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Thread: Felix lube making

  1. #1
    Boolit Man curioushooter's Avatar
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    Felix lube making

    I have two questions about Felix lube, both prompted by my attempt at making po-boy Felix lube last night. And yes, I have seen the sticky.

    1) First I will state that volumetric measure makes sense for the liquid or grease-like substances, but it makes little sense to call out for a 3.5" x 3.5" X 1" brick of beeswax. Most beeswax is sold today in little pellets, or you get it from the hive. A weight measure would be better, so I did the work myself and converted it:

    Beeswax is about 960 kg/cubic meter = 0.55 oz/cubic inch. 3.5 x 3.5 x 1 = 12.25 cubic inches, so 12.25 x 0.55 = ~6.75 oz of beeswax.

    So I added the 2 tablespoons of mineral oil, 1 tablespoon of castor oil, 1 tablespoon of grated Ivory soap (which weighs about 4 grams or 0.14 ounces). And then added that 6.75 ounces of beeswax. That's when I realized that Felix lube is basically BEESWAX with some stuff added to it. Finally I added 1 tablespoon of Vaseline since I don't have Lanolin and am not paying 8 dollars an ounce for the lanolin nipple lube at the pharmacy, so I realize this is not orthodox Felix lube and I want to make it with Lanolin in the future. It seems to work alright, but I have not shot it yet.

    Is my math wrong here or something, because FELIX lube is about 80% BEESWAX. People have been using beeswax as a bullet lube from the beginning. Also, has anyone found that bypassing the cooking of the Mineral Oil and Castor Oil has no impact on performance?If it is doesn't, I will gladly dispense with that tedious process.

    2) Where do you guys get cheap Lanolin?

    I like this lube, mainly because everything it is made from is food grade or at least body-contact grade. I will never heat up some EP lithium grease again after trying those lubes. It ruins everything it comes into contact with and smells horrible.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

    alamogunr's Avatar
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    For lanolin, try here:
    https://www.thesage.com/catalog/FixedOil.html

    For beeswax, contact randyrat on this board.
    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/memb...?2594-randyrat
    John
    W.TN

  3. #3
    Boolit Master

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    Dear Curious, (sounds a little like Dear Abby, eh?).

    You wanted to know if: "Also, has anyone found that bypassing the cooking of the Mineral Oil and Castor Oil has no impact on performance?"

    If my good pal, Felix, were still here he might say something like, "try it and report back", all the while knowing that mix/heating the oils makes a difference. He worked on the formula and procedure for a long while. However, I understood that he devised it with the idea that it could/should be customized.

    So, there ya go!

    I know one thing, regardless of all else. The oil will not leak out if it's been done properly, regardless of how hot the ambient temperature, even sitting in the sun on a hot summer day.

    Years ago when Felix and I did the "BIG BATCH" in the MOAS (~20-25 gallons IIRC) he was very particular about cooking the oils - both time and temperature. That batch also had jojoba oil and micro paraffin in it. That was some of the finest boolit loob I have ever used.
    It ain't rocket science, it's boolit science.

  4. #4
    Vendor Sponsor D Crockett's Avatar
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    I get my lanolin at Calwax there phone # 626-969-4334 they have all kinds of waxes and are a very good company to deal with D Crockett

  5. #5
    Boolit Master


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    I made my FWFL several years ago and followed the directions exactly. It turned out perfect! The absolute BEST lube I have ever used. I cast for rifles and push some higher than normal velocities for cast boolits. I don't know if your mixture will work or not but do know that properly made Felix lube works great. I got my beeswax and lanolin from the same places as posted above by alamogunr above. The beeswax came in a flat cake that was easy to measure and cut per the directions for FWFL. My advice is spend the money once and make a great lube that will last for many thousands of boolits.
    Larry

  6. #6
    Boolit Man curioushooter's Avatar
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    Yea. I found a local pharmacy that hooked me up with lanolin for a reasonable price. And Wal-Mart of all places has Carnauba for a reasonable price (also all other ingredients execpt beeswax). And beeswax I can get from my own hives or my brother's.

    What surprised me most about Felix lube is that for all the exactitude and cooking and refinement the Felix Robbins went through, his mix is basically improved beeswax. Same place we were when the NRA worked it out, what, a century ago? It makes me wonder what the heck chemists are up to, as we still can't improve upon one of the fruits of the bee!

    The wax with Vaseline is not very sticky. It doesn't cleanly break from the cake, either (I pan lube).
    Last edited by curioushooter; 02-12-2018 at 08:52 PM.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
    375RUGER's Avatar
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    No mystery you have found, you're going to find that a lot of the good lubes are primarily beeswax and/or other waxes of at least 50% by volume or weight. Speed Green, BPCR, Saeco Green, etc. Check out the "Just the facts" sticky.
    Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats. H.L. Mencken

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    I found my lanolin at a health food store.

    Slim
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  9. #9
    Boolit Man curioushooter's Avatar
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    So, I made Felix lube with a teaspoon of Carnuba, stirring for a half hour.
    I was surprised to observed that the cooked castor-mineral oil started to bubble after 20 minutes or so.

    Also, the ivory soap foamed up prodigiously. Melting the carnuba in turned it into brownish sludge.
    Added the beeswax. Let it cool down to about 130 when I added lainolin (anhydrous). Heated it up again until it was liquid and poured into half pint mason jars. Going to see how it works tomorrow.

  10. #10
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    Maybe understanding what Felix World Famous Lube really is will help. It's technically a 20% sodium grease/80% beeswax lube, similar to "Lithi-Bee" which is a lithium soap grease and beeswax lube. Sodium grease was the first true metal-salt grease that I'm aware of (the natural mineral soap grease later known as Alox was actually probably the first), though it is considered mostly obsolete now. IIRC one of the bullet mould companies used to market a re-packaged Texaco NLGI #5 soda brick grease as a pistol lube, I have a stick and it is excellent and offers water clean-up as does FWFL.

    The grease part is a sodium grease composed of the oils and 25% sodium stearate, which you make separately and then add the wax. This can be done in two or even three steps. Some people polymerize a big batch of oils and store them until they need more, then make the grease and add it to the wax. I make the grease itself in larger quantities and store that.

    For cold weather or low-pressure, I prefer to add a tablespoon or two of Vaseline to the oils when cooking.

    The initial cooking polymerizes the castor oil to link up the chains somewhat and make it less prone to migrating between the other molecules. Time and temperature accomplish this. Castor oil is chosen because of its affinity for heat and its polarity, neither characteristic is altered during the mild heat-polymerization process.

    The instructions are to cook the oils, then add soap until it is dissolved. This accomplishes the creation of a sodium soap grease. This grease, if made alone, is a translucent, amber, buttery substance suitable for heavy lubricating jobs and very high temperatures due to the high drop point of sodium stearate. I find that after the soap is added, quick work of the grease-making is accomplished by very briefly heating the oils and soap while stirring constantly to 460F, the melt point of the soap, and quickly cooling it from there without stirring. You'll know when the soap has melted when the whole mess becomes completely clear in the pan. When it starts to cool, it will gel like snot at about 430-440F, and at room temperature will be like Vaseline.

    This gelled grease then needs to be incorporated into the wax, best done by adding very small chips of wax to the grease a little at a time and blending well before adding more, otherwise you'll have lumps of grease in the mix that you will never get out, just like when making Lithi-Bee.

    Once the wax is in, add your lanolin at low heat and cool it. The lanolin is an EP lube that adds significant film strength, and some softness, to the lube. I wouldn't delete it from the recipe. If it is too expensive, choose a different formula.

    HTH

    Gear

  11. #11
    Boolit Man curioushooter's Avatar
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    I made the lube as instructed in Glen Fryxel's pdf book.

    I grated the Ivory. So it melted into the castor/mineral oil mix quickly, and foamed. Once the foamy mess cooked down I added the teaspoon of grated carnuba and the beeswax chips, which constitute about 80 percent of the mix by volume it seems. Let it cool down and melted the anhydrous lanolin in. Came out nicely. And no awful tube grease smells/smoke in my kitchen.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master

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    I followed the recipe as put forth by Felix as closely as possible, I made a small batch first, liked it so well that I ordered enough components to justify shipping costs and made a large batch. I have several bread loaf pans of the stuff stored away, it even smells good when I melt it on the stove to pour into the lubrisizers. It takes a little time to cook it properly, but the oils and the soap won't properly mix unless it is done. Properly done the oils never leak out.
    Cast Boolits, Where lead balloons go over....

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