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Newbie paraffin chain waxing issues

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Newbie paraffin chain waxing issues

Old 12-06-19, 03:48 PM
  #26  
LV2TNDM
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Better living through chemicals!

This thread reads like an advertisement for the chemical industry!

Many of you apparently LOVE playing with volatile organic compounds. Anyone wear a proper carbon-activated respirator? Use a ventilation hood in the garage? Have appropriate fire suppression systems at the ready?

I can almost guarantee not. On the plus side, you're giving your liver a workout!

Wax seems to be a decent chain lubricant. But many argue it isn't a "real" lubricant. I cannot add anything to the debate.

But what I CAN add is my complete astonishment at the ludicrous amount of overkill people apply to chain maintenance. Soaking in solvents for each lubrication? Are you serious? This is complete overkill. First, it removes lubricants from within the rollers and pins, making reapplication of lube a more prolonged exercise. I USED to soak chains (when I was young and inexperienced) and found even after applying ample lube, tiny chirps and squeaks always emerged after 20 or so miles. So I had to lube AGAIN. And oftentimes a THIRD time, just to silence those annoying squeaks. Why oh why would you go to such extremes to remove lube from within the chain, only to have to over-apply lots of lube thereafter just to get the lube BACK IN there?

Second, there's the solvent exposure and fire danger associated with using volatile, flammable liquids in the shop. Not good. You're exposing yourself unnecessarily to deleterious health effects and fire risk. Not a very good idea. Plus, you realize the chemical industry uses the American public as guinea pigs, right? We have no regulatory framework to ensure chemical compounds developed by the chemical industry are safe for the public. No, we go about it contrary to common sense. Instead of testing and confirming they're safe, we release them into the environment and only AFTER a problem arises do we test and determine safety. Let lawsuits determine when a product is dangerous or harmful. This is absurd, but that's what you get when you adore the free market and make profits the number one priority. Free enterprise would have it no other way!

But the clincher? My third point... Once you hit the road with that fine, shiny, perfectly clean and lubricated chain,* it gets DIRTY! Almost immediately dirt, grit, road grime and all the rest starts penetrating your chain links. And this is in the best of circumstances - on the road during ideal weather. Even then, your chain quickly picks up junk. After one good road ride, your once-shiny chain is right back to where you started. But add rain? Ten pedal strokes and your chain is completely contaminated.

Then there's off-road riding... a clean chain lasts about forty-five seconds before it begins collecting all sorts of crap. And a muddy ride? Ha, it's a wet-sanding nightmare! Those POOR chain components are just DYING in there!!!

And as we all know, chains are a CONSUMABLE product that continuously wear out, no matter what you do. Sure, you can prolong chain life and good shifting with good chain maintenance (trust me, my chains get lots of love after rides, even during long off-road rides), but there's only so much you can do.

The BEST way to ensure perfectly clean chains would be to ride only indoors and with proper measures to keep salty sweat off your beloved rollers, pins and plates! Even then you'll find metallic particles in your chain lube as things wear. It's unavoidable!

So put down the naptha. Leave the mineral spirits alone. Don't stock up on kerosene. And definitely leave the gasoline in the tank!

Just use a little citrus solvent on a rag and wipe down your chain, cogs and chainrings. Or even drip some on if you really MUST, and then blow out with compressed air. I know, all that junk just STICKS to the insides of the plates, right? (But don't breathe that aerosol!) Apply your favorite lube, wipe off the excess and go for a ride. Stop worrying about that part of your bike directly exposed to the harsh environment of riding and measure regularly. Replace as necessary.

Sorry, but I just HAD to add my $0.02.

*Trust me, I LOVE a clean chain. But I'm also a realist.
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Old 12-06-19, 04:27 PM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by LV2TNDM View Post
This thread reads like an advertisement for the chemical industry!

Many of you apparently LOVE playing with volatile organic compounds. Anyone wear a proper carbon-activated respirator? Use a ventilation hood in the garage? Have appropriate fire suppression systems at the ready?

I can almost guarantee not. On the plus side, you're giving your liver a workout!

Wax seems to be a decent chain lubricant. But many argue it isn't a "real" lubricant. I cannot add anything to the debate.

But what I CAN add is my complete astonishment at the ludicrous amount of overkill people apply to chain maintenance. Soaking in solvents for each lubrication? Are you serious? This is complete overkill. First, it removes lubricants from within the rollers and pins, making reapplication of lube a more prolonged exercise. I USED to soak chains (when I was young and inexperienced) and found even after applying ample lube, tiny chirps and squeaks always emerged after 20 or so miles. So I had to lube AGAIN. And oftentimes a THIRD time, just to silence those annoying squeaks. Why oh why would you go to such extremes to remove lube from within the chain, only to have to over-apply lots of lube thereafter just to get the lube BACK IN there?

Second, there's the solvent exposure and fire danger associated with using volatile, flammable liquids in the shop. Not good. You're exposing yourself unnecessarily to deleterious health effects and fire risk. Not a very good idea. Plus, you realize the chemical industry uses the American public as guinea pigs, right? We have no regulatory framework to ensure chemical compounds developed by the chemical industry are safe for the public. No, we go about it contrary to common sense. Instead of testing and confirming they're safe, we release them into the environment and only AFTER a problem arises do we test and determine safety. Let lawsuits determine when a product is dangerous or harmful. This is absurd, but that's what you get when you adore the free market and make profits the number one priority. Free enterprise would have it no other way!

But the clincher? My third point... Once you hit the road with that fine, shiny, perfectly clean and lubricated chain,* it gets DIRTY! Almost immediately dirt, grit, road grime and all the rest starts penetrating your chain links. And this is in the best of circumstances - on the road during ideal weather. Even then, your chain quickly picks up junk. After one good road ride, your once-shiny chain is right back to where you started. But add rain? Ten pedal strokes and your chain is completely contaminated.

Then there's off-road riding... a clean chain lasts about forty-five seconds before it begins collecting all sorts of crap. And a muddy ride? Ha, it's a wet-sanding nightmare! Those POOR chain components are just DYING in there!!!

And as we all know, chains are a CONSUMABLE product that continuously wear out, no matter what you do. Sure, you can prolong chain life and good shifting with good chain maintenance (trust me, my chains get lots of love after rides, even during long off-road rides), but there's only so much you can do.

The BEST way to ensure perfectly clean chains would be to ride only indoors and with proper measures to keep salty sweat off your beloved rollers, pins and plates! Even then you'll find metallic particles in your chain lube as things wear. It's unavoidable!

So put down the naptha. Leave the mineral spirits alone. Don't stock up on kerosene. And definitely leave the gasoline in the tank!

Just use a little citrus solvent on a rag and wipe down your chain, cogs and chainrings. Or even drip some on if you really MUST, and then blow out with compressed air. I know, all that junk just STICKS to the insides of the plates, right? (But don't breathe that aerosol!) Apply your favorite lube, wipe off the excess and go for a ride. Stop worrying about that part of your bike directly exposed to the harsh environment of riding and measure regularly. Replace as necessary.

Sorry, but I just HAD to add my $0.02.

*Trust me, I LOVE a clean chain. But I'm also a realist.
Your favorite lube likely has the same solvents you are scared of
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Old 12-06-19, 04:31 PM
  #28  
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I got just over 2 years out of my first 3lb bag of wax pellets, back when I was still tinkering with my formula. I then got a 10lb slab of paraffin from JoAnn with a double coupon (about $1.50 a pound,) and have gone through maybe 2lbs of it. I'm consuming less than 1lb per year, servicing 8 chains on 4 bikes.

My last dip day was November 8th, chains will swap again on the 9th of this month.
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Old 12-06-19, 04:57 PM
  #29  
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After that diatribe, what more can be said?
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Old 12-06-19, 05:27 PM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by redlude97 View Post
I'm only like half way through my bag and probably have waxed 50 chains this year
https://moltenspeedwax.com/pages/quick-facts

Don't shoot the messenger, I know nothing about hot dipping - wouldn't waste the time.

https://pages.jh.edu/~news_info/news...ug99/bike.html

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Old 12-06-19, 06:32 PM
  #31  
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Using DrIsotope ’s recipe, I’ve so far gotten over 700 miles on my first dipped chain. It’s not squeaky yet, but it’s probably about time to swap in the next chain. Those are almost all dry miles, mind you. Much. Much simpler and cleaner than any chain lube I’ve yet used!
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Old 12-07-19, 03:18 AM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by redlude97 View Post
Your favorite lube likely has the same solvents you are scared of
I'm not scared of any long-chain, volatile organic compounds. I've had enough chemistry to understand much of the basics. Given this, I choose to NOT spend hours and hours exposing myself to them performing ludicrous chain cleaning regimen. (Not as ludicrous as Sheldon Brown's Bicycle Chain Cleaning System though!*)

You might want to familiarize yourself with the adage, "The dose makes the poison." This means that it isn't the compound itself, as much as it's the amount of the compound in terms of exposure. So using "solvents you are scared of" isn't the problem. It's how much you use them and how much exposure you amass over time. I use all manner of chain lubricants, but I use them sparingly and with adequate ventilation. In fact, shortly after posting, I cleaned and lubed my chain before this afternoon's ride. But I applied the lube right before departing so I didn't have to inhale the fumes for the time period spent in the shop. And the rag I used to clean the chain and wipe off the excess lube I tossed out on the driveway to let the VOCs dissipate before reusing or tossing the rag.

So although you've assumed I'm one of the ill-informed people "scared of chemicals" in the world, you're wrong. Remember what they say about "assume!" I just decided to provide a somewhat comprehensive rebuttal to the chain soaking lunacy I read all the time in bicycle forums. I'll be sure to copy and past this in lots of places in the future. People really need to understand what a stupid, unhealthy and dangerous activity it really is. I hope it'll convince more than a few cyclists to give the solvents a rest and just opt for less toxic and far more simple chain maintenance solutions.

* Hilarious: https://www.sheldonbrown.com/chainclean.html

Last edited by LV2TNDM; 12-07-19 at 03:21 AM.
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Old 12-07-19, 08:32 AM
  #33  
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What remains inside a chain after much use is dirt and grit. If it's not removed, then adding more lube just dilutes the dirt and grit. I use old water bottles to hold cleaning solvent, so i can put the chain into the bottle, put the lid on an shake vigorously. There is very little exposure to solvent fumes. If desired, wear some nitrile gloves to eliminate skin exposure. I do a second rinse, since the chain is soaking in dirty solvent after the first. If the solvent is left sitting in the bottle, it can be reused many times by only pouring clean solvent off the upper portion. Using citrus products and water is a poor substitute for mineral spirits or naptha.

if you're really concerned about fume exposure, you can buy a SAS bandit carbon filter respirator mask for about $20, that will last a long time.

autobodytoolmart.com

Anyone who works in the auto paint and body shop business probably gets fume exposures that are hundreds of times greater than a person maintaining a bike. When I built my hot rod, I used about 8 gallons of acetone, several gallons of polyester fiberglass resin products and sprayed about 8 gallons of urethane paint. I went through at least 500 nitrile gloves and two carbon filter respirator masks.
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Old 12-07-19, 11:37 AM
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A little new year also but are lubes like Triflow (wet or dry) good for bike chains. Iíve ridden around 600 miles since mid August with it in my chain. All dry and all asphalt/concrete. Super quiet.
Just asking.
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Old 12-07-19, 03:08 PM
  #35  
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The only drawback I found in my time with TriFlow is that it goes jet black pretty quickly, and makes for a chain that can double as an ink stamp. Functionally it's fine, but cleanliness wise (IMO) it's down near the bottom.
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Old 12-07-19, 03:16 PM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by Strosfan5 View Post
A little new year also but are lubes like Triflow (wet or dry) good for bike chains. Iíve ridden around 600 miles since mid August with it in my chain. All dry and all asphalt/concrete. Super quiet.
Just asking.

Tri-flow is OK but chain not last as long as with other lubes that stay in place better.
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Old 12-09-19, 12:06 PM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by LV2TNDM View Post
I'm not scared of any long-chain, volatile organic compounds. I've had enough chemistry to understand much of the basics. Given this, I choose to NOT spend hours and hours exposing myself to them performing ludicrous chain cleaning regimen. (Not as ludicrous as Sheldon Brown's Bicycle Chain Cleaning System though!*)

You might want to familiarize yourself with the adage, "The dose makes the poison." This means that it isn't the compound itself, as much as it's the amount of the compound in terms of exposure. So using "solvents you are scared of" isn't the problem. It's how much you use them and how much exposure you amass over time. I use all manner of chain lubricants, but I use them sparingly and with adequate ventilation. In fact, shortly after posting, I cleaned and lubed my chain before this afternoon's ride. But I applied the lube right before departing so I didn't have to inhale the fumes for the time period spent in the shop. And the rag I used to clean the chain and wipe off the excess lube I tossed out on the driveway to let the VOCs dissipate before reusing or tossing the rag.

So although you've assumed I'm one of the ill-informed people "scared of chemicals" in the world, you're wrong. Remember what they say about "assume!" I just decided to provide a somewhat comprehensive rebuttal to the chain soaking lunacy I read all the time in bicycle forums. I'll be sure to copy and past this in lots of places in the future. People really need to understand what a stupid, unhealthy and dangerous activity it really is. I hope it'll convince more than a few cyclists to give the solvents a rest and just opt for less toxic and far more simple chain maintenance solutions.

* Hilarious: https://www.sheldonbrown.com/chainclean.html
Neither use case is high exposure, and are relatively benign to start with. Just look at the MSDS
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Old 12-09-19, 01:27 PM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
Outdated and ostensibly false. The factory coating on a chain is an anti-corrosive agent, and serves to attract and trap contaminants perhaps better than anything else. It should be removed before applying any lube, unless frequent drivetrain cleaning and fostering premature wear are among your pastimes.
Exactly where do you get your information about the factory chain lube?
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Old 12-10-19, 09:12 AM
  #39  
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Not all chains have the same substance on them from the factory, but most have a grease-like coating that's heated to make it a thin liquid and the nearly finished chain runs through a bath of the stuff, before being cut to final length. Campy has a video that shows this process. If it's not at least wiped off the exterior of a chain, with a little mineral spirits on a rag, it is a huge collector of dirt. If you want to use a dry lube or hot dipped paraffin, the stuff needs to be removed first. The newest SRAM AXS chains only have a light oil on them, but that needs to be removed too. The brown stuff you see on new chains is mostly likely cosmoline or something very similar.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmoline

I used wet lubes for over 25 years and always got reasonable chain life, but keeping the drivetrain clean was a lot of work. Using my cheap home made dry lube is an enormous improvement in drivetrain cleanliness. What is always debatable is how often to clean a chain, if at all. I know many people only wipe chains with a rag to clean the exterior a little, but that leaves all of the wearing-causing grit that gets inside a chain untouched. They also tend to buy cheap chains and cassettes and not care if they don't last very long. I remove my chains occasionally for a good cleaning with a proper solvent - not some citrus stuff and rust causing water. If you're running 12 speed, chains and cassettes are not cheap throwaways.

https://pages.jh.edu/~gazette/1999/aug3099/30pedal.html


Last edited by DaveSSS; 12-10-19 at 04:28 PM.
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Old 12-10-19, 04:12 PM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by davidad View Post
Exactly where do you get your information about the factory chain lube?
r

Shimano chains were covered with the stickiest packing grease that I've ever experienced in the bike industry. The stuff was like glue. Wiping it off by running the chain through a rag would literally pull the rag out of your hand. This stuff was horrible. Any new bike that went out with it left in place returned with all sorts of junk stuck all over the chain.

The easiest solution was to wipe with citrus degreaser and apply appropriate chain lube. No need to completely flush the chain (although I'm sure many would be tempted, given the nature of the packing grease).

The factory-applied grease is there merely to ease assembly during production as well as prevent corrosion during warehousing and shipping. If anyone thinks they're treating the chain with some super compound, they have another thing coming. Where margins are razor-thin, you aren't going to get botique chain compounds on chains from the factory. You're getting the cheapest stuff possible that will get the chain from points A to B to C to the retailer without corrosion.

And as an additional comment on the issue, I went to YouTube to take a look at "bicycle chain cleaning" videos. Sure enough, about five seconds after clicking "search," I came across an Aussie showing viewers how to fabricate a great home-made chain soaking device. It was informative and offered some good ideas.... until he pulled out the gas can and was pouring gasoline all over his bare hands, spilling it on the ground and generally being an idiot. One spark, a little static electricity, or some smoker lighting up and he could end up burning down his shop, ending up on the hospital or worse.

THIS is exactly what my post is aimed at. People who've lost all rational thought and go completely overboard on chain maintenance. Taking huge risk without thinking. Pouring gasoline all over the place is simply stupid and anyone posting a video recommending this approach to chain maintenance is not doing anyone a service. I'd hate to have a friend or relative stumble upon this video and hurt themselves following this terrible advice.

And given the newbie mistakes and gaffes I've seen done over years at the LBS, it's worth pointing this kind of thing out. (I watched a guy struggle literally for one to two hours on the shop floor swearing and struggling to repair a flat tire, a five minute repair for the shop. This customer refused to pay the $7 labor at the time to have use change it for him. We also taught comprehensive bike maintenance in the shop and volunteered to teach him while we did the work. He simply refused, destroying several tubes in the process and had a terrible time. In retrospect, we probably should have just stepped in and offered him a hand. But his attitude was so negative and obstinance so extreme, we didn't really have any empathy for him at the time.)

I use a carbon-activated respirator whenever using VOCs, and an appropriately-rated particulate filter when necessary. I use nitrile gloves whenever doing mechanical work that entails lots of oils and grease. I only wish I had started using gloves 40 years ago when I embarked on my wrenching endeavors! So for those who suggested these things, I already use them. I've used PPE for work, so I'm somewhat versed in avoiding exposure to potentially dangerous materials and compounds.

And I'd like to also add that there are indeed times when thorough flushing of a chain is perfectly sensible. After a mud ride that leaves your bike entirely caked in mud. Then I'd take the opportunity to properly hose off the bike, drivetrain and chain thoroughly. And then address the chain specifically by using a water-based detergent or solvent like Simple Green, car soap or citrus degreaser to remove the embedded contaminants in the chain. Might as well, since the entire bike has been treated to a mud bath! But, I'd do it all ON THE BIKE. No chain removal necessary. And once I'd gotten the chain clean and fully rinsed of degreaser, I'd be sure to use an air compressor to remove as much water from the chain links and rollers as possible. And then I'd apply ample appropriate chain lube and wipe down all the excess thereafter.

So there are exceptions to every rule. I live and ride in a very dry climate, so mud rides aren't that common for me. So for 5/6 of the year, I'm not riding mud, so I have no need or reason to flush my chain that will wear out no matter how thoroughly I clean it. I start every ride with a well lubricated and clean chain, chainrings and cogs, and that's it.

Last edited by LV2TNDM; 12-10-19 at 04:18 PM.
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Old 12-10-19, 07:28 PM
  #41  
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Yeah, that Aussie chain waxing guy drives me nuts with his indifference to safe handling of gasoline. Other than that his advice is okay.

Last time I checked the KMC websites it was interesting to notice the differences between their US and European market sites. The European KMC site specifically recommends sticking with their original lube, only wiping it down, and avoiding aggressive methods such as solvents, chain cleaner doodads, etc., that strip out the original lube. And they recommended a chain lube that sounds similar to Park CL-1 and lubes for motorcycle chains -- stuff that goes on thin to penetrate, but sets up sticky or tacky to resist washing out in rain.

I used to assume most chains were dipped in cosmoline just for corrosion resistance. But now I'm wondering whether it's that type of chain lube that goes on thin and wet and sets up tacky, kinda like a Post-It Note or Blue Tak gum.

I do use Park CL-1 on my hybrid/errand bike because it is more resistant to rain and lasts a long time between applications. But I prefer wax for the road bikes, especially the one on the indoor trainer. Mostly to avoid chain tattoos and because I have cats that rub all over everything.

Wax feels slicker for the first ride but doesn't last long and after 100 miles sounds pretty noisy -- not squeaky but metallic. Doesn't matter whether it's melted paraffin in the crock pot, Boeshield T9 or White Lightning Easy Lube. They're good for maybe one or two quiet rides. And the liquefied paraffin isn't much cleaner than wet oil lubes unless I remove the chains, apply the T9 or Easy Lube off the bike, and let 'em dry before reinstalling. Defeats the purpose of easy application and isn't really any more convenient than the crock pot with melted wax.
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Old 12-11-19, 09:50 AM
  #42  
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There's a huge difference in cleanliness using solvent dissolved wax, compared to any oily wet lube. It just has to be applied with plenty of time for the solvent to evaporate. If that's done, then it's just as clean as hot dip wax.

A liquid wax should not mix paraffin with lamp oil, paraffin oil, or kerosene. These are all the same light oil products that do not evaporate. Also, using mineral spirits to dissolve the paraffin results in a slower evaporating mixture than naptha/camp stove fuel.

I've just recently found that as little as 3 ounces of solvent can be mixed with 1 ounce of paraffin, but the mix won't remain a water-like lube, unless the room temperature is over 70 degrees. My dispensing bottle usually needs to be placed in some hot tap water for a couple of minutes to liquefy the mix.

I never remove my chain, except for cleaning.

Last edited by DaveSSS; 12-11-19 at 01:37 PM.
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Old 12-11-19, 10:13 AM
  #43  
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Paraffin isnít always wax

The year was 1980 or so. The local bike club met at the Schwinn shop in town and they were trying this new idea that a member had read about. It was soaking a chain in paraffin to clean and lubricate in one step. Everyone agreed that it was a bit of a pain to melt a quantity of wax, which is why they were doing it as a group.

Of course in America paraffin is a wax. But the article that was shared was written by a Brit. As the club was melting wax in a turkey pan on a hot plate I pointed out that in England paraffin is the word for what we call kerosene. Kerosene does in fact have both solvent-like properties and it does lubricate (although not that well compared to other substances). Paraffin wax does lubricate, you may have heard of using it on zippers, drawer slides, etc. But paraffin wax doesnít have much solvent action.

I didnít bother waxing my chain back in 1980, and figured that the practice would soon pass the way of other cycling fads. Seems like it is still around!

Please donít get me wrong, do what you want with your chains! I may be missing out on the best thing ever but it will be hard to convince me that waxing a bike chain is anything other than a result of not knowing that the word paraffin doesnít always mean wax.
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Old 12-11-19, 11:59 AM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by LV2TNDM View Post
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Shimano chains were covered with the stickiest packing grease that I've ever experienced in the bike industry. The stuff was like glue. Wiping it off by running the chain through a rag would literally pull the rag out of your hand. This stuff was horrible. Any new bike that went out with it left in place returned with all sorts of junk stuck all over the chain.

The easiest solution was to wipe with citrus degreaser and apply appropriate chain lube. No need to completely flush the chain (although I'm sure many would be tempted, given the nature of the packing grease).

The factory-applied grease is there merely to ease assembly during production as well as prevent corrosion during warehousing and shipping. If anyone thinks they're treating the chain with some super compound, they have another thing coming. Where margins are razor-thin, you aren't going to get botique chain compounds on chains from the factory. You're getting the cheapest stuff possible that will get the chain from points A to B to C to the retailer without corrosion.

And as an additional comment on the issue, I went to YouTube to take a look at "bicycle chain cleaning" videos. Sure enough, about five seconds after clicking "search," I came across an Aussie showing viewers how to fabricate a great home-made chain soaking device. It was informative and offered some good ideas.... until he pulled out the gas can and was pouring gasoline all over his bare hands, spilling it on the ground and generally being an idiot. One spark, a little static electricity, or some smoker lighting up and he could end up burning down his shop, ending up on the hospital or worse.

THIS is exactly what my post is aimed at. People who've lost all rational thought and go completely overboard on chain maintenance. Taking huge risk without thinking. Pouring gasoline all over the place is simply stupid and anyone posting a video recommending this approach to chain maintenance is not doing anyone a service. I'd hate to have a friend or relative stumble upon this video and hurt themselves following this terrible advice.

And given the newbie mistakes and gaffes I've seen done over years at the LBS, it's worth pointing this kind of thing out. (I watched a guy struggle literally for one to two hours on the shop floor swearing and struggling to repair a flat tire, a five minute repair for the shop. This customer refused to pay the $7 labor at the time to have use change it for him. We also taught comprehensive bike maintenance in the shop and volunteered to teach him while we did the work. He simply refused, destroying several tubes in the process and had a terrible time. In retrospect, we probably should have just stepped in and offered him a hand. But his attitude was so negative and obstinance so extreme, we didn't really have any empathy for him at the time.)

I use a carbon-activated respirator whenever using VOCs, and an appropriately-rated particulate filter when necessary. I use nitrile gloves whenever doing mechanical work that entails lots of oils and grease. I only wish I had started using gloves 40 years ago when I embarked on my wrenching endeavors! So for those who suggested these things, I already use them. I've used PPE for work, so I'm somewhat versed in avoiding exposure to potentially dangerous materials and compounds.

And I'd like to also add that there are indeed times when thorough flushing of a chain is perfectly sensible. After a mud ride that leaves your bike entirely caked in mud. Then I'd take the opportunity to properly hose off the bike, drivetrain and chain thoroughly. And then address the chain specifically by using a water-based detergent or solvent like Simple Green, car soap or citrus degreaser to remove the embedded contaminants in the chain. Might as well, since the entire bike has been treated to a mud bath! But, I'd do it all ON THE BIKE. No chain removal necessary. And once I'd gotten the chain clean and fully rinsed of degreaser, I'd be sure to use an air compressor to remove as much water from the chain links and rollers as possible. And then I'd apply ample appropriate chain lube and wipe down all the excess thereafter.

So there are exceptions to every rule. I live and ride in a very dry climate, so mud rides aren't that common for me. So for 5/6 of the year, I'm not riding mud, so I have no need or reason to flush my chain that will wear out no matter how thoroughly I clean it. I start every ride with a well lubricated and clean chain, chainrings and cogs, and that's it.
Second paragraph. https://www.sheldonbrown.com/brandt/chain-care.html
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Old 12-11-19, 12:03 PM
  #45  
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Actually, it's paraffin oil, lamp oil and kerosene that are all the same stuff. Apparently, the English folks cut paraffin oil down to only paraffin, but I'm sure that they had paraffin wax for sealing off the top of jelly jars, but don't know what they called it. Hot dipping would not be required if paraffin oil alone was being used to lubricate chains. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paraffin_oil

I mix some high quality lubricating oil into my mixture of paraffin wax (not oil) and the naptha that dissolves the solid wax. When the naptha evaporates, you get a solid wax, remaining. I've mixed various amounts of gear lube into paraffin wax, with the wax melted, then allowed it to harden, so I can be sure that all of the oil remains mixed with the wax. If not, then the resulting product would have some some amount of wet oil remaining after the naptha evaporates and that's not what I want, since the oil will attract dirt.
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Old 12-16-19, 10:02 AM
  #46  
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most lubes contain long isoparaffinic hydrocarbon chains (a kind of wax that flakes less than regular wax but still does and also does not prevent the metal from adsorbing rust causing contaminants) as the base oil type. synthetic oils are needed only in engine oil (to keep viscosity from varying too much with high temperature variance).

mixed in those marketed lube solutions are some additives: antiwear and antirust. these additives should also tackify the lube to prevent oil flow and also dirt ingress.
the label will not show all the ingredients. the reasons to make your concoction would be the relative convenience (including having more readily available the ingredients), avoiding overpriced products that do not go well with the chain cooking method and/or are just not the right formula for your needs.

ceramic (hexagonal boron nitride) is one of the best antiwear additives;
lithium stearate is one of the best antirust additives.

using only wax does not work too well unless riding in dry conditions and having a light load on the pedals all the time, never stomping. otherwise there's not much chance to enjoy the simplicity of just waxing the chain without worrying about adding those additives...

at least look for some gear oil additive to improve the concoction you are using, add it to the wax you have been starting out with. just be sure to have more of the gear oil additive inside the chain, where it's needed the most.

when cleaning the chain be careful that nonpolar solvents will not help in washing out salt etc. from the chain;
using water can be of help in cleaning such contaminants but a mixture of alcohols (some isopropylic included in the mix) would be of greater use as alcohol will dry out rapidly;
the final chain bath should be done with a safe nonpolar solvent (some people use diesel fuel but others prefer gasoline as it dries rapidly) and re-lubing the chain should be done immediately after that so that you minimize the corrosion. let the chain hang a bit and maybe swing it to force the solvent out of it.

the easiest thing would be to dip the chain in a concoction as the final warm/hot bath.
getting the chain off the bike is a very easy thing. if the powerlink cannot be taken away by a 10 year old (by pulling sides closer to one another) then you should be more careful in servicing it.
putting the chain back through the derailleur takes only a bit more time.

leave the chain to dry out further after lubing it, either on the bike or as a future replacement (several chains cleaning and lubing job). if using diesel then the drying out will not be too practical and will make the viscosity go down so you need to fling it off and/or ensure a proper hot wax (in which you also mix the additives) bath afterwards. leave the concoction stay at less than water boiling temperature for some time to dry out the solvent that would otherwise build up in time.

a safe chain wax cooking way HERE (linked). a glass jar with a closed lid mounted in a pot of almost boiling water that was slowly warmed up with that glass inside it. have the jar with the opened lid outside the pot when removing the chain(s) and try to keep it warm afterwards (like sitting on a stove) so the solvent can evaporate as much as possible but away from any fire source.

it's advisable to rotate more than one chain so that you gradually wear out only a set of cogs and chainrings for the set of chains you rotate.
put away the chain(s) longer than the rest until all are about the same length.

most people try replacing marketed lubes with plain wax (ignoring about adding the needed additives) for the plain reason of not knowing the proper way to clean the chain. they hope that plain wax will work for them so that cleaning the chain will not be needed anymore. they also worry about the dirty goo that was developing outside a properly lubed chain and try to rub it off frequently with a dry cloth and in this way they are pushing dirt inside the chain. that goo should be present and seal dirt from getting inside the chain. a dry chain on the outside has spaces in which dirt can get in. at least have some wax on the outside. it will flake off in time though. don't rub the chain with a dry cloth but rather wash it by shaking it in a plastic can etc. after getting it off the bike. relube afterwards.

Last edited by adipe; 12-16-19 at 10:40 AM.
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Old 12-17-19, 05:37 PM
  #47  
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Recalling from my days as a firefighter, the concentration of gasoline vapors has to be correct to effectively ignite, hence the reason one can take a lit cancer stick and throw it into a bucket of fuel without an explosion. There is not enough "air" at the surface of the fuel to supply the concentration of vapor. Outside the bucket is another story.

A simple spill of a little gasoline on the floor is unlikely to burn a building down, as there is not enough of it to go the distance. Now, the fire triangle may have changed since way back when, but I haven't heard of any changes to it. Please correct me if I am mistaken.
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Old 12-19-19, 11:44 AM
  #48  
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In skiing ppl wax their boards and skis with an iron and a stick of wax. Why dont you just heat the chain with a heat gun or a soft gas flame and and let the wax melt into the chain.

Last edited by Racing Dan; 12-19-19 at 11:50 AM.
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Old 12-20-19, 07:57 AM
  #49  
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No response to the above ... Really? :-)

FYI, Paraffin melts at 130 F or so.
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Old 12-20-19, 08:45 AM
  #50  
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Originally Posted by Racing Dan View Post
No response to the above ... Really? :-)

FYI, Paraffin melts at 130 F or so.
Your method would still create a big mess and an open flame is not wise. Wax can be set on fire or at least smoke when an open flame is used. Using a crock pot makes more sense. Either method places a lot of wax where it doesn't do any good. That's why I prefer a solvent dissolved product that uses far less wax, contains some high quality lubricating oil (not lamp oil) and puts most of the lube on and inside the roller.

Last edited by DaveSSS; 12-20-19 at 02:51 PM.
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