Guide written by:
Jeremy, construction site supervisor, Cardiff
Greasing up a bicycle chain, lubricating a lock and oiling a chainsaw chain are common expressions in mechanics. Oil, grease and lubricant come hand in hand with motors, bearings and removing damaged screws. Essential in the workshop and in any tool box, here's our advice to keep is slippery!
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Why use a lubricant, grease or oil?
Any mechanical system, whether complex or not, requires constant lubrication to function perfectly and be protected.
Lubrication can be ensured by various types of products (depending on the mechanism in question) and is necessary for the proper operation, reducing the risk of breakdown and blockages while prolonging its life.
Moreover, fatty substances in general are known to protect whatever surface they are on, going even beyond mechanical parts to such applications as protecting wood, rubber and other materials.
Each type of protection, force and mechanical connection requires special lubrication. That’s why there are three main types of lubricants: lubricants , greases and oils.
The lubricant is mainly used to preserve surfaces and prevent premature aging. Under no circumstances can a lubricant withstand stress (pressure or heat). It can also be occasionally used to help in the installation or assembly of parts. Using the same features, it can be very practical in case of removing elements when they are stuck. Apart from all that is purely mechanical, the lubricant also serves to protect joints, rubbers and all plastic materials (especially from drying).
Grease is very useful, crucial even, in guaranteeing the proper functioning of of moving parts, protecting against rust, ensuring heat dissipation and limiting wear on parts. Very resistant to temperature, the grease is perfect for greasing highly stressed elements (such as plates, bearings, etc.). However, due to its thick viscosity, it is also perfect for maintaining simple mechanisms such as furniture hinges, door hinges, locks and the like. To a lesser extent, being electrically conductive (dielectric), it can also be used in the assembly of electrical wiring, all the while protecting metal parts (battery terminals).
Oil comes in a multitude of types with different technical characteristics. Mechanical oil (similar to that of your car) will allow the smooth operation of moving bodies while preserving them from wear. The cutting oil, also known as drilling oil, limits the amount of heat and the resulting wear of your tools. Wood oil will nourish and protect a cladding ... There are even tinted protective oils! Oil is therefore considered similar to a lubricant by nature as its applications and technical variations are numerous.
What are the different types of lubricants?
Silicone lubricant has a powerful hydrophobic lubrication (which repels water). This type of lubricant, coming either in a spray or gel, protects surfaces very well from rust. The advantage of silicone, apart from its lubricating power, is that it does not attract residue, dust or debris. Silicone also protects plastics from drying out (such as seals).
It is the universal lubricant that is used both to unscrew a tough fitting, lubricate a bicycle chain or to maintain door seals! Teflon has the advantage of being equipped with a thin layer that protects against moisture and rust and softens rubbers. However, it is less efficient than a task-specific lubricant, designed specially for that job.
What are the different types of grease?
Graphite grease is ideal for every from mobile bodies like bearings, gears, or even ball joints. The advantage of graphite is the increased protection against water, rust anddust, all the while while ensuring efficient lubrication. Its resistance to high temperatures is also an asset for highly stressed mechanisms.
It’s the go-everywhere of grease! Less technically superior than graphite grease, it still protects all moving bodies (bearings, universal joints, sprockets etc.). Its hydrophobic feature is effective, as is its protection against rust. Its temperature resistance is also suitable. However, depending on the conditions, its lubricating power can decreas rapidly over time.
Grease with copper powder
Relatively specific, copper powder is mainly used for the assembly and protection of elements subjected to very high temperatures. It is also dielectric and hydrophobic, which makes it perfect for protecting connectors and live terminals.
Specific grease for the assembly and disassembly of tires. Facilitates operations while softening rubbers.
What are the different types of oils?
Cutting and drilling oil
Resistant to high pressures and high temperatures, this type of oil will effectively protect your drill bits, drivers, saw blades or your metal working taps. For increased efficiency, choose a cutting oil with high adhesion and high cooling capacity .
Also known as chainsaw oil, it is indispensable for all chainsaws, both thermal or electric. Cutting oil lubricates the chain while protecting it from premature wear. It also facilitates the translation of the chain in the track. To a lesser extent the cutting oil also limits excessive temperature rise.
Oil for wood
Also referred to as impregnation oil, wood oil protects wood, whether it be your hardwood floor, your woodwork or even your siding. Wood oil limits dryness, protects against moisture, and when in exterior use, limits the discoloration due to UV. For a decorative touch in addition to the protection factor, tinted wood oils are readily available.
What is a aerosol?
An aerosol is a product originally designed to remove bolts. It is another type of lubricating product which also protects against corrosion because its action deposits a light layer of protection on the metal part on which it is projected.
Aerosol cans are equipped with a straw, have a high penetration rate, repel moisture and can even restore electrical contacts.
They're the product that gets rid of the squeaks and unwanted noise; They are double acting: gripping and lubricating.
Advice of Choice and Use
Whatever your lubrication needs, choose the product that most matches the job.
Look for lubricant with the best protection (rust, dust, moisture, etc.).
For maintenance and small mechanics, a aerosol is very convenient! Often equipped with straw, it allows to propel the lubricant wherever you want.
For routine maintenance of larger mechanisms, do not hesitate to equip yourself with a grease pump (the cartridges are universal). You will gain an insane amount of time!
When working with wood, be it the living room's hard floor, the kitchen worktop, or even the house's siding, test the product first to see. This will avoid disappointment if the color or the rendering does not satisfy or if the product is not compatible with the existing treatment.
Finally, whatever the product you are going to use, always remember to wear gloves and goggles.
From home use, to the garage to the street, follow the links below for oil related accessories and uses, advice from our editors and more helpful guides:
Guide written by:
Jeremy, construction site supervisor, Cardiff, 128 guides
Electrician by trade, I first worked in industrial estates where I installed, wired and fixed a large number of electrical installations. After this, I managed a team of electricians for this type of work. 10 years or so ago, I turned to building and construction. From the modest family home, to gyms and theatres; I have been able to coordinate, audit and organise all sorts of construction sites. for 4 years now, I am restaoring and bulding an extrension to a bungalow in the heart of the welsh countyside. My experience in manual work and my knowledge means I am proud to be of service. Terraces, interior design, roofing, plumbing, electricty, anything goes! We have, my wife, daughter and I, built almost everything we have from scratch! So to answer all of your questions, and to orientate and advise you on coosing your tools? Easy!