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What can I do with old bike chains?

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What can I do with old bike chains?

Old 03-11-18, 02:33 PM
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realperson
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What can I do with old bike chains?

What can I do with old bike chains? I replaced a chain on my Schwinn Super Sport. Now I don't know what to do with it. I feel silly throwing it away but I don't know what to do with it. Any ideas?
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Old 03-11-18, 02:38 PM
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Other than using it to beat the crap out of bike thieves you can take them to the local metal recycler, donate to a bike co-op where a worn but usable chain is better than no chain for many folks, find people who make art and jewelry out of old chains. Hopefully more ideas will be coming in...............
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Old 03-11-18, 02:48 PM
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+1) drop it at a bike co op, or shop & they will add it to their recycle pile..


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Old 03-11-18, 03:23 PM
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I volunteer weekly at my local Co-op. Do not donate your old chains. While I'm not around, some misguided client will install and try to use that old chain. They will then suffer for several days of frustration with poor shifting and cog jumping. Then I'll be faced with 30 minutes of explaining the problem and ultimately installing a new chain.

Similar scenario: a local downtown homeless shelter calls and says they have 10 'leftover' bikes to donate, but we have to pick them up. Right - thanks but no thanks. Why should we waste our resources picking their crap up only to then have to make an hour-long beeline straight to the dump?
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Old 03-11-18, 03:38 PM
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Degrease 'em thoroughly. I use mineral spirits followed by 90% isopropyl alcohol. Some folks use ultrasonic jewelry cleaners. I don't use gasoline and strongly recommend against using it for cleaning.

Then dip 'em in melted wax/paraffin and let soak for at least 15 minutes (takes a little time for the wax to wick into the friction areas). I use a Little Dipper that came with my large Rival crock pot. Perfect for chain waxing chores.

When the chain is cool enough to handle, but still warm, wipe down with a rag moistened in mineral spirits.

The chain will feel clean, not waxy, and will resist rusting and won't accumulate gunk like an oiled chain. Store in a ziplock bag, labeled "Old chain, not for use on bicycle", etc.

Find a local artist, theater, musician, someone creative and donate the chains. Those chains might find a second life in sculpture, industrial wind chimes, as a stage set piece or clothing accessories.

If I still lived in my large rural home, I'd use 'em along with worn out freewheels, cassettes, chain rings and cranks, to construct fidget spinner sculpture pieces for the outside deck. Just for a laugh. Family kids visiting would get a kick out of that sorta thing.
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Old 03-11-18, 05:01 PM
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Well, with the addition of a piece of aluminum bar stock, you could make chain whips. At least they would be useful that way.
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Old 03-11-18, 05:02 PM
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I just put an old chain in the metal recycling. Simple.
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Old 03-11-18, 05:24 PM
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Make Fidget Spinners! I have made five at this point. My grandkids loved them. My son's wife's brother works at a bike shop and he got one for Christmas. I made a nice wooden stand for it, so it can be on the counter

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Old 03-11-18, 05:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Joe Bikerider View Post
I just put an old chain in the metal recycling. Simple.
+1 End of problem.
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Old 03-11-18, 08:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave Mayer View Post
I volunteer weekly at my local Co-op. Do not donate your old chains.
Probably best to ask your local Co-op. Some can make good use of the chains for people too poor to buy anything and just need any old chain to get their bike working.
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Old 03-11-18, 08:39 PM
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Make a key chain.
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Old 03-11-18, 10:10 PM
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Resource Revival accepts them from bike shops: https://www.resourcerevival.com/page...our-bike-chain . Maybe you can find out who is doing this locally and donate to them.

FWIW, here's what they do with them: 20 Coolest recycled bicycle chain creations ever made ? Planet Custodian
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Old 03-12-18, 05:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Dave Mayer View Post
I volunteer weekly at my local Co-op. Do not donate your old chains. While I'm not around, some misguided client will install and try to use that old chain. They will then suffer for several days of frustration with poor shifting and cog jumping. Then I'll be faced with 30 minutes of explaining the problem and ultimately installing a new chain.

Similar scenario: a local downtown homeless shelter calls and says they have 10 'leftover' bikes to donate, but we have to pick them up. Right - thanks but no thanks. Why should we waste our resources picking their crap up only to then have to make an hour-long beeline straight to the dump?
Here in Gainesville Florida if someone asked to come to the homeless shelter to pick up, would be down in a heartbeat. I see everything from junker WalMart bikes to decent Treks and name brands. Somewhere would be a couple. But then, we do have the homeless camp with a near new Mercedes which is parked by one of the tents.
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Old 03-12-18, 06:22 AM
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Forge weld them together and make a knife or other object.
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Old 03-12-18, 06:40 AM
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Originally Posted by bnewberry View Post
Forge weld them together and make a knife or other object.
You beat me to it.

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Old 03-12-18, 08:29 AM
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Back in my old neighborhood kids loved to throw them over power lines.
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Old 03-12-18, 08:36 AM
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Old 03-12-18, 08:42 AM
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I read that acid loving plants (blueberries, azaleas, etc.) often need iron. So I buried parts of old chains under my bushes.


I've run out of bushes, but still generate more worn-out chains. :/
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Old 03-12-18, 09:11 AM
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How much storage space do you have?

I just helped my son move this past week end. One thing that I observed is a tendency to store a lot of crap that we never use and that doesn't bring us joy - we just fill up our storage space with it because we own it. When we move, we move it with us to the new location and only then do we throw it away when we realize we don't have a good place to store it.

I have an acquaintance who is a hoarder. His house was so full of crap that I couldn't even walk through the living room. Don't be like that.
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Old 03-12-18, 11:05 AM
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You could make a hat, a broach, a pterodactyl

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Old 03-12-18, 09:34 PM
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use for hanging planters
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Old 03-12-18, 10:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Crankycrank View Post
Probably best to ask your local Co-op. Some can make good use of the chains for people too poor to buy anything and just need any old chain to get their bike working.
Right. We accept everything offered to us, just to be courteous. After an inspection, we have to chuck 90% of the donations, because they are unsafe, dysfunctional low-end crap. I estimate that half of the total volunteer resources at our Co-op are consumed on evaluating, breaking down and then discarding worthless donations.

Even worse are the folks who knowingly donate subtly broken components or bikes, in which we spend many hours per month installing these parts, only to find on a road test that:
  • The derailleur has a crack in the casting, or has a funny bend that cannot be fixed.
  • The frame that looks nice until we find it is corroded out from the inside. Or has a stuck seatpost or stem that will take us days to extract.
  • The STI shifters that look good superficially, but have cracked bodies underneath the hoods.
  • The hubs that have pitted cups or the rims with stress cracks around the nipples
  • Bent chainrings and worn-out cassettes.

So to all of the prospective bike and parts donors out there: thanks a lot for wasting our time while we drown in piles of broken and useless department store bikes, that will cost more to repair than they can be bought for new.

And thanks for the broken parts that lead to hours of frustration to install or the risk of someone killing themselves when your donated bars or stems or wheels fail.

This goes for used chains too. Every single time I've attempted to use a 'recycled' chain from our bin, it has been a frustrating waste of time, in that it is absurdly worn-out, or has bent/twisted links that cannot be fixed and cause all kinds of shifting problems.

We are a non-profit - basically a charity. In being too lazy to drop your stuff at the dump, you are materially harming our ability to service low-income clients who need bikes just to live..
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Old 03-12-18, 10:56 PM
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You could hang wind chimes from a few sections, attach them to an old chainring, just to be different.
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Old 03-13-18, 02:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave Mayer View Post
Right. We accept everything offered to us, just to be courteous. After an inspection, we have to chuck 90% of the donations, because they are unsafe, dysfunctional low-end crap. I estimate that half of the total volunteer resources at our Co-op are consumed on evaluating, breaking down and then discarding worthless donations.

Even worse are the folks who knowingly donate subtly broken components or bikes, in which we spend many hours per month installing these parts, only to find on a road test that:
  • The derailleur has a crack in the casting, or has a funny bend that cannot be fixed.
  • The frame that looks nice until we find it is corroded out from the inside. Or has a stuck seatpost or stem that will take us days to extract.
  • The STI shifters that look good superficially, but have cracked bodies underneath the hoods.
  • The hubs that have pitted cups or the rims with stress cracks around the nipples
  • Bent chainrings and worn-out cassettes.

So to all of the prospective bike and parts donors out there: thanks a lot for wasting our time while we drown in piles of broken and useless department store bikes, that will cost more to repair than they can be bought for new.

And thanks for the broken parts that lead to hours of frustration to install or the risk of someone killing themselves when your donated bars or stems or wheels fail.

This goes for used chains too. Every single time I've attempted to use a 'recycled' chain from our bin, it has been a frustrating waste of time, in that it is absurdly worn-out, or has bent/twisted links that cannot be fixed and cause all kinds of shifting problems.

We are a non-profit - basically a charity. In being too lazy to drop your stuff at the dump, you are materially harming our ability to service low-income clients who need bikes just to live..
Thank you for validating my suspicions. I've scrapped several crappy old "bike shaped objects" that were unusable for various reasons, and one of my friends said "you should have dropped them off at the local co-op!" Yeah, so they can use... the plastic platform pedals? Seeing as how those were about the only parts that were anything close to serviceable condition.
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Old 03-13-18, 09:00 PM
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Make a chain whip or bottle opener.
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