A lathe is one of the most expensive tools in your woodturning arsenal; due to this expense, it’s necessary to maintain it for as long as possible. Know the different ways to take care of your woodturning lathe to ensure it doesn’t break down before its time, leaving you with a nonfunctioning paperweight and a replacement cost in the thousands. Preventing issues is a daily job and something you need to do before and after every use.
Clean Off Debris
It’s natural for dust, wood shavings, and other debris to build up in your work area, specifically on your lathe. While the particles are near-microscopic and may not seem to endanger the lathe, it’s critical that you always wipe down your machine before and after every use.
Allowing debris to build up around your lathe can damage it, especially when dust gets into the machine’s electrical system. Use pressurized air to blow out dust from hard-to-reach spaces and use a lint-free cloth to wipe everything down.
Keep Rails Lubricated
Lubricants are necessary to enable the rails to move freely, enabling you to adjust them according to the size of the wood piece you work with. When the lubrication fades, the lathe can damage itself due to the metal parts scraping together without any protection from friction.
The metal of the rails will deteriorate over time unless owners apply more wax to reduce friction. Neglecting this will lead to rail failure and the need for replacement, parts that are far more expensive than a bottle of wax.
Inspect the Belt
Essential for woodturning, the drive belt goes through a lot of stress throughout projects and has a high potential of malfunction without proper care. Turn your lathe off, remove the belt, and manually inspect it, turning it over to check for any signs of wear and tear.
If you notice any fraying at the edges, it’s usually a telltale sign you need a replacement as soon as possible. Allowing it to fail completely while in use can present immediate dangers to yourself; lathes can threaten bodily harm with improper use, making extra diligence necessary when maintaining them.
Know What You Have To Do
Be aware of the ways you can preserve your woodturning lathe to avoid a complete breakdown. It may sometimes be necessary to purchase some replacement parts, but you’ll want to avoid a complete replacement as much as possible. Protect yourself as well as your tools by knowing the basics to lathe maintenance.