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  1. #1
    Senior Member JOHN J's Avatar
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    Home grown wax lube.

    good snowy morning ,

    I may not be the only one to do this but I thought Id share what I did.

    I installed new chains on two of the bikes, I decided to try white lightning esp on my commute machine cuz I hate getting black crap all over me when I break down.

    I picked up a 8oz bottle of white lightning at a LBS. typical LBS gouging at $16.95!!! ($2.11 per oz) well it looked like plain old paraffin wax after it dried and the solvent (carrier fluid) smelled like , felt like miniral spirits.

    seeing I used $ 6-7 dollars worth of the stuff on just one of the new chains I decided to see if I could do a home brew. this stuff would be costly having to re -apply every few rides or so.


    HMM I looked on the internet and miniral spirits is the prefered solvent for wax, many "Good housekeeping" type sites say use miniral spirits to clean up crayon marks (a wax)

    LONG STORY SHORTER

    I purchased a can of miniral spirits and melted a bunch of Tea light candles that My wife had (plain non scented ) remove wick and the small metal piece on bottom. You can also By paraffin at lots of places.

    when the wax was melted I poured it into the minral spirits that I put into an old water bottle.

    I shook the daylights out of the mix and then tried it.

    IF YOU LIKE Brand X Try ours!!!

    My home brew Applies the same , Looks the same, , smells darn close and didnt cost squat to make I made 20 or so OZ for maybe $3.50

    This morning I checked the other new chain that I used my home brew on and it was stuck to the chain , Dry , waxy and white!!

    shoot you can add custom colors to match your bike (only kidding) you can also play with the viscocity
    and try a thinner or thicker mix, and perhaps add some other agents.

    Have a great day

    "John"
    Last edited by JOHN J; 03-15-06 at 11:47 AM.
    "No matter how hard the past you can always begin again today" Budda

    "The best way out is always Through" Robert Frost

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    John,

    I took a look at White Lighning and the mineral spirits info on google and you may well have it. If you dont mind, please post a follow-up and let us know how it goes. Very good idea if it does in fact work. I may try it myself. Also, can you give me an idea of the qualtities of each that you used?

  3. #3
    darling no baka landstander's Avatar
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    Just out of curiosity, what was the approximate ratio of mineral spirits to paraffin (half and half, 2:1, etc.)?
    Dragon... ATTACK!

  4. #4
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    The white lightening product has a precipitate (material that settles out) and requires shaking before applying. Is yours a solution with no material at the bottom?

  5. #5
    Senior Member JOHN J's Avatar
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    hELLO AGAIN.

    I may do up another batch and control the quantities. I winged it last night and all was ok

    I used aprox 1/2 - 3/4 ?? cup of wax chunks to a water bottle full of miniral spirit.. I melted then poured wax into the miniral spirits.

    the beauty was last night that I could dilute or add either way any time..

    I ended up using a fairly thick solution (a little thinner would probably be better) and then wiped the chain. the application looks very good.

    i'll do a bit more playing with it and let you know, but again its such an easy mix that it doesnt realy matter if its the same consistancy.

    its temprimental and you need to shake the P-ss out of it every time/ and often while you use it.

    looks like a winner to me, may not be right on but not bad,


    "John"
    Last edited by JOHN J; 03-15-06 at 11:56 AM.
    "No matter how hard the past you can always begin again today" Budda

    "The best way out is always Through" Robert Frost

  6. #6
    Senior Member JOHN J's Avatar
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    Hello Foxden,

    It appears that it does settle out. Like I mentioned above I do have to shake the devil out of it to mix it all up very often.

    Ill know more tonight when I see what the mix looks like.

    I may be missing somthing but it looks good so far. I may add a drop of dry teflon lube as that might get ecapsulated by the wax but will allow seperation if disturbed by a dirt particle if dirt breaks the wax open????

    "John"
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  7. #7
    Senior Member toolboy's Avatar
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    In my day young fella (codger talk!) we used to clean our chains in solvent and then dip them in straight melted paraffin. Used to work very well until the cold weather (as in 32F) came at which point the chain got pretty stiff! I like your new variation on an old theme - might try it.

  8. #8
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    I thought white lightening is a teflon-based lubricant.

  9. #9
    Senior Member FRANKIEJ's Avatar
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    I tried making this concoction this morning. After shaking and shaking the solution, it still looked like mineral spirits with tiny flakes of wax floating in it. It didn't seem to me like it would penetrate into the deep, dark nooks n' crannies of the chain where it is needed.

    I took a pot and filled it up with water, put it on the stove and heated it up quite hot, but not boiling (small bubbles starting to form on the bottom). I took my bottle of chain hooch and held it in the water , stirring it around, and being careful not to touch the bottom or sides, lest I risk a bottle rupture (imagine the truss you'd have to wear for that one).

    The brew heated up quickly and the flakes dissappeared, leaving me with a crystal clear mixture. I shook the bottle some during the cooling process, and it became a milky, cloudy liquid, still quite viscous, with no flakes. It looks like something that will penatrate quite well and get the wax where it needs to be.

    I have not tried this mixture, so this may be nothing more than conjecture and I may be wasting my time and yours, but it looks promising. Also, I would imagine that using any solvent around open flames to be quite dangerous. As the potential for singed eyebrows is high, take considerable care.

  10. #10
    Senior Member FRANKIEJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FRANKIEJ
    and it became a milky, cloudy liquid, still quite viscous, with no flakes. It looks like something that will penatrate quite well and get the wax where it needs to be.
    Sorry, I mis-typed. It should have read "it became a milky, cloudy liquid, still quite viscous, with no flakes. It looks like something that, with additional thinning will penatrate quite well and get the wax where it needs to be." I think I got the wax to thinner ratio off and it was too thick. I will thin it more and give it a go on a real live chain tomorrow, but the heating really combines the mix well.

  11. #11
    Senior Member JOHN J's Avatar
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    HEY FRANKIEJ.

    I actually heated up my wax first in a metal pot and then poured it into the Miniral spirits.

    I tried just putting wax into the spirits but it it took much too long to disolve so I decided to do the heat trick.

    overall my mix looks ok and the chain looked darn good this morning after another test application.

    My basement is chilly 50 deg (upstate ny) so the homemade stuff was a bit clammy this morning but after some heavy shaking it poured pretty good, not quite as good as the brand name but close.

    I think if I nuked it a touch it would be smoother and flow better but even in my 50 deg basement it worked fine.

    .

    "John"
    "No matter how hard the past you can always begin again today" Budda

    "The best way out is always Through" Robert Frost

  12. #12
    Senior Member FRANKIEJ's Avatar
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    Yeah, thats what I done too. I melted the wax(btw I used the parrafin wax sold in the home canning section at the grocery store), then put it in the mineral spirits, and it didn't seem to combine well. Then I heated the wax/ms mix and it combined quite well, at least for me. By the way, I forgot to thank you for the great idea in your original post. I am a cheapskate with some things, and chain lube is one of them. I've been using the synthetic oil/mineral spirits for some time now and love it. This wax based lube opens up a whole other avenue

  13. #13
    Senior Member ken cummings's Avatar
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    It is minEral spirits. Sounds more like you have a Sol or fine suspension rather than a true solution. Someone try MEK or real White Lightning (Everclear). Far more flammable but would dry faster. I would skip nuking the mix. Even a trace of water could boil rapidly enough to spray a parafin/spirits mix into the guts of the microwave triggering a real explosion.
    This space open

  14. #14
    Senior Member spunkyruss's Avatar
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    This homebrew got me wondering about what's in White Lightning. The product packaging doesn't mention teflon, but I doubted that it was merely parafin and mineral spirits. I googled my ass off, but I couldn't find an MSDS for White Lightning. I was just about to give up, but then I remembered that everything you ever wanted to know about a patent is available on the US Patent and Trade Office website.

    I searched the three patents listed on White Lightning's product packaging (i.e., 5,472,625, 5,670,463, and 5,885,947). I also found a fourth patent number incorrectly listed on the White Lightning website (two digits are transposed), and eventually arrived at the correct patent number of 5,898,022.

    The patent links above contain a TON of information and starting points for a homebrew. The bottom line is that the mineral spirits-parafin homebrew is lacking any means of producing the shedding action that White Lightining adherents swear by. The key ingredient is a bond weakening agent, such as Teflon or a metallic soap.

  15. #15
    Senior Member FRANKIEJ's Avatar
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    Thanks for the links spunkyruss. Very interesting reading. I seen mention of the use of naptha in the patent office website and tried that because it seemed the mineral spirits weren't drying fast enough to suit me and remaining gloppy. The naptha improved that. It evaporates quickly and seems to keep the wax suspended in the mixture better than the ms. As you mentioned it doesn't really seem to want to shed the crud away. It seems to really get the gunk off of the chain (the mixture becomes quite black very quickly with all the dirt from the chain suspended in it), but it doesn't want to flake off, just kind of staying coated on the chain. I've never used white lightning (I am an excessively cheap s.o.b.) so I've nothing to compare it to, but given the description of the products function that I've come across, this stuff leaves a bit to be desired without a bit more tweaking. I wonder what you'd use for the soap that is referred to in the patent?

    Another problem I'm running into is it is still quite cool around here (Indiana) and I've been having the stuff kind of glop up without flowing where it needs to be as soon as it hits a cold chain. I have also read that wl is not a good cold weather performer either, so I may put this mix on hiatus 'till warmer days roll around.As I'm an excessively cheap s.o.b. (as previously mentioned), I am not giving up on this stuff.

    As another aside, I am a devout user of the 3:1 mineral spirits/synthetic motor oil chain lube. I am going to try a batch with the naptha in place of the mineral spirits, as I think the quicker evaporation rate will be superior to ms.

  16. #16
    crusty jbrians's Avatar
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    so will blowing up your house....that's really useful!!
    Around and around we go!

  17. #17
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    hi, first time posting here this thread got me to register i am also a cheapskate. maybe carnuba wax would aid in shedding the dirt. also why not dilute some car wax. there are probably endless possibilities i'll never pay for chain lube again.

  18. #18
    Senior Member JOHN J's Avatar
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    I agree TWEEKING IS NEEDED.

    My first batch was ok but when I adjusted the first batch it went south ! I also find Like you the miniral spirits doesnt dry fast enough.

    I added some teflon to see if it would help with the dirt thing.

    more experimenting for sure (thats the fun part).

    maybe MEK or an alcohol may be in order. WL is pretty darn good but $$$, hence trying to do a home brew. naptha mek ???

    keep at the drawing board I guess.

    YA never Know.

    "John"
    "No matter how hard the past you can always begin again today" Budda

    "The best way out is always Through" Robert Frost

  19. #19
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jbrians
    so will blowing up your house....that's really useful!!
    Absolutely! Gentlemen, mineral spirits is a petroleum distillate with a boiling point of around 300F, a flash point of around 100F and an explosion limit of less than 6%. Waxes used for candles have had their melt points raised by the addition of various substances to around 275F. Once the wax melts, the temperature will naturally increase towards the boiling point of the wax, which is much higher. Assuming that you don't have control over the temperature of the wax, or at least you aren't measuring it, the temperature of the wax could be anywhere from 275F on up, the point being that you could be well over the boiling point of the mineral spirits. At the point where you pour your wax into the mineral spirits, you now have a pot of boiling mineral spirits, well over the flash point and vapor coming off it that will fill a room rather quickly with an explosive mixture of air and petroleum distillate.

    As a chemist, I have worked with materials that have a low flash point but I do it in a hood designed to remove vapors to keep from forming explosive mixtures. I also have special glassware that keeps the material contained and under control. I also have temperature controls so that I can control the distillation. I have also spent years in training so that I know how to handle potentially dangerous compounds.

    That said, I would never, in my wildest dreams, pour a wax that is well past the flash point and the boiling point of mineral spirits into the mineral spirits! You might get away with it once or even several times but eventually, you are going to either set your house on fire or, at the very least, set yourselves on fire!

    Here as the MSDS's on both paraffin and mineral spirits. There are differences to the mixtures and materials you are using but they are minor.

    http://physchem.ox.ac.uk/MSDS/PA/paraffin.html

    http://ptcl.chem.ox.ac.uk/MSDS/WH/white_spirits.html

    If you wish to continue making your own homebrew, feel free but stop the practice of melting the wax. It is silly, dangerous and unnecessary. Here's why:

    1. The wax will dissolve in the mineral spirits. You will not be able to see how much because the solution (a homogeneous mixture) will be clear and colorless.

    2. There is a limit to how much wax will dissolve in the mineral spirits. It's called a solubility limit. Once you have reached that limit, no matter how much more wax you put in the container, no more wax can go into the mineral spirits. Think of it as a hotel. When the solubility limit is reached all of the rooms are full. If more guests show up, they just have to wait in the lobby. They can't go into any of the rooms.

    3. Heating the mixture may increase the solubility limit slightly...the rooms are made larger, to continue the analogy, so a few more people can be shoved in. But when the mixture cools down, the rooms shrink and the extra guests are shoved out.

    Here's what I suggest, if you want to continue.

    1. Shave the wax so that it is in small, thin pieces.

    2. Put some of this wax in a colorless bottle or jar with a tight lid so that you can see what is going on and add mineral spirits. Keep the volumes to a small as you can. You don't need to be doing bucket chemistry!

    3. Close the bottle and shake it vigorously. If the wax all dissolves, add more. If the wax doesn't dissolve, let it stand overnight and add more if it's all in solution, i.e. gone, in the morning. Keep adding a little more at a time until no more of the wax appears to go into solution. At this point the solution is said to be saturated - all the rooms are full.

    4. Transfer, with adequate ventilation (do it outside!), into your prefered delivery device, aka a squeeze bottle and use it.

    5. If you want to be scientific about it, keep track of the volume of mineral spirits and the weight of the wax so that you know how much to use next time.

    6. Go down to the bike shop and buy a bottle of White Lightning because after all this time and effort you have now spent, roughly, 10 times the $2.11/oz price of the lubricant and you have something that doesn't work half as well
    Stuart Black
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  20. #20
    Senior Member Scorer75's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute
    6. Go down to the bike shop and buy a bottle of White Lightning because after all this time and effort you have now spent, roughly, 10 times the $2.11/oz price of the lubricant and you have something that doesn't work half as well
    Classic post, that's some good stuff.

  21. #21
    ride, paint, ride simplify's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scorer75
    Classic post, that's some good stuff.
    +1. What he said. And besides, heating the solvents, even if they don't explode, is exposing you to massive amounts of volatile toxics. Your health is really worth more than the price of White Lightning.

  22. #22
    Senior Member FRANKIEJ's Avatar
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    Yeah, but where's your pioneer spirit? Besides, I've grown at least 5 or 6 more chest hairs since messing with this stuff! (leaving myself open to burnt hair remarks here)

    Actually, I have a pretty healthy dose of common sense. I am aware of the risks. I've been putting the melted wax in the solvent after it cools for a while to reduce the risk of boiling hot wax igniting the solvent or any fumes from the same (done this outside, btw). When warming the finished solution in the hot water on the stove, the bottle is in the barely-above-hot-tap-water-temparature water for 30 seconds max. It only warms it mildly.

    I also tried dissolving the wax in mineral spirits and naptha and could not get it to dissolve properly at room temparature. Besides, this experiment has cost me nothing (had the stuff on hand) and I've gotten probably a quart (so far) of chain lube that I'm sure will be serviceable in warmer weather for nothing. My bikes are garage sale junk anyhow, so I can't justify spending more on a bottle of lube than I spent for the whole bike.

    I already use the mineral spirit/synthetic oil mix exclusively and have for some time. I have a lot of bikes (35 or 40 at last count) that I rotate through, so I use a lot of lube. If i'd not tried to experiment with the ms/oil mix I'd have never discovered it and would have been buying a bottle of the $10 stuff every couple of weeks and been out a lot of money. This wax stuff opens up new possibilities and I'm having fun with it. I respect your opinions and concern for my safety, but it is justifiable to me.

  23. #23
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FRANKIEJ
    Yeah, but where's your pioneer spirit? Besides, I've grown at least 5 or 6 more chest hairs since messing with this stuff! (leaving myself open to burnt hair remarks here)

    Actually, I have a pretty healthy dose of common sense. I am aware of the risks. I've been putting the melted wax in the solvent after it cools for a while to reduce the risk of boiling hot wax igniting the solvent or any fumes from the same (done this outside, btw). When warming the finished solution in the hot water on the stove, the bottle is in the barely-above-hot-tap-water-temparature water for 30 seconds max. It only warms it mildly.

    I also tried dissolving the wax in mineral spirits and naptha and could not get it to dissolve properly at room temparature. Besides, this experiment has cost me nothing (had the stuff on hand) and I've gotten probably a quart (so far) of chain lube that I'm sure will be serviceable in warmer weather for nothing. My bikes are garage sale junk anyhow, so I can't justify spending more on a bottle of lube than I spent for the whole bike.

    I already use the mineral spirit/synthetic oil mix exclusively and have for some time. I have a lot of bikes (35 or 40 at last count) that I rotate through, so I use a lot of lube. If i'd not tried to experiment with the ms/oil mix I'd have never discovered it and would have been buying a bottle of the $10 stuff every couple of weeks and been out a lot of money. This wax stuff opens up new possibilities and I'm having fun with it. I respect your opinions and concern for my safety, but it is justifiable to me.
    FrankieJ,

    Sorry to come down so hard on you. The reason I posted was not only to inform you of safety issues but to inform some poor schmuck that stumbles across this in the future. The procedure that you and John J were presenting is highly hazardous as you guys presented it. If someone were to follow your procedure, as written, the likelyhood of disaster is quite high. Pouring hot wax, which is flammable by itself (something I learned as a kid), into a solvent with a low flash point (much lower than the melting temperature of the wax) is not a wise practice. I wouldn't do it in a laboratory setting where I have engineering controls to protect me. I am glad to hear that you are doing this outside because I had visions of you doing this in your kitchen. Even outside be cautious. If you are going to move to other solvents, as has been suggested, like methyl ethyl ketone (MEK), be extremely careful since the flash point of the suggested solvents are much lower than mineral spirits.
    Stuart Black
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  24. #24
    Caustic Soccer Mom apclassic9's Avatar
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    just wondering whether polyeltholglycol (sp?) 10000 might work - my husband used to use it with woodworking, and it becomes liquid at under 100.F.

  25. #25
    Senior Member FRANKIEJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute
    FrankieJ,

    Sorry to come down so hard on you. The reason I posted was not only to inform you of safety issues but to inform some poor schmuck that stumbles across this in the future.
    cyccommute,

    Sorry if I came off harsher than I meant. I forgot that this being a public forum, and the general public containing a fair amount of idiots ,that there are bound to be one or two lurking here that may inadvertantly blow themselves up. I work in a prison, so I daily see the problems that idiocy create.

    I am from southern Indiana and am the son of two hillbillies, so I really get a kick out of experimenting with things like this and grew up doing just that, a lot of diy, make due with what you got type stuff. I had a lot of common sense safety rules instilled in me at a young age because of this ( with the occasional exception, as outlined below). I would imagine that not everyone has and wouldn't think of some of the inherent dangers here. Perhaps your warning will prevent any mishaps.

    As a funny aside, I still remember my dad showing me how to seat a car tire bead on the rim. He showed me how to carfully pour just the right amount of starting fluid into the tire, not too much, then how to carefully ignite it to blow the tire onto the bead. He carefully removed the bottle of starting fluid and any thing else from the area that may get ignited, save one small, empty bowl.Well, the old man got busy talking and and apparently poured a bit more than usual in the tire.. He ignited the stuff and it made the most fabulous explosion I'd ever heard, followed by a magnificent whistling noise from the excess air escaping from the valve stem, followed by a perfectly seat tire that required only replacement of the valve core and inflation from the rusty ol hand pump of ours. I was impressed to say the least and told the old man so. He turned to me and raised the area on his forehead where his eyebrows used to be, scratched his head and said that it wasn't supposed to blow up quite that hard. We started laughing and I was helping him brush the burnt hair off of his arm as we re-capped the previous event, when suddenly the bowl that was on the ground next to the tire came crashing down right between us, a full 30 seconds later! Now you may say that it got hung up in a tree or something on the way down, but I like to think it attained some semblance of orbit that fateful day, minus the atmospheric re-entry burns.

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