The cleaning and lubricating of a lathe is considered in an article in the "Bazaar" by H. J. S. Cassal, who says with regard to cleaning, that the balls should frequently be taken out of the ball thrust bearing and freed from the little flakes of hard metal which they wear from grooves and which are ground up from pieces working through. Similarly, the grooves themselves should be scraped with a file to get rid of the flakes. The saddle should frequently be cleaned underneath, as well as in the grooves at the edge of the bed. The slides of the rest and the inside of the box in which the screws run should be cleaned at least once a week, and if the lathe is much used the bearings should be flushed out with paraffine until the oil runs through perfectly clean, at least once in a fortnight, whilst the bottom mechanism should occasionally be looked to and cleared of shavings and dirt. For lubricating, two kinds of oil should be used. The head should never have anything but the best sewing-machine, or other good fast-running oil put on. For the balls, the lower mechanism and the slides, etc., a thicker oil should be used - sperm, or one of the thick bicycle oils which are now sold everywhere. Almost any animal or mineral oil will do for the rest of the lathe. It is well to assure oneself that the oil used has not vaseline as a base, and is not thinned down with paraffine, both of which substances have a deterioriating effect upon bearings and rubbing surfaces, especially if any grit be present. Another thing which should be cleaned now and again and which is frequently left uncleaned for years because it is difficult to get at, is the divided nut of the screw-cutting gear, which accumulates a lot of dirt. The bed should be kept well oiled, not forgetting the tongues of the poppet, nor the far end of the bed, which is usually left dry, so that the saddle when run right back is sliding on a dry surface.
A good mixture which will prevent the rusting of machinery, says an English publication, is made by dissolving one ounce of camphor in one pound of melted lard. After the impurities have been skimmed, black lead should be added to give the whole an iron color. After cleaning the machinery carefully and smearing it with the mixture, it can be left indefinitely, or if wiped off after 24 hours it will obviate rust for some time. When removed, the metal should be polished with a soft cloth.