Lubricating dry tuners

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
tddarco
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Location: Vigo, Spain

Re: Lubricating dry tuners

Post by tddarco » Fri Mar 02, 2012 7:53 pm

Rubner and Rodgers recommend lubricating "occasionally" with a quality oil. They both seemed pretty vague to me. -Tony

BeumontSuite

Re: Lubricating dry tuners

Post by BeumontSuite » Fri Mar 02, 2012 10:42 pm

Just tried 3-in-1 machine oil. Just a drop on each gear. Worked like a charm.

22Frets

Lubricating dry tuners

Post by 22Frets » Sat Mar 03, 2012 1:40 am

I would try a quality gun oil, such as Shooters Choice FP-10 or Breakfree CLP. Similar to sewing machine oil.

Klaus Scheller

Re: Lubricating dry tuners

Post by Klaus Scheller » Sat Mar 03, 2012 4:04 pm

Greetings from Germany,

This is my first contribution, so please allow me to introduce myself briefly:
My name is Klaus Scheller, and I have been following this marvelous forum with great interest.
I have been playing guitar for only four years now, not enough to really talk shop. However, when it comes to tuning machines I consider myself an expert, because we are making them.
Maintenance should not be complicated, and the material should be easy to obtain.
A toothbrush is ideal. - Compressed air is not suitable at all !!! - Clean worm shafts and gears by brushing from bottom (plate) to top. This is how dust and abraded particles are brushed off. Then put a few drops of oil on the toothbrush and repeat the process tooth by tooth.
CAUTION:
Do not use creeping oil. It creeps also into places where it does not belong!
Neither use oil containing acid, bad for any guitar!
Thinly liquid oil drops and adheres badly!
The oil of choice is thickly liquid, the kind you would use on a bicycle chain. I am using Shimano oil, but there are others.
Do it every time you change strings.
I am at your disposal for any further questions you may have.

Klaus

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George Crocket
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Re: Lubricating dry tuners

Post by George Crocket » Sat Mar 03, 2012 5:03 pm

Hello Klaus.

Welcome to the Delcamp classical guitar forum. I feel we know you already, or at least your tuning machines. :discussion:

If you have not already done so, please have a look at our welcome page for more information about the forum and its rules.

It is helpful if you introduce yourself here since it gives a broader range of our members an opportunity to meet you.

Playing guitar for 4 years may not be long compared to some of our members, but we have lots of new starters as well. I am sure you can feel at home.
George
2010 Stephen Eden spruce/cocobolo classical guitar
2012 Stephen Eden cedar/IRW classical guitar

Tanamá
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Re: Lubricating dry tuners

Post by Tanamá » Sat Mar 03, 2012 5:52 pm

Now that we have an expert in the construction of guitar tuners, here I go.

Hern Scheller, ich habe ein paar fragen für sich. I follow the logic of cleaning and lubricating the worms and the gears. Also, different tuners have variations in design and materials. Now;
1. Do you also recommend lubricating the anchor points of the worm shaft?
2. Is lubricating the contact point between the tuner plate and the rollers and the tuner plate with the gear also necessary?
3. Any adverse effect of using wax in the headstock holes to ease the rotation and the wear of the rollers (die Wellen)?

Vielen Dank,

EGP

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Kent
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Re: Lubricating dry tuners

Post by Kent » Sat Mar 03, 2012 7:33 pm

Klaus,
It is a pleasure to get experts to join us about all subjects of classical guitar.
You should include the link to your website on the right. >>>
Some of your proprietary designs are quite interesting. Looking at the overall performance expectations of classical guitar tuning machines, it would be hard pressed to think that much more can be done to improve them! I think your ball bearing design is quite a initiative step up from the sleeve bearing designs.

Thanks for joining us!

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Yisrael van Handel
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Re: Lubricating dry tuners

Post by Yisrael van Handel » Sun Mar 04, 2012 12:24 pm

In the boundary friciton regime (slow-motion stop and go movements) of guitar worm gears, a very high viscosity, highly adhesive lubricant is needed (as Klaus Scheller already pointed out). I use bicycle grease. Thin machine oil is too light, and will be squeezed away from the point of contact by the very slow stop-and-go movement of the gears. I am not familiar with heavy oils. They are mostly made for high-speed high-temperature applications, such as car journal bearings--conditions that you don't want in your guitar. High quality spur gears (the one that turns the worm), such as Klaus Scheller's, are frequently made of brass or specialized bronze to reduce friction and lubrication requirements.

All contact points between two metal parts that move relative to each other need lubrication. I don't know the correct name of the axle of the gear worm that is mounted in the piece that holds the gear; otherwise I would be more specific.

WD40 lubricates only for a very,very short period of time. It is very thin and evaporates. It is meant for cleaning and unfreezing joints, not for lubricating. In fact, it will dissolve and wash away lubrication. I don't want the stuff near my guitar. I am afraid of what it will do to the wood and the finish.

I would not use anything between the tuning barrel and the headstock that could get absorbed by the wood. As for paste wax, I am not familiar with its lubricating qualities. I think it sets up and hardens (not good for lubrication), but I am not sure about this. Perhaps there is a carpenter out there that can illucidate.

Marius van Handel
Yisrael van Handel
Modi'in Ilit, Israel

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Yisrael van Handel
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Re: Lubricating dry tuners

Post by Yisrael van Handel » Sun Mar 04, 2012 12:34 pm

I forgot to mention that all pencils contain a mixture of graphite and clay. Clay is hard and abrasive. Do NOT put it into your guitar tuning mechanism. As for pure graphite, I am not sure how adhesive it is, so I do not know if it is suitable. Moreover, pure graphite is an electrical conductor and is hydrophilic. It could cause galvanic corrosion between two dissimilar metals, such as a brass spur gear and a steel worm gear. In short, probably a bad idea.
Yisrael van Handel
Modi'in Ilit, Israel

veloman4141

Re: Lubricating dry tuners

Post by veloman4141 » Sun Mar 04, 2012 7:49 pm

Marius,thanks for highlighting the finer points of lubrication.I think I'll desist from using pure graphite, for the reasons you mention,and use a more conventional (and safer)method.

Arwyn

Klaus Scheller

Re: Lubricating dry tuners

Post by Klaus Scheller » Sat Mar 10, 2012 1:38 pm

Hello, here I am again referring to Tanama`s questions:

1. The lubricating of the worm shaft in the small bearing block is necessary after some time, but unfortunately not possible.
The only thing possible for you is to lubricate it with inviscid oil, with the effect that the oil will also run into the plastic ring fixed at the side.
These rings make it hard to turn the worm in order to make sure, the worm is not being declined by the string`s pull.

My tuners needs not to be lubricated, because it is ball bearing mounted!

2. The lubrication in this case depends on how the tuner system is manufactured.
Some systems have got the gear directly on the plate. Some manufacturer put fat on this area, others put a steelsheet in-between.
In any case, without lubricating the problem will be a high friction between gear and plate.
Lubricating is only possible with fat and by removing the gear.

Also in this case applies: My mechanical system needs not to be lubricated because it is ball bearing mounted!

3. I would recommend hard soap.
Just cut down small squares out of the soap, a little bit bigger than the holes` diameter.
Then turn the soap squares under light pressure into the hole. A simple, but effective method to ease the rotation and the wear of the rollers.

If you have any further questions, do not hesitate to ask!
Klaus

Tanamá
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Re: Lubricating dry tuners

Post by Tanamá » Sat Mar 10, 2012 5:39 pm

Klaus, vielen dank. Ich habe ihre antwort sehr gern.
I am not a luthier nor a musician, but every now and then I perform basic maintenance on the guitars of acquaintances. Normally lower end models. One of the problem areas I've seen the most are neglected tuners, with plenty of dust and even rust. So I wanted to check my procedures before I made any mistakes I could regret later. Normally, I remove the tuners and clean them with WD-40 and a soft brush. (No, WD-40 contains no silicone). Clean them the best I can, and presto. The soap trick in the headstock is a real novel one.

Gracias,

EGP

Robert England
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Re: Lubricating dry tuners

Post by Robert England » Sat Mar 10, 2012 10:41 pm

Regarding tuner roller friction, there is a product called Waxilit, designed as a "wood to metal sliding agent". It is a form of soft wax, normally used to lubricate and smooth the cast iron tables of woodworking machines so the wooden workpieces slide freely. It claims it will not stain wood. I have been using it to lubricate the tuner roller holes in the head stocks of my guitars, ans it seems to work well. Waxilit seems to be widely available; Lee Valley sells it. Made in Germany. There seems to be a liquid version if it, which I am not familiar with. I use the soft solid version.
Robert

Lissa4CG

Re: Lubricating dry tuners

Post by Lissa4CG » Sun May 22, 2016 2:09 am

I'm just having to do this. My research says take them off, clean them with very particular cleaner, and lube with another very particular kind of lube. The reason not to lube on the guitar is the oil will soak into the wood and eventually strip out the threads for the screw holding the tuner.
And the reason you don't want to use 3 in 1, machine oil, WD-40, etc is they have oil which collects grim and gums everything up.
I'll let you know how I progress.
Cheers:casque: :casque:[/dailymotion][/color]

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spanishguitarmusic
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Re: Lubricating dry tuners

Post by spanishguitarmusic » Sun May 22, 2016 2:28 am

Yes, I either read somewhere or I watched it on YouTube, where someone was showing how to change classical guitar strings on his guitar and just before he started putting his strings back on, he grabbed a sharp lead pencil and put some lead graphite in the nut grooves and he also showed how he took the end of the handle of a spoon and dipped it into some olive oil and gently dripped the end of the handle onto each machine tuner. Then he showed how the tuners would turn much more easily. I haven't personally tried this myself, but it looks like to would work and be fine for the guitar. Great post thanks!

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