lubrication of tonearm bearings

Iam at the point of fitting and adjusting new bearings in my Audio Technica 1010 tonearm and have beern thinking about lubricating the tonearm bearings,these are new and im coming from a damping point of view rather than ease of movement with this question. The arm moves nicely in both axis dry,i wonder if a tiny drop of oil would bring anything to the table. internet wisdom says NO due to dust build up but there are a few comments advocating its use.

If you follow the Korf blog see here they elude to using oil but in the final paragraph they wont comment on any sonic difference, to me this says there is a difference and a positive one otherwise why mention it? They state, 'Another major influence on both the stiction and the sonic performance of the bearings is lubrication. We have done the necessary experiments too, but for the time being it will remain our little secret'.

Comments welcome please. Here is my bearing housing.

I believe tonearm bearings are usually designed to run dry for minimum friction and to avoid issues with lubricant picking up dirt and drying up over time. Once an unsealed bearing is lubricated it needs regular maintenance - light machine oil might be appropriate for this, for instance in a humid environment this could reduce the risk of corrosion, but the bearings should be stainless or ceramic anyway I'd hope. If a bearing assembly is designed to run dry it might be made from a plastic that is not solvent-proof, so that might be a risk.
The forces in a turntable arm bearing are well below those that require a lubricant film to prevent spalling and overheating...
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Joined 2003
Absolutely don't add lubricant. You'll hit exactly the same problems as with watches and clocks; waxing. And once the stuff is in a ball race and waxed it's really difficult to get it out.

Incidentally, in 1985 I took apart the horizontal bearing of the arm supplied with a Thorens TD166 (like a TD160, but with horrible arm). The horizontal bearing was cup and cone, just like bicycle wheel bearings of the time. And, just like bicycle wheel bearings, the cone was horribly pitted. Which was why movement was no longer free.
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A little off topic.

I have an early ZETA arm and also the very similar but slightly lower mass MISSON arm.
The bearings on both arms need total renewal. Has anyone here any advice on who in
the UK who can either supply or make suitable pins? And has anyone got advice on which
material BBs are best suited?

Many thanks.
If you decide to use a lubricant on the bearings, and I would have serious reservations about it due to dust, etc., you might want to use light Mobil 1 synthetic motor oil. Many watch and clock repair people are using 0W-20 or 0W-16 Mobil 1 because it won't dry up over time and leave varnish in your bearings like "whale oil" used to do. The synthetics are very stable. The biggest problem with using any lubricant on the bearings on your tonearms is that they don't have dust excluding seals to keep them clean. Seals would cause friction...
If you have the unit in a dusty area, leave it as is.
If it is in an air conditioned area, with little dust, use a synthetic oil, or Teflon based grease.

There used to be a seller called Micro Tools, they had all sorts of tiny tools and watch repair / maintenance stuff.
You could look them up, or similar competitors, and see what is on offer.

The speeds and forces on the bearing are so low that thick grease may disturb the movement of the arm.
It helps to try and state with maximum clarity what problem you're trying solve and/or what you want to accomplish. Random thoughts- stay away from anything with Teflon/PTFE in it. Those particles are about 5 microns in diameter and don't do anything useful. The people who make them even state that they have no benefit when added to oils and greases, but people still do it as a selling point. Stay away from any so-called dry lubricants. They contains waxes and resins to hold the dry stuff in place and will increase friction in very small devices. Your biggest problem will be getting this completely clean and dry. Once you accomplish that, it will tend to stay that way. Unless you use oil, then expect periodic tear-downs and cleaning. I wouldn't use grease at all. The forces are so low that lubrication shouldn't be needed, much less grease. Grease also tends to have fibers and particulates. Those are just carriers for... oil! I never use a grease without finding out what the soaps and carriers are, and what the base oil that does the actual lubricating is. I vote for dry. If I wanted to oil it, I'd avoid automotive products, which contain a lot of stuff you don't need, and get some Superlube synthetic lightweight oil, p/n 52004. Don't use the one with PTFE (51004). I figure you're ahead of the game no matter what- the old AR used thin-wall babbitt sleeve bearings with oil and seemed to work fine.
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One more thing, use a bearing puller / press to install it, that makes a tiny but perceptible difference to the ease of movement.

And stick to the original intended lube, if any, in the service manual.

But in a tone arm, not much need for fancy lubrication, though air bearings and some other unusual designs have been attempted, with various degrees of success.