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Correct oil for geared headstock ?

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  • Correct oil for geared headstock ?

    On the back of the headstock on the Sidney Lathe I recently acquired, there is a tag that gives the oil capacity in quarts for the various sizes of lathe.

    However it then reads "use a good grade of automobile oil" with no mention of saybolt viscosity or any other identification!

    This machine is tagged 1932, so automobile oil then, was likely nondetergent. However there were certainly different weights available then, I assume?

    The headstock is empty and likely has been for some time (years). Everything in there is still oily though.

    I haven't been able to track down a manual yet.

    I know that a non detergent oil is necessary.
    I need to know what weight or viscosity is needed.

    link below is to some pics, 2 pages

    Thanks in advance

    [This message has been edited by yf (edited 01-01-2004).]

  • #2
    In a van no less. I am impressed. I bet there was a lot of gruntin' and fa&tin' gettin' that thing out.
    Try a good 30 straight weight oil. If the machine labors too much switch to 20 weight.

    The weys look pretty good as do the internals.


    • #3
      Actually the jacks, pullers, ramps, steel plates and chain hoist did all the work.

      My friend and I just supervised

      I have no scale capable of weighing it. I estimate due to section size, that its between 4500-6500#. I am curious what the actual weight is.

      Would compressor oil do?
      I have 5 gallon pails of comp. 20 and 30.
      Its IIRC, non detergent.



      • #4

        On a machine that old and with it's low rpm just about any oil will do the job. From a one day course in lubrication years ago the one thing I always remember is to use the lightest grade oil that will stay in the machine. By that I mean the lightest oil the seals will retain.


        • #5
          nice machine!!
          i have to ask, how the heck did they cut those herringbone gears?????

          andy b.
          The danger is not that computers will come to think like men - but that men will come to think like computers. - some guy on another forum not dedicated to machining


          • #6
            I think the compressor oil you have will work just fine, I would use the lighter of the two. The new lathes I see today use a light hydraulic oil.



            • #7
              A manual can be brought from

              Usual disclaimers.



              • #8
                Thanks for the replies

                Last time I checked, Sidney was not listed.

                I'm not sure how herringbone gears are cut.
                Maybe with a shaper having the dividing head geared to the stroke so it rotates the blank partially clockwise and reverses halfway through?

                Other herringbone gears I've seen were built up from 2 mirror image gears laminated together. These are one piece.


                • #9
                  They are (used to be?) cut on a machine like a specialized shaper. This doesn't explain it but have a look at these guys:

                  Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here


                  • #10
                    I use Regal RO 32 fo my headstock lube. Non foaming, lightweight, and good.

                    Probably hits at about 10-20 motor oil viscosity from my comparrisons.
                    CCBW, MAH