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Talk to me about lube


freewheelin

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The guys around me in the yard seem to use WD40 for everything. Doing a little research I see that is probably not best. I am looking for recommended lubricants for various applications. I am happy to buy different for each:

  • Blocks
  • Furler
  • Mainsail track
  • Winches

May as well ask about grease for the folding prop as well while I am at it. I appreciate any input.

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Well first off you need a good lube warmer. It's much nicer

IMG_0075-Website.jpg?v=1527196687

 

Blocks - most modern blocks shouldn't have any lube. Tends to attract dirt. Varies with manufacturer. McKote for the racers

Furler - Harken wants a fresh water rinse, Profurl uses mostly sealed steel bearings (check for lip seal failure/rusting). i.e. it varies

Mainsail track - I like dry silicone spray on the sliders if internal type with slugs. No idea what bolt rope type use

Winches - white lithium grease works fine or you can buy the specially branded "Lewmar" or "Harken" greases for lots more money

Prop - waterproof marine grease

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I've found ~~a drop~~ of light machine oil makes a world of difference with old sail slides. Harken sells something that looks a lot like "way oil" for very, very sparing use on tracks and blocks. Works well with just a hint. The dry lubes like Sailkote build up and collect salt and dirt. So, I use them sparingly. A bit on the top of a bolt rope is a good thing though. I often used WD 40 to clean old grease and junk off of the winches. I think of it more as a solvent than a lubricant. The plain bearing bits get a light layer of grease.  The paws get a drop or two of machine oil. I try to clean everything often with much fresh water as is practical and then add a trace of lube just where it's needed.

Or gallons of castor oil -- keeps the beavers worried:

 

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sit here, son, and we'll talk about lube. oh, you'd rather not sit? uhmm, i see...

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I had heard people bang on about spray chain grease for winches, which sounded ideal, until the winch heats up in the sun and it runs out and stains the paint. Back to branded winch grease, mainly because it comes in a handy tube, not a big tub. 

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White lithium is the only grease I've used on winches for decades.

I tried Lewmar "branded" grease a few years ago - $19 for a tube about the size of a hotel toothpaste tube. It was barely enough to lube two three speed winches. The grease sucked as well - sticky and slowed the winches down.

I've just recently finished a small tub of white lithium that lasted me through 3 boats and never had a problem - not even a broken pawl spring, probably because I lube the pawls with the same white lithium - it's thin enough that it doesn't cause the stiction that people oil them to avoid.

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We go through a lot of Tri flow.  ( bike shops have it)

we have a gallon "supply" can of Blaster and have non aerosol squirt bottles of it all over the shop, in  the truck and onboard our boats

We go high dollar on the winch lube .But I can't remember ever buying any.  Most of the tubes are probably thirty years old and rescued form boats we took to the dump

GE silicone spark plug boot release in one ounce tubes are scattered in various tool boxes around the shop. It comes in  handy for all sorts of stuff

We have a couple of cans of Jigaloo.  I bought it just because the name is silly 

we have some white dry bike chain lube I found at a Walmart. It seems like a great lube for the outhaul sleeve on a Laser.

Also from the Walmart. A little blue spray can of Reel Lube.  It was in the fishing section and it seems to do whatever Mc Lube does.

We have McLube...we are a sailboat shop

McLube Polish works nicely on my laser hull. I have zero idea if it helps performance but when I am sliding the boat back up on the dock it only takes a couple fingers to pull it after being mcLubed. 

Blaster Garage door lube ...I found a bunch of cans in a store on sale for a buck a few years ago. We carry it in the rigging bag and it sure does make turnbuckles unwind a lot more easily. 

We have some Lanocote Rigger Dave swore by it and I bought a container of it. The stuff seems to do a great job nut it is sorta nasty to use as it comes in a jar as a super hard grease like substance, The system seems to be to rub your fingertip in it to get some on that finger, smear it on the turnbuckle, and then try to get the excess off your finger. 

3 in  1 has a whole lot of various lubes and we have about ten cans around. The dry black carbon stuff really works well but it makes a dry black mess.

Sometimes a little maguires Mold release wax is handy and gets used a a lube.

You will love this one:

We found a couple brand new still sealed bottles of Doc Johnson Mood 100% silicone anal lube in a boat we were disposing of for a dead fellow's estate. Yes...he did die of complications from AIDS. The bottle said the primary ingredient was dimethcone.  The stuff was super slippery and water didn't rinse it away  so we used it on a few tutnbuckles  before we decided it was just too gross to carry a bottle of anal lube in the truck. It absolutely did work and when we had to take those same boats apart seven years later, nothing was frozen . The bottles said $9.99 and were about six ounces or so. Maybe it is a cheap source of great lubricant but I just can't bust out a bottle in front of a customer and start smearing it on his turnbuckles. 

WD 40 seems absolutely useless. I have not bought a can in forty years. We have had some around because it seems to get abandoned here. ...probably by other people who found it to be useless.

We spend a few extra bucks and buy more expensive Marine grease for trailers. The stuff I like  best is Blasters extra tacky  red. I like it because it is soooo obvious when it is not red anymore that I oughta change the grease but their marine grease is better for immersed trailer hubs. . 

Permatex anti seize in about a six ounce bottle is in three places in the shop. We have it on the threads of all our trailer pinch bolts. We also have lock nuts on those bolts for any longer trips than half a mile

The shop head has bottles of lubricating eye drops. You cant ever have too much stuff to float sanding dust out of your eyes. 

We still have a few little tubes of graphite speedometer cable lube. back when speedometers were mechanical, that stuff was the difference between buying a new cable every 10,000 miles and maybe never.  It is handy for lottsa things. 

We also have lots of Lubriderm hand lotion around the shop. it is a pretty decent antidote for dry hands from 90% alcohol and acetone clean up. 

 

I quit

 

 

 

 

 

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13 hours ago, Gouvernail said:

We go through a lot of Tri flow.  ( bike shops have it)

we have a gallon "supply" can of Blaster and have non aerosol squirt bottles of it all over the shop, in  the truck and onboard our boats

We go high dollar on the winch lube .But I can't remember ever buying any.  Most of the tubes are probably thirty years old and rescued form boats we took to the dump

GE silicone spark plug boot release in one ounce tubes are scattered in various tool boxes around the shop. It comes in  handy for all sorts of stuff

We have a couple of cans of Jigaloo.  I bought it just because the name is silly 

we have some white dry bike chain lube I found at a Walmart. It seems like a great lube for the outhaul sleeve on a Laser.

Also from the Walmart. A little blue spray can of Reel Lube.  It was in the fishing section and it seems to do whatever Mc Lube does.

We have McLube...we are a sailboat shop

McLube Polish works nicely on my laser hull. I have zero idea if it helps performance but when I am sliding the boat back up on the dock it only takes a couple fingers to pull it after being mcLubed. 

Blaster Garage door lube ...I found a bunch of cans in a store on sale for a buck a few years ago. We carry it in the rigging bag and it sure does make turnbuckles unwind a lot more easily. 

We have some Lanocote Rigger Dave swore by it and I bought a container of it. The stuff seems to do a great job nut it is sorta nasty to use as it comes in a jar as a super hard grease like substance, The system seems to be to rub your fingertip in it to get some on that finger, smear it on the turnbuckle, and then try to get the excess off your finger. 

3 in  1 has a whole lot of various lubes and we have about ten cans around. The dry black carbon stuff really works well but it makes a dry black mess.

Sometimes a little maguires Mold release wax is handy and gets used a a lube.

You will love this one:

We found a couple brand new still sealed bottles of Doc Johnson Mood 100% silicone anal lube in a boat we were disposing of for a dead fellow's estate. Yes...he did die of complications from AIDS. The bottle said the primary ingredient was dimethcone.  The stuff was super slippery and water didn't rinse it away  so we used it on a few tutnbuckles  before we decided it was just too gross to carry a bottle of anal lube in the truck. It absolutely did work and when we had to take those same boats apart seven years later, nothing was frozen . The bottles said $9.99 and were about six ounces or so. Maybe it is a cheap source of great lubricant but I just can't bust out a bottle in front of a customer and start smearing it on his turnbuckles. 

WD 40 seems absolutely useless. I have not bought a can in forty years. We have had some around because it seems to get abandoned here. ...probably by other people who found it to be useless.

We spend a few extra bucks and buy more expensive Marine grease for trailers. The stuff I like  best is Blasters extra tacky  red. I like it because it is soooo obvious when it is not red anymore that I oughta change the grease but their marine grease is better for immersed trailer hubs. . 

Permatex anti seize in about a six ounce bottle is in three places in the shop. We have it on the threads of all our trailer pinch bolts. We also have lock nuts on those bolts for any longer trips than half a mile

The shop head has bottles of lubricating eye drops. You cant ever have too much stuff to float sanding dust out of your eyes. 

We still have a few little tubes of graphite speedometer cable lube. back when speedometers were mechanical, that stuff was the difference between buying a new cable every 10,000 miles and maybe never.  It is handy for lottsa things. 

We also have lots of Lubriderm hand lotion around the shop. it is a pretty decent antidote for dry hands from 90% alcohol and acetone clean up. 

 

I quit

 

 

 

 

 

 

that's pretty slick, Guy..

 

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23 hours ago, duncan (the other one) said:

careful lubing your balls.. they like to spin, not slide.

I know what you mean, if they are too slippery they might slide instead of roll, true. But only half true, as when they roll, the balls always "friction slide" against each other. And particularly when they are older, worn, and not perfectly round anymore, that becomes a problem.

I use McLube one-drop wherever it is important, like in the top furling swivel. If that one stops spinning while reefing when a big squall hits, you will be in trouble.

Got a free sample from McLube, 10 years ago, and have bought a couple of the 0.5 oz tubes at trade prices since. Yes, it is expensive, prices at around $13 , but that little dispenser goes a long way. Info and sales pitch here:

http://www.apsltd.com/mclube-one-drop-tube-1-2-oz.html

Top tip: Use a syringe with a proper injection needle, to inject a few drops into the bottom bearings of your furling gear. Or to get to your balls, of your traveler cars that is.

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download.webp

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On ‎4‎/‎1‎/‎2019 at 2:36 AM, Gouvernail said:

We found a couple brand new still sealed bottles of Doc Johnson Mood 100% silicone anal lube in a boat we were disposing of for a dead fellow's estate. Yes...he did die of complications from AIDS. The bottle said the primary ingredient was dimethcone.  The stuff was super slippery and water didn't rinse it away  so we used it on a few tutnbuckles  before we decided it was just too gross to carry a bottle of anal lube in the truck. It absolutely did work and when we had to take those same boats apart seven years later, nothing was frozen . The bottles said $9.99 and were about six ounces or so. Maybe it is a cheap source of great lubricant but I just can't bust out a bottle in front of a customer and start smearing it on his turnbuckles.  

People walking by my office staring at me howling at the computer screen just now.  I guess that's why we pay you the big bucks, Gouv.  On the other hand, that stuff might be useful when you're giving them a big repair bill. 

As for more mundane lubes...

I have a hair product-sized tube of Harken winch lube that I've had for close to 10 years.  It's been through winch maintenance on a couple boats.  It's not even close to halfway done.  Works fine on the gears.  I don't know why people say it's so expensive and they would have to go through tons of it.  The cost control secret is,  *YOU DON"T SLATHER IT ON LIKE WEAK BBQ SAUCE*  Nothing is more irritating than a winch gummed up with a half pound of hardened grease residue.  They only need a fairly thin reasonable layer on the teeth, enough so there are a couple little boogers of grease that aren't in the surface of the teeth, but I wouldn't put on any more than that.   The little fittings - the little springs, pawls and such - are fine with 3-in-1 oil or similar light machine oil.  They actually work better if they aren't gummed up with 90 weight. Seriously, they may actually spin easily by hand.   I have a tube of waterproof marine (lithium) grease that I bought years ago from an Advanced Auto for about $7.  It works on everything else that needs grease. 

McLube works on anything that you shouldn't gum up with a lot of lube.  We use it in the bottom of the TuffLuff, the mainsail bolt rope track, the clutch hinges and such, and on  all the blocks on deck, the mainsheet traveler, the vang, etc.  Sure, modern blocks don't *need* lubrication.  But they roll a little easier with some light lubrication and McLube doesn't attract dirt.  It's got a bunch of evaporating solvents in it but based on the MSDS, the lubricant is flouropolymers - something like Teflon dust.  Downside - it does turn things like sail boltropes dark after a while and it has limited service life, maybe a month before the lubricating qualities are worn out.  So once a month a crew member takes the Great Circle route around the boat and lubes every fitting.  We go through about two 12oz cans per year, at the exorbitant cost of $25.  I'll gladly pay that for easier operations on deck. 

BoeShield T-9 is nice for anything that tends to get corroded.  It cuts down - doesn't eliminate, cuts down - on the corrosion.  It also does not last very long when applied, maybe a couple or three months.  But if you have some stupidly designed moving part with mixed metals in close proximity, that you don't want to get gummed up with grease and dirt (lookin' at you, throttle cables) this might be the ticket. It's pretty expensive (other than in the gallon size) but there is only a limited number of places where it makes sense, so a can lasts a long time.  

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On 4/1/2019 at 4:30 AM, duncan (the other one) said:

careful lubing your balls.. they like to spin, not slide.

A friend who spent his career in the bearing industry said to not use Teflon lube on ball or roller bearings for that very reason - it is so slippery that the rollers skid instead of rolling.

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1 hour ago, Lex Teredo said:

  *YOU DON"T SLATHER IT ON LIKE WEAK BBQ SAUCE*  Nothing is more irritating than a winch gummed up with a half pound of hardened grease residue.  They only need a fairly thin reasonable layer on the teeth, enough so there are a couple little boogers of grease that aren't in the surface of the teeth, but I wouldn't put on any more than that.   The little fittings - the little springs, pawls and such - are fine with 3-in-1 oil or similar light machine oil.  They actually work better if they aren't gummed up with 90 weight. Seriously, they may actually spin easily by hand.   I have a tube of waterproof marine (lithium) grease that I bought years ago from an Advanced Auto for about $7.  It works on everything else that needs grease. 

White Lithium doesn't ever "gum up with a half pound of hardened grease residue". Even if the winches have been neglected they will rinse clean in solvent with maybe a little brush action.

I grease everything heavily, reassemble and rotate them several times then pop the drums off and wipe off any squeeze out. That gives the perfect amount of grease on everything - including pawls & springs - they never stick and Lithium clings much better & longer than machine oil.

If you use oil on winches you need to re-do it on a very short schedule.

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3 minutes ago, SloopJonB said:

White Lithium doesn't ever "gum up with a half pound of hardened grease residue". Even if the winches have been neglected they will rinse clean in solvent with maybe a little brush action.

I grease everything heavily, reassemble and rotate them several times then pop the drums off and wipe off any squeeze out. That gives the perfect amount of grease on everything - including pawls & springs - they never stick and Lithium clings much better & longer than machine oil.

If you use oil on winches you need to re-do it on a very short schedule.

Well, some kind of grease has gummed up winches that I've taken apart on boats I've bought. Hardened over-baked turds covered in failed varnish is how I would characterize the globs of grease I've scraped off badly serviced winch innards.  Scraped is really sort of a misnomer; that stuff usually requires a soaking in carb degreaser or kerosene and then scraping or brushing with a bronze wire brush to remove. 

And yes, light machine oil needs to be re-applied annually.  We race much more than cruise the boat and are happy to make that sacrifice to have freely spinning winches. 

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That gummed up grease turd is old OEM "winch" grease or things like water pump grease.

Try the white lithium - you'll never go back. You have to get the right kind though - the good stuff is a pale cream colour and has a texture like stiff yogurt.

I've seen another "white Lithium" grease that is amber and stiff - like wheel bearing grease - don't use it.

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I've recently discovered Cleaning Vinegar for penetrating or otherwise dealing with aluminium oxide - S/S & Al bonded together & so forth.

It's 10% strength VS the 5% of food vinegar. It's not magic but it sure works better than anything else I've tried on aluminum oxide.

Let it soak.

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This thread is the sort of thread that makes this forum must read useful. 

There must be a dozen “I gotta try thats”  above this post 

* vinegar... my wife soaks all kinds of nasty stuff off her greenhouse watering system’s parts . Why haven’t I tried it on screws stuck in forty  year old booms?? 

A near to subject thought: 

In our shop we have a GoJo dispenser,  a bottle of 90% rubbing alcohol, and rolls of paper towels nearby. We try them first for cleanup of any substance. It is amazing how much less often we use the much more toxic acetone. 

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11 hours ago, Gouvernail said:

This thread is the sort of thread that makes this forum must read useful. 

There must be a dozen “I gotta try thats”  above this post 

* vinegar... my wife soaks all kinds of nasty stuff off her greenhouse watering system’s parts . Why haven’t I tried it on screws stuck in forty  year old booms?? 

A near to subject thought: 

In our shop we have a GoJo dispenser,  a bottle of 90% rubbing alcohol, and rolls of paper towels nearby. We try them first for cleanup of any substance. It is amazing how much less often we use the much more toxic acetone. 

 

you can get 20% strength vinegar at  some landscape supply stores ( i would try the organic supply stores first)     the 90% rubbing alcohol is my cleaner of choice, after water and soap..  sometimes the dollar stores will carry it..

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Boe lube T9 for all running gear blocks extra.

Mclube does not work as well as T9 and does not stick around very long.

Light weight lithium for the winches used sparingly.

I dont like harken or lewmar winch grease it hardens over a short time.

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Kluberplex.  Absolutely the best stuff for winches.a little bit goes a long way. 

I found out what the Volvo boats used, tried it out and am a convert. I can push as many as 4000 hard miles out of one cleaning. 

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22 minutes ago, SloopJonB said:

$100 a cartridge?

I'll stick with my $5 cup of Lithium thanks.

Horse meat or Kobe. Take your pick. 

In this case, you do get what you pay for. 

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Superlube synthetic teflon grease!!   Use it for winches (Just like Lewmar does , with their brand name on the tube;))

Also great for turnbuckles , and stainless screws in aluminium , windset mini bearings .........is thixotropic , dialectric and waterproof so never dries out hard .

 

images.jpg

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Winches: Kluberplex - includes some kind of soap as well as a lubricant. I don't know why that matters, but it seems to last a year in a winch. Recommendation came from this forum and it works. Oil on the pawls, no grease.

Rig turnbuckles: Lanocote. Stinks like a melted sheep, but works well

Pretty much everything else: McLube

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23 minutes ago, Wet Spreaders said:

Winches: Kluberplex - includes some kind of soap as well as a lubricant. I don't know why that matters, but it seems to last a year in a winch. Recommendation came from this forum and it works. Oil on the pawls, no grease.

Rig turnbuckles: Lanocote. Stinks like a melted sheep, but works well

Pretty much everything else: McLube

Grease is oil suspended in soap. OK, oversimplified, but don't be surprised to find that most greases list some form of soap as the emulsifying agent.

Oh, and don't forget Tefgel. Works well on turnbuckles and that clutch-nut that always seizes on your anchor windlass.

Agree that lanolin is useful stuff.

I'm trialling beeswax on my stack pack zipper. So far, so good. Cheap, tenacious and effective.

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5 hours ago, Rail Meat said:

Horse meat or Kobe. Take your pick.

More like filet for $5 or Kobe for $100.

I've used white lithium for my winches for 40 years and never had so much as a pawl spring break.

How much better can you get?

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2 hours ago, Adlon said:

Superlube synthetic teflon grease!!   Use it for winches (Just like Lewmar does , with their brand name on the tube;))

Also great for turnbuckles , and stainless screws in aluminium , windset mini bearings .........is thixotropic , dialectric and waterproof so never dries out hard .

 

images.jpg

Read post #15 about using Teflon grease on roller & ball bearings.

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1 hour ago, seabell said:

Grease is oil suspended in soap. OK, oversimplified, but don't be surprised to find that most greases list some form of soap as the emulsifying agent.

eg:

Typical Physical Characteristics

NLGI Consistency 1,5

Colour Light Brown

Soap Type Calcium

Base Oil (type)Part Synthetic

Kinematic [email protected] 40°C mm2/s 100°C mm2/S (ISO 3104)13,0 3,0

Cone Penetration
Worked @ 25°C 0.1mm (IP 50/ASTM-D217)300

Dropping Point °C (IP 396)145

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8 hours ago, weightless said:

I rate it about 1.5 Austens on the normalized soporific scale.

Nickle sez you bookmarked it cuz you'll be checking back when feeling less smug. This is wisdom for the ages unless yer a young guy. 

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Kluberplex AG 11-462

Article number 039091-037

They sell it in Aerosol form and a tub. Get the tub - the aerosol version is not as effective. 

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A kilo will last you and your 10 closest friends the rest of your sailing life.  But I don't think that they sell it in smaller containers so maybe find a friend or three to go in with on it.  Or if you are in the Mystic area let me know and I can gift you enough to get through a few seasons.  

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5 hours ago, Rail Meat said:

A kilo will last you and your 10 closest friends the rest of your sailing life.  But I don't think that they sell it in smaller containers so maybe find a friend or three to go in with on it.  Or if you are in the Mystic area let me know and I can gift you enough to get through a few seasons.  

I'll be in Mystic in a month. Do you think they will let me take it back on the plane to AU? I could seriously confuse the TSA guys when I bring a mystery tub of grease along with a bottle of Gouvernail's Anal Lube in my carry on bag. 

I'll meet you down at the Packer on May 5th for a pint.

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14 hours ago, CaptainAhab said:

I'll be in Mystic in a month. Do you think they will let me take it back on the plane to AU? I could seriously confuse the TSA guys when I bring a mystery tub of grease along with a bottle of Gouvernail's Anal Lube in my carry on bag. 

I'll meet you down at the Packer on May 5th for a pint.

Happy to meet you at DPI for a pint on the 5th and to pass off a TSA suitable amount of Klublerplex. Let me know a time.  Feel free to leave Gouvernail's alternative-use product at your hotel. 

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