Types of Oils

Just a quick question, what kind of oil am I suppose to use to oil a C&P machine?

We have 5-20 mobile synthetic motor oil, will that work?

Log in to reply   12 replies so far

The best oil i’ve found is a 30 wt. non detergent oil, in a pinch i’ll use any oil. Dick G.

I’d agree with Dick G. 30wt non-detergent is cheap and readily available.

Thanks for the reply…
Also, how often would I oil the machine?

I run my equipment an average of 6 hours a day, i oil once a week, if anything squeeks i stop and oil right away, some people oil every time they use something. Dick G.

Chandler and Price presses are all fabricated with plain or journal bearings—just a shaft in a hole. These bearings wear quickly and need frequent lubrication. Once a day (a day being a full 6 or 8 hours of printing) is best I think.

Make sure to reach all the holes, especially the platen cam rider on the inside of the gear on the right hand side of the press. Oil it’s hole so that it can spin, but keep the outside nice and clean!

It’s probably obvious, but make sure that you FIND all of the oil holes. On my 10x15 not only were some of the holes completely sealed by grease/gunk, but the area around them was so completely covered in hardened grease (looking almost like dirty black enamel) that you couldn’t even tell that an oil hole was there.

A while back, Fritz Klinke (NA Graphics) posted to flikr a photograph of the oiling directions that came with his C&P:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/3008271735

Even C&P didn’t know exactly how many oil holes there were!

More recently, Justin Miller of Bound Staff Press has collected some of the scattered bits of C&P documentation:


David M. MacMillan

david, thanks for sharing the flicker stream photo. amazing that those are all the directions it came with. i took four pages of notes from the guy i bought my press from. i’ve got a C&P old style and have been pulling the fly wheel towards me instead of pushing away from me. is that ok? do i need to change my habits?


I’ve used Mobile Vactra #2 oil on my windmills for years and just changed to Chevron Way Oil Vistac ISO 68 (couldn’t find Mobile anymore). I’ve heard these are excellent oils for machinery. I’m no oil connaseiur, but it feels good between the fingers and the presses seem to like it since they rarely squeek.


Run the flywheel away from you. This will minimize the risk of catching clothes/hair or crushing fingers in gears.


As an aside… I use Mobil DTE Oil Extra Heavy for my 2 Windmills. I was informed by a technician at Mobil that this was the replacement for their Vactra oil originally specified by the Heidelberg manual.

I still use the 30w non-detergent oil in the slower handfed platens. It’s cheaper and easier to find.


Probably enough has been said, but that doesn’t stop me.
Any oil is better than none
30 weight is good
WD-40 is good to loosen things. It is a poor lubricant.
Oil is cheap compared to worn iron
I was taught that if there isn’t some oil on the floor, you are not oiling enough. Get down on your knees and wipe it up.

Thank you all for your feedback… I must now look for all the oil holes and places to oil :)