press reassembly - lubricants

I will be reassembling a C&P 10x15 New Series press soon as I am wrapping up its restoration. I’m looking for recommendations for what lubricants I should use for the press.

For example, what do you recommend for the area where the rocker fits into the side arms, where the side roller frames fit onto the back shaft, etc.? I want to make sure that I lubricate these types of areas correctly.

Also, for the oil holes, I have read Dolce Press’s recommendation to first run a thin oil through all oil spots until it runs clear. Once the bearings are clean, then move to a heavier weight like 20W-50 (non-detergent automotive engine oil). What weight should I run for the initial “thin” oil?

Thanks for any insight that you might have into this!


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Use machinist’s oil or 3-in-1 for the light oil. For everything else just use 30-40wt motor oil… non-detergent is fine.

I doubt they used e any grease when they built the presses, and regular oiling should be adequate.

Hope this helps,

I took to using oil like Castrol Syntec or another synthetic oil. I leaves a film of oil evan after the bulk of the oil has run through. You shouldn’t have to worry about running a lighter oil if you have rebuilt your press (as long as you kept the oil holes open). The gears should be lightly greased, I use a white grease and a 1” bristle brush so I don’t over grease. I always oil with a can in one hand and a rag in the other to keep the press clean from drips. Don’t over oil either, to start with you might have to put in 2 or three drops, perhaps 5 or six in the main shaft to reach the joints and shafts, but after you get going you should only need a drop in most holes.I always oil at the beginning of a printing session, or once a day if you are running all the time. Make sure that your roller saddles are well oiled, as they have small shafts and are spinning rapidly. As you get to know your press you will discover areas that need more frequent oiling by how the oil runs through. It’s a good idea, if you have space, to put down an oil-pan under your press.


The exact type of oil is not critical for a C&P. The clearances are all rather loose by design, and the press runs at slow speed. Virtually any good machine oil will work just fine. I use 3-in-1 for almost everything that is in good condition, and 50 weight motor oil for really worn machines.

What is more important is to not over-oil your press. One of the things I see over and over again when dealing with old presses, is gobs of gooky old oil. For some reason folks always over-oil their presses. They did so years ago, and they still do so today. All you need is enough oil to keep the moving part lubricated, and no more. Oil running down the side of your press does no good at all, and can increase the amount of paper spoilage. Besides, it just looks bad. A little oil drippage does not do any harm, of course…. but a lot of drippage should be avoided.

I use 30 wt automotive oil everywhere on my 8x12 C&P but between the large and pinion gear, where I use axle grease.

Great insight into this, everyone. Thanks.

It seems before reassembly, I should manually put oil in the areas that I described above (for example, the area where the rocker fits into the side arms, where the side roller frames fit onto the back shaft). Manually meaning with a rag or something before reassembly versus reassembling then oiling those areas through the oil holes. I’m probably overthinking this one. :)

I’m nearing completion of the press derust, strip paint, prime and paint. Soon, I’ll be diving further into the motor configuration.

I’ll be sure to post pics of the final, restored press!

I wonder if a “sticky” assembly oil would work well. When doing engine work we coat all bearings and such with “Marvels Mystery Oil”.