Oil or grease on radial arm saw moving parts

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Alasdair

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Just wondering what people use for lubrication on radial arm saws etc. Stripped mine down and about to rebuild it. Should I use oil or grease on moving parts . Thinking grease on the radial arm running wheels but would that not just collect sawdust and gum evert thing up quickly or would I be better with oil and if so what type.
Alasdair
 

Alasdair

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Thanks for that I didn't think of silicone. Just worried the bearings etc will get gummed up with dust. Any particular silicone lube you use?
Alasdair
 

Phil Pascoe

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PTFE.
 

Inspector

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I avoid Silicone lubricants in the shop. If it gets on your wood it messes up your finishes. It can easily transfer from the machine to the wood weeks later. Use what Phil suggested or Molybdenum / Graphite based lubricants.

Pete
 

Fergie 307

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I avoid Silicone lubricants in the shop. If it gets on your wood it messes up your finishes. It can easily transfer from the machine to the wood weeks later. Use what Phil suggested or Molybdenum / Graphite based lubricants.

Pete
I would second that. Silicon is great provided you don't want to put a finish on afterwards. Bad enough getting it off metal or paint, if it has got into wood I would imagine it would be a PITA to get rid of it.
 

Craig22

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I've a Wadkin BRA, the old round arm version. The instruction manual is very detailed, when back in the day they supplied maintenance instructions (and a broken down assembly drawing with a parts number table). It says that bright parts should be given a thin coat of oil "to prevent rusting" and grease for the motor bearing grease nipples. Nothing on the guide rods or bearings, which it only says should be kept clear of sawdust and chippings "for ease of operation".
 

Craig22

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FWIW silicone lubricants were used in the moving parts of space vehicles. That was until it crept across the optical assembly of one of the major science missions and rendered it partially blind. The darned stuff creeps.

There was a standing order by ESA that all vehicles under assembly had to be disassembled (a seriously big and long job) and silicone oils and removed. The only way to get it off entirely is to plasma etch it off in a vacuum chamber. It was to be replaced with a mineral grease which showed no sign of creeping.

Back to woodworking - I wouldn't put silicone oil, grease or spray anywhere near a machine or hand tool. It will end up on your hands, and is impossible to wash off - it wears off in a few days as skin replaces itself. And it absolutely will get onto your work.
 

Craig22

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Good report here https://apps.dtic.mil/sti/pdfs/ADA410311.pdf, particularly on the difficulty of removing the stuff. There was an incident in 2000 when solar arrays were packed in protecting foam. The release agent for the foam was silicone oil, and this in a year of storage before installation on a space vehicle, contaminated 29,000 cells.
 

Sandyn

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I never use any lubricants on my RAS (DW 1501). The only issue I have is that after a lot of use, the sliding action feels a bit rough because of dust compressed on to the bearings/tracks of the arm. I give it a clean with a brush/cloth soaked in alcohol. Sometimes if I'm in a cleaning mood, I remove the saw head and give everything a really good clean. I also blast the saw every so often with compressed air, but not after every use.
I believe if you put any wet lubricant on the bearings or tracks it will attract much more dust and cause problems. Keep them dry and give them a clean. I have never tried dry PTFE. If you really want to try something, that's what I would try. I have had my saw since the mid 80's and never had to adjust the bearings to compensate for wear.
 

John Hall

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A light oil containing PTFE..is fine…As already mentioned Silicone affects so many other things…unless it’s specified I wouldn’t use it…Ive never used grease on anything in the workshop..it just acts like a magnet for dust and debris, Oil is so much easier to clean off and reapply at regular intervals….I recently bought a second hand Pratt chuck supposedly seized….the the inside was packed tight with solidified grease and crud…
A little heat, and a clean with white spirit, a light oil and works like new.
 

eribaMotters

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I've had my DeWalt radial arm for 15/20 years and never found the need to lubricate any parts. Fine dust in itself lubricates very well, throw some on a bit of shiny hardboard on the floor and you'll soon see how slippy it is. If I had to apply something it would be a dry lubricant such as PTFE spray, or if you can get it Foliac [graphite powder]. Avoid silicon at all costs.
I did have to resort to a light spray of WD40 when I collected the saw second hand as the base of the pole had a spot of rust on it. I emery taped it, gave it a spray and then wiped it dry.

Colin
 

deema

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I would avoid putting anything searching near bearings, such as WD40, penetrating oil, or any light oil. Bearings are greased and depending on the age of the saw, probably has sealed for life bearings. Grease can react to oil and it leads to bearings failing very quickly. I tend to use White grease on woodworking equipment where lubricating is required, don’t use High temperature white grease, this just gums up and solidifies, as the name suggests it’s used for high temperatures not workshop temperatures.
If in any doubt, like Wallace said, keep it dry, anything that saw dust can mix with and becomes sticky creates a great abrasive and wear will be far more than if you did nothing at all.
 

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Read the labels on spray polishes for furniture as some of it has silicone in it so you want to keep it out of the shop too. Also can be a pain when refinishing furniture that has been "maintained" with it.

Pete
 
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