Re: how do I clean and polish a lathe bed

Mark R. Jonkman

I’ve had good luck with citrus strip - I’ve used that and a pressure washer to do the big parts. The big thing is get grease and oil off first then strip. Scrapper and wire brush after using citrus strip works well for little parts. If your doing the job in a single day you can probably clean most of the lathe before masking and priming. But if you have to split it up your going to have to prime what you get done in a session. It will take a coupe coats of citrus strip to get it all the paint off. It also depends on how many coats of paint it’s had since it left the factory.


On Aug 2, 2020, at 2:22 PM, Andrei <calciu1@...> wrote:

I have had decent results with the safe stripper from home depot. It cleaned some old south bend parts to the metal with only 2 applications. Left it overnight, wrapped tightly in a garbage bag so it did not dry out. Overkill? Dunno.

Typos are courtesy of autocorrect.

From: <> on behalf of Jim_B <jim@...>
Sent: Sunday, August 2, 2020 2:20:01 PM
To: <>
Subject: Re: [SouthBendLathe] how do I clean and polish a lathe bed
I do not recommend any sanding. 
These machines were painted with lead based paint. It could be very dangerous. You would need good respirators. 
Chemical or (my preference) electrolytic stripping is better. 
It’s hard to get old style strippers and some find the new “SAFE” strippers leave a lot to be desired. 
For large parts try oven cleaner as a stripper. Wear face mask and gloves. Also very good ventilation. 

Smaller sections use electrolytic stripping. Much safer. Google it. 
It uses washing soda. 
It removes rust oil grease and paint. 
Have a can of primer ready. The parts tend to rust instantly after cleaning. 

Jim B,

On Aug 2, 2020, at 1:55 PM, Dora Tamilta via <doratamilta@...> wrote:

Hi Matt
Got the Hendey off the trailer and into the garage, and have started to clean it up. Lets just say that it has a "fine patina" of old oil/grease, chips, and dirt on it. Seems to run ok, but not the cleanest thing around! Which brings me to my question; Whats the best way to clean up a dirty lathe?

Guessing a pressure washer would not be a good idea... I started off with some mineral spirits and an old brush. Was gonna use a rag, but all those chips make that seem like a bad idea on the hands. My "plan" is to do a couple mineral spirit wipedowns, then use a degreaser on the painted surfaces, sand and repaint as needed to get a decent finish - not gonna be a show piece, but I want it to look good and protect the metal...

As for the machined surfaces, was going to use scotchbrite to clean them up, then add a light coat of oil to protect them.

Once its clean, I'll flush and refill all the fluids, replace felts, etc.

Jim B

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