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Thread: best way to clean up lathe bed

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    new york city burbs

    best way to clean up lathe bed

    I believe I got rid of my 1220 vs lathe too quickly.
    The headstock on the 1642 seemed to be in my way today while I made a pen, I had to turn from opposite side, something Im not used too.
    Maybe I should have listened to some of you guys, too late now, Im just stubborn idiot, I really should have kept it for pen turning.

    the tool rest on the 1642 is too big for pen turning also, so Ill have to look into a smaller one.

    Ive had to buy different adapters because everything I own was threaded for the smaller lathe, even the bottle stopper chuck.
    chuck is only 10 bucks, but the adapter was 20.

    anyway, after noticing a lot of rust on the bed from turning a wet log and not cleaning up, I tried to clean it up with some pb rust buster stuff, didn't work great, so I used some 420 grit sandpaper with my hand and block and didn't know if that was the smartest way, it got a lot of it off, then I used the pb spray again, cleaned it up nicely, wiped it all down dry.

    whats the best way to maintain a smooth, even and clean bed on the lathe?
    Human Test Dummy

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Escondido, CA
    You did good.

    I use use 220 grit silicon carbide (wet/dry) and WD40. Then just WD40 and wipe dry. Then a quick cleaning with any solvent around. Then paste wax the dickens out of it. I use MinWax. Available at the grocery or borg. Relatively inexpensive. From clean dry metal, 5-6 very thin wax coats, each buffed out. The wax gets into the cast iron pores and does a nice job of keeping things shiny. Also protects well when doing wet turnings. After turning wet wood, I wipe the thing clean, Simple Green if I have to, and more wax, maybe 2-3 coats. Same drill. I don't do anything when turning dry wood. Also helps the banjo slide smoothly. When it starts to move reluctantly, time for a completely new wax job. Protectant and lube.

    Some say the land of milk and honey; others say the land of fruits and nuts. All together my sort of heaven.

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    Carol Reed

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    DSM, IA
    I do exactly the same as Carol...which reminds me, I need to wax my lathe's bed. Allen, get a smaller tool rest and it will help out a bunch when turning smaller things.
    A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone. -Henry David Thoreau
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Brooklin ON -- 45 mins. NE of Toronto, ON
    The best way to clean up the ways (bed) of your lathe is to not let them get rusty in the 1st place!

    Lay a towel over the bed if you are using water or CA or the like. 3M has some pads that I would consider using for the clean-up. (can't think of their name at present). Then a waterproof spray protector. Check out LV, that's where my stuff comes from.
    Mack C. in Brooklin ON
    It feels great to sell a pen,
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    Allen, If that rust gets very bad, you can shave it off, using a single edge razor blade in an appropriate holder, at a low angle. Just take it easy on the surface so you don't catch on it. This method even works well for table saw tops and jointer tables. Follow this as Mack stated with some green Scotchbrite pads and WD-40. Then wipe the surface down well, and as Carol said, give it a few coats of wax. Paste wax. Many of us use Johnson's (the yellow can). Apply it, let it flash off (solvents evaporate) and buff it off with an old cotton cloth. (Tee shirts work well.) Do this periodically and you will be happy with no more rust.

    Try it, you'll like it.
    "You got to learn from the mistakes of others. You won't live long enough to make them all yourself". (Author unknown)

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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Reno, Nv
    Steel wool...if it's really bad...800 on a RO sander. After the steel wool, Johnson's Paste Wax. If you can't find it...I'll send you some.
    Your Respiratory Therapist wears Combat boots

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM
    For me, if steel wool or a coarse synthetic pad won't remove it, I do as Carol does and break out the 220 grit sandpaper. After that and a thorough cleaning with a solvent du jour, I apply a coat or two of paste wax -- each buffed out with a clean cloth or paper towel -- and call it good. And I always apply the paste wax on all my waxed tool surfaces with a small piece of gray Scotch Brite pad, whether there's rust or not. I figure it helps keep the grime build-up to a minimum.

    And now you see why most of us have multiple tool rests. Robust makes some of the best, IMO:
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Yorktown, Virginia
    Synthetic steel wool and WD40, then a coat of Renaissance wax.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    new york city burbs
    Ive been using butchers bowling alley wax on my jointer, planer and tablesaw surface for a few years, Ill clean the bed up more and put on a few coats of it.
    thanx all. my concerns were hitting the bed too hard with sandpaper and maybe ruining the flatness of it.
    Human Test Dummy

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Harrisburg, NC
    If you have a small angle grinder (4.5") get a medium cup brush to go with it. It will polish it up like a new dime.
    I spray mine with a rust converter (Rust Mort, etc) which converts any remaining rust from iron oxide to iron phosphate. This insures there is no rust in pores/dings. Wax/oil if you wish.
    For prevention, a trash bag with 3-4 small magnets to keep it in place works fine. You can scrunch up the bag or spread it out as needed.
    All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent. Thomas Jefferson

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