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Paraffin wax while traveling

Old 05-17-15, 07:48 PM
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Hinge
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Paraffin wax while traveling

I realize this probably sounds nuts, but here goes...

I will be working on a ship in Europe for the next 4 months and I'm looking for a way to wax my chain while I'm gone. I am going to put on a new and freshly waxed chain before I leave but I doubt the treatment will last for the whole trip and will likely need to re-wax at some point. Any ideas on how I can do this? I can't bring a crock pot on board unfortunately. Bringing any type of heating element is difficult. I'm trying to think of a clever way to melt the wax and immerse my chain in it. Surely, some of you MacGyver types will have some brilliant ideas.

They make candle warmers which melt candle wax inside a glass jar. I could probably use one of those but I'm not sure if the wax would be hot enough to effectively and thoroughly coat the chain.

Yes, I suppose I could bring a second, pre-waxed chain and I suppose I'll do that as a last resort if I can't find a good solution.

Also, does anyone know if you can buy paraffin wax in europe or do you think I'll have to bring some with me?
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Old 05-17-15, 07:54 PM
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Camping stove. Pre waxed extra chain(s). Or bring a prepackaged wax lube for this one trip. Andy.
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Old 05-17-15, 09:00 PM
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A new chain has the best lube it will ever see. Wait until you have 600 to 1000 miles on it before you gum it up.
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Old 05-17-15, 09:29 PM
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Do you have access to a microwave? A glass bowl should melt the wax. I think 300 degrees is hot enough.
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Old 05-17-15, 09:56 PM
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Id bring a rag. Id also bring a new chain and two quick links, and id bring the extra links i cut off when i sized it.

The chain goes on the bike. The links go in with the patch kit.

The rag is for wiping off the excess machine oil that id use to lube my chain.

Maintenance aboard ship ought to have barrels of oil.

Oh, and a q tip to apply it would be handy, as well as a thimble-sized container. Two thimbles-full usually does my chain for a month.

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Old 05-17-15, 10:20 PM
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I really think having a second, waxed chain is the way to go. Even if you figure out how to prep your wax, having the second chain means not having your schedule tied to getting it done.

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Old 05-17-15, 10:36 PM
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A question for the wax advocates: I assume using wax one of the reasons the chain stays cleaner. What's wrong with the wax based lubes using a solvent to keep the wax suspended until the solvent evaporates? I ask because that's what I'm trying on my mtb for dry dirty conditions. (Can't ride the singletracks when wet)
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Old 05-18-15, 12:10 AM
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Thanks for the ideas and suggestions.

Texbiker, I will have access to a microwave but I've heard conflicting reports about whether or not it will melt the wax. Might be worth a shot

RoadTire, I haven't tried the wax based lubes, but from what I have read, it just isn't as good as the real deal. It doesn't stay on as long and it attracts crud that a pure wax job doesn't. I think that leaving the chain immersed in hot wax allows the wax to really permeate the chain, and once it's cool, it's really dry. Check out this thread in the folding bikes forum. I am a 100% convert after trying it. I'll never go back. I can't believe everyone doesn't do it. Also, don't believe the rumors that waxing is a pain in the rear. it is about 1,000,000,000 times easier to maintain and clean than using traditional lubes. starting with a clean or new chain, heat up the crock pot, drop in the chain, leave it in for .5 hour or so, take it out, wipe it down, let it cool then put on your bike. It won't need any attention whatsoever for 100's of miles (assuming you're in dry conditions). My friends and I are now doing it every 500 miles. I can't tell you how much time I used to spend cleaning my drivetrain. All I do now is lightly brush off wax flakes from time to time. My Ti coated KMC X10SL that I installed in September still looks brand new/shiny gold, not black and cruddy.

But I don't want to turn this into a wax debate, that has been hashed out thoroughly in other threads. I just want to figure out a solution for my problem. Probably a second chain is the way to go. Any other ideas?
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Old 05-18-15, 03:56 AM
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How many miles are you planning on riding while onboard?
Do they have a separate bike lane or is it a MUP?
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Old 05-18-15, 06:34 AM
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I would be surprised if there were not a prohibition against individuals having cooking equipment or other heat or flame sources on a ship. Even heating the wax in a microwave in the galley sounds sketchy in such an environment. The second chain is the way to go.
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Old 05-18-15, 07:38 AM
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Bring a block of wax. Find two discarded cans, use them as a double boiler. As long as you have a heat source. Wax your chain, then toss the cans back where you found them.
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Old 05-18-15, 08:46 AM
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Or, for this one trip, compromise your principles and use a conventional solvent base wax or even (gasp) a regular liquid lube. Your chain won't stay mad at you for long.
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Old 05-18-15, 09:32 AM
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Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
Or, for this one trip, compromise your principles and use a conventional solvent base wax or even (gasp) a regular liquid lube. Your chain won't stay mad at you for long.
My thought as well...
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Old 05-18-15, 09:33 AM
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If you are going to work onboard a ship.....lubrication of your chain will be the least of your problems.
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Old 05-18-15, 09:42 AM
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I use White Lightning's dry lube which is wax based and it keeps the chain looking clean and running great. Goes on like a wet lube but quickly dries leaving an invisible waxy film. I reapply at about 75-100 mile intervals which is probably more than needed. Like you, I'm a big proponent of wax based lubricants and I don't see myself ever going back to oils. You might want to give it a try to simply things for your trip.
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Old 05-18-15, 03:17 PM
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The one drawback to wax as a lube and dissolved or suspended wax liquid lubes is wax buildup in the rear derailleur. It is really quite a mess after a while, and gums up the entire derailleur. That is the reason I abandoned wax and wax-based lubes for liquid.
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Old 05-18-15, 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by RoadTire View Post
A question for the wax advocates: I assume using wax one of the reasons the chain stays cleaner. What's wrong with the wax based lubes using a solvent to keep the wax suspended until the solvent evaporates? I ask because that's what I'm trying on my mtb for dry dirty conditions. (Can't ride the singletracks when wet)
I've been a waxer for a while. I'm sold on it.

To answer your question, there's nothing wrong with using a wax based lube. However, it seems that immersing the entire chain in hot melted wax allows the wax to penetrate every pore on every surface of the chain. I don't think that a lube applied at room temperature will penetrate nearly as effectively, and probably won't last nearly as long.

FWIW my last waxing was over 600 miles ago. I've done zero maintenance on the chain in that time. The only downside of waxing that I've noticed is that it doesn't hold up in the rain. It's been very dry here for most of the spring.
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Old 05-18-15, 03:29 PM
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are you in the navy?
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Old 05-18-15, 03:43 PM
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Is completely dunking the chain in hot wax better than using a bottled wax lube? Sure. Is it worth the marginal gain over the huge hassle of being prepared to do a complete lubing? No way. The suggestion to bring a new chain was an excellent one. New chains have very robust grease that will last hundreds of miles. A properly waxed chain and a separate new chain should take you for over 5 hundred miles and if you're out to sea for 4 months with occasional stops in ports, you may not get much more mileage than that and if you do, the simple use of White Lightening would be more than sufficient. Just as importantly you may wish to bring along WD40 to ensure you can remove rust if you end up riding on a windy day near the ocean and get sea spray on the bike. WD40 may strip the wax and being able to easily touch it up with White Lightening would be great. That would be my approach.
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Old 05-19-15, 12:13 AM
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Frankly, there are plenty of good bike chain lubricants on the market. Pick one and use it until you get home. I know some people are huge hot wax advocates, but your chain will survive without loss of performance using a good commercial lubricant. The slight advantage, if any, of hot waxing (flame on) is probably outweighed by the inconvenience in this case.
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Old 05-20-15, 01:45 PM
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Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
Or, for this one trip, compromise your principles and use a conventional solvent base wax or even (gasp) a regular liquid lube. Your chain won't stay mad at you for long.
Oh great, compromise my principles...first, start using conventional lubes then what's next? Smoking? Drugs? This is a slippery slope! Oh the peer pressure!

Thanks for the input everyone. I'm going to bring a second, pre-waxed chain. If I blow through the wax on both chains, I'll succumb to the pressure and resort to conventional lubes.

Last edited by Hinge; 05-24-15 at 08:58 PM.
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Old 05-20-15, 04:37 PM
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You won't need your bike to get there man. You're on a boat, fer Kreissakes!
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Old 05-20-15, 04:44 PM
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Old 05-20-15, 05:21 PM
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I've heard good things about mixing a very small amount of oil in with the wax (like 5% by volume) -- you sacrifice some of the cleanliness, but end up with a more resilient lube that's akin to what the factory installs. Haven't tried it for myself, but I probably will someday. I like to tinker.
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