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Thread: Sewing machine oils?

  1. #1
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    Sewing machine oils?

    A couple years ago, I purchase a Qt. of commercial sewing machine oil for my commercial sewing machine. It is clear color. Yesterday, I was wanting to oil my featherweight and got my Bernina sewing machine oil out that is about 5 years old and it's dark color and feels much heavier. Does oil go bad? Why would my commercial oil be clearer and feels like lighter weight oil? I don't want to ruin my featherweight machine and need to know more about sewing machine oil. Also, is it OK to use Lubriplate on the featherweight gears?

  2. #2
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    I am not an expert, but I remember being told that the oil can go bad. If it's clear, it's fine. I'd be leery of the dark colored one. Don't know anything about Lubriplate.

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    Basic sewing machine oil has a thickness around SAE 5 to 10, maybe some are closer to 15 (a bit thicker). The lightest I have seen have been clear like water and almost as thin. Basic sewing machine oil is very stable and I think I dare say up to 10 years on the shelf should be fine. Some oils are more amber colored even when new and fresh, so it's hard to tell by the color alone. Singer recommended a pure acid free oil of their own brand, the industrial oil you have is probably as good as any. The Featherweight isn't very fuzzy for the gears, but I personally prefer a ligher and smoother grease on gears than the white lithium greases. Some recommend Triflow these days, both oil and grease, it has teflon added. The motor has grease wicks, the expert recommendation is vaseline or one of the special greases like the Featherweight shop have. Don't use white lithium grease for the motor bearings. I assume Lubriplate is a lithium grease?
    Last edited by Mickey2; 01-13-2019 at 03:45 PM.

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    Yes, Sewing machine oil does get old. I only use Ballistol oil. It was recommended years ago for my Passap Knitting Machine made in Switzerland by Bernina. I use it on everything that needs lubricating. You can buy it on line.

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    After posting my reply I did a quick search on the subject. I can't find any specific data on it, but the fancier the oil the shorter the shelf life. Some places give basic motor and transmission oils are given a 5 year expiration date, other oils like those fluids used to lessen friction on lathe machines are given a 2 year exipiration date (the are often more watery liquids, and blends of all various substanses). These are all more fancy compunds. Greases can last a long time, still just as fine after more than 10 years, some seem to be very stable. Highly refined mineral oils with no additives (aka good quality sewing machine oil) last a long time in a sealed container proteced from direct sunlight. Exactly when they start to disintegrate I can't find much info on. In soil most of them seem to brake down after 3 weeks, very different from crude oil or petrol.

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    Quote Originally Posted by shadow59602 View Post
    Yes, Sewing machine oil does get old. I only use Ballistol oil. It was recommended years ago for my Passap Knitting Machine made in Switzerland by Bernina. I use it on everything that needs lubricating. You can buy it on line.
    I use a food-grade silicone spray on all knitting machines. Wonder if they are also good for sewing machines in drop form?

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Size:  1.84 MBI got a free quart with the free 2116. Still looks clear. As an aircraft mechanic I know that Jett fuel samples exposed to sunlight will turn yellow. Likewise I never seen baby oil turn yellow in sunlight. That jar I got has been around so maybe the holly grail of oils is baby oil? I’m still all about the oil that makes your slide slippery and Dosent leave a stain

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    Yep, I use Triflow oil. I does the job.

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    I was kinda kidding about the baby oil thing. I was out in the bundocks of North Carolina when I picked up this machine and that jar of oil was labeled sewing machine oil. I really thought it was some sippin whiskey at first glance.

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    Really when the guy handed me the jar and said this is just some kind of oil that’s supposed to go with it. I was confused you are giving the machine and $20 worth of oil or are you offering a sip of spirits?

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    Even the best oil will leave a staining film on machines. It often takes 10 or 40 years before they appear and is cause by over oiling. It should be relatively easy to clean off and should not gum up gears. Some oils and greases have left a major mess on some machines, all lubricants are definitely not the same. Some leave less problems behind than others.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mickey2 View Post
    Even the best oil will leave a staining film on machines. It often takes 10 or 40 years before they appear and is cause by over oiling. It should be relatively easy to clean off and should not gum up gears. Some oils and greases have left a major mess on some machines, all lubricants are definitely not the same. Some leave less problems behind than others.

    So so if I use the wrong product today in 40 years someone will be cussing me because I used the oil that was on hand? Any oil is better than no oil

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    I was reading a blog by an OSMG and he said he has used Hoppe’s No 9’gun oil in his machines with good success. I ordered it on amazon and it comes with a dispenser that drops a tiny drop of oil. So far it has been working great in my machine which is a Brother PQ1500. Not vintage but metal inside with instructions to oil frequently.
    Alyce

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dougstermd View Post
    So so if I use the wrong product today in 40 years someone will be cussing me because I used the oil that was on hand? Any oil is better than no oil
    Bad (or more like wrong oil) for the machine can cause trouble in a few days. Most thin spray can oils will dry up too fast and not lessen friction nearly as good as the basic sewing machine oil. They will however clean and flush out grime faster. I know some have used vegetable oil on machines, and I it will cause trouble sooner than later. (Just don't!). Many motor oils will likely be heavy enough to cause trouble too. What we think of as usable has to be withing reason. The sewing machines with staining I have seen, have had a very clean inside, nearly squeaky clean gears but very dry. When I said 40 years, I was thinking of the staining of the exterior, and someone who use a pure clean oil. It leaves very little problem even decades later, you can't say the same thing for the cases where it goes wrong a few days later. Sticky oils and grime happen now and then, and sometimes before 12 months have passed. There's a lot of factors involved when cleaning up a machine, so it's hard to say what is caused by old grime, and what is cause by the random product we use.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mickey2 View Post
    Bad (or more like wrong oil) for the machine can cause trouble in a few days. Most thin spray can oils will dry up too fast and not lessen friction nearly as good as the basic sewing machine oil. They will however clean and flush out grime faster. I know some have used vegetable oil on machines, and I it will cause trouble sooner than later. (Just don't!). Many motor oils will likely be heavy enough to cause trouble too. What we think of as usable has to be withing reason. The sewing machines with staining I have seen, have had a very clean inside, nearly squeaky clean gears but very dry. When I said 40 years, I was thinking of the staining of the exterior, and someone who use a pure clean oil. It leaves very little problem even decades later, you can't say the same thing for the cases where it goes wrong a few days later. Sticky oils and grime happen now and then, and sometimes before 12 months have passed. There's a lot of factors involved when cleaning up a machine, so it's hard to say what is caused by old grime, and what is cause by the random product we use.


    Yes vegetable oil will probably produce bad results. I’m just saying get the slides slippery real oil any oil is better than no oil

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    Sorry about the somewhat incoherent sentences Dougstermd. I should stop posting anything with out rereading it, and stop doing stuff from my phone too :-|

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    The lubriplate that I have is: Marine Lube "A" that we used on the boat. The other one is Lubriplate "105" is general lube. I have some special grease that I got at a featherweight shop for the motor, but don't think it should be used on the gears.

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    The Featherweight shio grease is a bit pricey, but should be ideal for the gears. They main reason some go for Triflow or another grease, is they have teflon added. It's a very stable synthetic grease just right for the purpose and the teflon probably adds a bit of extra smoothness.

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