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Thread: Wax on chains

  1. #1
    Senior Member Rodney Crater's Avatar
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    A friend of mine told me how he dips his chain in wax rather than oiling it. I was wondering if bee's wax would work also so that I am not using an petroleum oil based product.
    Last edited by Rodney Crater; 09-16-05 at 10:11 AM. Reason: clarification

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    My bike's better than me! neil0502's Avatar
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    You may want to search this forum for wax, chain lubrication, lube, lubrication, oiling, etc., etc.

    Chain lube is really personal preference. Many, many things work well. If you keep your chain rather clean and lubed regularly (weekly/after any rainy ride), you'll do a pretty good job.

    Searching the forum should yield more info than you could possibly ever process

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    Senior Member Rodney Crater's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by neil0502
    You may want to search this forum for wax, chain lubrication, lube, lubrication, oiling, etc., etc. ... Searching the forum should yield more info than you could possibly ever process
    Yes, of course. You are correct. I should have searched before jumping. Thanks

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    8speed DinoSORAs Ed Holland's Avatar
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    I will venture castor oil as a great chain lube that is non petroleum based. My experience is 9 months running (regular cleaning), from new on an SRAM PC-68 chain that now has 2000 miles on it. I am unable to detect any wear.

    The other poster is also correct - this subject has been covered many many times...

    Cheers,

    Ed
    Get a bicycle. You will certainly not regret it, if you live.

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    Senior Curmudgeon FarHorizon's Avatar
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    Aint quick-disconnect links (like the Connex) GREAT for chain maintenance? With the quick-connect, I don't have to break the chain with a chain tool to clean it! Just quick disconnect, dump the chain in a wide-mouth jar with degreaser, shake, dry, reattach and lube . The quick links make chain maintenance doable on a MUCH more frequent schedule. I'm changing EVERY chain I've got to a quick link chain. You?

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    Using wax on a chain is not new -- but it is a lot of work.

    You first need to remove the chain an clean it Then you put the wax in a can and heat it to melt it.
    This can be dangerous since wax is flamable.

    When the wax is melted, drop the chain in the wax and let it soak for a few mniutes. Then remove it
    and hang it up and let it dry and let the excess way drip off.

    I supose you could use beeswax, but I just used some cheap candles.

    If you want a wax lubricant, you can also use something like White Lightening. It's certainly a lot easier.

    BikePro

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    If for some strange reason you want to use nothing but wax don't use just plain wax because plain wax will last about 100 miles then your doing the wax ritual all over again. You need to add about 3 tablespoons of teflon into the paraffin wax and heat both in a can together till it melts. BUT DO NOT just place the chain and wax mixture on heat...think about this, does KABOOM come to mind? AND NEVER LEAVE the wax unintended! To safely heat this mixture, get a pan that is large enough for the can to sit in. Put an inch or two of water in the pan and place the can in the center. Now the wax will not exceed 100C unless the water boils off. Place this on your heat source, using just enough heat to start the water boiling and then turn it down a bit. After the wax has completely mixed with the oil, take it off the burner and let it solidify. There should be enough wax in the can to completely cover a chain. When the wax is hard, rub your finger on the surface, it should feel greasy. If it doesn't, add a little more of the engine treatment.

    Put the chain on top of the wax and set it into the pan of water again and bring the water to a boil. DO NOT leave the wax unattended. Once the wax has completely melted, stir the chain occasionally to get the wax between all of the parts and remove remaining dirt. Let it cook for at least 15 minutes, the metal has to reach the same temperature as the wax for the wax to bond.

    Remove the chain from the wax with a pair of plyers, be careful, it's HOT! Hang the chain above a plastic bag or outside, wax will be dripping until it solidifies. Some people wipe the excess wax off, it will fall off when you use the chain anyway.

    Now you did all that work and the your new wax treatment might last 300-400 miles before you have to redo it, and you redo it as soon as you hear chain squeeks or noises. But the chain still will have more friction and will not last as long as a chain treated with lube in a bottle already with teflon in it like Finish Line Teflon Dry Plus. With Finish Line you don't have to cook it, just clean the chain a apply one drop to each link and let set for 12 hours and ride.

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    Senior Member Rodney Crater's Avatar
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    Thank you all for your help. It was greatly appreciated.

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    Deported by koffee allgoo19's Avatar
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    I had tried one of those wax dip long time ago. Not worth another try. It has very short service life, within a couple of days chain start making noise as if it has no lubricant. It's still better than white Lightning which lasts only an hour so of riding.

    My take is that because wax is solid at normal temperature, when it strips off the surface of the metal, no wax will fill in between the metal unlike liquid lubricant. If anybody believes the wax would be absorbed by the metal as the instruction says, they are living in the dream land.

    Too much work for no result. I would doubt that anybody use it regularly.

  10. #10
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Have used the 'hot wax' method for 30+ years. It works.
    However, wax will not 'penetrate' metal chainlinks (neither will oil) but it will penetrate the spaces (in its liquified form) between the roller pins of the chain. That is where you need lubrication.
    Living in very dry Arizona has its advantages; will easily get 4,000+ miles off the chain before having to re-wax. In wetter climates, you'll need to do this more often.
    I do my chain cooking outside on a one-burner electric hotplate. Pre-clean chain. Put block of canning wax in big coffee can and heat; drop chain in. After it gets about 5 to 10 minutes in the liquified wax, remove chain utilizing long handled pliers. Hang chain to drip, put newspaper (or whatever) under the dripping chain. Wipe down chain with rag after it cools. Re-install chain. For a couple days you may have dark flakes of wax on your chainstay. No problem.
    Result: a very clean-to-the-touch chain (leaves no greasy marks on hands) and above all: a noiseless chain.
    Works for us!
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    Zonatandem; I don't want to cause a riff but I lived in the Mojave Desert of So. Calif and hot wax with teflon added would not last 400 miles not alone 4,000 as you stated before having to rewax; and plain hot wax WITHOUT teflon last only about 100 miles if your lucky, and your post sounded like it was just plain wax not teflon treated wax. I'm sorry but your full of hot wax!

  12. #12
    Frosted Flake
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    Quote Originally Posted by allgoo19
    It's still better than white Lightning which lasts only an hour so of riding.
    Only good for an hour?? I've never had squeaks yet, and I usually only re-lube every 300-400 miles.
    It's either old age or I need more suspension...

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    Old british books use to say to use Paraffin .So many Yanks melted wax and dipped their chains---only problem was Paraffin in England is Karosene in the USA!Clean and dip you chain in Coal oil(Karosene)Let drip and wipe dry.Then burn your candle at both ends---sam

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    Quote Originally Posted by frameteam2003
    Old british books use to say to use Paraffin .So many Yanks melted wax and dipped their chains---only problem was Paraffin in England is Karosene in the USA!Clean and dip you chain in Coal oil(Karosene)Let drip and wipe dry.Then burn your candle at both ends---sam
    UHH? The word kerosene (you misspelled it by the way) and paraffin are the SAME word and the same stuff! In fact originally the Greek word for wax was Keros. BUT we here in the US have since dropped the word kerosene when used with wax and went with the British word paraffin when the first jet engines were made so the words would not get confused with each other. I'm not sure if the use of kerosene and paraffin was seperated when jet engines first were made, but that's as far back as I could find when the words were seperated.
    Last edited by froze; 09-18-05 at 08:13 AM.

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    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    Grant Peterson published instructions for lubricating chains with paraffin in the 1992 Bridgestone catalog:

    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/bridgestone/1992/1992.pdf

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    Senior Member af895's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by froze
    UHH? The word kerosene (you misspelled it by the way) and paraffin are the SAME word and the same stuff! In fact originally the Greek word for wax was Keros. BUT we here in the US have since dropped the word kerosene when used with wax and went with the British word paraffin when the first jet engines were made so the words would not get confused with each other. I'm not sure if the use of kerosene and paraffin was seperated when jet engines first were made, but that's as far back as I could find when the words were seperated.

    So, how come I have a bunch of "paraffin" tea-light candles here (clearly a solid at room temperature) and a drum of kerosene in my garage used for the emergency space heater?

    Aviation diesel fuel is basically high-grade kerosene. I don't really feel good about trying to fill my plane with tea-lights though...

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    Quote Originally Posted by af895
    So, how come I have a bunch of "paraffin" tea-light candles here (clearly a solid at room temperature) and a drum of kerosene in my garage used for the emergency space heater?

    Aviation diesel fuel is basically high-grade kerosene. I don't really feel good about trying to fill my plane with tea-lights though...
    Hey I'm no scientist! so I can't tell you why that paraffin is solid and kerosene is liquid, but at one time kerosene was the same word used for wax, that's why the Greek word for wax was keros, how all that got switched around in the slushing of languages over the last 2,000+ years is beyond me!

    If you fill your plane with tea-lights just think how tranquil that will be!

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    Perineal Pressurized dobber's Avatar
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    Paraffin Oil (kerosene to us outside the UK and South Africa)
    Parrafin Wax, that which we buy at Bed, Bath & Beyond.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paraffin
    This is Africa, 1943. War spits out its violence overhead and the sandy graveyard swallows it up. Her name is King Nine, B-25, medium bomber, Twelfth Air Force. On a hot, still morning she took off from Tunisia to bomb the southern tip of Italy. An errant piece of flak tore a hole in a wing tank and, like a wounded bird, this is where she landed, not to return on this day, or any other day.

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    The Rabbi seely's Avatar
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    How about just using T9 Boeshield? Its got wax in it, and there is no need to go through any hassle. Just apply it AFTER your ride and wipe off as much as possible, and your chain is clean and ready go to for next time with a thin coat of wax.
    commuter turned bike mechanic turned commuter (also a Velocity USA employee, but this is my personal account)

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    Senior Member robo's Avatar
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    Kerosene (the liquid) is an incredible degreaser. You can throw your chain in a jar of kerosene, shake it around, and the dirt will just fly off. Pull the chain out, and it's sparkling.

    Never actually tried the hot wax chain thing, but the OP mentioned beeswax. I think beeswax would be a bad idea.. it's much stickier than paraffin wax. It's better as a thread locker than as a lubricant.

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    Deported by koffee allgoo19's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seely
    How about just using T9 Boeshield? Its got wax in it, and there is no need to go through any hassle. Just apply it AFTER your ride and wipe off as much as possible, and your chain is clean and ready go to for next time with a thin coat of wax.
    How about just using WD-40?

    It works the same way, there is no need to go through any hassle. You only have to re-do it every two weeks or even less often.

  22. #22
    contrarian lala's Avatar
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    There are non-petroleum based lubes available.
    Higher ground for the apocalypse!

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    Quote Originally Posted by allgoo19
    How about just using WD-40?

    It works the same way, there is no need to go through any hassle. You only have to re-do it every two weeks or even less often.
    WD40 IS NOT a lubricant, it's a Water Displacer, note the letters WD in WD40? Once the water is displaced and the WD40 has evaporated then you apply a lubricant.

    Wax based lubes do not last, usually around 65 to 75 miles and the chain will start to make noise, and of course where there is noise there is rapid wear going on. Any of the other non-wax based lubes though are all good. I personally use Finish Line Teflon Dry Plus and I think it ranks right up there with the best lubes on the market for bike chains.

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    The Rabbi seely's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by froze
    Wax based lubes do not last, usually around 65 to 75 miles and the chain will start to make noise, and of course where there is noise there is rapid wear going on. Any of the other non-wax based lubes though are all good. I personally use Finish Line Teflon Dry Plus and I think it ranks right up there with the best lubes on the market for bike chains.
    So not true. T9 Boeshield if applied properly outlasts ANY teflon lubricant (I have used nearly every single on available) by about 3-4x. I rode through a torrential rainstorm on a 3 day tour, for about 4.5hrs on one day, and my chain was whisper quiet the rest of the ride, not to mention perfectly clean. White Lightning is probably the worst "lube" I have ever used, but Boeshield is an entirely different animal. I have a nearly full can of Finish Line Dry Plus that gets used to lubricate hinges around the house now.
    commuter turned bike mechanic turned commuter (also a Velocity USA employee, but this is my personal account)

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    Your only half right about the T9 Bioshield; your right about it's "probably" the best for wet and muddy conditions, but for dry conditions Teflon lubes are superior in antifriction. Bioshield will have more friction on the drivelined then Finish Line Teflon Plus will have...BUT, will you notice it? maybe not but I can! I noticed a smoother free moving driveline using Finish Line Teflon Plus over any other product I've ever tried including T-9. BUT, if I was going to do a lot of riding in the rain, mud, or snow then you bet T-9 all the way; I use it on my mtb when ever it's going to be a wet ride; but with wider tires, wet conditions, etc, speed isn't necessary thus friction is not an issue.

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