How to Care for your Glass Blowing Lathe and Tools


Buying a glass blowing lathe is a big investment. Even if you found a glass blowing lathe for sale, you have probably put a significant amount of money into a lathe, tools, and supplies. So, it stands to reason that you would want to take care of them properly. Here are some tips for keeping the parts of your glass lathe in good working condition and your tools clean and ready whenever you need them.

Check Everything

Check to make sure that everything is lined up properly. Misaligned parts can be dangerous and costly, as can any broken, cracked, or malfunctioning parts. Some examples of things that would need to be checked before each use are:

  • Head and tail stock
  • Chucks
  • Buttons
  • Fittings
  • Wiring
  • Gauges

You’ll want to check over all parts that move and ensure they are moving properly.

Daily Cleaning

For daily cleaning, it is recommended that you wipe your glass blowing lathe down each time you are done using it. This may be an “ideal world” situation, and you may not have time to do so between uses. However, taking the extra couple of minutes at the end of the day to wipe off any debris, including chips of glass, old projects, and dust, will help ensure that your very expensive glass blowing lathe will stay in working order. You can even use a bit of air to blow dust and debris out of the crevices so nothing gets jammed up, which is a distinct possibility when working with glass.

Cleaning Tools

Your tools are going to get dirty; if they don’t, then you aren’t using them enough. The key to keeping quality tools in good shape is to take care of them. Here are some tips for caring for your glass blowing tools.

  • Wipe your tools down regularly. Use a clean rag or even an oiled rag. The oil protects the surface of the tools, especially if they have wood handles.
  • When you pack your tools away, make sure they are completely dry. If you put wet tools away, it can cause any wood to swell and the metal to rust.
  • Check your tools for wear and tear before using them. This can prevent tools from breaking in the middle of a project, which costs time and additional supplies if the piece you are working on is destroyed.
  • After checking and cleaning your tools, be sure to store them in a warm place. Metal can become brittle when exposed to cold for an extended period of time.


As mentioned previously, daily care is a huge part of keeping your glass blowing lathe in great working condition. But, sometimes, that’s not all that needs to be done; as with anything with moving parts, you will need to maintain it.

The biggest thing to remember is to make sure your lathe is well oiled because dry parts rubbing together can do a lot of damage due to friction. Oil regularly to keep things running smooth. If you aren’t sure what kind of oil to use or where to oil, give us a call, and we can help.

Special Circumstances

No matter how much regular maintenance you perform on your lathe, sometimes things happen that you have no control over. Here are some examples of these special circumstances:

Machine Malfunction

Machine repairs can be expensive, not to mention stressful when you are on a tight deadline. Don’t wait until your machine breaks down to get it taken care of. If you notice a problem, you need to diagnose and fix it. With any luck, regular care and maintenance can help you avoid costly repairs. However, dust and debris can get into anywhere there is a gap and cause severe problems. Keep an eye out for the warning signs:

  • Grinding noises
  • Overheating
  • Misalignment

We at SEAM are here to help you get back to glass blowing and offer technical support to help you, or if you cannot fix it yourself, you should call a technician with a good reputation.


Rust is the metal equivalent of cancer. It spreads and can destroy your lathe and your tools. This is why it is recommended that you dry your tools after cleaning and store them in a dry place. When your tools or your lathe encounter rust, you need to be careful which cleaners you use, as some can be damaging.

Tools are often sturdier than the glass blowing lathe and can generally withstand a good scrubbing to loosen the rust and then oil to seal it. This method will solve a majority of minor rust problems. You can try to catch these issues early by regularly inspecting your tools, but this still may not be enough to combat serious rust formations.

If you are cleaning rust from the main body of the lathe, you are free to scrub as much as you need to. The metal is durable. However, when it comes to the moving parts, or anything with grooves, such as the chucks, it is best to err on the side of caution and contact one of our professionals for advice on your particular situation. If you mess up one of the teeth of the chuck, even a little, it can throw off the entire calibration, and that can be costly.

Contact Us

When you buy a glass lathe from us at SEAM, you aren’t just getting a glass blowing lathe–you can expect to receive over fifteen years of experience too. We don’t stop at selling you equipment; we make sure you are happy and knowledgeable. If you are having an issue with a lathe you purchased from us, don’t hesitate to call our technical support line. We are also happy to answer any questions you may have to help you care for your lathe, familiarize yourself with your lathe, and help you choose the right lathe for your setup.

Whether you are looking for a bench top lathe or a floor model glass blowing lathe for sale, contact us and see how we can help you.

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