Where's YOUR oiler??

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Blog entry by Tedstor posted 06-29-2011 03:42 PM 5562 reads 0 times favorited 22 comments Add to Favorites Watch

About a year ago, I was picking up a grinder I found on CL and learned that the seller was actually liquidating VERY well stocked amatuer workshop. Once all the wheelin n’ dealin was over, I walked out with the grinder and a box full of other goodies. Among the haul, was a small machine oiler. Honestly, I’m not even sure how it ended up in the box, as its not a tool I ever took much notice of or highly desired. Everything happened sort of quickly, and it somehow became part of the package. I only had an extra $30-40 dollars on me, so I was just trying to buy as much stuff for my barren shop as possible. All said, I probably paid about one dollar for it.

Anyway, I’m glad I bought it. Its an uncommon homeowner tool in this day and age, but it shouldn’t be. Somehow, it seems that areosol cans of silicon lubricant have taken the place of the oiler in the vast majority of American garages. Don’t get me wrong, WD-40 and its variants have their uses. I used to use it all the time on everything….....until I got the oiler. Now I rarely touch the stuff.

The oiler has a long slender spout that can reach into most every nook and cranny of machinery, door hinges, automobiles, etc, etc. A quick push on the bottom of the can releases 1-2 drops of oil which is usually plenty for most applications. If not, another quick push gets it done.
I can select which lubricant I keep in the can, and there is very little waste (aka overspray, aka mess). I filled my can almost a year ago for the first and only time so far. I use it all the time and its still half full.

WD-40 has none of these characteristics. It comes with a tiny red straw that allows the user to apply it to confined areas, but I always manage to lose it within 12 hours of purchase. Straw or not, the areosol propellent seems to over-atomitize the product or propell it too fast which causes more overspray and gets oil everywhere. Its definitely more expensive, being $4-5 can but only seems to last 1/5 as long as a full oiler.

Bottom line is the oiler is a tool that seems to have fell from favor with most people. In my (tiny, feeble) mind, it seems like an incredibly superior method to deliver lubricant…......yet appears to be going extinct.

Anyway, just my useless thoughts on an ever so critical topic.

22 comments so far

View Bertha's profile


13567 posts in 3171 days

#1 posted 06-29-2011 03:54 PM

I’ve been meaning to start collecting these. I hope this thread takes off. I’ve only seen one at the antique store, a bit bigger than I wanted, and $50. No thanks. Nice job! Oh yeah, and way better (and tremendously cooler) than anything in an aerosol can.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Bluepine38's profile


3387 posts in 3563 days

#2 posted 06-29-2011 04:04 PM

I have one or two of those, as well as a couple of the cylinder ones with a trigger pump. WD-40 is a good
cleaner, I use it to take the worst of the crud off my mountain and road bicycles during a tune up, but
would never trust it as a lubricant. Just out of curiosity, I checked on line and you can still buy them at
hardware, and some auto parts stores, but you might have to order them in. I agree that they are better
than aerosol cans and do not make the mess. Now what I need is a grease gun that will still pump grease
after setting on the shelf for a year between annual maintenance sessions.

-- As ever, Gus-the 80 yr young apprentice carpenter

View saddletramp's profile


1180 posts in 3116 days

#3 posted 06-29-2011 04:10 PM

I need to find a couple of them too, one for the shop and one for the garage. I had a nice one but it sort of disappeared from my garage about the same time that various and sundry other tools did.

-- ♫♪♪♫♫ Saddletramp, saddletramp, I'm as free as the breeze and I ride where I please, saddletramp ♪♪♪♫♪ ...... Bob W....NW Michigan (Traverse City area)

View HokieMojo's profile


2104 posts in 4206 days

#4 posted 06-29-2011 04:21 PM

I think these might have went by the wayside because 3-in-1 oil has a built in spout. It’s not as useful as the oil can you’ve got though. Cool find. I wish I had one.

View PurpLev's profile


8551 posts in 4126 days

#5 posted 06-29-2011 04:24 PM

FYI – WD-40 is NOT a lubricant. it is a Water Displacement formula (hence WD). trying to use it as a lubricant would quicken the wear and tear on your equipment and can lead to premature failures.

machine oil and grease should be used for machine maintenance and lubrication.

like you I came upon an oiler ‘by chance’ when I got into machining, and that has illuminated many things in a completely new light for me.

Ignorance is bliss – sometimes, but mostly it’s a blessing.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Manitario's profile


2778 posts in 3360 days

#6 posted 06-29-2011 04:42 PM

Cool find; I agree with HokieM. I think that 3 in 1 probably helped the decline of the oiler, but is still a nostalgic, useful find.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View Bertha's profile


13567 posts in 3171 days

#7 posted 06-29-2011 04:43 PM

I’m holding out for one as pretty as Tedstor’s.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View JimF's profile


144 posts in 3770 days

#8 posted 06-29-2011 04:56 PM

I have two of these and a couple of the pump type. Don’t know why I got them (long time ago), but they are very useful.

-- Insert clever tag line here

View Gregn's profile


1642 posts in 3461 days

#9 posted 06-29-2011 05:01 PM

I have 4 oilers that I use a lot. While the sprays are handy for some things when it comes to lubricating I use the oilers. I even have one that is a plastic bottle with like a long straw inside that you pull out to reach those hard to reach places. I try to buy my oil in bulk type containers as opposed to small cans or bottles.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

View MrRon's profile


5659 posts in 3721 days

#10 posted 06-29-2011 05:50 PM

I use an oil can all the time because I have some old machines that have oil cups. Be careful with an oil can around wood. They usually leak, or oil runs down the spout and once it gets into the grain of the wood, it’s impossible to get out.

View Mickey Cassiba's profile

Mickey Cassiba

312 posts in 3509 days

#11 posted 06-29-2011 06:35 PM

My oil can has a special place on the side of my tool box. I need a couple more, but I can always dump the one I have and put in another grade. I also keep a can of 3 in 1 handy.

-- One of these hammers oughta fix that...

View Builder_Bob's profile


161 posts in 3537 days

#12 posted 06-29-2011 06:47 PM

Go to and type “oiler”. It’s surprising how many are available.

-- "The unexpected, when it happens, generally happens when you least expect it."

View DaddyZ's profile


2475 posts in 3518 days

#13 posted 06-29-2011 06:52 PM

Lets see pictures !!!!!

-- Pat - Worker of Wood, Collector of Tools, Father of one

View Tedstor's profile


1678 posts in 3110 days

#14 posted 06-29-2011 08:10 PM

Thanks for all the replies. I post this stuff on my blog, mainly because the subject-matter sort of just “pops” into my head. Posts like this are my way of thinking out loud. Since most of the people in my physical life couldn’t care less about a stupid oiler, I have no choice but to bother you fine people with it. LOL.
BP- You’re right about availability. I’ve never actually seen one of these on a store shelf before and few people that I know seem to own one, but they are widely available online. My older model has no makers mark, but it appears as if Dutton-Lainson might be the manufacturer. DL still makes a vast line of these (in the USA), and they’re cheap. I’ll inevitably order a couple more. (link below for those interested)

PL- Thanks for pointing that out. WD-40 would not be an appropriate machine lubricant. In fact, if I remember correctly, even the maker disclaims that its a “light-duty lubricant”, which one should take to mean that it couldn’t handle the rigors of any high-stress application. I tend to use the “lubricant” term loosely (no pun intended). When I worked on Marine attack aircraft, we used a spray corrosion inhibitor/lube that the engineers said was sorta-kinda like WD-40, but contained a greater ability to lubricate. All us dumb Marines just called the stuff “WD-40”. LOL

Hokie- I did not realize 3-1 was available with the long,flexible spout. I’v never seen the product in that particular bottle before. Although, I’m not sure I’d like the plastic bottle over the metal one I have now. Its still worth noting that its available. And speaking of 3-1, the manufacturer is currently offering a rebate for the full pruchase price up to $4.99. A quick online form is all that appears to be required. For those that don’t like the hassle of a mail-in manufacturer rebate, there is also a coupon for $1 off. (exp Sept 2011)

View Broda's profile


313 posts in 3996 days

#15 posted 07-01-2011 02:12 PM

bit off topic but i’ve heard you shouldn’t use anything with silicone in it around wood because it can cause finishing problems later on.

its better to use something like INOX around the shop

-- BRODY. NSW AUSTRALIA -arguments with turnings are rarely productive-

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