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Thread: Why Tri-flow?

  1. #1
    Super Member ArchaicArcane's Avatar
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    Why Tri-flow?

    Hey everyone,

    Being in Canada sometimes is like being in a third world. I am having an unreal amount of trouble finding tri-flow products.

    5 out of 6 bicycle shops I've been into carry "Finish Line" products instead of tri-flow, and claim they're better.

    Each time, I've told them I'm looking for tri-flow specifically and didn't know if the FL products are SM friendly.

    I finally found one shop that carries the oil, 2oz bottle only, but not the grease. And at their prices, I don't think I want to use them as a regular supplier!

    I called one of the industrial suppliers in Edmonton, and they said that they carry only the aerosol cans of tri-flow oil. OHHHH the mess could make with a spray can!!

    When I told him what the tri-flow grease was - Synthetic grease with PTFE (teflon), he said "Oh! We have this other product called super lube. It's exactly the same thing".

    Hmm... just like the bike shops are saying.

    I watched a video at sewingpartsonline on how to change the feed dog gears, and he says he uses "the best grease money can buy" and pulls out a tub of walmart brand wheel bearing grease. uhm... ok.
    Of course the slathering job he did of the gears with said grease, doesn't make him an authority in my mind...

    So here's the question: Is Tri-flow "kleenex" now (i.e. hand me a kleenex, not hand me a tissue...) or is there something that really is different about this grease / oil?

    If it really is better, I guess I'll have to smuggle a case of it back over the border then next time we go to the states.
    Last edited by ArchaicArcane; 10-25-2012 at 11:50 AM.
    Tammi - I've found that many baby steps tend to get you further than a huge leap in followed by a huge leap out - http://www.archaicarcane.com
    Singer 411G, 301A, 2x 221 (featherweight), 222k - the holy grail, 99-, 15-90 Centennial, 27, VS2, 28 hc, 128 knee bar, 201-2, 31-15, Pfaff 130-6. Non-Vintage - Pfaff 6122, Kenmore (Janome) 385.81595 serger, Kenmore (Janome) 385.81155, 2013 APQS Lucey

  2. #2
    Senior Member pinkCastleDH's Avatar
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    No, TriFlow isn't Kleenex - accept no substitutes. Defnitely not FinishLine or any other chain lube. Most bicycle chain lubes leave behind a waxy residue - good for chains, not for sewing machines.

    For a grease I might use the real thing - Teflon grease that I keep around for lubing the S&S couplers on our tandems. Pure PTFE and seriously expensive but the maker of the couplers is adamant that it's the thing to use for high pressure metal to metal contact.

  3. #3
    Senior Member pinkCastleDH's Avatar
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    BTW, I see that REI lists Tri-Flow for sale on their website. I don't know if they ship to Canada, though. Maybe MEC?

  4. #4
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    You've probably read this before, but just in case you haven't here's Sew-Classic's page on lubes.
    http://www.shop.sew-classic.com/4-Oi...e-Tools_c6.htm
    Unfortunately they can't (or won't) ship to Canada.

    Also here is Tri-Flows web site. You might be able to contact them and get the name of a Canadian supplier.
    http://www.triflowlubricants.com/index.html


    To answer your question of why all I can do is relate my experiences.
    I've used gobs of different oils and greases in my life. Many different ones on firearms, tools, fans, and other equipment. Some worked good, some worked great and some didn't work worth a hoot.
    Then we come to sewing machines. Sewing machines do not have bearings, they have shafts in bores and all that stands between them and wear or seizing up is the oil.
    In recent months I have rejuvenated a bunch of old decrepit machines. I've used normal sewing machine oil (Singer, Alpha Sew and who knows), Marvel Mystery Oil, Pennzoil light machinery oil, and something amber my wife bought as sewing machine oil.
    All the oils worked, but the Tri-Flow was noticeably better. I can feel and hear the difference in how the machine runs with it.
    Tri-Flow grease doesn't fling off the gears as Singer grease does, and it's not sticky and rotation inhibiting like the white lithium grease I've tried.

    I consider it better than anything I've tried to date on sewing machines.

    In lieu of the Tri-Flow products, stick with Singer oil and lube if you can find it. It's not as good as Tri-Flow, but it's a proven sewing machine compatible product.

    Joe

  5. #5
    Super Member ArchaicArcane's Avatar
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    Hey Thanks!! I was pretty sure that the Finish Line stuff wasn't going to be what I wanted.

    I didn't realize MEC was well known in the states.
    They do carry it, but it's always out of stock. No wonder too, they sell it for 1/2 what the bike shops do.

    As for the grease, you figure I'm OK with the Super Lube? It says "Sewing Machines" in some of the writeups, but then I read somewhere that 3in1 oil says the same thing, and we all know not to use that on a sewing machine. Ever.

    The thing is, Sew-Classic can ship to Canada, just not that product. I suspect it's some sort of shipping rule or border guard thing.
    Tammi - I've found that many baby steps tend to get you further than a huge leap in followed by a huge leap out - http://www.archaicarcane.com
    Singer 411G, 301A, 2x 221 (featherweight), 222k - the holy grail, 99-, 15-90 Centennial, 27, VS2, 28 hc, 128 knee bar, 201-2, 31-15, Pfaff 130-6. Non-Vintage - Pfaff 6122, Kenmore (Janome) 385.81595 serger, Kenmore (Janome) 385.81155, 2013 APQS Lucey

  6. #6
    Super Member ArchaicArcane's Avatar
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    Hey Joe,

    Yes, I've read Jenny's site, it's part of why I wanted it, and it's raved about here there and everywhere.
    I sent off an email to triflow previously, no response yet

    I'm definitely sold on the TriFlow oil. The biggest problem seems to be the grease. The Singer Grease is getting hard to find here. The Singer store closed down 2 weeks ago, I've actually been taking up a little bit of the slack among the people I know for servicing the machines, but I'm down to my last 1/16th of a tube. I can order it from the supplier I recently set up with, but it's the "in a pinch" moments where I'd like to have an option.

    They used to carry tri-flow, but stopped. I hear that it was partly because the bottles were leaking on the shelves. They said they'd look at bringing it back. All they carry currently is the aerosol. I don't want to do that to a sewing machine.

    Would you say that Tri-Flow is about the same viscosity as the Singer Lube? Heavier? Lighter? I'm thinking of picking up a tube of the Super Lube to see what it's like. If I hate it, I know DH can use it in the garage, but I'd love to know how it compares thickness wise to the Tri-Flow. They claim it stays put. I guess I'll be the judge of that.
    Tammi - I've found that many baby steps tend to get you further than a huge leap in followed by a huge leap out - http://www.archaicarcane.com
    Singer 411G, 301A, 2x 221 (featherweight), 222k - the holy grail, 99-, 15-90 Centennial, 27, VS2, 28 hc, 128 knee bar, 201-2, 31-15, Pfaff 130-6. Non-Vintage - Pfaff 6122, Kenmore (Janome) 385.81595 serger, Kenmore (Janome) 385.81155, 2013 APQS Lucey

  7. #7
    Senior Member pinkCastleDH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ArchaicArcane View Post
    Hey Thanks!! I was pretty sure that the Finish Line stuff wasn't going to be what I wanted.

    I didn't realize MEC was well known in the states.
    They do carry it, but it's always out of stock. No wonder too, they sell it for 1/2 what the bike shops do.
    I was going through the other bicycle chain lubes I'm aware of and realized that Tri-Flow was the only non-waxy one. Wow! I use ProLink myself but not for sewing machines.

    I don't know if MEC is all that well known down here but if you spend time in the bicycle business in the nothern states you'll hear about it. I'm pretty sure REI keeps Tri-Flow in stock so you might check to see if they can ship to our northern neighbors. If Sew-Classic can't I wouldn't be surprised if REI can't either, though.

  8. #8
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    Viscosity? To me they are so close I can't tell the difference.

    Here is an idea. I have a shooting forum friend that lives in Canada. His sister lives in NY state. If I want to mail him something I send it to his sister's NY address and the next time he visits her he pics it up.
    Do you have any friends or relatives in the US? If so perhaps they could get you the Tri-Flow and get it to you. Like I said, just an idea.

    My Tri-Flow oil bottles don't leak. I keep them capped tightly and they are fine.

    Singer grease or lube is the old standard. There is nothing wrong with it other than it tends to fling off of gears. It's what you need for Singer motors though.

    Have you contacted Singer for a source of their products in Canada?

    Joe

  9. #9
    Senior Member Skyangel's Avatar
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    I found a supplier of Tri-Flow in Canada - they even have free shipping:

    http://www.triboutique.ca/SearchResu...20&Search.y=14

    Other than motor grease tubes, I don't use anything else.

  10. #10
    Super Member ArchaicArcane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pinkCastleDH View Post
    I was going through the other bicycle chain lubes I'm aware of and realized that Tri-Flow was the only non-waxy one. Wow! I use ProLink myself but not for sewing machines.
    I guess that makes sense. A lot of the chain "lubes" we use on the motorcycles are waxy as well. Not the nicest to clean off when doing chain maintenance.

    I don't know if MEC is all that well known down here but if you spend time in the bicycle business in the nothern states you'll hear about it. I'm pretty sure REI keeps Tri-Flow in stock so you might check to see if they can ship to our northern neighbors. If Sew-Classic can't I wouldn't be surprised if REI can't either, though.
    I will try to drop them an email this evening! Thanks! MEC does have the 2oz bottles of the oil in stock here. I picked up a couple tonight to tide me over until I can find a good source. They -thought- there was supposed to be 12 bottles of the 6oz in stock, but there was no sign of it when we got there.

    I did notice that MEC ships to the US, and I wondered about that, because it's not often we have better prices here than the US. It doesn't seem like it would make sense for most people to ship from Canada.

    Quote Originally Posted by J Miller View Post
    Viscosity? To me they are so close I can't tell the difference.

    Here is an idea. I have a shooting forum friend that lives in Canada. His sister lives in NY state. If I want to mail him something I send it to his sister's NY address and the next time he visits her he pics it up.
    Do you have any friends or relatives in the US? If so perhaps they could get you the Tri-Flow and get it to you. Like I said, just an idea.
    Good idea. We have friends who would do that for us in the states, but they're Texas and Oregon. We don't often get that far when we vacation. I get a little caught up riding on the good roads,... over and over again, so we don't get a lot of linear distance. It would be just as easy probably for us to pick up as much as I could carry in a top case comfortably when we got there.

    My Tri-Flow oil bottles don't leak. I keep them capped tightly and they are fine.
    I sort of thought that should be the case. I wonder if one fell over and the product got painted with a bad brush as a result.

    Singer grease or lube is the old standard. There is nothing wrong with it other than it tends to fling off of gears. It's what you need for Singer motors though.

    Have you contacted Singer for a source of their products in Canada?
    Yeah, I know I won't be able to completely replace the Singer Lube, but most of the machines I've been servicing lately have been post 60s... no motors to lube, just gears. DH keeps saying gears will be fine with the Super Lube. Eh.. I'll try the 411 and see what happens. It will probably be the one I use the most for the next little while. It's supposed to be non-drying, synthetic, non-flinging, teflon infused grease. It can't be worse than SuperTech wheel bearing grease or Vaseline, can it?

    Singer Canada will tell me to use SMS Canada. They're my current supplier. I think I might just have to make sure I don't ever forget to order before I run out. My current order is 1 -2 weeks away, and I'm lower than I'd planned on the lube, which is what brought this tread up to begin with.

    Quote Originally Posted by Skyangel View Post
    I found a supplier of Tri-Flow in Canada - they even have free shipping:

    http://www.triboutique.ca/SearchResu...20&Search.y=14

    Other than motor grease tubes, I don't use anything else.
    Thanks SkyAngel! I just checked them out. Minimum $100 order for free shipping. That will take some fore-planning. I can probably do it though if I can't come up with anywhere in Edmonton to get it. (It's not worth paying shipping on a smaller order anyway, so I'd find some stuff to get.)

    DH and I were talking today. If one Industrial shop carries one product line, there's a chance one of the others will carry the Tri-flow to be different. I will be making some more calls in the morning to see what I can find.
    Tammi - I've found that many baby steps tend to get you further than a huge leap in followed by a huge leap out - http://www.archaicarcane.com
    Singer 411G, 301A, 2x 221 (featherweight), 222k - the holy grail, 99-, 15-90 Centennial, 27, VS2, 28 hc, 128 knee bar, 201-2, 31-15, Pfaff 130-6. Non-Vintage - Pfaff 6122, Kenmore (Janome) 385.81595 serger, Kenmore (Janome) 385.81155, 2013 APQS Lucey

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