View Full Version : Clean lube for press-fitting?

John Garner
05-02-2004, 02:06 PM
Good Morning, All --

Well, I just wiped the last dab of white lead paste out of the cut-open tube to lube a press fit. Having tried moly disulphide and graphite pastes -- which are almost as messy as prussion blue -- for press fitting, I rejoiced when I found that old tube of white lead on a flea-market art supplier's table . . . and now its empty and the chances of finding any more are pretty slim.

Is there anything available on the US market today that works as a press-fit lube without the messiness of the moly / graphite pastes? Maybe even something that is readily available from a local hardware or auto supply store?

Thank you in advance for your answers, which I look forward to.


Mike W
05-02-2004, 02:35 PM
How about some anti-sieze? It may not meet the non messy requirement though. http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

05-02-2004, 05:10 PM
I do alot of press fits at work,never had any problems with either white lithium or hypoid grease.

Forrest Addy
05-02-2004, 05:29 PM
The deep drawing industry used to use a soap and oil gunk that looked like honey. Washes off with water. Maybe they use something else now.

05-02-2004, 05:42 PM
Forrest didn't they used to use tallow?

05-02-2004, 06:13 PM
Tallow, yea... back in the 1800's but only Forest would know that. http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

05-02-2004, 07:43 PM
I've never had the messy problem. I never use any lube when I press fit anything. Am I wrong all these years???

05-02-2004, 08:26 PM
I've always used zinc chromate primer or 2 part epoxy primer to help avoid dissimular metal corrosion.


[This message has been edited by coles-webb (edited 05-03-2004).]

05-03-2004, 08:25 AM
Dissimilar metals,dunno.but it does make things easier,like when you have to press on forklift tires on a manual press,I find that I run out of breath sooner without the lube http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

05-03-2004, 09:12 AM
I've worked with alot of aluminum in the aircraft industry and dissimular metal(Galvanic)corrosion is a big issue. See some of the links below for more info.






Forrest Addy
05-03-2004, 11:27 AM
Come on Ken, I aint THAT old! I can barely remember the conversion to Dreadnaughts.

Forrest Addy
05-03-2004, 12:02 PM
Lemme see if I can help you John:

Here's a link to an artist supply outfit the sells the white lead pigment in 1 lb cans for $25. Willing to part with the money?

http://studioproducts.com/store/merchant.mv?&Screen=PROD&Product_Code=PIG002&Catego ry_Code= (http://studioproducts.com/store/merchant.mv?&Screen=PROD&Product_Code=PIG002&Category_Code=)

I think there were two schools of thought in the vehicle for white lead. The old railroaders and heavy industry used steam cylinder oil or a medium bodied sodium soap based grease to make a white lead paste suited for their uses. The paint industry and marine applications used unboiled lineed oil.

I know you've mixed dry pigments in oil but for them who hasn't there's the recipe.

Dry pigment dumped in oil and stirred together will not mix. You get pigment lumps and a big headache. The oil will not penetrate to the core of the lumps except over geologic time. Mixing pigment is hard work that makes the unaccustomed forearm and wrist ache with the effort.

Mix pigment in oil in small gobs at first. On a clean dry impervious surface (I use a piece of 1/4" thick plastic from a busted boat window) about a foor square. Place a suitable amount of the dry pigment on the plastic. Make a dimple in the pigment near the edge and apply a few drops of oil. Using a stiff 2" putty knife smear the oil and a small amount pigment together. Smear, scrape, and fold back until you get stuff to the consistancy of a stiff cake. The action is almost exactly like someone conditioning drywall compound on a hock.

The character of the mixed stuff when smeared to transparency is a continuous smooth color. Any lumps or particles not coated with oil are immdiately apparent in this test.

Scrape the first batch aside and do the oil pigment thing again repeating until the all the dry stuff is mixed and you have a nice consistant lump of cake the consistancy of stiff window putty. This is the source of all subsequent pigmenting operations.

Fresco and egg tempra artists that use dry pigment and water learn to do this quickly on their pallets.

Artist's supply houses are good sources for pigments for home brew paints and finishes as well as DIY precision scraping media. You pay for them but what's new?

[This message has been edited by Forrest Addy (edited 05-03-2004).]

John Garner
05-10-2004, 10:09 PM
Good Evening --

Forrest's comment " . . . there were two schools of thought in the vehicle for white lead. The old railroaders and heavy industry used steam cylinder oil or a medium bodied sodium soap based grease to make a white lead paste suited for their uses. The paint industry and marine applications used unboiled lineed oil." was enough to prod me into doing some research. Between searching the internet and a few lunch hours on the telephone to both paint and ink manufacturers, I think I understand the reason why there were two different schools of thought.

This reason can be jocularly summarized using the auto racer's expression "Run what ya brung."

Let's start with paint. Fluid "paint" is, by definition, a mixture of a powdered pigment, a liquid vehicle that carries the pigment, and -- optionally -- a thinner or solvent to make the mixture more fluid. Once applied, the liquid vehicle must "dry" or "cure" form to a pigment-retaining film.

If the dried film of paint is to protect the painted object from weather, the dried film must resist moisture.

Since some vegetable oils oxidize fairly readily to form a firm gummy substance, they became logical choices for use as paint vehicles.

One of those drying vegetable oils could be extracted from the seeds of the flax plant, which was already being farmed for its fiber. The flax fiber, once spun, was called "linen" and the oil extracted from the flax seed called "linseed oil".

One other property of drying vegetable oils should be noted now. Heating the oil chemically changed it in a way that speeded oxidation, which reduced the drying-time in comparison with the never-heated oil.

Now onto the pigments. A pigment is an insoluble colored material, and for use in paint must be ground to a fine powder. The earliest pigments were mined, but later some pigments were produced by chemical means. One of these pigments -- basic lead carbonate -- was a white material that formed on the lead lining of wine storage vessels.

Soon afterward, mankind discovered that a paint made from basic lead carbonate and linseed oil dried to a long-lasting, high-quality, weather-resistant film.

When first commercialized, pigments (including the white lead pigment) were sold as granules that the painter had to grind in a mortar and pestle and mix into the vehicle . . . but the dry pigment was difficult to grind and the powder hard to handle and the pigment-marketer soon realized he could "add value" to his product by doing the grinding and preliminary mixing. The pigment producer, knowing that the pigment would almost certainly be mixed into paint, chose never-heated linseed oil as the vehicle for his pigment paste. The raw linseed oil would mix freely into heat-treated oil while having a longer shelf life than would a pigment paste mixed with the heat-treated oil.

Now it should go without saying, but paint was a valuable protectant to a structure as exposed to the weather as a ship . . . and white lead paste, linseed oil, and turpentine soon went to sea.

As ships became progressively more mechanized, seafaring engineers found that these already-in-stores materials could serve mechanical purposes also, especially in the lubrication of heavily-loaded slow speed bearings.

Meanwhile, back on land, the steam engine was becoming commonplace, and with it came higher-speed bearings. The higher-speed bearings demanded non-drying oils, especially if the run-off oil was captured for reuse.

At about the same time, mankind was learning how to extract petroleum (in plain English, "rock oil") from the ground and separate the portions of the petroleum that could be burned in oil lamps that, until this time, had burned edible oils and fats. The portions of the petroleum oil that were too volatile to burn in lamps and the portions that were not volatile enough to burn in lamps were pretty much waste byproducts.

Until someone discovered that the less-volatile components could be used as non-drying lubricants that were in many cases better than the plant-or-animal-based lubricants used earlier.

(Interestingly enough, petroleum oil was not nearly as effective as a steam-cylinder lubricant as the tallow that was traditionally used . . . but the petroleum could be used as a very significant "extender" of the much-more-expensive tallow. Tallow could be diluted with as much as nine times its volume with petroleum oil while maintaining lubricative efficiency, and before too long the mixed product was thought of as petroleum-with-added-tallow instead of tallow-cut-with-petroleum.)

Like their sea-going brothers, the land-based engineers soon began to use the already-at-hand petroleum mixtures to serve other purposes, especially to help control hard-to-handle solid-lubricant powders including graphite, white lead, and red lead.

I mentioned ink makers in my first paragraph. Where does ink fit into this story?

Well, printers' ink can be, like white-lead paste, a mixture of a powdered pigment and a vehicle, traditionally an oil. (Ink can also use dye as a colorant.) Unlike paint, though, inks are not expected to form a protective film on the page and a vehicle that dries by chemically curing creates an operational hardship in the pressroom. So printers' inks are typically formulated with "non-drying" oils that either evaporate or are absorbed into the paper.

The traditional printers' ink for most of the past 150 years has used petroleum oil as its vehicle, although over the last 15 to 20 years the petroleum oils have been largely replaced with soybean oil to reduce VOC emissions. Soybean oil, like some other vegetable oils, oxidize slowly enough to be considered non-drying.

Ok, enough history for now.

Within the last week, I have had both a paint chemist and an ink chemist suggest that the ideal vehicle for a machinist's spotting compound would be either USP Mineral Oil or White Petroleum Jelly (aka petrolatum or "Vaseline") from the drug store. They both also agreed that the same vehicle would be ideal for a lubricating paste that would be used over a long period of time.

One did point out that a drying oil might be better for a press-fit lubricant as the residual film would oxidize over time and loose whatever lubricating properties of the fluid film were contributed by the vehicle.

These comments fit pretty well with an old shop teacher's admonition to use a lube oil when mixing a spotting compound and to NEVER leave "paint-store prussian blue" on the workpiece or reference surface overnight.

After doing my research, I realized that I should have started with the MSDSs for Permatex Prussian Blue and Dykem Hi-Spot Compound. Guess what . . . the Permatex product is prussian blue pigment mixed with mineral oil while the Hi-Spot is a blue dye dissolved in a mixture of petrolatum, oleic acid, and tallow.

So as it turns out, both the Permatex and Dykem products are inks.

Now I have to decide if I'm going to mix my powdered lead carbonate with a drying or non-drying oil.



Forrest Addy
05-11-2004, 03:56 AM
Adding a bit. Lead oxides and carbonates were prime iron and steel preservatives since the use of iron increadedin scale past small tools and implements. It was early discovered that red lead paint applied as a first coat preserved the iron or steel from salt water attack.

Red lead pigment thinned with a volatile solvent and formed into a cake makes an excellent contrast medium for precision scraping. The reference is thinly coated with prussion blue (transfer medium) and the work "hazed" with red lead (contrast medium). The reference is applied and the blue shows up much better agaist the red lead haze. The virtue of these pigments is they are both are soft and non-abrasive. They retain their opacity in very thin coats and as contrasting colors they are about perfect - transferred spots are almost black.

White lead was used in the Navy as an assembly lubricant for propellor shafts, rudders and their stocks, and any other submerged faying surface where galvanizing wasn't practical.

Lead pentoxide in glycerine mixed to toothpaste consistancy makes litharge, an expanding sealant used in screwed-in valve seats in valves of all kinds. The stuff hardens up like concrete and the seats are almost impossible to remove without machining them out of the valve body. Ask me how I know.

Lead compounds have many uses in paints and sealants. Too bad it's so damn toxic. I've eaten many a sandwich tinted with red lead in my sea valve fixing days. Maybe that explains a few things about me.

05-11-2004, 09:29 PM
I asked an old friend of mine who worked draglines for years what he used for heavy press lube,he said sine since the lead is had to find he started using Crayola crayons,makes sense it is after all heavy wax.

05-11-2004, 10:27 PM
If you have ever disassembeled a part that you know you assembeled with Never Seeze or equivelant, and Never Seeze was not there, I was told by sales rep that it was used up in galvanic protection. Sometimes you can find traces and sometimes cannot find any.

John Stevenson
05-12-2004, 04:07 AM
John, A very informative post.

"So as it turns out, both the Permatex and Dykem products are inks."

We make ink mixing machines for the printing trade, just like a food mixer on steroids, nohing fancy, just a variable speed motor and paddle.

As John said engineers blue is an ink and you know just how far one small spot of this goes.

Now I want you to close your eyes and just image a 15 Kg tub of this stuff. For the metrically impaired it's about the size of a galon tin of paint.
Now this stuff which is identical in consistancy to engineers blue but bright orange is in a plastic tub, clamped into the machine and running on test.

The over centre clamp, which isn't 'quite' overcentre springs open and the paddle continues to throw this tub and it's contents all over the shop, me, my new lathe, the drill and all the benches and some of the walls but not nessesarily in that order.

Does the term "You've been Tangoed" spring to mind ?? http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

To make this worse [ is that possible?? ] this ink was Ultra Violet drying, it won't dry on it's own.
So I spent a full day scraping and washing down and then I went to a local night club and scrounged some 6' UV tubes to swop the shop lights out with and leave them on all night.

After about two months the orange spots stopped appearing when you moved things http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

John S.

05-12-2004, 07:35 PM
That reminds me of a similar incedent ata work,we had some cans of stencil ink(dark blue)that were having a rolling stencil line built around them.The machine was built in cold weather and the ink was thick all the while it was being built,nobody noticed that the valve which regulated the flow into the sump of the stencil basin was open when the weather warmed up,the ink ran out all over the floor in one spot and most people not bothering to walk around what they though was oil tacked it all over the shop,There were blue foot prints all over the place,it looked like a dancing school for epiliptics http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

05-12-2004, 11:05 PM
Anchor Lube was used on all the press fit parts in our shop. Sort of whiteish green color and the consistency of mayonaise. It worked good for us.


05-13-2004, 12:49 AM
I have used Lubriplate for press fits,Worked
fine for what I was pressing.

05-14-2004, 10:32 AM
A little OT, but speaking of Lubriplate...

I have a '51 Buick. Guess what the original service manual suggests for chassis lubrication? Yup. Lubriplate. Guess that stuff's been around for a long time. Just thought it was interesting…

John Garner
05-14-2004, 01:04 PM
A quick note of caution on Lubriplate:

Lubriplate is a brand name of the Fiske Brothers Refining Company and does not identify one particular lubricant any more than the name Starrett identifies one particular tool.

Bottom line, this means that for every Lubriplate lubricant that is ideal for a particular job there are probably a half-dozen Lubriplate lubricants that would suffice and several dozen Lubriplate products that are unsuited to the job.