Thursday, December 26, 2013

Lanolin in Europe and USA

I often get asked about lanolin and where people can get it from. Here in Australia and New Zealand we have access to Lanotec which is what I use. But I have just been informed by Kai Dame from Germany that a company in Germany called Fluid Film also has lanolin based products that look very similar. It looks like it is widely available in Europe. I have found it in the States as well at :
 Lanolin is the natural waterproof grease that is extracted from sheep's wool. It is all natural and nothing is added to it and it seems like there is very little that can be used to thin it down or wash it off without a lot of effort. In the Lanotec I use their General Purpose product which is their thinnest product as I figure it will soak into the wood easily, which it will. I also only buy the non aerosol dispenser as I only want the natural product by itself. If you apply it outside in the sun it will soak into the timber fairly quickly and you will know when it will take no more as it will gel on the surface. So then you wipe off the excess and buff it up. Once it has penetrated the timber it will leach out very slowly and provide a very sticky surface once it hits salt water. Then after the water dries off it will dry back and be no where near as sticky. How or why I have no idea but it works. I know guys who have had up to 3 months surfing without having to reapply any lanolin. It also nourishes the timber and waterproofs it at the same time. So the timber will retain all its natural properties longer.
Because this is a natural product and derived from animals rather than plant material like most other nut oils and such, I have found that it will not grow mould in the soft grain as plant based oils will. Although I know that can be somewhat over come by adding vinegar to the plant based oil mixture.
As you will see on the sites it has many uses and is widely used in all sorts of industries and some harsh conditions so for what we want it is a very good solution that also saves you the cost of having to glass your board and saves the weight that comes with that. A wooden board with a lanolin coating would have to be one of if not the "greenest" method of building a surfboard that I know of. I came to using this method from my early years growing up in New Zealand and seeing the timber in sheep shearing shed and yards buffed up with years of sheep rubbing up against them. The lanolin from their wool waterproofed the timbers some of which are hardwoods for many many years.The same here in Australia and most all timber used here for shearing sheds and yards would be hard woods. So using Paulownia as I do I get a greater penetration of the oil and so a storage of the oil within the timber meaning it last quite some time between coats. The only other feedback I have had is that when it is used in cooler waters it takes a little longer to become sticky.
If you have any other experiences using Lanolin, please let me know.

No comments: