Lubrication of ball thrust race in lathe headstock

I've been restoring an old Lorch-Schmidt 4" plain lathe. Unlike my smaller Lorch Schmidt lathe which has a plain thrust bearing this is "modern" enough to have a ball thrust race.

I've put a digital photograph of the thrust race on my web page at

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I'm not really sure what I should use to lubricate this thrust bearing on reassembly. I normally lubricate plain lathe bearings with Reeves "Light Lathe Oil" but I have been wondering if the thrust race should be lubricated with some kind of light grease. Any suggestions or advice would be very welcome!

Looking through old catalogues it's difficult to date the lathe exactly as Lorch Schmidt seemed to make the same sorts of lathe for long periods, but I believe it to be a model AVI from around 1930.


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Alan Bain
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If its right next to the spindle bearings ..sometimes the spindle bearing oil will lube it .

if you grease it, the grease will be washed out by oil from the spindle bearings .

I would just drop extra oil onto it ..the same as your spindle oil...

all the best.markj

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Hi Alan.

I've been doing something rather similar:

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your thrust bearing ball race looks very similar to mine.

I have a scanned manual for a practically identical (but marginally more modern) lathe and the lubrication chart only shows oiling points for the main rear bearing in that area.

Looking at the oil-ways in my rear headstock bearing, it looks at though some oil is meant to get to the thrust bearing from there.

I'd re-assemble using the same oil as you use for the main bearings - that's certainly what I'm planning on doing.

For reference, the oils specified by Lorch for the main plain bearings is:

Spindle speeds 1500 BP Energol HP 3 Shell Tellus 15 Esso Spinesso 34 Mobil Vactra extra light oil

Of course, you will likely need to substitute more modern equivalents.

Any chance of more pictures of your lathe ?



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