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Melting wax

Old 05-17-22, 07:31 PM
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Originally Posted by tiger1964
99% sure that's the one I have, same brand anyway. Over 2 hours to hit 200F, so I want to replace it.

Tempted to just get a saucepan and skip the double boiler route.
I drop my chain in the cold crockpot on my workbench. Turn it on, and set my phone alarm for 1 hour. When I go back it is always up to 200F so I swish the chain and remove.
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Old 05-17-22, 07:55 PM
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Josh Poertner from Silca uses an instant pot which melts the wax in under 10 minutes. That sounds like the best of both worlds.
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Old 05-17-22, 11:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Oldairhead
I gave up on waxing my chains along with the "White Lightning" chain lube products back in the early 90's. I simply chewed up too many chains, rings and cassettes on my MTB. It just got too expensive trying to make it work! Just one man's opinion.
White Lightning was also a pretty bad product. I jumped on that bandwagon for a while and gave up quickly.

Waxing in a pot is completely different and will definitely prolongue the lifetime of your drivetrain. It makes a significant improvement in chainwear, etc. Can't imagine ever going back to oil based lubes.
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Old 05-18-22, 12:01 AM
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Originally Posted by davester
I drop my chain in the cold crockpot on my workbench. Turn it on, and set my phone alarm for 1 hour. When I go back it is always up to 200F so I swish the chain and remove.
Same here. Chain is done by the time I've showered and made it back out to the garage.

Melting wax on a pan can work in a pinch, but I wouldn't recommend it. Way too difficult to manage the temperature correctly. Additionally, it seems important that the chain is also heated if you want really good penetration. So much simpler to just let is sit in the pot for an hour with no worries.
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Old 05-18-22, 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by davester
I drop my chain in the cold crockpot on my workbench. Turn it on, and set my phone alarm for 1 hour. When I go back it is always up to 200F so I swish the chain and remove.
Perhaps mine is defective?

Originally Posted by JSL
Melting wax on a pan can work in a pinch, but I wouldn't recommend it. Way too difficult to manage the temperature correctly. Additionally, it seems important that the chain is also heated if you want really good penetration. So much simpler to just let is sit in the pot for an hour with no worries.
Hmm, with a digital cooking thermometer, I wonder if I could regulate temp well. Last time, the crockpot struggled to reach 200F so I guess that's "regulation", after a fashion.
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Old 05-18-22, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by tiger1964
Hmm, with a digital cooking thermometer, I wonder if I could regulate temp well.
Of course you could--even using an analog candy thermometer. Has no one around here ever cooked anything on a stove? This ain't rocket science you guys...
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Old 05-22-22, 08:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Polaris OBark
Insufficient fire insurance.
Double-boiler on the stove is safe ... Done it many times
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Old 06-08-22, 08:32 AM
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What experience have those doing crockpot waxing had with the re-usability of chain connector links?

Both KMC and SRAM claim to have re-usable links (at least in the larger widths like 8-speed), any experience with longetivity in practice?

(For KMC it's critical to note the difference between the 7.1 and 7.3 mm versions - SRAM seems to only do 7.1mm and not 7.3mm chains. The packaging of the KMC 7.1mm links seems to imply they can be used on SRAM chains as well, though who knows how that works out in practice)

Last edited by UniChris; 06-08-22 at 08:37 AM.
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Old 06-08-22, 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by smd4
I think there are much scarier things to be fearful of than melting wax in your house.

Wax off.
We're cyclists. We take calculated risks, and those of us who are still here to participate in the discussion are sufficiently risk averse to have made it this far. That said, we can only calculate the risks if we know what they are. Wax is flammable. Lots of beekeepers have had bad accidents melting down beeswax. Working with melted wax around an open flame is risky behavior. You will get away with it until you don't.

I made a solar melter for chain lube. It was just a wooden box (an old drawer) painted black, with a piece of glass that fit it nicely and sealed pretty well. I put the wax in a black plastic tub (from a Trader Joes mac&cheese I believe) inside the box. Put that out in the sun on a summer afternoon and the wax will melt in an hour or two.

Planning ahead is more complicated if you have to have a sunny day, of course. I didn't stick with this regimen of chain maintenance.
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Old 06-08-22, 09:50 AM
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Originally Posted by rhm
I made a solar melter for chain lube. It was just a wooden box (an old drawer) painted black, with a piece of glass that fit it nicely and sealed pretty well. I put the wax in a black plastic tub (from a Trader Joes mac&cheese I believe) inside the box. Put that out in the sun on a summer afternoon and the wax will melt in an hour or two.
Rube Goldberg would be very proud...
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Old 06-08-22, 10:04 AM
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Two points I haven't see mentioned:
1. Don't just dip the chain in and out as soon as the wax melts. You need to get that wax as hot as possible, well above the boiling point of water, and cook the chain in there for a good long time, in order to cook off all the water and solvents remaining on the chain.
2. Don't just pull out the chain when the wax is still scalding hot. The wax will just drip right off the chain. You need to let the wax cool down until it starts to thicken.
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Old 06-08-22, 10:33 AM
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Originally Posted by icemilkcoffee
Two points I haven't see mentioned:
1. Don't just dip the chain in and out as soon as the wax melts. You need to get that wax as hot as possible, well above the boiling point of water, and cook the chain in there for a good long time, in order to cook off all the water and solvents remaining on the chain.
2. Don't just pull out the chain when the wax is still scalding hot. The wax will just drip right off the chain. You need to let the wax cool down until it starts to thicken.
I've just started waxing (about 207 miles back), using a 0.5L depilation wax heater with digital temperature control - a bit small but I had it lying around (for accordion wax not hair
I gave it 30 mins at 95c the first time, but you say above 100c for a while which makes sense for removing water.
What temp would you suggest ?

Update: did some googling and Molten Speed Wax say not to heat above 93c (200F)
https://moltenspeedwax.com/pages/waxing-your-chain

Last edited by Aardwolf; 06-08-22 at 12:25 PM. Reason: Update
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Old 06-08-22, 12:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Aardwolf
I've just started waxing (about 207 miles back), using a 0.5L depilation wax heater with digital temperature control - a bit small but I had it lying around (for accordion wax not hair
I gave it 30 mins at 95c the first time, but you say above 100c for a while which makes sense for removing water.
What temp would you suggest ?

Update: did some googling and Molten Speed Wax say not to heat above 93c (200F)
https://moltenspeedwax.com/pages/waxing-your-chain
I have no idea why Molten would say that, but I measured my crockpot of wax and it was well over 230F (the meat thermometer maxes out at 230, but it was totally pegged). And I leave the chain there for a good long time.
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Old 06-08-22, 02:33 PM
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Originally Posted by icemilkcoffee
Two points I haven't see mentioned:
1. Don't just dip the chain in and out as soon as the wax melts. You need to get that wax as hot as possible, well above the boiling point of water, and cook the chain in there for a good long time, in order to cook off all the water and solvents remaining on the chain.
2. Don't just pull out the chain when the wax is still scalding hot. The wax will just drip right off the chain. You need to let the wax cool down until it starts to thicken.
I don't agree with either of those points.

1.Zero Friction Cycling and Molten Speed Wax and other articles on cycling explain that you shouldn't go over 200F. This is because high temperatures will break down the hydrocarbon chains in the wax and ruin its lubricating properties. They also explain that you should make sure that the chains are dry and completely purged of all petroleum products and solvents before waxing.

2. Again, ZFC and MSW and others explain that you should pull the chain when hot. The wax will cling to the metal. There is no reason to let it cool.

Edit: Also, here's a nice little FAQ by ZFC explaining much of the above and more, including the pros and cons of using slow cookers, rice cookers, pans on the stove, instant pots, etc. https://zerofrictioncycling.com.au/w...-FAQ-v1.3b.pdf

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Old 06-14-22, 07:08 AM
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Originally Posted by nlerner
I added powdered PTFE to my wax after reading about its lubrication properties.
OK, got a bag of powdered PTFE here (sounds like I should wear a mask during the process!), plus someone mentioned molybdenum disulfide (MOS2) so I got some of that as well. No idea how much powder to add to how much wax, and nothing on the powder manufacurer's website tighter. Is there a guideline?
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Old 06-14-22, 07:21 AM
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Originally Posted by tiger1964
OK, got a bag of powdered PTFE here (sounds like I should wear a mask during the process!), plus someone mentioned molybdenum disulfide (MOS2) so I got some of that as well. No idea how much powder to add to how much wax, and nothing on the powder manufacurer's website tighter. Is there a guideline?
This site says 5g of PTFE and 1g of MoS2 per 1 lb of paraffin:

https://www.bikeradar.com/news/frict...-lube-formula/
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Old 06-14-22, 07:26 AM
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Originally Posted by nlerner
This site says 5g of PTFE and 1g of MoS2 per 1 lb of paraffin:

https://www.bikeradar.com/news/frict...-lube-formula/
Thanks!!! And the article says I need to source a milk frother? How do you do it, just stir with a spoon? And I guess I can carefully use my wife's digital kitchen scale to measure 1g and 5g.

(Just coming off two weeks sick, ready to ride again, on my last ride I swear I think I heard a faint squeak which implies overdue to re-wax)
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Old 06-14-22, 07:36 AM
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Originally Posted by tiger1964
Thanks!!! And the article says I need to source a milk frother? How do you do it, just stir with a spoon? And I guess I can carefully use my wife's digital kitchen scale to measure 1g and 5g.

(Just coming off two weeks sick, ready to ride again, on my last ride I swear I think I heard a faint squeak which implies overdue to re-wax)
Or you could just buy a bag of Molten Speed Wax or Silca Secret Chain Blend that have years of research behind their formulations and will last you through many waxings, no frother needed. Note that ZFC has several warnings regarding poorly performing DIY waxes, i.e. https://zerofrictioncycling.com.au/w...-FAQ-v1.3b.pdf
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Old 06-14-22, 08:24 AM
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Originally Posted by tiger1964
Thanks!!! And the article says I need to source a milk frother? How do you do it, just stir with a spoon? And I guess I can carefully use my wife's digital kitchen scale to measure 1g and 5g.

(Just coming off two weeks sick, ready to ride again, on my last ride I swear I think I heard a faint squeak which implies overdue to re-wax)
I use a spoon.
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Old 06-14-22, 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by davester
Or you could just buy a bag of Molten Speed Wax or Silca Secret Chain Blend that have years of research behind their formulations and will last you through many waxings, no frother needed. Note that ZFC has several warnings regarding poorly performing DIY waxes, i.e. https://zerofrictioncycling.com.au/w...-FAQ-v1.3b.pdf
Actually Molten Speed Wax is what I have, currently.

Originally Posted by nlerner
I use a spoon.
Cool.

In a major RTFM moment, I am reading the package for the Molten Speed Wax and it states it already had PTFE and MOS2 in it! Hmm, is there merit in adding more?

Then again, while I still have 17.07oz of the wax, once I start doing more chains, I'll need more and in 15 months this stuff went from $21 to $32, that's quite a hike. Perhaps there are additive-less waxes that I can modify with the additives I have now bought, that are cheaper (?) Silca brand wax seems to be even more expensive.

It took a while but I got the mini-crockpot hot enough to melt the wax I had stored in there, and transferred the wax to the new saucepan. Ready to treat the chain...
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Old 06-14-22, 02:40 PM
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Originally Posted by UniChris
What experience have those doing crockpot waxing had with the re-usability of chain connector links?

Both KMC and SRAM claim to have re-usable links (at least in the larger widths like 8-speed), any experience with longetivity in practice?

(For KMC it's critical to note the difference between the 7.1 and 7.3 mm versions - SRAM seems to only do 7.1mm and not 7.3mm chains. The packaging of the KMC 7.1mm links seems to imply they can be used on SRAM chains as well, though who knows how that works out in practice)
I used to get a fair amount of re-use on 9-10 speed links, KMC was my favorite. But in the 11-12 world I've been switching them out once a year, which is typically just 2 re-wax events for road and MTB. They just seem more worn out and harder to get to snap back in place. Cross bikes get more re-waxing, and then once it gets cold I stop waxing and use muc-off (a tip from a cross pro).

BTW those of you with partners who like to garage sale and flea market, tell them you need a standard large crock pot for your shop. You'll have one in no time and cheap (same day for me when I made the request).
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Old 06-14-22, 05:36 PM
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Originally Posted by smd4
Is there some reason you can't or shouldn't do it on the stove?
I use an old saucepan that I put on that stove at low heat - easy peasy
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Old 06-15-22, 07:03 PM
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Originally Posted by ldmataya
I used to get a fair amount of re-use on 9-10 speed links, KMC was my favorite. But in the 11-12 world I've been switching them out once a year, which is typically just 2 re-wax events for road and MTB. They just seem more worn out and harder to get to snap back in place.
My impression was that while the 8 speed and under links were supposed to be re-usable (and maybe some of the 9 speed ones?) the 10, 11, 12 were officially single use.

BTW those of you with partners who like to garage sale and flea market, tell them you need a standard large crock pot for your shop. You'll have one in no time and cheap (same day for me when I made the request).
Or oneself. But I stopped in at the end of the ride and was uncertain about lashing it on. Wouldn't have been too far to walk back. But at $2 it was twice the price I wanted to pay, and I wasn't yet sure on the pain involved in this "waxing" business ;-)
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Old 06-15-22, 09:11 PM
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Originally Posted by UniChris
My impression was that while the 8 speed and under links were supposed to be re-usable (and maybe some of the 9 speed ones?) the 10, 11, 12 were officially single use.
One wonders... why?
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Old 06-15-22, 09:37 PM
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Originally Posted by tiger1964
One wonders... why?
Presumably because the sideplates of the higher speed count chains are too thin.

In the re-usable links that I'm familiar with, the capture of the pin is done with a stepped hole in the side plate - the plates have to move in to release it, and normally the installed chain end keeps them apart. It's a 3d feature.

If I had to guess, in the thinner sideplate chains the capture is more of a 2d feature than a 3d one, and involved essentially munging the metal to let the pin pop through a squeeze between two partially overlapping holes of different size, and not back out. Since the metal would actually flow it wouldn't work very many times.

Another way of looking at it is that a 7 or 8 (or maybe 9?) speed quick link won't securely lock unless installed on a chain (which sometimes leads people to think real ones are defective or fake, though of course fake ones are rampant).

Pure speculation as I don't have one to look at, but I wouldn't be surprised if a 10, 11, or 12 speed one would lock all by itself (but then, if you try it, you've used up its official life...)

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