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Question for you who wax your chain

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Question for you who wax your chain

Old 01-10-20, 07:43 AM
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MidTNBrad
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Question for you who wax your chain

Hmm...that sounds like some sort of euphemism.

Anyway, I'm thinking about waxing rather than using wet lube but I'm wondering how it holds up in hot weather. Where I live its not uncommon to see days in the mid 90's (fahrenheit). That, combined with the hot sun on asphalt can drive the temp near the road even higher. Does anyone have an issue with the wax breaking down or melting out of the chain during those hot days of summer?
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Old 01-10-20, 08:13 AM
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Originally Posted by MidTNBrad View Post
Hmm...that sounds like some sort of euphemism.

Anyway, I'm thinking about waxing rather than using wet lube but I'm wondering how it holds up in hot weather. Where I live its not uncommon to see days in the mid 90's (fahrenheit). That, combined with the hot sun on asphalt can drive the temp near the road even higher. Does anyone have an issue with the wax breaking down or melting out of the chain during those hot days of summer?
Never had an issue here.
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Old 01-10-20, 08:26 AM
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Never had an issue here in the desert, where summer temps are routinely north of 100, and temperature on the pavement can exceed 180.
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Old 01-10-20, 02:14 PM
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Originally Posted by MidTNBrad View Post
Hmm...that sounds like some sort of euphemism.

Anyway, I'm thinking about waxing rather than using wet lube but I'm wondering how it holds up in hot weather. Where I live its not uncommon to see days in the mid 90's (fahrenheit). That, combined with the hot sun on asphalt can drive the temp near the road even higher. Does anyone have an issue with the wax breaking down or melting out of the chain during those hot days of summer?
never had a issue with high heat. Granted it doesn't get over 100 degrees here all that much, and I will not ride over 95 but at 90 when I do ride there is no difference in performance because of temp. Don't worry about it.

Waxing is where its at!!!
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Old 01-10-20, 05:12 PM
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Heat is not a problem. Wax only liquifies at something close to 200 degrees F. The biggest problem with wax is proper application. You have to melt it in a double boiler and leave the chain in there long enough to heat the chain completely through so that the wax (and usually you add PTFE as a 2 or 3% additive ) completely saturates the chain. If you remove the chain and it is hardening between the links the chain is still cold. Properly, the chain remains perfectly clean and when it starts getting so that when you rub it with a finger and you're getting black marks it is time to clean the chain again and re-apply. This is usually a couple of months if you do a good job and ride several times a week,

Cleaning a waxed chain can be done several ways. You can use gasoline which is usually easiest and then clean it thoroughly with soap and water. There is this stuff called SuperClean I think it's called, that you can get from your local automotive supply store. In is a SUPER soap in a purple plastic half gallon or gallon container. If you WAVE the capped bottle at the chain it cleans it. Be absolutely certain to use rubber gloves with you use this stuff because it will wash all of the oils out of your skin and even your fingernails which will then crack and break easily. Putting any chain in this stuff and leaving it covered with up to 50:50 water would clean up anything. It only takes a couple of hours without any effort on your part other than shaking the pan now and again.

ALWAYS test for chain stretch before waxing since the wax can hide the stretch. Never let that SuperClean touch your paint or your anodized aluminum wheels. It dulls them almost instantly.
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Old 01-10-20, 06:50 PM
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No problems with waxed chains here in Texas during hot dry summers.

Even if I don't wipe down a freshly waxed chain or let the excess drip off, the excess will flake off during the first ride. A few flakes may appear between cogs, but it won't do any harm. It doesn't attract nearly as much road grime as wet lubes.

And if I let the freshly waxed chain drip the excess back into the pot, and wipe down the still-warm chain, there's only a thin layer on the external bits.

Straight Gulf wax is very hard compared with scented candles, and won't melt or drip in typical summer heat. Sometimes I add leftover scented candle wax to the crock pot, which softens it a little. Scented candles already contain a compatible solvent and are much softer (I used the stuff between spoke crossings on one bike with black spokes to reduce creaking noises). But I need to be careful to use low or medium heat to prevent smoking.

The only drawback I've found to waxed chains is they won't hold up to heavy rain. But I try to avoid riding my road bikes in wet weather anyway. (Especially after seeing the condition of the fork steerer in my 1993 Trek 5900 last week. Yikes.)

I use Park CL-1 on one hybrid, my errand bike. It's pretty tenacious stuff and clings despite rain. Only needs to be done once or twice a year. But the chain does get as grimy as you'd expect from any wet lube.
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Old 01-11-20, 07:09 AM
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Originally Posted by RiceAWay View Post
. The biggest problem with wax is proper application. You have to melt it in a double boiler and leave the chain in there long enough to heat the chain completely through so that the wax (and usually you add PTFE as a 2 or 3% additive ) completely saturates the chain. If you remove the chain and it is hardening between the links the chain is still cold. Properly, the chain remains perfectly clean and when it starts getting so that when you rub it with a finger and you're getting black marks it is time to clean the chain again and re-apply. This is usually a couple of months if you do a good job and ride several times a week,

.
I always suggest folks use a crock pot. the double boiler can be dangerous with fire risk so please use caution! Its a option that works well though. I use a crock pot and yes, get it super hot throw in the chain and let the chain also get up to the crock pot heat. Works the best IMO. Molten Speed Wax if I remember has a number of 190 degrees on the package.

I get great mileage out of my chains and the wife is happy with clean bike in the house!
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Old 01-11-20, 12:12 PM
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No problems with wax coming off in high temps. I use Squirt when the chain needs a touch up but I don't have the time for a complete wax application. As long as you totally removed the oil based lube, Squirt does an exceptional job as a wax touch up.

Last edited by CadenceCrazy; 01-11-20 at 12:17 PM.
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Old 01-11-20, 01:00 PM
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Thanks. I got a cheap $10 crock pot and some gulf wax yesterday and cleaned my chain with mineral spirits this morning. Also made sure to clean my cassette, rigs and jockey wheels to where there's no black coming off when I wipe it down. Waiting for some PTFE to arrive and will give it a shot.

--Brad
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Old 01-11-20, 03:04 PM
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Yeah, I'll occasionally touch up a waxed chain with paraffin based wet lubes like Boeshield T9 and White Lightning Easy Lube. But they sort of defeat the advantages of using melted wax. The liquid solvents rarely completely dry, so if I ride soon after applying T9 or Easy Lube, the chain picks up grime just as it does with any oil lube.

And even if I let the chain dry before riding, the Easy Lube wax is much softer, more gummy, and still picks up a lot of road grime.

Boeshield T9 dries closer to really dry and leaves a very thin layer, but doesn't last long. It needs to be reapplied for almost every ride, if I'm riding my usual 20-50 miles on rural roads. Eventually I'll get impatient and ride immediately after applying it, so it picks up just as much grime as any wet lube.

And White Lightning demonstrates applying the lube directly on the chain while on the bike, over the cassette. This guarantees gunky cogs with a buildup that makes the drivetrain feel like sludge. So I had to floss the cassette.

An alternative is to apply those liquid wax lubes to the bottom run of the chain so most of it drips off onto newspaper. Pretty wasteful.

The only way to avoid that is to remove the chains and apply Boeshield or White Lightning off the bike.

All of which makes the crock pot and melted wax method seem much easier. Less mess and cleanup, runs cleaner. Prep a few chains in advance and do 'em all at the same time, and you won't need to do it again for a month or more. Usually I'll rotate a pair of identical chains per bike so one is always ready to go.
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Old 01-11-20, 04:58 PM
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Home brew wax lube will dry completely. Nothing but paraffin and 3-6 parts naptha. I prefer to have some oil in my mixture. I add up to 1 part oil to 3 parts paraffin. it will completely dissolve in the wax and not leave any oily residue.
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Old 01-11-20, 06:46 PM
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Originally Posted by sdmc530 View Post
I always suggest folks use a crock pot. the double boiler can be dangerous with fire risk so please use caution! Its a option that works well though. I use a crock pot and yes, get it super hot throw in the chain and let the chain also get up to the crock pot heat. Works the best IMO. Molten Speed Wax if I remember has a number of 190 degrees on the package.

I get great mileage out of my chains and the wife is happy with clean bike in the house!
I don't think that wax burns. It vaporizes and slows the burning of a wick but I would have to ask a chemist about that. I think that you idea of a separate crock pot full of wax lubricant is a great idea. The trouble with that is having enough room. I have a military form of neatness but my wife is a hoarder and presently there's is hardly a square foot in the house that isn't covered with to my mind useless junk.
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Old 01-11-20, 10:55 PM
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Originally Posted by RiceAWay View Post
...a separate crock pot full of wax lubricant is a great idea. The trouble with that is having enough room...
I use a Little Dipper crock pot, very small. Takes up about as much room as a can of ground coffee.

It was a freebie with my huge Rival crock pot. I think the Little Dipper was intended for fondue or something, but I never used it until I tried the melted wax trick. And since the wax hardens when cooled it doesn't even matter if the crock pot tips over in the cupboard under the sink.
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Old 01-11-20, 11:02 PM
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Need a Lil' Dippper? Hit up your local Goodwill or Salvation Army. I have three, and the most expensive one was $5, brand new, never used. I rotate two chains on each bike, and have a crock pot per bike.
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Old 01-11-20, 11:44 PM
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I bought a waxless chain. Has a fishscale pattern for grip.
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Old 01-12-20, 07:15 AM
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Originally Posted by RiceAWay View Post
I don't think that wax burns. It vaporizes and slows the burning of a wick but I would have to ask a chemist about that. I think that you idea of a separate crock pot full of wax lubricant is a great idea. The trouble with that is having enough room. I have a military form of neatness but my wife is a hoarder and presently there's is hardly a square foot in the house that isn't covered with to my mind useless junk.
wax itself doesn't burn your correct but the vapor does as it melts. that is why could be potentially be dangerous because of the surface area that is melting in the pan. The same risk in the crock pot but the heating element can't contact the wax if spilled or worse so the fire risk is lower but its still a risk either way.

This video is an extreme example but if wax is spilled and lit its pretty dangerous....again this video is the extreme but you get the idea. I guess what I am saying is just for everyone to be careful!


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Old 01-12-20, 09:15 AM
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The autoignition temperature of wax is 199C (390F.) A Lil' Dipper crock pot maxes out at 88-98C (190-209F) according to the manufacturer. All of mine heat to the mid-90C area, 190-195F. As the ceramic pot is bonded to the housing, something absolutely catastrophic would have to happen for wax to be able to come into contact with the heating element-- if the pot would even turn on at all in that condition. In terms of safety from fire and vapors, using a crock pot is as absolutely safe as a person can be.
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Old 01-12-20, 12:36 PM
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
The autoignition temperature of wax is 199C (390F.) A Lil' Dipper crock pot maxes out at 88-98C (190-209F) according to the manufacturer. All of mine heat to the mid-90C area, 190-195F. As the ceramic pot is bonded to the housing, something absolutely catastrophic would have to happen for wax to be able to come into contact with the heating element-- if the pot would even turn on at all in that condition. In terms of safety from fire and vapors, using a crock pot is as absolutely safe as a person can be.

agree....crock pot is the best for me too. Never have to clean it out either
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Old 01-12-20, 12:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
I bought a waxless chain. Has a fishscale pattern for grip.

LOL

Also 3 pin pedals?
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Old 01-12-20, 03:34 PM
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Originally Posted by sdmc530 View Post
wax itself doesn't burn your correct but the vapor does as it melts. that is why could be potentially be dangerous because of the surface area that is melting in the pan. The same risk in the crock pot but the heating element can't contact the wax if spilled or worse so the fire risk is lower but its still a risk either way.

This video is an extreme example but if wax is spilled and lit its pretty dangerous....again this video is the extreme but you get the idea. I guess what I am saying is just for everyone to be careful!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lVfagFSxdqw
Valid concern. Particularly with scented candle wax and others softened with additives to enhance burning with less dripping or unburned wax residue.

With that type of candle wax melted into a liquefied pool, almost anything can serve as a wick -- a stray scrap of paper napkin, carpet fiber, pretty much anything. I've milked a candle a bit further after the wick went bad by dipping a spent paper match in the melted wax pool to serve as a makeshift wick.

If someone panics and tosses water on it, yup, it can get ugly.

Best reason to use a good quality crock pot is it's safer, as well as more convenient and more economical than a stovetop or other heat source for a double boiler.
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Old 01-12-20, 03:56 PM
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Some induction cooktops, even the cheap portable ones, can be set to a specific temperature. For instance 80C. Fast and safe. Then you just need an old saucepan.
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Old 01-12-20, 03:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
I bought a waxless chain. Has a fishscale pattern for grip.
I get my chain waxed when I have my chest done.
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Old 01-20-20, 08:45 AM
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Originally Posted by MidTNBrad View Post
Hmm...that sounds like some sort of euphemism.

Anyway, I'm thinking about waxing rather than using wet lube but I'm wondering how it holds up in hot weather. Where I live its not uncommon to see days in the mid 90's (fahrenheit). That, combined with the hot sun on asphalt can drive the temp near the road even higher. Does anyone have an issue with the wax breaking down or melting out of the chain during those hot days of summer?
I believe you would be just fine. I would suggest to follow Oz Cycle's youtube channel, he made plenty of videos showing 1) why it is the best lubricant available and 2) how to properly clean & wax your chain. He is in Australia, so he's riding in hot weather as well. That guy is a beast! His motto: Don't get fooled buying these expensive inefficient products

Also keep in mind that it is the internal parts of your chain that needs to be lubricated (waxed), not the external ones. With all the friction caused by the mechanical movement, and regardless of the ambient temperature, the chain's ''operating temperature'' should not vary much.

Last edited by eduskator; 01-20-20 at 08:53 AM.
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Old 01-20-20, 10:02 AM
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Originally Posted by MidTNBrad View Post
Thanks. I got a cheap $10 crock pot and some gulf wax yesterday and cleaned my chain with mineral spirits this morning. Also made sure to clean my cassette, rigs and jockey wheels to where there's no black coming off when I wipe it down. Waiting for some PTFE to arrive and will give it a shot.

--Brad
I did the exact same thing. $9 crockpot from Walmart, 2lbs if paraffin off eBay, and 100grams of PTFE off eBay. I have been waiting in the PTFE a little over a month now. I got impatient and did a straight up paraffin wax job with no additives. Figured the PTFE would arrive soon and I would just re-wax when it arrives. Did my first ride yesterday in wet conditions and I will never go back to wet lube. Shifts like butter and no black grease at all after the ride. I had a little wax on the cassette but a stiff bristled brush took care of that. I can only imagine how nice it will be when the PTFE arrives.
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Old 01-20-20, 11:53 AM
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Originally Posted by jadocs View Post
I did the exact same thing. $9 crockpot from Walmart, 2lbs if paraffin off eBay, and 100grams of PTFE off eBay. I have been waiting in the PTFE a little over a month now. I got impatient and did a straight up paraffin wax job with no additives. Figured the PTFE would arrive soon and I would just re-wax when it arrives. Did my first ride yesterday in wet conditions and I will never go back to wet lube. Shifts like butter and no black grease at all after the ride. I had a little wax on the cassette but a stiff bristled brush took care of that. I can only imagine how nice it will be when the PTFE arrives.
I finally got around to waxing each of my bike's chains this weekend. It won't be until later this spring until I can get out on a ride and test it out due to an unexpected medical condition.

I'm wondering if the PTFE is necessary. After digging around on a few other threads, it seems that it doesn't add too much of a performance gain. Also, the PTFE seems to be heavier than the paraffin and pools at the bottom of the crock pot. I started off mixing the solution with the chain as it was soaking so that it would get as much PTFE into suspension as possible, but I left the chain to sit for about 10 minutes on its own. All of the PTFE settled on the chain plates but that's not where it's needed. Hopefully some worked its way in to the internals as I was mixing it although I guess I'll never know.
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