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Which slideway oil is best?

Here is a bag full of cats type of topic. Please wade in with your views

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Freddybear22/12/2010 19:16:01
27 forum posts
54 photos
Hi Folks,
I have just run out of the can of ESsO slide way oil that I have used for years. It has been discontinued.
I have been looking around to see what there is to be had in smallish quantities ( 5 lires OR less).
I seem drawn towards Mobil Vacra No2  (purely because I like quality oils).
What are your thougts on this product and can you personally recommend an alternative or better product.

Peter G. Shaw22/12/2010 21:17:06
1409 forum posts
44 photos
I have some Rocol Ultraglide which I think I bought from RS. It certainly does seem to make a difference, buts that's all I can say because that's all I know - if that makes sense.
I don't use it on the saddle to bed slides because there is provision by means of an oiling point for ordinary oil which appears to be spread onto the sliding parts by the plastic strips preventing swarf getting under the saddle.
Peter G. Shaw 
DMB22/12/2010 22:55:19
1299 forum posts
1 photos
I use a concoction recommended by Guy Lautard (
1 fluid ounce of STP or Wynns oil treatment (makes concoction very sticky so it stays put)
1 fluid ounce of Molyslip oil, this is full of tiny balls of graphite which get into any very small crevice G is a very good lube.
A quantity of EP90, an extreme pressure oil. Cannot remember how much of this - will have to look iy up + get back.
Mix up by shaking vigourously in used plastic oil bottle.
Seems to work OK
_Paul_22/12/2010 23:00:33
543 forum posts
31 photos
For my lathe Myford’s recommend Febis K68 for the bed, slideways and gearbox & Esso H32 Nuto for the headstock spindle, tailstock barrel and oilite bushes of my ML7.

Myford’s charge £7.98 + VAT per litre so I tend to buy more commercially available equivalents, T68 for the slideways etc & ISO32 for all other parts. I buy mine here in Newport from a wonderful old place called the “Baltic Oil Works” at around £20 & £25 a gallon quite a significant saving on the “Myford” oils.

T68 (Shell Tonna Oil) is in the same lubrication group (ISO VG 68) as Mobil Vactra No2 & Esso Febis K68.


Paul Floyd

Edited By _Paul_ on 22/12/2010 23:08:16

ady23/12/2010 00:22:12
612 forum posts
50 photos
I use car oil.
15/40 or 20/50

Chris Trice23/12/2010 01:03:36
1375 forum posts
10 photos
I read somewhere you shouldn't use car oil. I can't remember why but there was a very good reason. Something about the additives used in an engine context are detrimental to a lathe. Anyone?
ady23/12/2010 01:08:01
612 forum posts
50 photos
I read about that.
Was intruiged to see if it was true and have been knocking the crap out of my old Drummond M series for the last two years.
No problems so far.
I have spare bits if everything goes tits up, but it's all been fine so far.
My scepticism stems from being at sea, and being forced to use inappropriate oils when needed, including cooking oil to keep a lifeboat engine running.

The only stuff you couldn't mess with was hydraulic fluid, you had to have the right oil for hydraulic gear or it didn't work.

Edited By ady on 23/12/2010 01:15:50

Nicholas Farr23/12/2010 01:36:21
3311 forum posts
1529 photos
Hi, I'm not sure but I think the conclusion about car oil was not using, used car oil, because of the contamenets associated with being used in the combustion process. I can't remember what they might be though.
Regards Nick.
ady23/12/2010 01:44:28
612 forum posts
50 photos
Car oil also had cleaning additives which were meant to be detrimental to lathes.
For myself I have had zero issues so far.
My own approach is very much a suck it and see approach, based on the previous 30 years of my small existence.

Edited By ady on 23/12/2010 01:46:46

Howard Jones23/12/2010 02:35:48
70 forum posts
112 photos
typical automotive oils will leach the zinc out of the brass oilers turning them a coppery red colour.(castrol gtx certainly does).
I have followed charlie's recommendation for a decade now and used Shell Tellus 46 on my machine tools without detriment. Tellus 46 leaches silver and since mine is a cast iron lathe with brass bits  it hasnt had a problem.
that is in a workshop that hits 46 degrees celcius on many days of summer so I have different problems from you in england.
ady23/12/2010 02:45:13
612 forum posts
50 photos
The Drummond bits I have have been battered to pieces...but since it was made in 1944 and still runs like a honey I reckon all I have to do is show some respect.
I am a mere temporary custodian of a lifelong friend.

Edited By ady on 23/12/2010 02:48:23

John Olsen23/12/2010 04:27:15
1240 forum posts
94 photos
1 articles
Someone mentioned molyslip and said it has graphite in it...well it may or may not, but the molyslip in the name refers to molybdenum disulphide, a black slippery substance with similar, but even more slippery properties than graphite. I gather it may not be the ideal in higher temperature applications where it may break down,. but that should not be a problem around a typical amateur lathe.
Chris Trice23/12/2010 16:57:36
1375 forum posts
10 photos
I don't think the issue was old burnt oil from a sump. No one in their right mind would use that stinky unhealthy stuff. I can't for the life of me think what the issue was but having said that, motor oil is better than NO oil.
Stovepipe23/12/2010 17:19:14
196 forum posts
I am the possessor of a spray can of "3 in 1" lubricating oil. Does anyone have any knowledge or comments on its suitability ?
Stub Mandrel24/12/2010 19:39:51
4315 forum posts
291 photos
1 articles
I use neatcut, because I always have a bottle of it with a brush in handy.
Freddybear24/12/2010 23:10:57
27 forum posts
54 photos
Posted by Stub Mandrel on 24/12/2010 19:39:51:
I use neatcut, because I always have a bottle of it with a brush in handy.
You use cutting fluid as lubrication for you machine slide ways?
Is this wise?
John Olsen25/12/2010 08:25:15
1240 forum posts
94 photos
1 articles
There was once a very near run thing with a Solent flying boat that took off from Australia to fly to New Zealand...a few hours out they started experiencing cylinder head overheating problems, first on one engine, then gradually on all the others. They made it back and landed before everything conked out. Turned out that the lubrication had been filled up from a drum of cutting oil by mistake. It does have some lubricating qualities but not enough for a sleeve valve engine.
Having said that ,  I would think that slideways are not such a highly loaded application that the oil would be too critical. So long as they are oily rather than dry it should be OK. A light oil is likely to evaporate so something with a bit of body to it is likely to be best.
Richard Parsons25/12/2010 11:03:43
645 forum posts
33 photos
Stovepipe - 3in1 oil is a general household oil.  If you read the lable you will find it cleans lubricates and protects.  It is ok for SWAMBO's bike, her garden shears, etc.
It is somewhat abrasive
DO NOT USE on a machine tool, car etc!
Merry Christmas to all.

Edited By Richard Parsons on 25/12/2010 11:04:34

Chris Trice25/12/2010 11:59:04
1375 forum posts
10 photos
An oil that is abrasive? Seems a contradiction. Solvents to clean maybe but abrasive?
Most oils drain off slowly. I thought the point of slideway oil was that it was thick and sticky?
chris stephens25/12/2010 14:14:24
1049 forum posts
1 photos
Hi Richard,
I, too, am intrigued by your postulation that 3in1 spray oil is abrasive.
I would agree that the original 3in1 oil in a spouted can, not a spray, is less than perfect for fine mechanisms because of its tendency to form "gum" or  "varnish" but that is not the question in hand.

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