Orchidians I know that grease is the word.But what is the best
grease to use on and in my italian rolling mill.Iam always
afraid to use too much grease so as not to contaminate my
soldering but I want to use enough to keep my rollers in great

Happy Trails
Ridge Studio
J Morley Goldsmith

And how often should a mill be greased, and how and where
exactly does one grease it?

Simply a light oil such as “3-in-1” will do. Be sure to clean
your rollers completely and, if they are really dirty with
stuck-on gunk, use fine steel wool first, then clean & oil. Do
this as often as your climate and shop conditions dictate.


Hi Jay,

Castrol Syntec motor oil has worked great for me. I am about
one mile from the coast and the salt air and humidity can be hard
on a mill. Synthetic motor oil has the strongest film strength of
any oil that I have tested. I treated my mill with it two months
ago and have hardly touched it since.

Good Luck,

Blaine Lewis
New Approach School for Jewelers

And how often should a mill be greased, and how and where
exactly does one grease it?

Like any piece of machinery, the answers depend on how often and
how hard you use the machine. Your eye will tell you much. The
most important thing to lubricate are the bearings the rolls ride
in. Usually bronze. Many mills have holes into their frames
into which you inject the grease with a grease gun, or squirt the
oil, with an oil can. Oil needs to be added more often, but
makes for a neater and cleaner machine, as it doesn’t trap dirt
as much, and is probably the preferred lube for the bearings. If
your mills get only occasional use, lubricating the bearings
might only need doing once or twice a year. If it’s in daily
use, lubricate them monthly or more, as observation tells you is
needed. The gears should be greased, not oiled, and since
they’re quite visible, just add grease anytime it appeares
there’s not much there anymore.

The rolls themselves need to be kept clean all the time, and
it’s best, after each use, to reoil the rolls and wipe them down
again, both making sure they are oiled to prevent corrosion, but
also removing bits of metal that might cause you problems in your
next use of the mill. You can’t hurt the rolls with too much
oil, and it’s better to have them failry oily, than not to have
them lubed at all. If they ARE quite oily, though, you’ll want
to wipe them down before use. If you’re rolls are actually fairly
polished, you should be aware that when you roll with an oily
rolls, you’re actually “roll printing” the oil, as well. This
makes little difference with most rolls, but if you have
polished rollers, or patterned rolls, etc, you’ll get a higher
polish on the rolled metal if you clean off the oil before
rolling. Most people with standard hand rolls used the way they
were made and delivered can ignore this effect, and use oiled
rollers without cleaning all the oil off.

Peter Rowe