Tef-Gel vs. Lanocote

Which corrosion protector holds up to extreme heat?

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In this update of our review of greases (see PS February 2017) we compare Lanocote and Tef-Gel, greases that are used to prevent metal corrosion. Tef-Gel, from Ultra Safety Systems, is often prescribed to prevent stainless-steel fasteners from seizing in aluminum. Lanocote, made by Forespar, is commonly applied to prevent seizing in turnbuckles and other components that need lubrication.

static corrosion tests

As in our previous tests, we applied these products to five different metal coupons (copper, bronze, aluminum, and two grades of steel) and then tested them for corrosion protection, resistance to being washed off, and resistance to oxidation at high temperature.

This project should be framed as a comparison between examples from each of the two categories of greases-organic vs. synthetic. It is not a strict head-to-head test. Lanocote is derived from sheep lanoline, one of the worlds oldest greases, while polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE, aka Teflon) is a 20th century synthetic. There is a range of similarly formulated products in either category that we expect would deliver comparable results. (Forespar makes its own synthetic product, Marelube TEF 45, that would be a better match for Tef-Gel in a true head-to-head.)

Lanocote

Whereas most greases are made from thickened lubricating oils, Lanocote is derived from a fat. It is not thickened, rather it is naturally nearly solid at room temperature. It sticks tenaciously to metals, and can even be applied under water. The result is impressive multi-metal protection. Our testers found it too viscous for applications requiring easy movement, such as winches and folding props. When exposed to high temperatures, it oxidizes quickly into a hard wax-like consistency.

Some sailors swear by it for Lanocote seacocks, but its most widespread use is for warding off corrosion on turnbuckles and preventing fasteners from seizing.

Bottom line: Organic greases offer an affordable route to corrosion protection for non-moving parts. Budget Buy.

Tef-Gel

Tef-Gels specialty is preventing stainless-steel fasteners from seizing in aluminum. As the name implies, it has some PTFE in it. Although it is not as thick as Lanocote, it is a very sticky, thick gel that doesnt spread as evenly as an ordinary grease. Because it is generally used to lubricate fasteners, it comes with tiny brushes that work perfect for brushing the gel deep into the female threads.

Tef-Gel stood out as the only product that allowed the metal coupons to rotate in place even after they had been fully tightened down. If you are using this on larger (1/4-inch or larger) nut-and-bolt assemblies youll want to use a lock nut or lock washer to prevent the nut from loosening. Tef-Gel showed exceptional resistance to high temperatures, making it useful in all but the most extreme high-temperature applications (exhaust manifolds, for example). Its performance during the washout test was not as good as some other synthetic greases we tested in February 2016.

Bottom line: PTFE synthetics have rightfully earned high marks for their anti-seize protection. Best Buy.

Conclusion

If theres heat or movement involved synthetics excel. As for corrosion protection, both types do an excellent job. Other anti-seize products weve recommended in the past include Duralac (www.llewellyn-ryland.co.uk), ECK (www.eckcorrosion.com), and Loctite (www.loctite.com). We have placed some coupons protected by Lanocote and Tef-Gel into long-term testing and will report our findings.

Contacts
Corrosion-fighting specialty greases
Darrell Nicholson, editor of Practical Sailor, grew up boating on Miami’s Biscayne Bay on everything from prams to Morgan ketches. Two years out of Emory University, after a brief stint as a sportswriter, he set out from Miami aboard a 60-year-old wooden William Atkin ketch named Tosca. For 10 years, he and writer-photographer Theresa Gibbons explored the Caribbean, crossed the Pacific, and cruised Southeast Asia aboard Tosca, working along the way as journalists and documenting their adventures for various travel and sailing publications, including Cruising World, Sail, Sailing, Cruising Helmsman, and Sailing World. Upon his return to land life, Darrell became the associate editor, then senior editor at Cruising World magazine, where he worked for five years. Before taking on the editor’s position at Practical Sailor, Darrell was the editor of Offshore magazine, a boating-lifestyle magazine serving the New England area. Darrell has won multiple awards from Boating Writer’s International, including the Monk Farnham award for editorial excellence. He holds a U.S. Coast Guard 100-ton Master license and has worked as a harbor pilot and skippered a variety of commercial charter boats.

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