What's new
What's new

I tried an old time LARD OIL recipe for cutting steels....

HiltzMachining

Plastic
Joined
Dec 4, 2018
Location
Aroostook County
Most of us who have read the old Machinist publications have probably seen mention of Lard Oil and "Lard Mineral Oil" as a cutting fluid recommended for steel. I've been curious about it for a long time, and so I decided to educational purposes to try it out. Yes, I'm sure its much better to continue using my Moly-Dee, RIGID sulphur cutting oils and other choices, but I figured it can't hurt to try it.

If anything, I hoped to learn something from the experience, and I did.

I started with two large spoonfuls of regular Lard. I put it in a sauce pan until it all melted and rendered into a light oil. Then I added 1/4 of a tea light, which in this case was a pure paraffin wax. Once that melted and mixed in, I added 8 spoonfuls of food grade clear mineral oil that they use for cutting boards etc.

After it was all brought to temperature and blended thoroughly, I put it outside (its winter here) to allow to to cool off. It ended up in a paste like consistency, smoother than peanut butter, but not watery.

I tried it out first in my Logan 922 on a scrap piece of steel that came from the link pins on mill chain. This is a pretty tough material. Its not hardened, and I don't know exactly what grade of steel it is, but from toying with it in the past I know its quite tough and doesn't machine really well. I was surprised that this lard oil actually brought a decent finish. What I was most surprised by is how it changed the chips. The chips were popping off the work almost like popcorn. They would pop up and off the work and a little smoke trail would follow them as they jumped all over the place, even several feet from the lathe. I can only attribute this to the lard mineral oil solution, because when I've turned this material before using the same basic HSS tool grind, it didn't do this.

Secondly, I tried it out drilling and tapping through a 1/4" Hot Rolled plate. This is where it really seemed to shine. It worked extremely well as a tapping lubricant. I hand tapped one hole and then power tapped the second hole. In each case I feel it did a great job and the threads looked very clean.

Of course I won't be changing over to this anytime soon, but in a pinch I think it could be helpful. I'm going to put the rest of it into plastic containers my wife uses to sell home made salves and creams for her business, and stick it in my shop fridge. I'm interested in seeing how long it lasts before it spoils from the lard. I plan to report back when it does go bad so that others have an idea how long it could last in a shop fridge.

I made a video of the process if anyone is interested in seeing it.

Machinist Makes Lard Cutting Oil For The Shop - YouTube
 

Joe Gwinn

Stainless
Joined
Nov 22, 2009
Location
Boston, MA area
I recall that beef tallow was also used. Also for lubricating wire being drawn through a reducing die and the like.

One often bought this in the form of tallow candles, which were also used in cooking.
 

EndlessWaltz

Cast Iron
Joined
Jun 18, 2016
Location
Midwest
My question is why WOULDN'T use use this? I mean from a health stand point what is more harmful for breathing in the fumes created? What is the cost per oz? These are the hard questions lol
 

eKretz

Diamond; Mod Squad
Joined
Mar 27, 2005
Location
Northwest Indiana, USA
Probably mostly because it goes bad fast.

I remember the first time I tried the old formula Tap Magic with the 1,1,1 trichloroethane. That stuff was amazing. I still have fantasies of finding an NOS can or two, heh.
 

hvnlymachining

Aluminum
Joined
Jun 21, 2019
Location
St.Onge
We use Snowcap brand lard, we've had a bucket sitting on the shop floor for over a year. It got used up a couple weeks ago but still no smell. I think the biggest threat to lard lifespan is moisture, just a drop or two will make it go rancid it seems.
 

GregSY

Diamond
Joined
Jan 1, 2005
Location
Houston
1988...we used 55 gallon drums of Tri-Chlor to wash cosmoline off large motor shafts prior to machining. It worked great. Then....someone who has never had their hands dirty (or maybe had them dirty once) identified that it worked great, so they spent their time making it a banned substance.
 

Ralph_P

Stainless
Joined
Jan 14, 2003
Location
E. TN USA
Probably mostly because it goes bad fast.

I remember the first time I tried the old formula Tap Magic with the 1,1,1 trichloroethane. That stuff was amazing. I still have fantasies of finding an NOS can or two, heh.

A shop I worked in, in the early 70's bought a can of Tap Magic. It was amazing how well it worked. Made a crackling sound when tapping.

I'm poor but used to be dirt poor. For years in my shop I used bacon grease that my wife saved when she cooked bacon. I like it as well as anything except the old Tap Magic. Never had any go rancid.

A friend got a free 55 gal. drum of light cutting oil. He gives me all I can use so I'm set for a long time.
 

eKretz

Diamond; Mod Squad
Joined
Mar 27, 2005
Location
Northwest Indiana, USA
A shop I worked in, in the early 70's bought a can of Tap Magic. It was amazing how well it worked. Made a crackling sound when tapping.

I'm poor but used to be dirt poor. For years in my shop I used bacon grease that my wife saved when she cooked bacon. I like it as well as anything except the old Tap Magic. Never had any go rancid.

A friend got a free 55 gal. drum of light cutting oil. He gives me all I can use so I'm set for a long time.

Yep, I remember the sound well. Sort of like a cross between a crackle and a swish. Mirror finish threads too. And it seemed like the torque required to hand tap was cut in half. Fond memories... :D
 

1yesca

Stainless
Joined
Jun 1, 2004
[ A shop I worked in, in the early 70's bought a can of Tap Magic. It was amazing how well it worked. Made a crackling sound when tapping.]

when i started going to city collage machine shop at night back in 1979 there was lots of that tap magic around the stuff they had was

in if i remember right 4 oz. cans that were marked [not for sale] and i found out years later that it was free samples that the day

time instructors would get from west tech when they would take there day time class up there . and about that cracking sound ya and it

really did it on aluminum well maybe that's why it was printed on the can not for aluminum
 

Laverda

Cast Iron
Joined
Mar 24, 2014
Location
Riverside County, CA
For tapping by hand I would give it a try. But I would not let it near any of my machine tools. A few years ago a vendor had a new "environmentally friendly" cutting oil that was vegetable based. It worked fine but after a few weeks if you did not clean every last drop of it off the lathe, it would dry out and was near impossible to remove it. It sort of turned in to a sticky varnish that no solvent would touch. Threw the rest of the bottles of it away. I would be concerned that the lard may polymerize from heat and do the same thing? Also bacon grease has a lot of salt. But again, for hand tapping I would try it. I have some unknown grade of stainless that I make nuts and bolts out of and it is a real bitch to tap. It seems to work harden as soon as the tap even gets near it. I have asked the wife to make bacon tomorrow to see how it works.
 

Joe Gwinn

Stainless
Joined
Nov 22, 2009
Location
Boston, MA area
For tapping by hand I would give it a try. But I would not let it near any of my machine tools. A few years ago a vendor had a new "environmentally friendly" cutting oil that was vegetable based. It worked fine but after a few weeks if you did not clean every last drop of it off the lathe, it would dry out and was near impossible to remove it. It sort of turned in to a sticky varnish that no solvent would touch. Threw the rest of the bottles of it away.

I've had this problem. The answer is paint stripper, the kind that is based on methylene chloride (and not lye). My favorite was 5f5.


I would be concerned that the lard may polymerize from heat and do the same thing? Also bacon grease has a lot of salt. But again, for hand tapping I would try it. I have some unknown grade of stainless that I make nuts and bolts out of and it is a real bitch to tap. It seems to work harden as soon as the tap even gets near it. I have asked the wife to make bacon tomorrow to see how it works.

I don't think that lard polymerizes all that fast. As for the salt, melt the bacon grease with water, and all the salt et al will go into the water. Discard water, use remaining lard.

 

kustomizer

Titanium
Joined
Aug 17, 2007
Location
North Fork Idaho
Some years back we decided to keep Bees, we right away decided to do it without modern chemicals. After some time looking for alternatives I had the thought to just get a book on beekeeping that was at least 100 years old, before we had that shit. After about six months of everything going OK, one day there was a bunch of bees from some other hive robbing one of ours, Wonder Woman called me at work to come save the day, I asked her to get the book and look up robbing and I would make a restrictor for the front door so our bees have a smaller area to protect. I put the restrictor in place and found her heading out the front door with a soup ladle, I asked what that was for and she said that the book said put a restrictor in place, cover it with dry grass and a few dippers of water, I reminded her we had a hose right there that wasn't available at the time they wrote the book, I got the stink eye, a big "fuck you" and a soup ladle tossed at my feet. The old ways still work as well as they used to, sometimes we need to modernize the way we do them.
 

jim rozen

Diamond
Joined
Feb 26, 2004
Location
peekskill, NY
1988...we used 55 gallon drums of Tri-Chlor to wash cosmoline off large motor shafts prior to machining. It worked great. Then....someone who has never had their hands dirty (or maybe had them dirty once) identified that it worked great, so they spent their time making it a banned substance.

Yeah, they identified it was a potent carcinogen. WR Grace Corp dumped many 55 gallon drums of trichlor into waste pits and badly contaminated the aquifer that Woburn, MA drew it's water from. Classic republican dodge - privatize the profits and make somebody else clean up your shit.

Woburn, Massachusetts - Wikipedia

Disclosure: I worked at a plant in Waltham, where there was an employee whos job was to do GCA-mass spec analysis. As a lark, he ran some of his house's tap water as a sample in his system. Oh look: trichlor. Where did that come from? Off to the races.
 

Trueturning

Diamond
Joined
Jul 2, 2019
Yes that stuff was always fun to read. Old shops back in the 70’s and 80’s there were still old timers who regularly did things like that with so many things. The talk about the Tap Magic took my back remembering how well it worked and how terrible it was to get on my hands and the horrible smell.

Used a lot of Molly D That smells terrible to after using it heavy and the smell would linger in my sinus. Back in the old days we would mix kerosine or something ( don’t remember exactly) but when power tapping it would crackle too.

I have spent many many days tapping. Hated breaking taps, learned how to not break as many. This included lots of hand tapping using various handles and other things. I haven’t tapped anything in years and don’t really miss it. I have a few Machinery’s handbooks as each one that came out covered different information which people were needing at that time period.

I had one on the counter in the guest bathroom and friends playing cards were blown away by it. I got a laugh out of it and hoped they would not come up with some government project and drag me in it.

Thanks to the OP and everyone who posted.
 








 
Top