How to best lubricate wooden moving parts - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum

 
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post #1 of 19 Old 09-15-2009, 05:51 PM Thread Starter
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How to best lubricate wooden moving parts

Hi all,

I'm currently designing a marble drop which will have a lot of small, moving parts, such as pivots, wheels, etc. I want to use as little (or no) metal in this project and I'm wondering how to best lubricate the wood that will be the moving parts. I figure I'll use a lot of dowels and such.

When making recommendations, please keep in mind if the type of lube you talk about will need to be reapplied periodically and whether or not it can be done without taking things apart.

Thanks,

-SW
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post #2 of 19 Old 09-15-2009, 07:19 PM
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If possible, could you use washers made from UHMW "Slick Tape"?
It's only about .015 thick. Easy to cut and it's really slick. It has an adhesive back that you could wash off with lacquer thinner or leave on and stick it to a sliding part, if washers aren't needed.

Here's a link to the cheapest I've seen. http://peachtree-woodworking-supply-...source=froogle
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post #3 of 19 Old 09-15-2009, 07:57 PM
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Wax
.............

Measure Twice Cut Once -- It's a lot easier to cut more off then it is to cut MORON.
Finishing is 3 parts chemistry and 1 part VooDoo http://lrgwood.com
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post #4 of 19 Old 09-15-2009, 08:24 PM
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What Leo said.
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post #5 of 19 Old 09-17-2009, 06:31 PM
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What Leo and Daren said.
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post #6 of 19 Old 09-18-2009, 01:23 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks. I just talked to the guys down at Woodcraft and they said graphite was the best for wood-on-wood lubrication and is used on toys of all sorts. Maybe I'll try both.
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post #7 of 19 Old 09-24-2009, 10:16 PM
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The best thing to do is what leo said
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post #8 of 19 Old 09-28-2009, 08:00 AM
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Bee's Wax
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post #9 of 19 Old 09-28-2009, 09:23 AM
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I have made small wooden toys out of 2x4s and 1x4 for years. I melt candle wax over the axles and then hold the candle under the axle and melt the wax into the wood. The dry dowels soaks up the wax. I do this twice per axle. The little cars and truck will roll all the way across a room with little effort.

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post #10 of 19 Old 09-28-2009, 12:08 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Handyman View Post
I have made small wooden toys out of 2x4s and 1x4 for years. I melt candle wax over the axles and then hold the candle under the axle and melt the wax into the wood. The dry dowels soaks up the wax. I do this twice per axle. The little cars and truck will roll all the way across a room with little effort.
Seems like this is the consensus. What about dipping/soaking the axles in wax that's already melted? Does allowing the wax to soak into the wood cause it to expand? How do you finish off the wax residue? Sandpaper? Dry cloth?
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post #11 of 19 Old 09-28-2009, 12:20 PM
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Wax like Leo said
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post #12 of 19 Old 09-28-2009, 07:51 PM
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Back in the old days we used hand soap or wax
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post #13 of 19 Old 09-29-2009, 11:42 PM
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[quote=Streamwinner;96780]Seems like this is the consensus. What about dipping/soaking the axles in wax that's already melted? Does allowing the wax to soak into the wood cause it to expand? How do you finish off the wax residue? Sandpaper? Dry cloth?[/quote

Soaking the axle in melted wax would get it in the wood, BUT if you get wax on the ends of the dowel the glue won't stick when you glue the wheels on.

As for getting the residue off, I just use my pocket knife to scrape the extra off.

One more thing I failed to mention was I also sand the inside of the hole with fine sandpaper. I tape it to a smaller dowel and chuck up in a drill.

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post #14 of 19 Old 10-06-2009, 10:08 PM
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A trick I learned from my father, a tool & die maker, is to burnish the wood first. This is done by drilling a hole the same size or a few thousands smaller in a block of hardwood. Chuck your dowel in your drill and run it through the hole you drilled. Your dowel will take on a high polish that cannot be achieved with any sand paper and will be smoother than your wax. The more it is run through the hole the smoother the finish on the dowel. This method was used for year on some farm equipment.
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post #15 of 19 Old 10-09-2009, 01:09 AM Thread Starter
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^ Thanks for the tip. I think I'll try that as well.
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post #16 of 19 Old 08-25-2013, 11:33 PM
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I'm on board with Leo. To make the best use of the wax maybe burnish as described then mix graphite (or molybneum disulfide) into molten beeswax and draw a vacuum on the immersed ( with glue area protected) part. When you release the vacuum the heat-thinned wax will permeate the wood. Lots of work but that would be some slick wood.
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post #17 of 19 Old 08-26-2013, 01:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Streamwinner View Post
Hi all,

I'm currently designing a marble drop which will have a lot of small, moving parts, such as pivots, wheels, etc. I want to use as little (or no) metal in this project and I'm wondering how to best lubricate the wood that will be the moving parts. I figure I'll use a lot of dowels and such.

When making recommendations, please keep in mind if the type of lube you talk about will need to be reapplied periodically and whether or not it can be done without taking things apart.

Thanks,

-SW
Make the relevant parts out of Lignum Vitae , it is a self lubricating wood
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post #18 of 19 Old 08-26-2013, 09:57 PM
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All good info already given. Don't use sandpaper if you need to take excess wax off.. you may embed grit into the wax or wood making more friction!
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post #19 of 19 Old 08-26-2013, 10:03 PM
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Gulf wax or bees wax works good for me. I often use it on the tailstock center on my lathe.
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