Removing Soybean Oil from Lapidary Saw

Hi folks! I recently acquired a used 10" trim/slab saw from a
friend. It has great potential to help me with my work - if only
I can get it cleaned up! My buddy likes to cut using soybean oil
as his cutting medium…because it’s good for the environment
and also good for his wallet. The trouble is that, after several
months of drying, the soybean oil mixed with the rock dust in the
saw has formed an impenetrable plastic-like coating all over the
inside of the saw. How do I remove this?! It’s all through the
mechanism… The second problem is that one of the three bolts
which secures the carriage to the back wall of the saw has
sheared off. How do I get the buried piece of the old bolt out
so that I can replace it? All help will be greatly appreciated!
I must get this beast running in time to make some Christmas

Peter Steiner
Buffalo, NY


When little, my Mom tought me that the only way to remove bubble
gum which had gotten on clothing or furniture was with more
bubble gum. You should find that with a little elbow
grease(that’s work)you should be able to clean up the saw and not
poision yourself eather. As to the bolt, get thee to a machine
shop. they’ll drill out the broken bolt and tap in new threads.
Hope this helps;

Steve Klepinger

Messy problem. You can try solvents, acetone, lacquer thinner
etc. DO this outside away from flames, because the solvents are
flamable-explosive as well as not too good to breathe. Soak and
scrape - will probably take quite a while. Not much fun in
Buffalo in the winter.

Paint remover which will contain Metylene Choride is probably
your best bet. This should be also used outside as the vapour is
also not too good to breathe. Follow the instructions on the can.
Protect your skin with rubber type gloves.

No matter what yo do keep the solvent or remover out of the
shaft bearing.

Paint remover won’t do the aluminum any good so don’t leave it
in the machine for a long period.

After the gunk is gone try drilling out the bolt. What kind of
saw is it. I have an very old Crown- Highland Park 10’ saw and
will see what I would really do with this if you have the same
thing. Jesse @Jesse_Brennan

Hi Peter, You’ve got a real mess on your hands… the combo of
dried oil and rock dust forms a kind of cement according to a
friend who’s a professional cutter and helped me clean my saw

If it’s still somewhat gooey, I’d suggest two things: call the
nearest janitorial supply store and ask what they have for
cutting old oil and grease deposits in restaurant kitchens.
Another possibility is to turn to the nearest automotive center
for something for degunking engines. Don’t know the names top of
my head, but if the products are designed for removing old oil
deposits from engines, might just work on old saw oil deposits.
Watch for the really caustic stuff though… you really want more
of a solvent/detergent than anything else. (I’m taking for
granted that you’re only talking about the saw carriage and tank
and table… not the motor itself.)

To start with though, you might just try TSP followed by Simple
Green. If you have a plastic cover that’s covered with oil film,
get a motorcycle windscreen cleaner to use after the
solvent/detergent is rinsed off… it’s supposed to work wonders
on dirty and scratched plastic.

Wear heavy Playtex gloves no matter what you use! Any of these
will suck the oil out of your hands and can irritate the heck out
of them too!

For the broken off bolt, the auto supply store should have the
kind of tool you need for that too!


| Carol J. Bova @Carol_J_Bova |
| Ask about |
| Lapidary & Opal Rough and Fire Agate Cabs |
| P.O.Box 5388 Glendale, CA 91221-5388 USA |

G’day; I think that your best bet is to paint the coated parts
with commercial paint stripper, scrape off the gunge, apply
another coat if necessary, scrape again, then wash with kerosene
and steel wool. Wear gloves and goggles when using the
stripper, for splashes on the skin will be very painful. Having
cleaned up the saw and works, get a piece of the most coarse
brick you can find, or a piece of a discarded grindstone, and use
the saw to cut it, which will completely clear out the gunge from
around the diamonds. To remove the sheared-off bolt go to either
a garage-shop or a DIY shop and buy a set of stud removers, also
called screw extractors. These are pieces of tapered and
tempered rod of varying sizes which have a very coarse sort of
left hand thread. Next you spray the sheared bolt with a dose
of WD40 or CRC556. You choose one of the removers which is
narrow enough to fit in a hole you will drill down through the
bolt, insert the stud remover and using a tap wrench on the head
of the remover, turn anti-clockwise. Because the thread on the
remover is left-hand, this will screw it into the stud hole and
enable you to unscrew the offending bolt. This does not always
work. So go back to your friendly garage-shop and buy a
stud-renewal kit. You use an oversized drill to drill the bolt
away completely, then insert a coil from the kit which will form
a new thread and allow you put in a new bolt. The kit will
contain full instructions. Talk to the salesperson or someone in
a garage repair shop if you are unsure of the procedure - they
hit your problem all the time. Then again, remember the old
adage; If at first you don’t succeed - take it to someone else!
With every good wish, Cheers,

       / \
     /  /
   /  /                                
 /  /__| \      @John_Burgess2

At sunny Nelson NZ

Why don’t you try contacting one of the soybean manufacturers,
explain your problem, and ask their help? Mfgrs. usually are
very helpful about their products; worth a try? Bootsie

Jesse, thanks for the advice. I really appreciate the input. I
thought that maybe I’d try some fume-free Easy Off Oven Cleaner.
Do you think that will be safe for the guts of the saw?

I’ll check the brand of my saw and get back to you asap. With
gratitude, Pete

Hi Peter, have you tried Easy - Off oven cleaner? It seems to
take off a layer at a time so you need to apply, strip, apply,
strip, etc. Sounds like a good job to give to young children.
Give them each a little beach pail and scraper, blow your whistle
and whoever has the most gunk in their pail when the machine is
sparkling clean wins the prize. Horrible isn’t it? My dad pulled
this stunt at my 8’th birthday party by handing all the kids
plastic trash bags, for one of the games, and whomever pulled
the most weeds in the garden won the prize-- sounds fun ha?

Good Luck, Peter Slone

   soybean oil mixed with the rock dust in the saw has formed
an impenetrable plastic-like coating all over the inside of the
saw.  How do I remove this?! 

Try a trick I learned (Organic Gardening, I think) while making
elderberry jelly: The berries leave behind an impenetrable
sticky scum on pots. The solution was to use vegetable oil and
paper towels to wipe off. It was really more like smearing it
off, but the oil worked and nothing else cut it. Non toxic, too.
Oil might soften the deposits enough to scrape off with a putty
knife or paint scrapper. Since time is not on your side here,
another suggestion. Providing the shaft is clean and the motor
runs properly, the next most important, and easiest part of case
to clean would be the table. After cleaning the table, you can
position a bread pan or such just beneath the blade, inside the
tank to carry the clean cutting oil. The table runoff passes
through the blade slot back into this container so its not
mucked up by the interior of the tank. I worked this system out
when I converted my 10" trim saw to use a 6 inch pro-slicer.
Had to place container up on supports; didn’t have to fill tank
with gallons of oil. Happy cutting.

By the way, what do you make your replacement gaskets from? I
have used neoprene sheet in the past, but it was a pain to find
large enough pieces. Swells out of shape so much it can’t be
re-used. Cork sheet and form-a-gasket doesn’t seem to work as
well. Pam

    The trouble is that, after several months of drying, the
soybean oil mixed with the rock dust in the saw has formed an
impenetrable plastic-like coating all over the 	   inside of
the saw.  How do I remove this?!  It's all through the

Faced with this problem I would use delimolene. It should
quickly melt the soy oil off of the saw. This is a solvent made
from the oils in the peels of Valencia oranges. It has no
hazardous fumes, is safe to get on your hands (although it will
remove all oil in your skin) and will dissolve almost anything of
an oily or adhesive nature. It is widely sold in diluted form as
a cleaner and hand soap. To remove the soybean oil your will
need the straight stuff. I’ve seen it sold as Citrisolve from
Mission Chemicals (Los Angeles area) and it is also sold as an
ink remover and stain remover. If it says “made from oranges” or
something similar you are looking at delimolene.

Most 10" saws have an automatic feeding mechanism. If the soy
oil has set up hard and you have a screw drive in the saw, rather
than a weight driven gravity “drive”, you may have to get the
solvent into the screw drive to free it. If you try to run the
saw with the screw drive frozen it will probably burn out the
small separate motor that runs the drive.

The only down side of delimolene is that it is flamable (but
nearly as dangerous as a petroleum product) and it is an oxygen
scavenger (over time it will remove the oxygen in a plastic
bottle and cause it to cave in).

Good luck. John McLaughlin,

Try Jesse Brennan’s recommended solvents first.

    Paint remover won't do the aluminum any good so don't
leave it in the machine for a long period. 

Remove the saw blade to clean it. If those (Jesse’s) solvents
do not work try “Easy Off” oven cleaner or boil the saw blade in
washing soda (calcium carbonate).

Soy oil is a fat and when treated with a caustic alkali, which
is what oven cleaner (strong) and washing soda (weak) are, the
alkali reacts with the soy fat to form a soap which can be
rinsed off with water.

The ancient Romans boiled animal fats with wood ash* to make
soap. When you rub “Easy Off” with your fingers the fingers
feel soapy because the fat in you skin is being turned into
soap. (* After a forest fire the streams and lakes suffer from a
rise in pH -more alkalinity- on account of the wood ash going
into solution and this kills a lot of aquatic life).

Alkalis react with aluminium so brush off the gunk as soon as
practicable and rinse. Wear gloves.

After the gunk is gone try drilling out the bolt.  

There is a screw extraction tool called “easy out” that hardware
store should stock. It is a reverse threaded screw that bites
into a hole drilled into the broken bolt.

Drill a hole into the broken bolt that leaves enough metal so
that the "easy out wouldn’t strip it. When you turn the “easy
out” anti-clockwise its threads will bite deeper into that hole
to provide a firmer grip. But anti-clockwise is the direction
to unscrew the broken bolt which is the whole idea.

Kelvin Mok (
Home: (403) 463-4099 | Home FAX: (403) 430-7120

I don’t have any suggestions for removing the soybean oil, as
for the broken bolt:

The is a special tool for removing broken bolts, aptly named a
Bolt Extractor. The basic idea behind the procedure it to drill
a small hole in the core of the bolt and then drive the Bolt
Extractor into the smaller hole. The bolt extractor bites into
the small hole and allows you to twist the Bolt Shaft out of the
hole without damaging the threads. Check at your local Hardware
or Auto parts store they should have them.


For those little nooks and crannies, use your flax shaft with a
stiff metal bristle tool. They should come our real easy.


Virginia Lyons

Thank you all for the advice! I tried a little Easy Off - and
it does seem to work, if very slowly. I like the idea about
getting kids to scrape out the saw for me. That’s inspired.
It would cost me a good piece of dinosaur bone to get
the kids I know to do the work; but it would be worth it! Bootsie,
if I can’t get the saw clean I’ll contact the soybean oil
manufacturers. It’s a good idea; but I suspect their sage advice
will be not to mix their product with rock dust. :wink:


Be careful with oven cleaner. It contains sodium hydroxide (lye)
that EATS aluminum. As long as its working on the varnish it
would be OK but watch out for attacking the aluminum. I think
this nasty stuff is worse to handle than dilute pickle acids,
definately not for the kids. It will work the same as paint
remover destroying the polymerization bonds on the mess.
Methylene choride is also bad for aluminum in a different way. Be
careful about long contact. Jesse

Good morning all,

One of the most successful ways I have found to remove any type
of sticky residue from most anything (metal, glass, plastic, etc)
is to use plain old lighter fluid. The kind for the old
fashioned cigarette lighters that have to be filled. It comes in
a small can with a little “lift and pour” spout, is quite
inexpensive, and it will dissolve sticky stuff allowing me to
wipe anything clean quite fast. I keep it on hand at all times,
especially to remove the sticky from price tags when I buy

Don’t know if this will work for saw blades and old concentrated
soybean oil residue, but it is worth a try.

Good luck,


 Faced with this problem I would use delimolene.  It should
quickly melt the soy oil off of the saw.  This is a solvent
made from the oils in the peels of Valencia oranges.  It has no
hazardous fumes, is safe to get on your hands (although it
will remove all oil in your skin) and will dissolve almost
anything of an oily or adhesive nature 

Hi, I do not want to rain on your parade but natural/organic
products are not as safe as you might think. I did a few
experiments on a solvent whoses basic ingredient was d-limonene a
few years back. Despite the fact that it is organically derived,
there is nothing ‘nice’ about these types of products. They are
sensitisers (they make you more readily affected by them), they
can cause Major headaches and defat the skin. There are
sometimes no MSDS’s available either because they have not yet
been tested or because they are derived from organic products
everybody believes that they are safe. The product I was
experimenting with (called Citra-Safe) will cause lead to corrode
in under half an hour, effects most rubbers (swelling) within 24
hours and will effect plastics (as you previously mentioned).
D-Limonene products work really, really well as solvents, I’ll
be the first to admit that. But if you have to use them, take a
lot of care (gloves - prefferably nitrile - and a respirator).

Merry Christmas and Happly New Year
Eileen Procter

Hello Pete,

Good luck cleaning up the mess, I don’t have any tips but I
thought it apt to mention that vegetable oils and mineral oils
don’t mix! They combine to form a sticky gum that sets up and
provides no lubrication or cooling. But you already know this

Anyone tempted to substitute a vegetable oil for a mineral oil
should be aware that you need a fairly scrupulous cleanup before
making such a change because even small amounts will cause
gumming, this includes all mating surfaces on moving part,
failure to do so will prevent proper lubrication as the gum sets
up and can cause your machine to fail. You will however have a
truly empathetic bond with Pete now.

About that broken bolt however, one must ask how it got that
way? A screw extractor or easyout should only be used if you
expect success. By that I mean if you broke the bolt whilst
tightening it. If it was broken during an effort to release it
however the chance of you now having a broken hardened steel
extractor embedded in the bolt is now very high. It might be
less apoplectic to give the whole thing to a machine shop with a
cleaning tank. I bet if your clean and fix time was traded for
bench time you will come out ahead after paying the machine shop,
don’t forget to tell them about the soya oil.

\ () || |/
\ /
web site:

Vancouver, B.C. CANADA.

Got a point there! But you can flatter a little bit by telling
them it’s the best oil you’ve found??? Merry Christmas, Happy
Hannukah or beloved Buddah, whatever you celebrate, all! Bootsie (Sharon Holt)

Please be extremely cautious when using anything containing
Methylene Chloride. I’m told it is extremely Carcinogenic. I’ve
heard it will penetrate the skin upon contact and thereby enter
the blood stream.

It is a very strong solvent and the precautions previously
mentioned re. using outdoors and the use of rubber gloves are
highly recommended.

Ken Shields