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lubricating tuning machines

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by Bill Bentgen, Apr 18, 2009.


  1. What do y'all use to lubricate your tuning machines where the worm gear meets the cog geart; light grease, 3 in 1 oil, vaseline, graphite, nothing?

    How about where the metal peg goes through the wood of the pegbox; graphite?
     
  2. Cody Sisk

    Cody Sisk

    Jan 26, 2009
    Lilburn, GA
    Ronald Sachs Violins
    Reel Oil (Fishing), Trombone Valve Oil, 3 in 1, anything of the sort is fine, just avoid WD40. Vaseline will attract too much dirt and won't do much to penetrate, avoid it.

    As far as the metal-to-wood part, I'd liberally mark the brass with beeswax. You can get it at any sewing store.

    FYI, TalkBass peeps like to suggest cat urine for almost any application.. :cool:
     
    M0ses likes this.
  3. 3 in 1 is what I've always used, some people recommend Graphite, depending on the tuners.
     
  4. Thanks all.

    The wife's an oboe play so bees wax is available.
     
  5. mje

    mje

    Aug 1, 2002
    Southeast Michigan
    The classic oil for small parts under very high loads- like clocks and fishing reels- was sperm whale oil. And the modern equivalent of sperm whale oil is... (wait for it)... automatic transmission fluid. Really. Won't turn gummy. Just use a drop.
     
  6. Cody Sisk

    Cody Sisk

    Jan 26, 2009
    Lilburn, GA
    Ronald Sachs Violins
    Oil for sprockets in cars used on sprockets for bass machines.. Seems quite logical. I'll bet that's cheaper than a bottle of 3-in-one..
     
  7. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 18, 2002
    General Manager TecPadz LLC
    Zombie thread; I know...

    But, just checking; is transmission fluid still the best stuff for the tuning gears?

    Thanks!
     
  8. What? No. #10 machine oil, also called sewing machine oil.
     
  9. Vaseline on gears, applied with cotton bud followed by working the gears a bit before wiping off any excess.

    Graphite or soft lead pencil (same as graphite) applied to holes in wood after taking out machine pegs. The powder can be applied and smeared with your little finger or a cotton bud. Lead pencil just draws on the wood.Definitely only dry lubricant, not grease or oil. Soft lead pencil also works well in the nut and bridge grooves.

    Soap is often used to make drawers slide open/closed easily and might be OK. I have not heard of using wax.
     
  10. misterbadger

    misterbadger Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2012
    Northern California
    I shy away from using grease on anything that's open to the air and likely to attract dirt and gunk, so a bit of powdered graphite does the trick for me.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2017
    M0ses likes this.
  11. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 18, 2002
    General Manager TecPadz LLC
    An interesting variation in responses.

    Thanks!
     
  12. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 18, 2002
    General Manager TecPadz LLC
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2017
  13. robobass

    robobass

    Aug 1, 2005
    Cologne, Germany
    Private Inventor - Bass Capos
    I've never found teflon lubricants to be worth anything. Stick with light machine oil.
     
    bucephylus likes this.
  14. Don Kasper

    Don Kasper Supporting Member

    I own a can of this stuff - I have no idea why...It's a Mystery.

    Marvel-Mystery-Oil-Can-_1.
     
    ColdEye likes this.
  15. robobass

    robobass

    Aug 1, 2005
    Cologne, Germany
    Private Inventor - Bass Capos
    Don,
    That stuff is great! improves mileage, power, and engine life by 40%. Never tried it myself, but that's what I hear.
     
    Don Kasper likes this.
  16. Also babe magnet effect
     
  17. misterbadger

    misterbadger Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2012
    Northern California
    And, if used to lubricate tuning machines, improves tuning stability and intonation 40% while reducing fingerboard wear.
     
  18. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 18, 2002
    General Manager TecPadz LLC
    You cats are brutal. I'm just trying to get the gears to smooth out a bit. Sheesh.
     
  19. Matthew Tucker

    Matthew Tucker Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2002
    Sydney, Australia
    Owner: Bresque Basses, Sydney Basses and Cellos
    The bit you really need to lubricate is where the shaft of the tuning handle runs through the "saddle" especially on the handle side. This is where most of the pressure is put. It would be nice if you could put a thrust washer right at the end, but its rarely possible without removing the handle. The cog gear and worm don't actually need much lube at all; there is supposed to be resistance here, that's how a worm and gear works. in fact if you lube it too much, the gear can slip, and I have video to prove it!



    I use light machine oil, WD40, graphite ... whatever i can get in there. I don't use vaseline, too sticky IMO and collects dust.

    I use a soap paste to lube where the shafts of the tuners run through the pegbox. It dries, but stays slippery.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2017
    misterbadger likes this.
  20. jmlee

    jmlee Catgut? Not funny. Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2005
    Halifax, Nova Scotia
    big_FL_TEF_US_4oz_MA_1312_CRC_RGB.
    This stuff is terrific. No danger whatsoever to finish and provides excellent lubrication.
     
    Matthew Tucker likes this.

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