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Dennis Lillis

Lathe maintenance

Dennis Lillis

Jan 2019

This article appeared in the 2019 January issue of Chips & Chatter.

Lathe maintenance

Our work generates sap, dust, dirt, pitch, dust, corrosive sap, chips, ...and dust! 

And, 90% of needed maintenance involves cleaning the above. 

Dennis showed products and procedures for cleaning, lubrication, and inspection maintenance for all lathe components. The 8 Jet lathes were cleaned by members with help from club experts. Odorless mineral spirits, Scotch Brite, T-9 Boshield, file, sander, rags, towel, toothbrush, mineral oil, paste wax, reamer for Morse taper. Inspection light, Morse taper cleaner, spring center, gloves, and shop towels. 


  • Blow out dust, Move belt onto low speed range while inspecting for further procedures! Inspect: belts, pulleys, bearing play, threads, and Morse taper. 

• Tailstock, quill, and Morse taper 

  • Inspect for play, clean and lubricate, ream as necessary.


• Lathe ways, gap, banjo, and tool rest. 

  • Inspect for gunk, corrosion, nicks. Clean and lubricate. 

• Ancillary Equipment 

  • Inspect drive, live centers and points, and lathe concentricity. Clean threads with compressed air. 

  • Inspect and clean chuck threads and assure symmetric jaw closure. Re-adjust as necessary.

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