First lathe - cleaning up and 'restoring'

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Jun 22, 2018
New member and looking for advice and suggestions. I got a good deal on a Microlux 7x16 mini metal lathe. Yes, I know it is not the best, but for the purposes I will be using it will be just fine. I would consider it in very good condition, but the previous owner neglected it and looks like it has sat for quite some time. There is a good deal of caked on brown oil, some rusting, and so on. I would like to get this all cleaned up first.

I currently am in the process of using ZEP degreaser and Oven-Off and going through all the pieces. Right now I have the tailstock off and apart and using these to clean those. So far things are cleaning up nicely.

I have some questions :

- The painted parts do have some chips here and there and rust has begun. I figured since I am taking this apart why not repaint as well. Would an etching primer and engine enamel be fine for this job (after all previous paint has been removed and cleaned of course)?

- When I begin putting things back together should I be using an antiseize on all the screws, adjustment screws, etc? I was really surprised that I had zero problems with any screws, bolts, etc so far and it looks like there was something put on these in the first place.

- I also have a new set of metal gears coming to replace the current plastic set. I have been advised to use 80-90 weight gear oil on those and a lighter oil on everything else as well as normal maintenance and cleaning (wipe down of parts after use). Is that correct?

I have only started on the tailstock for now and will then move onto the carriage, tool post, cross slide, and so on - going right to left I guess. Any advice, suggestions, etc would be appreciated.


Apr 30, 2015
Some like to strip the machine and do a complete ground up restoration including paint. I'm in the other camp: do a little cleaning and fix the most important items then start using it, making a mental check list for future repairs or improvements. Probably has something to do with getting older? LOL
To me having the machine working well is more important than a perfect paint job- but painting can be fun too


Administrator Trainee
Staff member
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Oct 11, 2016
I would use spray primer and touch up the dings, and get used to using the lathe. It almost always devalues a lathe to repaint it. So making it look 'nice' is not always worth the time invested. If after a year or 2 you decide it is your permanent machine, then you can paint, rebuild, and make it as pretty as you like!

Richard King 2

Master Machine Tool Rebuilder & Instructor
H-M Supporter - Commercial Member
Feb 1, 2018
If you do a good job striping by a stipper of just by scraping it off, rebondo it, tape (mask) up the non paint areas, prime it and it so it look like a jewel paint it I feel it will increase the value. It's like an automobile . Try selling an old rust bucket or a sparkling shinny car. I used to sell used machinery when I owned Midwestern Tool and Equipment and when I worked for Midwestern Machinery we painted machines and did a good job, not a brush job over the grime and we always got paid more.

Plus it's your machine and if you want to run a nice clean shinny machine it's your choice. You probably won't sell it anyway?

As far as using anti seize...I would just make sure the bolts and holes are clean and no water in them you will be fine. I used to buy Sherman & Williams Auto primer and I used 2 part Epoxy paint or Acrylic Enamel. I used to buy gallon cans, but if you have a tractor supply store near by go and buy Tractor engine paint. It works great on machine tools. Good luck and if you want to and have the time go for it. Rich
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