oil for C&P

Thanks in advance….
Recommendations please for the best lubricant/oil for a C&P press?
I’ve heard that 30w non-detergent motor oil will do the trick.
This press is not to be used for long runs. It was picked up at a shop that no longer uses it. It was bought as a hobby press and to save it from the scrapyard.

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ANY oil will be fine… just so it is oil and not “fluid” like hydraulic fluid. even that is better than nothing in a pinch. just would not use it under high stress, long term, high speed situations. but seriously, i have a jug that when i use any oil, i tip the “empty” oil bottle upside down, and let it drain out into a funnel on the jug.(i put a coffee filter in the funnel to keep out debris), that is my general purpose press oil. for those specific situations mentioned above, i use a 10-30w in cold, and 20-50w when hot, synthetic motor oil.

For some parts of the press, like the gears, a bar and chain oil used for chain saws is good, as it is high viscosity and contains stiffeners like parafin to keep it on the chain, thus reducing the loss from the gears as well. Otherwise I think the recommendation of 30W ND oil is fine. My problem is remembering to oil regularly!


As EricM stated, just about any true lubricating oil will work though the non-detergent 30W is the best idea. The thing about multi-weight oils is that they tend to be too thin at room temperature to be long-lasting lubricants. The first number indicates the oil’s performance at 0° C and the second at 100°C; so 20W50 oil will be significantly thinner at room temperature than the 30W would be. Plus the detergents and high a temperature additives are unnecessary in this use. I’m not sure of your location but at least here in the Southern US, non-detergent 30W is available by the quart in auto supply stores and is cheaper than the multi-weights.

Michael Hurley
Titivilus Press

ISO AW 68 hydraulic fluid can be had for a good price, its easy to find, and it has no detergents of additives. I bought a gallon for $15 at Canadian Tire a few years back, so I think I’m set for quite a few years.

bottom line is… oil it….. with something…. it will be fine….

Hydraulic fluid does not have the consistant viscosity required of a lubricating oil. Under lengthy operating run it will thin under heat and starve the bearing, particularly in free-running bearings. The open bearings used in the old platens require a lubricant, not, as ericm rightly observes, “a fluid”. There’s a reason an engine crankcase has oil, and an automatic transmission has fluid. (Took Chrysler some time to figure that one out in the early 50s.) :o)

Thanks for all your suggestions. The C&P was pretty bone dry of oil…thirsty, thirsty, thirsty…but no more.
No squeaks, no sticking, no complaining…..no problems.


Hydraulic ‘fluid’ is also a lubricant. It is used to lubricate hydraulic pumps, motors and cylinders on very expensive machines all over the world — I think they get hotter than an old C&P press.

Hydraulic fluid is not transmission fluid. It’s also not 1950 anymore.

It’s simply astounding how you mis-read postings on this site, Keelan. You deliberately skew to what…. promote your Wikipedia knowledge? You continually expose your shallow understanding of a great many topics in attempt to push your way to the front of the class.
Yes, hydraulic fluid lubricates - who said otherwise? - but my offering simply stated it does not have the consistent viscosity of a designed lubricating oil; that and nothing more. Had you understanding of the term ‘viscosity’ as it applies to oils and lubricants, you might have grasped that context. How you arrived at your: “Hydraulic fluid is not transmission fluid.” is deliberate misrepresentation of my comment..(and factually incorrect.) There’s an old joke about a fly, shovel handle, and a pile of dung. You might take lesson from it.


Enough of this bullshit.

I’ve been through our shared post history, and I don’t understand what it is about me that you detest so much.

I’ve made numerous attempts to contact you privately to try to resolve this (whatever this is), but you seem completely disinterested in engaging in anything but verbal warfare. I’ve had a number of Briar Press members contact me privately to try to understand why all of our interactions end up the same, and I’m always at a loss for answers.

Can you please enlighten me?

More strawmen. You are assuming I ‘detest’ you. Heck I don’t think enough of you to have an opinion of you one way or the other. What I do have concerns over is your inability to comprehend the written word. As mentioned, you never directly address a topic - rather, you twist it to serve your particular bent; then act the aggrieved when proved incorrect. I welcome intelligent exchanges; given your responses on this site, you do not meet that standard.
As to your attempting to contact me personally? Simply another bit of nonsense and mis-direction.
However, it’s a free world, so enjoy your version of it. :o)
- 30 -

Me thinks this is a clash of Personalities, forme has a Professional Background in Engineering I suspect as his Descriptions are Cristal Clear to somebody of the same Fray.


I have no problems with comprehending what you write. What I fail to do is accept the factual inaccuracies that you spout as gospel. In the current age of information, your strategy of pawning off your opinion as fact by expressing yourself with a tinge condescending superiority may not carry the same weight it did in the past.

I too welcome intelligent exchanges, when the exchange has at least some foundation in fact. Your continued disparagement of Wikipedia only serves to reinforce my understanding that you’re more than content to exist in the factual vacuum which you have formed around yourself.

Regarding the current discussion of hydraulic fluid vs. oil, maybe you should do some up-to-date research on the topic, as I did a few years ago when I bought my jug. Also, you need to refresh yourself on the difference between multi-grade oils and single grade oils, because while the rest of us are talking about the former, you’re dragging properties of the latter into the discussion. And no, I am not suffering from a lack of reading comprehension.

10 cents worth from U.K.
For what its worth and F. A. O. Mr. Wounded as above, not so much a question detesting anybody more like *cringing with embarrassment*!
Against the possibility that such posts will almost certainly be read by the New Ones that need to know the real deal, and the Older Ones that do actually know, from long experience/training even indentures from the 50s.?? and still learning.

And *I* quote several as follows:- with regard to Bearings (non standard for Rollers), a working Demo was produced and posted on B. P. (Mr. Wounded would have presented same, but the Lathe was in storage) shortly followed by (to paraphrase) the above B******T alleged, BUT not actually pictured, Engineered Items, the following is priceless —-TURNED on A MILLING MACHINE? how does that work.???

And later another good one, (one might say in denigration of the actual engineered Demo already posted)

A Mickey Mouse schematic was posted of proposed/alleged roller cores with stepped down spindles to take modified bearings, One slight technical problem, NO EXTENSIONS for the Roller Hooks/Saddles.?? Perhaps the spider ran out of ink.!

Could the above be though of as Disdain rather than Detest.
The O.E.D.gives Disdain as *Beneath ones dignity*

Forme, Sir, on your wavelength to the best of my ability but might just take issue with you in a very modest way re Hydraulic Oil and Transmission Oil.!
Always believed that the 2 above were cousins and potentially inter changeable, when the need has arisen we top Hydraulic Jacks up with transmission fluid, T Q F comes to mind, possibly.

We have just for Fun and childlike learning, Cut Torque Converters in half to look at the Impeller arrangement and also dismantled the Valve Blocks which implied high pressure Hydraulics, perhaps we mis-interpreted.

More than happy to be put right, On Line or Off. Ta. Mick.

Too much time on yer hands folks.

Monotype Mick, for a while I thought you might have struck it rich and retired, good to see a post from the old goat farmer.


Thank you for your input. Your creative, albeit wholly inaccurate interpretations regarding matters are always entertaining.

I clarified both matters for you previously, even though clarification was clearly not required. Due to your unwillingness to either read or understand my clarification, and my unwillingness to repeat myself, you will unfortunately remain in the dark on those matters.

And welcome back. I suppose this means we won’t be hearing from ‘Hank’ anymore.

Resorting to vulgarism in order to advance your argument simply reveals your weakness, Keelan. And, I refuse to engage with someone having such thin grasp of meaningful language skills. There’s no point in further exchange with one so self-obsessed; being ‘stuck on stupid’ is not an attractive character trait.. That, and obviously you’ve no understanding of the mark: - 30 -

Thank you. Please remember this commitment to not engage with me (either directly or obliquely, as is your tendency) when I respond to future threads.

Regarding your use of transmission fluid to top-up a hydraulic jack. Yes, the transmission fluid will indeed do the job. The reason of course is they are both liquid. And the principle of fluid non-compressibility comes into play. In fact, any fluid can ‘transmit’ pressure. The practibility of application being the only concern. Water comes first to mind when speaking of fluid, and does have application in some conditions. Its support of oxidization severely limits its use in most metallic applications, plus a low boiling point also sees it on the sidelines.
Practicaly speaking, factors such as foaming, heat, seal corrosion, flow, separation, etc., all are considered when designing a fluid for a particular use. Water would serve in an automobile braking systyem, as example, but with its low boiling point, evaporation and corrosion rates, you can readily understand why a carefully designed brake fluid is in use.
I’ve used 10w oil to replenish a Massey 22 hydraulic tank. Once. It saw me through the job at hand. However, replacing the FEL seals had me soon re-thinking that idea. :o) Your jack might show seal damage at some point as well.
Those automatic transmission oil seal ‘fixes’ merely intoduce a petroleum product purposely designed to swell the seals thus stopping leakage. Trouble is, those ‘fixes’ don’t know when to stop, and ruin the ‘seal’ quite quickly. Automatic transmission fluid is designed specifically for each application. It has easy flow which is vital to the control body channels and orfice, withstands tremendous heat, clutch pressures, and is compatible with the internal sealings. Ford and GM fluids are different and cannot be intermixed simply because of their designed transmission workings. And using engine oil in an automatic transmission would be disasterous! Yet - they are all oils
With the advance in gasket materials,cross-use of petroleum-based fluid in other machinery is somewhat less chancy, but every manufacturer of machinery recommends a fluid they’ve determined - at no small expense - that works best for their equipment. I’m thinking you’ve probably seen someone using a grease where an oil is recommended by the maker, or a case where a too-thin oil is soon flung from a bearing spinning too quickly for such use. :o)
For the older, slow moving, poured bearing presses, a modern motor oil, say, 10w-30 is good choice. The ‘magic’ of a single fluid to adapt under use to changing condition makes modern lubricants ideal for these old machines.
Yet, for all the attributes of these new lubes, it remains with the operator to ensure the machine at hand is properly serviced. With a good motor, not transmission, oil. :o)