OT maybe? Help Needed: Lubrication of antique machine
Close
Login to Your Account
Results 1 to 17 of 17
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Bedford, IN
    Posts
    972
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    83
    Likes (Received)
    302

    Default OT maybe? Help Needed: Lubrication of antique machine

    I have a turn-of-the-century (nope, not this century, last one) clay target thrower (skeet/trap thrower) that is giving me fits.

    It's cast-iron, made by the Western company. Parts are NLA and I've had to make a few due an unfortunate mishap before it came to me. I've attached a crude cross-section of the problem area drawn in paint.

    It has an automatic "wobbler" on it which is a marvelous piece of engineering for the period it was made. The cam (pictured in blue) that determines the "random" positioning rotates on a tapered bronze bearing (pictured in yellow). This bearing is centered on a cast iron stub (pictured in green) that sticks up from the base and is pressed into the cone of the cam with springs (not shown).

    The prior problem is that the bearing froze up in the rotating cam and tore up the linkage that moves the cam. A couple years ago I took it all apart and lubed it well and it worked great. I'm just now getting around to fixing the broken linkage so this can work like it should and having sat for about 18 months unused the fresh, new grease I applied to this conical bearing surface was solidly stuck. I thought maybe it was the cold and the consistency of grease I used (I chose something firm so the spring pressure wouldn't extrude it out of the bearing). However, upon tearing it apart I found something more sinister. The grease had suffered from what I now know as "hydrostatic extrusion". That is where grease under constant pressure will actually extrude out the oils leaving behind the binders making a sticky/hard mess.

    I need a heavy grease that will not extrude out under pressure and one that will not suffer from hydrostatic extrusion (separation of the binder from constant pressure). Any thoughts/recommendations?

    Last night I applied some good old white lithium grease to see if it works, but I'm not holding my breath. It seems a bit think to resistant being pressed out of the bearing.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails untitled.jpg  

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    375
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    402
    Likes (Received)
    189

    Default

    CMD Extreme Pressure Lube? Just a thought because of your comment about the hydrostatic extrusion.

    No real expertise here, however. Wait for a more qualified response...

  3. Likes Scottl liked this post
  4. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Oregon
    Posts
    5,206
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    4583
    Likes (Received)
    1895

    Default

    I don't have a favorite grease to recommend, but I certainly know that problem! When I got my Nichols, the way lube had turned to wax. I literally hoisted the machine into the air using its own motor/head arm before I got the sliding head broken loose.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Norfolk, UK
    Posts
    19,263
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    14718
    Likes (Received)
    14866

    Default

    How about some lube drillings and zerks - a coupla pumps of grease when it's used, just like a dozer or 360 etc

  6. Likes Scottl, Screwmachine liked this post
  7. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Pennsylvania
    Posts
    1,204
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    979
    Likes (Received)
    1041

    Default

    Wheel bearing grease.

  8. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Shandaken, NY, USA
    Posts
    4,380
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    1222
    Likes (Received)
    7047

    Default

    Remember that when this trap was made, the selection of available lubes was quite limited. If, as the OP says, the target thrower (trap ?) was made
    "at the turn of the last century", this would mean somewhere around 1900. At that time, automobiles and related lubricants were hardly existant.

    A popular lubricant (and anti-siezing lubricant) for the era for sliding surfaces was to mix steam cylinder oil with graphite, or to mix in some white lead.

    Greases, such as they were, were primarily "soap based". The railroads used a grease molded into cakes and small round bars (aka "stick grease"), these being inserted into the "breech" of alemite greasers for greasing various plain bearings on steam locomotives. The cakes of grease were used on some designs of driving axle "brasses" (bearings).

    Another early grease was used on wagon wheel axle "boxes". This was a black grease, possibly containing powdered graphite or powdered mica. The proverbial "axle grease". Ope gear lubricants were also on the scene at that same time period, and these still exist. Nasty, thick black sticky lubes designed for extreme pressures and resisting heat and moisture and adhering in a solid film to open gear teeth. Use anything like that on the target thrower and it would likely wind up seized solid and best used as a lawn ornament.

    If we try to come up with some modern lubricant to use on the ca 1900 target thrower, we are going way beyond what existed at that time. The designers of that target thrower designed a mechanism to work with what lubes were available for that time. They likely knew that a trap or clay pigeon thrower was going to potentially see a LOT of use. A "round" of trap shooting, as I recall, consisted of each shooter firing five rounds from each of five positions. 25 rounds per shooter x 5 positions = 125 targets thrown per round of trap. Add a few more throws for broken birds or to show the shooters a sample of how the clay birds are thrown, and you might have 130 throws per round of trap. At a busy trap field or club on a weekend, the target thrower might have seen 2500 or more throws. The last thing anyone in a club or trap field needed was a target thrower to go down during a round of trap, let alone during a tournament or match.

    I tend to think that the target throwers were given frequent and thorough maintenance. Maybe cleaned with kerosene to remove old lubricants, and then given an oiling and possibly a greasing on the sliding surfaces. A light grease, probably something "semi fluid" was likely what was used. Or, it could have been something like a DTE series oil (Dynamo, Turbine, Engine; a designation for a series of oils predating the automobile and still in use). Could have been nothing more than an instruction to lubricate all moving parts with "machine oil" or "engine oil", and possibly to mix some of the same oil with graphite and apply to the cams and sliding surfaces.

    This is thinking like 1900, not 2020. I doubt that Hoppe's Number 9 (gun cleaning and powder solvent) existed in 1900, though it is a great product with a great aroma that is as American as it gets. I suppose somewhere along the line, someone cleaned that target thrower with Hoppe's Number 9 and oiled it up with "machine oil" and called it "done", and it worked well enough for a few rounds of trap.

    As a young fellow, single and far from home, I used to occasionally shoot a few rounds of trap on weekends. Nothing fancy, just took my old Ithaca Model 37 12 gauge shotgun (Modified choke) and went to shoot trap. About the best or consistent high score for me was 17 out of 25. I used to tense up and holler "pull", trying to guess which way the 'bird would "break" from the trap house. The fact the clay birds came out on seemingly random trajectories always had me wondering what the machinery in the trap houses was like. Never got around to seeing it. From what I gather, the target throwers were driven by electric motors and somewhere around a case of birds was loaded into the thrower so it could throw 125 birds for a full round of trap with 5 people shooting.

    Interestingly, I stumbled on a funny clip from a movie called "Second Hand Lion". Two old codgers, armed with slide action shotguns, seem to have come into great wealth. The word has gotten around, and every salesman of any sort is beating a path to their farm. The old codgers waste no time in blasting their shotguns at the salesmen to run them off. The one salesman who impresses the old codgers and makes a sale is a fellow selling a "target thrower". He arrives with the trap mounted on a trailer axle, towed behind his car. The salesman demonstrates the trap by blowing a clay bird to bits with his own shotgun, and refers to trap shooting as "the sport of kings". This thread has me chuckling as that clip from "Second Hand Lion" had dusted off my memory of 40 odd years ago when I'd go trap shooting on weekends to pass the time. Now, this thread has us thinking about how to lube a target thrower, which I tend to call a "trap".

  9. Likes TheOldCar, Paolo_MD, M.B. Naegle, johansen liked this post
  10. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Modesto, CA USA
    Posts
    7,152
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    0
    Likes (Received)
    1219

    Default

    Do not know if it applies but modern GL5 gear oil with high pressure additives is not safe for bronze/brass. It eats up yellow metal bearings and gears.
    I have no idea bout modern grease and such metals.
    Bill D.

  11. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Texas
    Posts
    2,356
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    1796
    Likes (Received)
    1023

    Default

    I like reading ancient industrial books but I always get the impression that 90% of the related information has been forgotten and vanished in time.
    ...
    Then Joe Michaels posts something, and there's hope for humanity again.

  12. Likes Joe Michaels, duckfarmer27 liked this post
  13. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Bedford, IN
    Posts
    972
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    83
    Likes (Received)
    302

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Limy Sami View Post
    How about some lube drillings and zerks - a coupla pumps of grease when it's used, just like a dozer or 360 etc
    I wish it were that easy. The thrower sits on top of what I have pictured in my rudimentary picture. The bearing is 100% inaccessible (and it's floating, just guided on 3 dowel pins, which makes it hard to route lube to it. The cam turns around the bearing with no outside surface safe to put a lube port in. But it begs the question, without a directly lube port, just what on earth was in there before? I shot birds off this thing as little as 10 years ago (it used to be my dad's neighbor's) and it worked fine. The freezing lubricant problem is a new one, and I suspect an incompatibility issue.
    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Michaels View Post
    Remember that when this trap was made, the selection of available lubes was quite limited. If, as the OP says, the target thrower (trap ?) was made
    "at the turn of the last century", this would mean somewhere around 1900. At that time, automobiles and related lubricants were hardly existant. (snip)
    Thanks for the plethora of good information! I will say that I'm not positive of it's age. I have googled the daylights out it and can't find a single reference for when it was made. I'm estimating based on design elements that it's around 1920-1930. So maybe not quite "turn of the century" but for all practical intents and purposes (being a full century old) I just used that as a catchy term to assign an approximate date to something I have not been able to accurately date.

    One of the indicators I have of age, that ties into your story of wondering about the machines that throw the birds is the fact that this one pre-dates auto-loading machines. You related that you imagined a machine capable of holding many clays; and that is the truth today. Some can hold several hundred. But this one pre-dates that, so I envision a young boy, 10-14 years old, instructed to keep his hands/clothes/body clear of all the moving parts, sitting in the trap house and dropping a clay on every time the motor resets the spring into the loaded position.

    Last point, the bearing is fairly deeply buried inside the mechanism. To get to it you must disconnect the linkage to the motor and link off the ~70 lb throwing arm mechanism. Then unbolt the cast-iron base from whatever it is mounted to (it's mounted on a small wood platform on wheels in my case), then drive out the dowel pins from the bottom side (the dowels have a shoulder and the spring providing down-pressure to the bearing is around the pins, compressed between the shoulder and the bearing). That may be an annual maintenance item but certainly not more frequent than that I wouldn't think.

    I will say, there is a small oil well in the thrower arm casting that I "thought" was to lube the pivot point of the thrower arm mechanism as it pivots back and forth. It makes sense that a small bit of this lube would find it's way down to the bearing but it would be dribbled on top of the bearing and would not be forced into the interface between the bearing and casting.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bill D View Post
    Do not know if it applies but modern GL5 gear oil with high pressure additives is not safe for bronze/brass. It eats up yellow metal bearings and gears.
    I have no idea bout modern grease and such metals.
    Bill D.
    Thanks, I knew that, but had forgotten... I was about to put gear lube on it the other night, thankfully I didn't.

  14. Likes Joe Michaels liked this post
  15. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Pennsylvania
    Posts
    16,543
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    My neighbor says he is a member of a couple of skeet/trap clubs locally.
    Said he goes thru 5000 round a year.

    At which time I placed my left hand on my right shoulder and said "ouch"....

  16. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Shandaken, NY, USA
    Posts
    4,380
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    1222
    Likes (Received)
    7047

    Default

    Here are some ideas based on the posts the OP has added:

    -Given the approximate/indeterminate age of the target thrower, if it has a single phase capacitor start motor on it that looks original, it may well be from the late
    30's onward. I recall looking at a Winchester catalog from the 1950's when I was a kid, and seeing motor driven target throwers as an accessory item to the fine
    shotguns. The target throwers had capacitor start motors (I knew what those looked like even as a kid), and had "Lovejoy" type shaft couplings. I suspect that
    Winchester or whomever was building those target throwers did not change the basic design much over the years.

    -Assuming the target thrower is from the 1930's or later, we can widen the options of available lubricants at the time the target thrower was originally built and put
    into use.

    -A tried-and-true lube for extreme pressure and slower speeds was a tube of Dixon's Graphite Grease. This was used on the dead centers of lathes in place of the
    more traditional white lead/oil. Dixon's Graphite Grease is a medium-weight grease, black as midnight in a coal mine, and has graphite in suspension. I had a tube of
    it that was NOS even when I was in college in 1968. Got it from an old Mill Supply that was having a going out of business sale. The tube of Dixon's Graphite Grease
    had been on the mill supply shelves since who-knew=when, and they gave it to me when I asked about it. A grease of this sort might be a good lubricant for the cams
    in the target thrower.

    -Another idea is to get some "Lucas Oil Extender". This is basically a mineral based lube oil with "tackifiers" added to it. It has no additives which would be harmful
    to brass or "yellow metal" parts. The "tackifiers" cause the oil to become quite sticky and stay in place as a film on moving parts. Some of the antique engine
    people I know are using straight Lucas Oil Extender as lube oil on plain bearings on hit-and-miss and steam engines. The idea is the tackifiers keep the oil where
    it is needed/belongs, rather than running out the ends of plain bearings sooner rather than later.

    As I wrote, the railroads used what was sometimes called "stick grease" for greasing the rod bearings (brasses) on steam locomotives. The stick grease was a light brown/tan in color, and was a bit harder than a cake of "Ivory" soap. I've used it, and it was applied using a simple Alemite "gun" with a breech into which the sticks of grease were loaded. Steam locomotive rod brasses, even when an engine left the shops, had plenty of slop or free play. This was to allow the locomotive's axles to move up and down in their pedestals as the engine ran over uneven track or negotiated curves. The brasses on the steam engine rods were loose to start with, so much so that even a locomotive fresh out of the shops tended to clank when moving at slow speed/no load. The stick grease had to remain in place in the rod brasses for however long the "run" or specified interval between lubrications was. The roundhouse crew took care of greasing the rod brasses on the locomotives, and usually, the engineers did not have any more stick grease or a gun with them when they were out on a run. The stick grease had to stay put in a sloppy and pounding application.

    I never looked around to see if stick grease is still manufactured. It might be the stuff to use on the cam and follower on the target thrower. I suspect the old stick greases were "soap based" greases, predating the lithium based automotive greases. Whatever was in stick grease, it worked well for plain bearing/rough service applications.

    In response to Digger Doug's post: 5000 rounds of shotgun ammunition would equate to 200 rounds of trap at 25 shots/round. I tend to think a 12 gauge shotgun with a properly fitted stock and recoil pad is a very tolerable proposition, but then, I do not shoot very often or very much. A buddy of mine has a 10 gauge magnum shotgun. He asked me if I wanted to try firing it. I said "yes", and he handed me a couple of shells. I was wearing a Carhartt winter coat and heavy wool shirt. I sucked the stock of that 10 gauge up tight, and fired the two rounds at the plinking targets we had in the woods near my house. That 10 gauge was BRUTAL ! I had built a .308 Norma Magnum rifle on a 1903A3 Springfield action years ago, when, as a young fellow, I was thinking in terms of "bigger is better". With hot reloads, the recoil of the .3087 Norma Magnum rifle was nowhere near what that 10 gauge magnum was. I told my buddy if I fired any more with his 10 gauge magnum, I probably would have a shoulder separation. I'd have to say the recoil of the 10 gauge magnum was exponentially worse than my 12 gauge shotgun.

    As a young fellow, I often went to the local gravel pits or gravel banks in places I was working, as those were the local shooting ranges. We'd fire off a LOT of ammunition in those days, so reloading made sense. There was also a bit of a competition to see who had the most powerful or hottest firearm. I can recall shooting maybe 50 rounds with the .308 Norma Magnum rifle, then maybe 25-50 rounds of .357 magnum, just plinking and seeing how close a group the latest reloads would shoot.
    Come Monday mornings at work after those weekends, I can say I often had a sore shoulder. Time passes, and I can't see myself burning up that much ammunition just plinking at targets to pass the time, justifying it as research into what combination worked best for reloaded ammunition. Nowadays, given the unfortunate spate of hate crimes in the USA, I find myself packing my 9 mm to religious services, following some training in close quarters combat shooting and dealing with active shooter/terrorist situations. The result is I am burning up 9 mm ammo and practicing close-quarters combat shooting at half silhouette targets instead of bullseye targets or the traditional cans and jugs. Sad commentary on how times have changed, but thankfully, I can at least be somewhat prepared. The smell of Hoppe's Number 9 powder solvent and filed stripping/cleaning my sidearm is one of those reassuring things with the smell of the Hoppes Number 9 taking me back through the years.

  17. Likes M.B. Naegle liked this post
  18. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Bedford, IN
    Posts
    972
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    83
    Likes (Received)
    302

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by digger doug View Post
    My neighbor says he is a member of a couple of skeet/trap clubs locally.
    Said he goes thru 5000 round a year.

    At which time I placed my left hand on my right shoulder and said "ouch"....
    I used to shoot amateur competition (trap & sporting clays). At my peak I was probably shooting around 2000 rnds a year. Then I went off to college and didn't have access to a local trap range. Then when I started my family and career I happened to be 30 mins from a decent range but didn't have the time. I still have around 5,000 rnds of 12 ga on the shelf. I've used maybe 2% of it in the last decade. But the kids are starting to get old enough that they're wanting to learn about and shoot guns so I'm sure it will pick back up.
    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Michaels View Post
    Here are some ideas based on the posts the OP has added:
    Joe, thanks! I will look around for some of the graphite lube and see if that does the trick!

  19. Likes Joe Michaels liked this post
  20. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Pennsylvania
    Posts
    16,543
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Funny thing I just thought of....My neighbor reloads (of course)
    So that same shoulder is pulling the lever on the reloader
    5000 times as well....Oiy.

    As far as the skeet thrower, could you make a new bushing from plastic ?

  21. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    L'Orignal, Ontario Canada
    Posts
    2,126
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    1820
    Likes (Received)
    866

    Default

    While they may not provide answers to the original question ,here are a couple of videos I noticed recently about Lubricating Oil from 1949
    YouTube
    and
    1940s SOCONY VACUUM OIL CO. OIL & LUBRICATION PROMOTIONAL FILM
    YouTube
    They an idea of what was in fashion at the time they were made.
    I posted some other links about older Texaco Lubricants in this thread.
    Lubrication by Texas Co. and Texaco & Texaco Star Magazine

    Jim

  22. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Bedford, IN
    Posts
    972
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    83
    Likes (Received)
    302

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by digger doug View Post
    Funny thing I just thought of....My neighbor reloads (of course)
    So that same shoulder is pulling the lever on the reloader
    5000 times as well....Oiy.

    As far as the skeet thrower, could you make a new bushing from plastic ?
    That's assuming it's a progressive reloader. When I shot in amateur competition I was in grade school and I funded my habit all myself. I couldn't afford a progressive press so I bought a nasty used single-stage on ebay and cleaned it up. 6 pulls of the lever to reload a single rnd. I believe in my time of reloading I made 2 separate purchase of lead shot, 1 ton each time and I almost always loaded 1-1/8 oz loads. That puts me over 341,000 times pulling that lever to load almost 57,000 rnds of ammo. And now that I say that I must've shot more than my earlier estimate of 2k per yr to go through that much ammo/shot. And maybe I have more than 5k rnds on the shelf. I know it's a lot... boxes and boxes and boxes of it.

    I could possibly remake the bearing from plastic. It would take a pretty good chunk: the bronze bearing is 2" thick and about 9" diameter.

  23. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Bedford, IN
    Posts
    972
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    83
    Likes (Received)
    302

    Default

    Joe, it appears that while there is a Dixon that makes graphite dry lube products, there isn't one that makes a grease. It may or may not be the same Dixon. I did find a grease labelled "HyHeet GP" that had "Dixon" marked on the tube from one vendor but the same tube at a different vendor had "Asbury's" marked on the tube. This product is about $20 for a 14oz grease-gun cartridge.

    None-the-less, there is no shortage of graphite greases out there. Sta-Lube has "Moly-Graph" EP grease which is an an NLGI 2 (peanut-butter consistency) Lithium-12 base grease with moly & graphite added. No mentioned of safe or not for yellow metals, but one amazon review claims that he did a small test and no adverse affects were noted. This product is about $10 for a 14oz tub or 14oz grease gun cartridge.

    Should I give the moly-graph a try?

  24. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Shandaken, NY, USA
    Posts
    4,380
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    1222
    Likes (Received)
    7047

    Default

    CountryBoy:

    I'd go with the graphite-moly grease. Molybdenum Disulfide (shortened to "Moly") takes the form of tiny "ball bearings" suspended in the grease. Excellent for lubricating sliding surfaces. Graphite takes the form of miniscule flakes and has much the same effect.

    Dixon, the maker of graphite (and pencils) has been around forever, and to my knowledge, still makes plenty of types of graphite. I have a few cans from the year one in my own shop.

    Lubriplate is another good name and manufacturer of specialty lubricants and greases. I use a Lubriplate waterproof heavy duty moly grease to lubricate the transmission input shaft splines on my old BMW motorcycle. A company that services lathe chucks gave me the tube of it, as it is what they use on heavy duty lathe chucks. It's a high-tack grease (plenty sticky), so will not sling out, and stands up to higher temperatures. I forget the Lubriplate number, but I've been using it for ages. What is needed for lubriacting the cam and bushing on your target thrower is a lubricant which will maintain a film under fairly high pressures and working with sliding friction as would be found between the cam and the follower. The Sta-Lube product sounds like the ticket for your target thrower cam and bushing. It may be a bit messy, but I think it will do the job for you.

  25. Likes CountryBoy19 liked this post

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •