Lathe and Equipment Preservation

Oct 16 2022

Maintaining a piece of Victorian engineering carries many challenges. One of the main headaches is corrosion. Our cherished beam engine built in 1904 has many large rods, cranks and levers made of bright steel. During the winter months these parts suffer from rust, necessitating many hours of polishing and cleaning when warmer weather returns. For forty years we have tried to protect these parts with various oils, greases and wax polishes smeared over the surfaces. The former were messy and had to be removed prior to open days and re-applied afterwards, whilst the polishes were only partially effective. About two years ago we tried Steelgard on the beam engine’s handrails and control levers and were very pleased with the result. They remained rust-free over two winters and haven’t needed cleaning for open days, with a considerable saving of labour time.

In the workshop, the large lathe and other machinery were removed in order to fit a new floor. The lathe was stored outside, in the open air, due to its size, protected only by a tarpaulin and Steelgard. After eighteen months we were delighted to find no rust when the tarpaulin was removed. Following the success of these trials we have made plans to apply Steelgard to all bright steelwork on the rest of the beam engine and also our unique 1914 gas engine. The product has made a significant and welcome contribution to ensuring the future of our treasured historic relics.

Learning of our success with Steelgard, the manufacturers asked if permission could be granted to use the TCPS project as a case study for their product. Permission was granted and the case study can viewed at: