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Chain lube DIY recipes?

Old 07-29-18, 03:26 PM
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Chain lube DIY recipes?

Yeah yeah, I know, eight zillion chain lube threads.

I ran out of my old lube which wasn't very good anyway. I don't feel like spending a fortune for a tiny bottle of bike specific lube. I am interested in making a batch from common products. I have read lot's of you talk about chain saw oil, motor oil, gear oil, ATF, and mixture with solvents like odorless mineral spirits.

I'm very interested in hearing from all of you that have a home brew recipe that you are very satisfied with. I'd also appreciate any education you can offer regarding the need to thin with solvents, pros and cons. What recipe gets in there and stays in there and lasts a fair amount of miles.

I ride road only and never in the rain.

Not interested in any wax recommendations, liquid only.

Thank you to all who contribute.
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Old 07-29-18, 05:14 PM
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I use Squirt and next I'm considering melted wax. Since you're not interested in either and only want DIY solutions, I'll say that in the past I've used mineral oil and motor oil. Apply mineral oil first, remove excess, then repeat with the motor oil. Great lubricant but also great at picking up road gunk. Seriously, you'll be better off going wax - based.
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Old 07-29-18, 05:57 PM
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I use what was known as "Forum Lube" ( a different forum, not this one) which was developed by a poster who analyzed ProLink when it was first marketed. He concluded it was a blend of synthetic motor oil and OMS in a 1:3 V:V ratio. I make it using Mobile 1 (10W30 but it the viscosity you use probably doesn't matter much) and OMS. I originally bought a quart of Mobile 1 and a gallon of OMS. I mix it it 1 quart amounts in a metal solvent can and dispense it from a reused 4-oz ProLink bottle. I have used it for years and am still working off the original oil and OMS purchases.
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Old 07-29-18, 06:15 PM
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A few answers here:
Link
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Old 07-29-18, 06:43 PM
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Gulfwax and a Fry Baby to melt it. Dip your chain, let it cool and install.
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Old 07-29-18, 06:59 PM
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Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
I use what was known as "Forum Lube" ( a different forum, not this one) which was developed by a poster who analyzed ProLink when it was first marketed. He concluded it was a blend of synthetic motor oil and OMS in a 1:3 V:V ratio. I make it using Mobile 1 (10W30 but it the viscosity you use probably doesn't matter much) and OMS. I originally bought a quart of Mobile 1 and a gallon of OMS. I mix it it 1 quart amounts in a metal solvent can and dispense it from a reused 4-oz ProLink bottle. I have used it for years and am still working off the original oil and OMS purchases.


Same here except Mobil 1 15/50, & thinned w/ a bit of some other chain lube that I think has some teflon in it. Using it less than a year but good so far.

Lasts much longer than the Prolink that I was using. No more messy, cheaper, & got radically better results in wear & friction tests- Prolink was practically the worst.
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Old 07-29-18, 07:14 PM
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I use a 50/50 mix of chainsaw bar oil and lacquer thinner.
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Old 07-29-18, 08:01 PM
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Originally Posted by brian3069 View Post
I use a 50/50 mix of chainsaw bar oil and lacquer thinner.

Srysly?
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Old 07-29-18, 08:17 PM
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Hot wax dip on Tuesday. Apply Squirt on each of the following three Tuesdays. Then back in the hot wax. Repeat until the chain wears out.
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Old 07-29-18, 08:37 PM
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For years I used a mixture of motor oil and mineral spirits. My rationale was that thinning the fluid would help it get into the cracks and displace whatever muck was in there, plus make it easier to wipe back off. For my winter bike, I added some chain saw oil, just to make it sticky. I was never particular about the type of motor oil, and I'd rather not buy a bunch of stuff and store it forever. So I use the same oil that I buy for my lawnmower and roto-tiller, and the chainsaw oil is left over from having to disassemble a tree that fell over in my backyard.

Today I'm using "White Lightning" per the recommendation of @cyccommute because his explanation made sense and I felt that giving it a good try was the only way to see for myself.

I don't believe in any of the woo surrounding chain lubrication. But in all due honesty I own so many bikes, that none of them will get enough miles to really test the efficacy of my chain lube. The main thing I'm interested in is what I can use for winter commuting, so my bike doesn't turn into a ball o' rust.

My old brown bike has an automatic chain lubrication system called a Sturmey Archer AW.
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Old 07-29-18, 09:02 PM
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Originally Posted by SquidPuppet View Post
Yeah yeah, I know, eight zillion chain lube threads.

I ran out of my old lube which wasn't very good anyway. I don't feel like spending a fortune for a tiny bottle of bike specific lube. I am interested in making a batch from common products. I have read lot's of you talk about chain saw oil, motor oil, gear oil, ATF, and mixture with solvents like odorless mineral spirits.

I'm very interested in hearing from all of you that have a home brew recipe that you are very satisfied with. I'd also appreciate any education you can offer regarding the need to thin with solvents, pros and cons. What recipe gets in there and stays in there and lasts a fair amount of miles.

I ride road only and never in the rain.

Not interested in any wax recommendations, liquid only.

Thank you to all who contribute.

If I wasn't gonna go with wax myself soon, I'd be keen to try out Chain-L.


I find all the great recommendations from people on this forum, impossible to ignore, as far as non-wax lubes go.
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Old 07-29-18, 09:34 PM
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Originally Posted by woodcraft View Post
Srysly?
Absolutely. Chainsaw bar oil is 30 weight with additives that keeps it from flinging off. Lacquer thinner, or mineral spirits thins it out allowing the oil to penetrate the chain. The solvent evaporates leaving behind a thick oil that stays in place. It works great and $10 buys a supply that last years.
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Old 07-29-18, 09:49 PM
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Originally Posted by brian3069 View Post
Absolutely. Chainsaw bar oil is 30 weight with additives that keeps it from flinging off. Lacquer thinner, or mineral spirits thins it out allowing the oil to penetrate the chain. The solvent evaporates leaving behind a thick oil that stays in place. It works great and $10 buys a supply that last years.
I don't want to quibble, and am not the resident chemist, but lacquer thinner is not mineral spirits. I'd be concerned that lacquer thinner would harm plastic and painted parts.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lacquer_thinner
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Old 07-29-18, 10:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Gresp15C View Post
I don't want to quibble, and am not the resident chemist, but lacquer thinner is not mineral spirits. I'd be concerned that lacquer thinner would harm plastic and painted parts.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lacquer_thinner
You're right. I meant mineral spirits in my original post. I tried to correct my error without admitting to being wrong.
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Old 07-29-18, 10:35 PM
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A waxed chain perfectly complements Compass tires, and as an added benefit, will help keep your sidewalls clean.

HTFU and melt some paraffin. You can thank us later.

I do want to quibble, and am only one of several resident chemists. (It seems we seldom agree on anything.) I do have a couple of chain saws, and the chains do spray oil, which is in fact how you check to make sure they are getting lubricated while the saw is running. I would never ever put that stuff on my bike.

Regardless of what lubricant you choose to use, please remember to clean your chain first with a non-aqueous solvent to get the crappy oil (rust protectant) it comes packaged in off. I find white gas (petro) works better than mineral spirits, but you probably don't want to smoke too heavily while doing it that way. The good thing is it evaporates eventually after you toss the used stuff over the fence when your neighbor isn't looking. Then dry the chain out and toss it into a mini crock pot in which you have melted your paraffin, let it soak for a half hour, stirring it occasionally, and then pull it out and Bob's your uncle. (Alternatively, use Squirt! I do this a couple of weeks after the initial waxing so I don't have to remove the chain to renew the lubrication.) But melted paraffin is really clean, and very cheap, so you can DIY and really stick it to The Man!

According to the Amazon reviews I read for blocks of paraffin, it is also very popular with the BD/SM community, so if you are into that, I guess it gives you something to do with the used melted wax after you dip your chain into it, so to speak.

Another helpful user's tip: Don't google "Squirt!"

Last edited by wgscott; 07-29-18 at 10:53 PM.
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Old 07-30-18, 07:56 AM
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Chainsaw bar oil and unscented mineral spirits at a ration of 4:1. It stays on in the wet.
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Old 07-30-18, 08:28 AM
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@wgscott's posts are oh so entertaining. Maybe there indeed is better living through parafin wax... I'm afraid mine is not DIY and a little boring as compared to the others. I'm still using Air Tool oil in the 8oz flip top plastic bottle. Almost every hardware store sells it for $2-3. I just wipe the chain after every ride and lube about once a week or two. I forget how long the bottle lasts but its quite a while (maybe a whole year of solid commuting?).
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Old 07-30-18, 08:53 AM
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Originally Posted by davidad View Post
chainsaw bar oil and unscented mineral spirits at a ration of 4:1. It stays on in the wet.
+1
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Old 07-30-18, 10:24 AM
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
According to the Amazon reviews I read for blocks of paraffin, it is also very popular with the BD/SM community, so if you are into that, I guess it gives you something to do with the used melted wax after you dip your chain into it, so to speak.
The unbridled creativity of socially deviant humans notwithstanding, surely the vast majority of the relatively small community of avid BDSM devotees rely on ordinary household candles as the source of wax for their activities?
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Old 07-30-18, 10:45 AM
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If I needed a large bottle of oil I would probably just get a pure mineral oil SAE 10-15 or something like that.; regular chain and sewing machine oil. A light synthetic equivalent might be an improvment. Applying, turning the pedals and wiping off should be enough, but in my dusty and gritty conditions I need to hose off, wipe off and reapply after each ride for optimal upkeep of the chain. So far I have yet to succeed with dry wax based lubricants.

My favorite oil is Finish Line Ceramic Wet Lube, so maybe a light synthetic oil by the gallon added nano particle teflon and boron nitride? A generic spray can oil for quick and easy cleanin is good too: a light mineral oil with a large dose of hexane, white spirit and clever rust inhibitors. The problem is to track down the basic pure oil with out too much detergents and additives for the base.

Last edited by Mickey2; 07-30-18 at 11:26 AM.
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Old 07-30-18, 11:18 AM
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Ignore at will...... but i still don't get the recurring obsession with saving money on what is really a totally low cost solution when you buy it from the store.
or better on line

I have tried a lot of lubes and keep coming back to Rock and roll gold (just saying it works for me.....but chain lube is a religion like topic)

you can get 16 oz for 6.99
https://www.jensonusa.com/rock-n-rol...RoCG5EQAvD_BwE
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Old 07-30-18, 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by brian3069 View Post
Absolutely. Chainsaw bar oil is 30 weight with additives that keeps it from flinging off. Lacquer thinner, or mineral spirits thins it out allowing the oil to penetrate the chain. The solvent evaporates leaving behind a thick oil that stays in place. It works great and $10 buys a supply that last years.

Lacquer thinner is seriously toxic. BAD idea.
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Old 07-30-18, 12:25 PM
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I used to clean parts with mineral spirit without gloves.
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Old 07-30-18, 12:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
The unbridled creativity of socially deviant humans notwithstanding, surely the vast majority of the relatively small community of avid BDSM devotees rely on ordinary household candles as the source of wax for their activities?
This might be more efficient for high-throughput applications.
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Old 07-30-18, 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by squirtdad View Post
Ignore at will...... but i still don't get the recurring obsession with saving money on what is really a totally low cost solution when you buy it from the store.
or better on line

I have tried a lot of lubes and keep coming back to Rock and roll gold (just saying it works for me.....but chain lube is a religion like topic)
I'm with you up to the point where you say you've tried a lot of lubes.

I'm using Chain-L right now, mostly because I like the guy who markets it. At my age and at the rate that I'm using it up I may not have the opportunity to use it up and try something else.
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