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Lathe Bed Protection

Joined
Dec 15, 2021
Messages
49
Likes
16
Location
West Memphis, AR
My shop presently is not heated and is subjected to moisture that I'm working to cure, so I've had to be diligent to protect the unpainted surfaces of the lathe bed. I've heard some folks use a wax for protection but I started spraying mine down with a dry graphite spray. I've learned a technique so that I don't turn the mustard lathe flat black when spraying, makes the banjo slide much easier and seems to protect the underside great. Just wondering what everyone else is using. I hope this is the right place to post this question.......
 

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Joined
Aug 6, 2009
Messages
419
Likes
183
Location
Lummi Island, WA
I live in the very wet Pacific Northwest - the extreme upper left hand corner of the country, near the Canadian border and on the salt water...I've used johnson's paste wax, Boeshield products and GlideCoat products over the years. While the lathe I bought nearly a decade ago has stainless ways, the cast iron tables on my other tools have faired quite well with just an occasional coat of paste wax on them. I do put stored items that don't get used often (like some planes) in oil-fused wraps while in their drawers, but otherwise my mostly unheated shop - while well insulated - seems to keep rust at bay for the most part.
I bought the Boeshield stuff several years ago and used it a few times, but honestly can't see a lot of difference over paste wax or Glide Coat.
 
Joined
Dec 15, 2021
Messages
49
Likes
16
Location
West Memphis, AR
Do you have any issues with the coatings transferring to the wood? Not an issue on the lathe so much but on the band saw table and especially the table saw and the planes. I do not have a resaw blade for my bandsaw, purchased it for bowl preparation so the surfaces on it get turned off anyway. I on occasion cut wood to stain on the tablesaw but that is usually always sanded, so I keep the top of the table saw sprayed as well. Wondering if the wax would affect the sanding or is that a non issue?
 
Joined
Feb 12, 2018
Messages
284
Likes
142
Location
Millington, TN
A non coloring food safe option is to mix parafin (aka canning) wax thinned down with inexpensive mineral oil to make a paste wax. Unsure about ratio but try 75/25 wax to oil then add more oil as needed to make a spreadable paste. Use a double boiler to melt wax then take off heat. Then add the mineral oil and stir until solidified. I use this mix on my bandsaw blades when cutting green wood and any bare metal surfaces like the bandsaw table.
 
Joined
Dec 23, 2014
Messages
95
Likes
177
Location
Sebastopol, California
There was a super thorough review of such products some years back in Fine Woodworking. Based on that, I have been using CRC 3-36 in a pump spray bottle. A little goes a very long way, and it seems to be plenty effective. I live in at least what used to be a fairly moist climate - redwoods in northern California.
 
Joined
Jul 18, 2018
Messages
505
Likes
439
Location
Baltimore, MD
I saw Glen Lucas recommend Prism Polish for lathe beds, etc., and tried it. It is used on marine stainless and I’ve had great success with it. It lasts quite a while with turning very wet wood, and also does a great job of taking off any surface rust that has gotten started. Not cheap, but a little goes a long way. Here’s the Amazon listing. I’m sorry I can’t figure out how to make it live but a screenshot will show you what it is if you’re interested.
 

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Randy Anderson

Beta Tester
Beta Tester
Joined
May 25, 2019
Messages
462
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441
Location
Eads, TN
Website
candrwoodworks.com
For me - WD40, paper towels and the grey or green scotch brite pads when I forget to wipe it down with a coat before turning some wet wood. Which I usually do. Don't forget to extend the tail stock all the way out or even remove it and wipe it down. I've had gunk build up in there as well.
 
Joined
Feb 7, 2020
Messages
72
Likes
41
Location
Sykesville, Maryland
I use WD-40, Johnson's paste wax, talcum powder, and microcrystalline wax (probably similar to the Prism mentioned above). If I know I won't be using my equipment for a few weeks, I spray them all down with WD40. Let that set for a day and then rub paste wax right in with the WD-40 film and leave it until I'm ready to use the machine again. The talcum powder is great on the lathe bed. Just apply a very light dusting with a chalkboard eraser. Banjo slides very nicely on it and it won't contaminate the wood. You don't need much. Note this must be pure talc, like that used in billiards. Most "baby powder" products are now made from corn starch. That will have the opposite effect; it attracts moisture.

The microcrystalline wax lasts longer and is nice and slippery without an oily feel. But I mostly save that product for some turnings. Nicer than beeswax because it doesn't show fingerprints, but is not food-safe.

I have some mink oil, which is a waxy waterproofing paste used on clothing. I've been meaning to give that a try too. I suspect it's not much different than a lot of other oil/wax mixes.

The most economical way to get WD-40 is to buy it by the gallon. You need a special sprayer, but it's a whole lot better than those little aerosol cans.

And never leave wood, sawdust, or liquid containers on your metal surfaces. Now if I could get the stink bugs to die off and stop crapping on my tables; that would be a good thing.
 
Joined
Feb 6, 2010
Messages
2,139
Likes
1,000
Location
Brandon, MS
I use WD40 before and sometimes after if turning wet wood. If oak or wet cherry it will need a scrub with scotchbrite after. I have used johnsons wax, boeshield , and dry lube but still can get rust while turning those wet tannin woods. So secret for me is after cleaning. My shop has AC so that reduces the between use problems.
 
Joined
Dec 15, 2021
Messages
49
Likes
16
Location
West Memphis, AR
The Prism Polish has some fantastic reviews. Folks have used it to polish a dull vinyl convertible window to clearing a cloudy headlight glass and even one review stated the man used it on the sliding surfaces of his lathe. You are right, Amazon has it listed today for $20.00 for 6 oz.........not cheap but one guy polished his whole fiberglass boat with a jar, said it was amazing. A little goes a long way.
Also like the reviews on the CRC 3-36.
Everyone seems to love WD-40. My experience has been that it does not last as long as PB blaster, I have a can to displace water on electrical parts, especially automotive. was one of the early tricks I learned when water would get in the distributor cap of earlier cars, pop it off and spray it down. Put it back on the car would run..thanks all, great information.
 
Joined
Nov 22, 2009
Messages
170
Likes
105
Location
Midland, MI
I've used WD40, Boeshield, CRC 3-36 (based on Fine Woodworking evaluation mentioned above). They all worked well with a scotchbrite pad to remove rust after turning woods with tannin like wet oak. But they didn't seem to protect the cast iron ways from rusting the next time that I turned oak.

I switched to using paste wax and have been much happier. The waxed beds resist rust much better when turning oak. If there is a little spot of rust, I'll scrub with a scotchbrite pad with some wax on it. This has greatly reduced the amount of work needed after a session of greenwood turning.
 
Joined
Dec 22, 2006
Messages
5,853
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3,101
Location
Panning for Montana gold, with Betsy, the mule!
I started spraying mine down with a dry graphite spray.

I am also using graphite, but not in a spray form. Powdered graphite on a rag about once per week is all that's needed. Only takes a minute, and I'm sure you understand just how well the graphite makes your banjo slide.

Whenever I rough turn a very wet bowl, it requires the bedway surfaces to need a quick cleanup and a coat of graphite just afterwards. Aside from that, the graphite needs a quick application about once per week...

-----odie-----
 
Joined
Dec 15, 2021
Messages
49
Likes
16
Location
West Memphis, AR
I have learned a method of spraying the bed across it so I don't coat any of the yellow. I like the spray because I can coat the top, sides and bottom of the ways and it doesn't come off by touching them like the powder does. What is really nice is if you leave the lathe unused for a couple of weeks and come back, the ways still look they were painted with flat black paint. Like you said, love the slide the banjo does now.
 
Joined
Dec 15, 2021
Messages
49
Likes
16
Location
West Memphis, AR
I believe we are supposed to leave the bottom of the ways unlubricated so that the clamps on banjo and tail stock can grab well.
I've always had an issue with my 3520B where the banjo sticks when sliding it around on the ways. I've read other complaints about a banjo improvement needed. Now it slides better not just because the top is coated but the puck on the bottom of the banjo doesn't do it's little catch thing it was prone to do before I coated it. Once locked I cannot move it, tried pretty hard testing it and am satisfied it is holding. You brought up a really good point though, thanks.
 
Joined
Feb 26, 2019
Messages
789
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487
Location
Lebanon, Missouri
WD40, CRC 3-36, DuPont chain wax, several industrial wax based rust inhibitors, Alox bullet lube (navy WWII RP) - tried all of these for rust prevention on lathe beds. Not storage - all but wd40 will do long term storage RP(Alox is best). Not cleaning rust/corrosion - with a scotchbrite pad they all do that, and so does ms and naptha.

Rather, the application is while turning wet wood. I try to keep the wet shavings off the bed but along edges of TS, HS, banjo sometimes, a line of wet chips remain, or I take a break or called away and wet chips get left. For me, no oily residue that collects dust is allowed - been there done that. Must leave a dry slick surface. At the end of trying all these, good ole paste wax does all around better than any of them for me. It is as good at prevention as any of them, and when the whole process is analyzed, it works best for me. This includes application time/ease, cost, availability, smell, etc. Use a little ms or naptha on the surface, some wax on the scotchbrite pad, and scrub down corrosion, , wipe off, apply a light film of wax with a towel with naptha on it, dry a few minutes, lite buff with towel. A stainless bed works better but Im not sure when that might happen.
 
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