldo in St Helens, a lot closer but nothing like as pretty as Buxton


Carl Wilson 404/12/2018 12:54:21
670 forum posts
53 photos
Nuto 32, AWS32, Tellus 32, it's all the same. It's all mineral hydraulic fluid.
duncan webster04/12/2018 13:18:17
4100 forum posts
66 photos

Carl, the original query was about slideway oil which has 'tackiness' additives (see the link in peak4's post above). It is not simply mineral hydraulic oil. These additives are I think are gunging up my sightglass. I'm switching to 68 grade mineral hydraulic oil.

I would agree that buying 'special' oil for Myfords in little bottles is an expensive way of doing things.

Carl Wilson 404/12/2018 13:38:56
670 forum posts
53 photos
Apologies. I should have read the op. Just trying to get across that one needn't get hung up on names and such like.

I've seen a lot of people scratching their heads over oils which are all functional equivalents, just with a different name as they are the same product but by different manufacturer.

Edited By Carl Wilson 4 on 04/12/2018 13:39:35

not done it yet04/12/2018 14:03:06
6874 forum posts
20 photos

I use Witham Oils. I expect that if I asked (or perhaps even checked on line), they would supply an equivalent modern oil to the same, or better, specification than the original recommended.

ega04/12/2018 14:37:57
2565 forum posts
203 photos
Posted by Carl Wilson 4 on 04/12/2018 13:38:56:

I've seen a lot of people scratching their heads over oils which are all functional equivalents, just with a different name as they are the same product but by different manufacturer.

I was one of the head scratchers, struggling to find a source for a particular Shell Vitrea oil which was said by the plate on the lathe to be "obtainable thoroughout the world"! Needless to say, I am now using a suitable hydraulic oil.

In the course of looking I gathered that Shell named their oils after kinds of shell; vitrea is a snail.

oldvelo05/12/2018 19:13:55
295 forum posts
56 photos


Here goes at my approach to a well trampled path on oils and uses. Any oil is better than no oil but no means ideal.

Headstock gearbox 68 Hydraulic Oil will be OK in almost lathes. Chain saw bar oil has all the tackifiers you will ever need to stick it on ways and sliders cheap and cheerful. The "Experts" tell me that it is water soluble yes but I do NOT use my lathe in the rain only my chainsaw.


duncan webster11/12/2018 11:42:19
4100 forum posts
66 photos

Just to finish this off, being tight I drained the old oil into bottles to use for less critical jobs. After about a week this is what I've got, a gungy sediment. No wonder the sight glass didn't like it. Moral, despite what Mr Myford says, don't use slideway oil in your headstock

img_3422 (small).jpg

peak411/12/2018 12:07:36
1774 forum posts
193 photos

Duncan, A genuine question, could that be emulsified condensation/water contamination, maybe from soluble cutting oil that's leaked into the gearbox. (maybe even before you bought the lathe if second hand)

I suppose the bottle does say "Cloudy Lemon" laugh


KWIL11/12/2018 12:45:14
3562 forum posts
70 photos


I am interested to know "where" Myford state Febis K68 is for the lubrication other than slideways?

Thank you in advance.


duncan webster11/12/2018 18:30:55
4100 forum posts
66 photos

Peak4: I changed the headstock oil a few year a previous blocked sightglass. I haven't used the lathe a lot since due to family issues, and I rarely use soluble oil,anyway. The sediment has a 'fluffy' appearance, not like emulsified oil

Kwil: the Myford 254 manual (or at least my copy) says to use Febis K69 'for all purposes' including headstock. I've changed to an oil that meets the description as in my original post.

I've still to change the oil in the screwcutting gearbox and apron, but it's on the list

Ian Hewson11/12/2018 19:04:46
326 forum posts
33 photos

My manual says febris k68

Edited By Ian Hewson on 11/12/2018 19:05:18

duncan webster11/12/2018 20:22:22
4100 forum posts
66 photos

correct, 69 was a typo and doesn't exist.

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