Just wondered what, if anything, I can use on my dead center end to stop it from getting so hot. I was turning a small piece of oak and, even on the second slowest speed, the end got so hot I thought I saw smoke for a second. Is there a solution to this, or is it just smoke em if ya got em?
I would check to see if there is a live center available for your lathe to replace the dead center. A live center rotates on a ball bearing with the work piece avoiding the friction and heat that you are getting.
My lathe is so old I'm lucky it's even working, so there are no parts to change in the tailstock. It has a cup center, but the point on it is a bit worn so I was probably over tightening it as I am quite mindful of things flying off when turning quickly. I did try a little oil on it, but I think it was just over done. I did it a little differently on a practice piece, so I think I'll try that next time. (Man I wish I had money to buy a new lathe)
When I run into lubrication problems like that I try to use a dry lube.
I have a Ryobi BT3100 TS that needs to have the lift/lower mechanism periodically and it's in the line of saw dust so oils or greases aren't possible due to dust and chip build up.
My solution was to use powdered graphite mixed with rubbing alcohol at the rate of 1 teaspoon of graphite to one once of alcohol. I put the mixture in an old mustard dispenser and just squirt it in as needed. Once the alcohol drys, nothing is left but a coating of graphite.
I also use this on my Dremel tool and an old saw sharpener.
Good luck, at least you HAVE a lathe.. that's one thing that's on my 'To Acquire' list!