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“TefPack” Synthetic Shaft Packing

May 11, 2020
9
Sabre 42 CB Winterport/Benjamin River, ME
New guy here! I’m learning/re-learning the ropes as I resurrect my father’s 1988 Sabre 42 that has sat for many years.

Among many other projects, I will be re-packing our Spartan prop shaft stuffing box. I have read the AWESOME write-up on marinehowto.com and the only thing I’m left with trying to decide is the type of packing to use.

Based on the article I feel I want to avoid any of the graphite based/impregnated packing materials. Our shaft is stainless but I do not know what grade or composition so I would like to err on the side of caution.

Having removed the old packing from the stuffing box, it APPEARS that it is most likely PTFE flax. I am torn between installing new PTFE flax, or trying “Tefpack” synthetic packing. On paper I like the idea of the synthetic material, but are there drawbacks to it? Also, looking at pictures of it, it appears darker in color, and I recall reading a post on here by someone stating that any of the marine packings that were black/dark gray in color would have graphite in them. Does anyone know if that is true of Tefpack?

I’m probably overthinking all of this, but I’d love more input on these options! Apologies if this has already been covered here, but I did try searching for tefpack and synthetic packing and didn’t come up with much.

Thanks so much in advance!

-Paul

(Attached a couple photos of the boat when we did get her afloat for a short while in 2018)
 

Attachments

Jan 11, 2014
5,399
Sabre 362 113 Fair Haven, NY
Paul, Welcome to SBO. It is a great source of information about sailing and other topics. MaineSail and Peggie Hall are great resources.:)

While I don't normally direct SBO members elsewhere, I do want you to know that there is a Sabre specific group with over 1000 members who own, did own, or want to own a Sabre. You can find them at [email]SabreSailboat@groups.io[/email] | Topics This group has been around for over 20 years on various platforms.

There is also a Sabre Sailboat group on Facebook, Sabre Sailboats.

Sabre sailors tend to be a bit passionate about their boats.

Dave
 
May 11, 2020
9
Sabre 42 CB Winterport/Benjamin River, ME
Thanks Dave! I joined up on that group a while back (when they were still on Yahoo, a little while before they transitioned over to the groups.io platform), as well as the Sabre Sailboats Facebook page.

I felt this was more of a generic marine question and I’ve been incredibly impressed with MaineSail’s knowledge so I thought this would be a good place to dig further.

I agree with the comment about Sabre owners passion, it is a really great community!

-Paul
 
Mar 6, 2008
509
Catalina 1999 C36 MKII #1787 Coyote Point Marina, CA.
I use Gore-Tex. No leakage. I replace them once in 3 years. Place Lanacoat into the shaft log before installing the packing nut.
 
Jan 7, 2011
1,836
Oday 322 East Chicago, IN
I replaced my 30-year old bronze shaft a few years ago and repacked with old school flax. I didn’t like it (was all I could find at my local chandlery at the time).

I repacked with Gore Tex over the winter. I used this on my last boat with no issues. happy with it do far!

Greg
 
May 11, 2020
9
Sabre 42 CB Winterport/Benjamin River, ME
Thanks for the feedback so far!

When you say gore-tex, do you mean the Gore GFO packing? Because it’s my understanding that is a graphite impregnated packing, but perhaps I’ve misunderstood?

-Paul
 

TomY

Alden Forum Moderator
Jun 22, 2004
2,260
Alden 38' Challenger yawl Rockport Harbor
I use the standard 'flax' shaft packing which I believe may be Gore-Tex? It comes in standard sizes with more length than you'll need.



It's impregnated with Teflon (it looks white-ish). Plus I use Tef-Gel at installation which is recommended by the packing. With this system the box is nearly dripless so be careful not to overtighten.

These are the rings I removed, they were installed for over 10 years. I re-packed mainly because I replaced the shaft which had worn at the cutlass bearing.

Shaft packing.jpg
 
Feb 6, 1998
11,188
Canadian Sailcraft 36T Casco Bay, ME
New guy here! I’m learning/re-learning the ropes as I resurrect my father’s 1988 Sabre 42 that has sat for many years.

Among many other projects, I will be re-packing our Spartan prop shaft stuffing box. I have read the AWESOME write-up on marinehowto.com and the only thing I’m left with trying to decide is the type of packing to use.

Based on the article I feel I want to avoid any of the graphite based/impregnated packing materials. Our shaft is stainless but I do not know what grade or composition so I would like to err on the side of caution.

Having removed the old packing from the stuffing box, it APPEARS that it is most likely PTFE flax. I am torn between installing new PTFE flax, or trying “Tefpack” synthetic packing. On paper I like the idea of the synthetic material, but are there drawbacks to it? Also, looking at pictures of it, it appears darker in color, and I recall reading a post on here by someone stating that any of the marine packings that were black/dark gray in color would have graphite in them. Does anyone know if that is true of Tefpack?

I’m probably overthinking all of this, but I’d love more input on these options! Apologies if this has already been covered here, but I did try searching for tefpack and synthetic packing and didn’t come up with much.

Thanks so much in advance!

-Paul

(Attached a couple photos of the boat when we did get her afloat for a short while in 2018)
We have some 1/4" SynBraid, but it is not technically in the web store as we are still in a battle with our braider, which we are trying to sort out. We've shipped it to a few guys on the forum..
 
May 11, 2020
9
Sabre 42 CB Winterport/Benjamin River, ME
We have some 1/4" SynBraid, but it is not technically in the web store as we are still in a battle with our braider, which we are trying to sort out. We've shipped it to a few guys on the forum..
That sounds great! I knew you’d been developing your own product, but hadn’t seen the official release information yet.

I was about to order some things from Hamilton Marine, but I’ll just order from the web store here! Once I have my order set should I just message you about the SynBraid?

Thanks for reaching out about this!

-Paul
 
May 11, 2020
9
Sabre 42 CB Winterport/Benjamin River, ME
I went ahead and ordered both traditional flax / PTFE packing, as well as the TefPack synthetic so I could compare them, as neither is terribly expensive. Going by the adage I’ve seen posted in several places, that any packing that’s black/dark gray in color is graphite or graphite impregnated, it would seem the TefPack must be graphite based stuff?

It seems strange to me, since Western Pacific also has their GTU which they specifically note as having graphite, why would they also offer TefPack As a “synthetic braid” with no mention of graphite?

I’m probably over analyzing the whole mess and maybe shouldn’t be so worried about graphite with a stainless shaft and two brand new zinc anodes? I just want to make the right choice here and not cause myself more problems down the line!

I attached a couple photos of the packing for reference.

Thanks again for all the feedback so far!

-Paul
 

Attachments

May 25, 2020
2
Hunter Legend 375 Moss Landing
Hey MaineSabre,
I just went down this rabbit hole myself during my last haulout. I've always used the regular braided stuffing on my past boats, that packing requires a slight water drip to maintain lubrication and temperature control. I definitely wanted to go away from that and to a drillers type packing. I could be wrong but I don't think the ptfe is necessarily dripless so you might dig around to verify. Nigel Calders book says to stay away from the graphite packing as it has a high rate of scarring the shaft. I went with Western Pacific drip- less modable packing. It eliminates the braided rings and you tighten until there is no drip per the instructions. Ive only gone to this product 3 months ago and have been on lock down ever since so I can't give you a long term review but so far so good. You might do a little research on it.
 
May 11, 2020
9
Sabre 42 CB Winterport/Benjamin River, ME
Firepirate,

Thanks for the insight! I have been doing a bunch of research on this for a while too, and have found a lot of the same info you have found! I’ve also found people have had issues with the moldable packing really gumming up the stuffing box and causing problems.

I’m not terribly concerned with a totally dry install as our Sabre has a keel stepped mast and the bilge is NEVER dry, just the nature of the beast. I’ve also read of problems with using a conventional stuffing box and packing materials that completely eliminate leakage, as air pockets can get trapped against the prop shaft and cause crevice corrosion even on a stainless shaft.

I was hoping that MAYBE the TefPack synthetic packing didn’t have a graphite component and would be a nice happy medium as far as longevity and durability between flax and graphite packing, but I can’t seem to find concrete info on the makeup of the stuff!

As simple as a stuffing box is, picking appropriate packing for it sure seems to be complicated haha!

-Paul
 
May 25, 2020
2
Hunter Legend 375 Moss Landing
Right??? :D almost every boat in the marina has one why is it so complicated hahaha! Well thanks for the input on the moldable i hadn't heard that. I guess I'll watch out for that on the next go round. I believe mine had graphite before. It had basically dissigrented as I was trying to remove it and was a complete pain. If your willing to accept the drip I guess you can't beat the convenience of the traditional stuff. Reliable, easy to find, easy to replace.
 
May 11, 2020
9
Sabre 42 CB Winterport/Benjamin River, ME
Yeah, it can be frustrating for sure! I hope you have great success with the moldable packing. Plenty of people have used it, so I suspect you’ll be fine! I like the simplicity of the traditional stuffing box, so I don’t think I want to change to a full dripless system.

When I pulled the packing out of ours it actually didn’t seem to be in too terrible of condition, and seems like it was Teflon impregnated flax, so I’m thinking that’s what I’ll put back in, at least this go around. I got both that and the TefPack stuff to check them out since they’re not very expensive.

I found a TON of helpful info in this how to article:Re-Packing A Traditional Stuffing Box - Marine How To

That site actually belongs to Maine Sail from these forums.

-Paul
 
Feb 26, 2004
20,998
Catalina 34 224 Maple Bay, BC, Canada
I wrote this a couple of decades ago, doesn't have the 2020 new material discussed here (SynBraid) but does link to MS's site. This is also for those who are reading this after maybe doing a search on "stuffing box" for info.

It also discusses the MOLDABLE material in some detail.

 
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