A few weeks ago I received an email through the “Contact Me” tab at the top of my blog’s home page. The person claimed that they “have a point of view that would be very valuable to you and your findings,” regarding my FrogLube/Track Lube/Seal 1 testing. A few follow up emails and a phone call later, I got quite a bit more than I had first expected.
The source requested to remain anonymous, and they have very good reason for that. They took a bit of a risk reaching out to me, and I will respect their privacy by not disclosing much, other than to say that they are VERY close to all of the companies involved in the FrogLube/Track Lube/Seal 1 test. He told me that he saw the testing I did and that I “came the closest…” and seemed the most unbiased of all the blogs he’s read, so I guess I’m doing something right here.
Before I continue, I’d like to make it perfectly clear that what follows is what I was told. I tried to check facts, but without sources in the firearms and lubricant industries I have no way to be completely sure any of this information is completely true, but I have yet to see anything that would prove otherwise. If anything seems a bit biased, that’s because it probably is to some extent. I only got one side of the story so far, so I’m just passing on what I was told. I was trying to type word for word what I was told, so I’ll use as many direct quotes as I can. Anyway, here we go…
The phone call started with a quick introduction. My source said that “there’s a lot of rumors that I’m sick and tired of trying to answer,” so he hoped that I could help get this story out there. He laid out a timeline of events between FrogLube and Seal 1 going back to the 1970s. Scott Lee, the current director of sales and operations at Seal 1, has had family in the lubricant business since the 70s, when his father started a company called Ox-Yoke Originals. After making a variety of products (yes, including yokes for oxen), he decided to get into the firearms business by making patches for black powder firearms. Scott Lee became the VP of Ox-Yoke in the 1980s, during which time the company saw rapid growth. He eventually patented a product called “Wonder Lube,” a bio based paste for black powder guns, which he sold in a variety of products including pre-soaked “Wonder Wad” patches.
Eventually Ox-Yoke Originals became the OEM for several companies, including big names like Thompson Center Arms. According to my source, they made “every single bullet and lube” for TC, including Super Lube, #13 Bore Cleaner, Natural Lube 1000+, Gorilla Grease, and T-17 Natural Lube plus. One company that they OEMed for was Traditions, and eventually Ox-Yoke would be sold to RMC, the owner of Traditions.
After Ox-Yoke, Scott Lee went to work for Sugarloaf Ski Resort, where he got the idea to sell lubricants to amusement parks and other places that needed industrial lubricants (you know, like places with ski lifts). The natural lubricant he had developed got colored blue and Track Lube was born. The product was sold to Two Dogs Inc, and as far as I can tell that company still owns the trademark for Track Lube Plus. It’s interesting to note that the “Plus” is found on many products that Scott Lee created, up to and including Seal 1 products. I was told that Scott Lee holds the trademark for CLP+ and CLP Plus, and uses the “plus” to identify products based on his formula.
Following selling Track Lube, Scott Lee wanted to get back into the firearms business, something he had not done since selling Ox-Yoke Originals. Scott was approached by Larry Lasky, the current president of FrogLube. A deal was struck that Scott Lee would manufacture his formula solely for FrogLube, but FrogLube couldn’t sell other products outside of Scott Lee’s lineup. Some time around 2013 Mr. Lasky met with the owners of Track Lube. He wanted to manufacture Wonder Lube (the same or extremely similar formula to the products FrogLube sold at the time) for a lower cost, thus cutting Mr. Lee out of the picture and saving himself money. Unfortunately for Mr. Lasky, he never owned the formula for the product he sold, Scott Lee did.
I was told that Lantac Tactical put up the money for FrogLube to go with a “direct from the manufacturer” approach in order to increase profits. In addition to cutting Scott Lee out of the company, FrogLube also cut out several other individuals and most or all of their distributors, including former Navy Seal Dwight Settle and Axelson Tactical (yes, the family of that Axelson), FrogLube’s primary west coast distributor at the time. As my source put it, that’s “one thing (Scott Lee) has never done since the 80s. (Scott) won’t go direct to the public.”
Scott Lee and his family went on to start Seal 1, selling the same products he had manufactured for FrogLube, but under a different name. In 2012 FrogLube sued Seal 1, although eventually the lawsuit was dismissed with prejudice (legal term for the plaintiff not really having a legitimate argument for the suit).I was told that since the lawsuit ended in 2015, Seal 1 has grown tremendously.
And now we’re all caught up to the present time. Like I said, this is the story as I was told. I believe all good (and some not so good) stories have two sides, so I’m curious to hear FrogLube’s side of the story before I make any solid conclusions. What I do know is that since 2012, FrogLube has not been using the same formula they started with. Lots of posts I’ve seen online can confirm that product performance decreased around the time Scott Lee “left” FrogLube. I have been told that since that time FrogLube has gotten ever closer to replicating the original formula that Scott Lee created, and my most recent testing shows that they are very close indeed. As my source put it, “That’s one thing that they (FrogLube) don’t want you to know. All their formulations are derived from Scott Lee… FrogLube never knew what was in the original formula.” This suggestion seems to be true, since FrogLube went from being an all in one cleaner and lubricant seen HERE, to having a product line that includes solvents to clean your guns before application of the lubricant.
Like I learned in high school history class, you can say whatever you want, but be prepared to back it up with facts. So, in addition to the story, my source also sent me some supporting evidence. First off, remember how I said Scott Lee owns the trademark for CLP Plus? It looks like FrogLube used that trademark a while back. In addition, Scott Lee’s company S&K Unlimited (Scott and Kathie, his wife) is listed as the manufacturer of Track Lube on an old MSDS sheet. So that connects Scott Lee to both FrogLube and Tack Lube.
Finally, and probably most importantly, want to see a picture of Larry Lasky signing the FrogLube contract with Scott Lee? Well here’s three of them. I realize the quality isn’t the best, but it’s what my source could get for me, so I’m not complaining.
When I asked why my source decided to come forward with this story now, he changed tone. What was previously very factual and straightforward seemed to have suddenly taken on a very personal tone. He told me that “This SHOT show made me realize I need to try to make this story known. When you came out and tried to make it known how similar things are…” After trailing off he went on to state that since the failed lawsuit with FrogLube and Seal 1 things have been different. While he was careful to avoid any details, he hinted that there may have been some vague threats against the Lee and Axelson families, but did not clarify if they were stated directly or just implied.
My source said that he was just “trying to be a good Christian man,” and move on after the issues he had seen in the industry. From what he had seen he told me that Scott Lee and family were doing the same. Despite all the issues, lawsuits, and business fallouts that had happened he told me in no uncertain terms, “I want (Scott Lee’s) story to be out there.” Well, I hope he reads this and likes it.
Before hanging up he told me that he was glad I agreed to share the story, but that he wasn’t going to me exclusively with it. He said he would wait a few weeks, as he figured I would tell it with the least bias, but then he was going to share it with others. I appreciate the opportunity, and I hope he does so. While I can tell a story, I don’t have the connections and inside sources that some people do, so I’d love to see others fact check this and make sure I didn’t miss anything. If anyone has any more information to add to this story, or if I missed anything, please let me know.
Finally, I offered to send a draft of this post to my source so he could read it over before it went public, but he declined. He said that’s why he wanted me to tell it, because nobody was paying me. Apparently honesty is hard to come by these days…
For those of you wondering, I’ve never been a fan of FrogLube, or any other lubricants that required some special application process. I have used FireClean, but will likely never buy more after their failed PR response to my testing. As for Seal 1, I’m not the biggest fan of them either. My source indicated that it was a natural “bio based” product, yet in this post on The Firearm Blog they claim it has no vegetable-based esters in it. My testing showed that Seal 1 is triglyceride based, and that means lots of esters. Even if they have some loophole because their product isn’t “plant based,” an ester is still an ester. Being purified from a plant won’t make an ester polymerize any more or less than a synthetic ester. Claims like that are why I don’t plan to buy Seal 1. It may be a good product, but I don’t like marketing claims that rely on an uneducated consumer or technical loophole in the wording.