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  1. #1
    Senior Member TromboneAl's Avatar
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    Unbiased Review of Parrafin Chain Lubing

    There are a lot of conflicting reports on paraffin vs. oil lubing of the chain -- how easy it is, how long it lasts.

    I'm really attracted to the idea of a clean-looking chain, and no more of these:



    So I'm going to try it out, and I'll report the results here. I don't have any bias, and if paraffin waxing doesn't work for me, I'll let you know.

    I've cleaned the chain until you could eat off it, and it's baking in the toaster oven right now (30 min at 200 degrees F). The paraffin is melting in a not-for-food slow cooker (on high).

    My hope is that I can just periodically crank the slow cooker up with paraffin in it, wipe off the chain, and dip it in the slow cooker.

    Can I reuse the paraffin after dipping the chain? Any other tips?
    My Book: Drive, Ride, Repeat: The Mostly-True Account of a Cross-Country Car and Bicycle Adventure

  2. #2
    Seat Sniffer Biker395's Avatar
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    Hmmm.

    I've had chain envy for years. I dunno how some people keep their chains so effing clean, short of removing it and cleaning it (along with the cassette and chainrings) a LOT.

    My latest stab at it: I'm using White Lightning and removing any excess with a rag after each application. So far that's working OK.

    I'm interested in what you come up with!
    Last edited by Biker395; 05-17-13 at 09:40 AM.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post

    Can I reuse the paraffin after dipping the chain? Any other tips?
    Hair removal?
    If you don't know the way, you shouldn't be going there.

  4. #4
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    self Bikini waxing in your future?

  5. #5
    Senior Member TromboneAl's Avatar
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    I baked it for an hour.

    ChainBaking.jpg

    The two blocks of parowax melted in about 50 minutes. It was easy to put the chain in and agitate it.

    ChainCooking.jpgChainDrying.jpg

    The master link was surprisingly hard to reinstall until I wiped off excess wax.

    ChainOnBike1.jpg

    I'll go for a ride in a few days.
    My Book: Drive, Ride, Repeat: The Mostly-True Account of a Cross-Country Car and Bicycle Adventure

  6. #6
    Pedals, Paddles and Poles Daspydyr's Avatar
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    Keep us posted! I'm tired of the black gunk buildup after a couple rides. I use DuMont Tech. Great lube, but dirty in no time.
    I think its disgusting and terrible how people treat Lance Armstrong, especially after winning 7 Tour de France Titles while on drugs!

    I can't even find my bike when I'm on drugs. -Willie N.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
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    I have been using wax to lube my bike chain on my commute bike for the past 2 years - I put ~3000 miles per year on that bike.
    My procedure (about every 500 miles) is this:
    I have a cheap crock pot with wax in it - mostly parrafin wax with a bit of beeswax. (80/20 mixture?)
    I turn on the crock pot and wait for the wax to melt.
    I remove the chain from the bike, and wipe it off with a rag to remove any surface grime.
    I drop the chain in the crock pot and let it soak for about 20-30 mins.
    I remove the chain and hang it up to dry.
    Put the chain back on the bike.

    About once or twice a year, I take the wax out of the crock pot as one big solid chunk, and cut off and throw away the bottom 1/2" or so - a lot of the accumulated grit seems to end up down in the bottom of the pot, and I put some new wax in there.

    The drive train stays very nice and clean.

    This works in the environment where I live because we don't have any weather here. When I lived in Maine where it was much wetter, wax didn't work nearly as well, so I used 30wt motor oil, which is much messier.

    Mark

  8. #8
    Senior Member zandoval's Avatar
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    So let me git this straight - If you use paraffin your chain is lubed and stays cleaner???

    I ride on dusty dry roads in central Texas and need to at least wipe down my chain every other ride...

  9. #9
    Trek 500 Kid Zinger's Avatar
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    I like This stuff for lubing micrometers

    It's not as thick as silicone

    And like using these to clean with kerosene

    I don't like taking my Sedisport chain apart just to clean it.

  10. #10
    Senior Member irwin7638's Avatar
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    I've been doing it for years. I wax the chains 2 or three times during the warm months, monthly during the winter, and use White Lightning Clean Ride between waxing. Soaking the chains in wax until there are no bubbles coming up is the only way to guarantee that every surface gets lubed. I keep the wax in an old coffee can and reuse it next time. Just be sure to use an electric burner to heat it, I'm not sure about the baking part, it never occurred to me. The wax will drive the moisture out of the chain, it that's what you are trying to accomplish.

    Marc
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    "I can still do everything I used to, but now I'm mature enough to take a nap without being told." - Me

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  11. #11
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Another Parowax user here!
    Been 'waxing' my chains that way since the mid-1970s.
    Canning wax, no matter the brand name, works great. Do not use candles; some folks add a bit of graphite to the wax, but seems to make no noticeable difference.
    Have a small electric burner that I set up in the garage; have a can (big metal coffee can works great) or a metal pie pan,
    Clean chain which ever way you prefer. After wax melts *gently* put chain in the now liquid wax. Leave it in for about 5 minutes.
    Remove with long handled pliers and hang up to dry or lie down on carboard to dry and cool.
    After chain cools, flex the links and re-install the chain.
    If you use a connector link instead of a chain punch, the connector link can be a bit difficult to re-nstall.
    Living in Michigan we had to re-wax a bit more often than what we do here now in drier/no rain desert in Arizona.
    When I hear the slightest chain 'squeak' it's time to re-wax, ususally around 3 to 4 thousand miles for us.
    Wax does not atrract dirt/dust and an occasional wipe down of chain with just a rag keeps it super clean.
    No greasy/black chain, no chain tattoos and an extremely smooth/quiet running chain.
    So far have pedaled hundreds of thousands of miles using the wax method.
    Basically the liquid wax goes where it is needed: around the chain pins instead of oily gunk all over the chain plates.
    For the first few rides, you may see some black/gray wax residue on your chainstay; just wipe it off with dry rag.
    And yes, the wax can be re-used several times before disposing it.
    Just our input/experience.
    Pedal on!
    Rudy and Kay/zonatandem

  12. #12
    Senior Member NealH's Avatar
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    Do it the easy way, with Dupont Chain Saver. Its wax based with teflon, and a carrier that evaporates. Works great but you need to respray every 75-100 miles. But its easy to apply, doesn't get dirty and keeps the chain silky and quiet. In low temperature non-pressurized metal to metal applications, teflon still rules.

    This doesn't mean its better than the typical wet lube, but its a convenient alternative.

  13. #13
    Senior Member ol geezer's Avatar
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    Wow. That's a lot of work. Maybe I've found a happy medium (for me)? For a long time, I used Finish Line Dry Teflon Lube and my chain, predictably, would be gunky black after a couple of rides. I had read about chain waxing and about using lubricants with "wax" so I decided to try Boeshield T-9, a "a unique combination of solvents and waxes" according to their website. Not paraffin, however. That said, I've been happy with it. The chain does eventually start getting black-ish but it takes a while and never seems to get as black and gunky as the other liquid lubes used to do. I'm regularly getting 300-400 miles between re-lubing whereas I used to re-lube with the liquid lubes every 200-300 miles or so. Works for me - that's my happy medium!

  14. #14
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    I really tried hard to make waxing work. I love the idea. But nothing I ever did, including the methods described on this thread and elsewhere, allowed me more than a few hundred miles before the squeak came back.

  15. #15
    Semper Fi, A way of life. qcpmsame's Avatar
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    Al,
    Good narrative for the initial application of the paraffin, thanks for undertaking this. Seeing how this works out will be interesting, meantime I am sticking with my Tri-Flow and just cleaning my chain regularly, but I could well be changed. Should be interesting to follow.

    Bill
    "I Can Do All Things Through Christ Who Strengthens Me" Philippians 4:13

  16. #16
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    We have a bit of liquid sunshine in these parts, which means cleaning the chain after every ride most of the year if I use one of the "normal" chain lubes. I hate cleaning chains, so last year I switched to wax. While I have to drop the chains into the crock pot every three hundred miles or so (why do some folks get thousands of miles? Maybe I should add some teflon.), it's still easier/neater than cleaning a relubing with chain lube.

    The only technique I have to offer is that I place a bent spoke in a link when I put the chain into the melted wax. That makes it easy to remove the chains when they are ready.

    As an added bonus, the chain rings, cogs and pulleys all stay clean when using wax. With chain lubes those parts always seemed to gather large gobs of muck.

  17. #17
    Roadkill byte_speed's Avatar
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    When I tried wax lubricant, my bicycle chain was squeaking in a week. The process is too laborious to repeat weekly. Back in my motorcycle days we dissolved some grease in the wax. This makes for better lubrication but the treatment still doesn't last very long (on a motorcycle). Haven't tried this on my bicycle.

    Now I use 90w gear oil for the first lube and wipe thoroughly. When cleaning is needed, I do the job with the chain on the bike using spray grease (which is largely solvent), again wiping thoroughly. The solvent removes the dirt and evaporates quickly, the grease content lubricates, but doesn't migrate to the outside as you ride.

    This isn't as clean as the dry lubes, but provides much better lubrication and produces much less black gunk than the typical wet lube, IMO.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Frankfast's Avatar
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    Don't understand the obsession with keeping a chain clean. My chain has been on the bike for thousands of miles. Maybe once a year I'll wipe it off and occasionally lube it. Outside of checking tension ( it's a SS), that's it. It's still as quiet as the day I bought it and if it breaks I'll buy a new one. A chain is one of the cheaper parts to replace on a bike.
    The trick to life is to keep moving.

  19. #19
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    I always thought that a clean chain was a sign of a mental illness.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Frankfast's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jim p View Post
    I always thought that a clean chain was a sign of a mental illness.
    Actually I think it's somehow related to your size.
    The trick to life is to keep moving.

  21. #21
    Senior Member David Bierbaum's Avatar
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    My chain *twitch* is very *tic* clean. *twitch twitch* Want to see how clean? *brings chain way too close* *keeps coming closer* Want to see?

  22. #22
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    I'm not as conscientious about this as I should be, and I certainly couldn't be arsed with the paraffin treatment, but there are good reasons for keeping the drivetrain clean. Chains are cheapish, but cassettes less so, and they last longer if they don't have a fine abrasive paste grinding them down all the time. Plus if they're cleanish one can actually see whether they are worn or not, which isn't so easy when they are covered in gunk. And I have a mild prejudice against smearing my clothes with oil every time I lift the bike in and out of the car when taking it racing or whatever.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  23. #23
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    I just like a clean bike, including the chain. I don't obsess about it, but given a choice, I'll take clean over dirty. That's why I tried so hard to make chain waxing work for me. But removing the chain every week and going through all the steps involved in waxing is just too much work - especially considering that weekly cleaning and re-lubing with a wet lube keeps things nearly as clean.

  24. #24
    Senior Member jdon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Six jours View Post
    I just like a clean bike, including the chain. I don't obsess about it, but given a choice, I'll take clean over dirty. That's why I tried so hard to make chain waxing work for me. But removing the chain every week and going through all the steps involved in waxing is just too much work - especially considering that weekly cleaning and re-lubing with a wet lube keeps things nearly as clean.
    Same. Especially with multiple bikes. To each his own though..
    Quote Originally Posted by maddmaxx View Post
    How are you ever going to live in the real world if you can't get along with people who don't believe what your do?

  25. #25
    tsl
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    Plays in traffic tsl's Avatar
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    Over on Bicycling Magazine's forums ( http://forums.bicycling.com/eve/ ) There's a guy by the handle of GARTH who has been using paraffin and graphite for years. He documents it here.
    My two favorite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything.
    The perfect day: Riding a bike to the library.—Peter Golkin


    Lucky for me, I work at a library and bike to work.

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