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  • Chain waxing on a tight budget
  • molgrips
    Full Member

    I would definitely add something to normal paraffin wax. I have got some beeswax furniture polish I use on the car seats. Pure beeswax is the consistency of paraffin wax (i.e. normal candles) but the polish is about the consistency of Putoline. It’s softened with olive oil. So I would recommend using that or Rape seed oil in your paraffin wax, otherwise it’ll be flaky and potentially come off your chain during the ride.

    That said the bike grease would probably have a similar effect.

    finbar
    Free Member

    Just ordered some Daz wax.

    I’ve been using Putoline for about 4 years now, but I’m tired of the gunk building up on cassettes and jockey wheels and it really doesn’t run that clean in my experience. Still a high potential for chainring tattoos and god forbid you unship a chain on a ride and have to get some on your hands.

    Apols if this has been covered, but could someone explain with science how heating it on the hob or in a rice cooker can damage GLF wax please?

    chaos
    Full Member

    Probably worth a read of this – https://zerofrictioncycling.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/Waxing-FAQ-v1.3b.pdf

    To quote “A rice cooker will blast heat in like a kettle on cook and this breaks down paraffin’s
    long chain molecules damaging its lubricity. Then after rapidly heating to
    100dg, it then switches to warm. So if you pop chain in and turn rice cooker on
    and come back sometime later, wax will be at 60dg c, near its point of setting
    solid again, so you will bring a chain out with far too much excess wax on it
    making for a heck of mess when first start riding, and it’s a waste of wax.”

    I’ve found a cheap slow cooker from Sainsburys is doing a good job with the glfwax. I just leave it in there so I can lay the chain on top while cold, turn the cooker on and walk away knowing the wax will reach the right temperature and let the chain slowly sink in.

    finbar
    Free Member

    Thanks @chaos, I’ve read the text on ZFC but I was hoping for a more scientific reference/take on “it will damage the long chain molecules in paraffin wax”. My Google-fu may be weak but I can’t find any other discussion of this online, apart from in relation to chain waxing. Which potentially seems odd given the various industrial uses of paraffin wax.

    thenorthwind
    Full Member

    @Daz will probably be able to explain this

    theotherjonv
    Full Member

    I just googled ‘thermal stability of paraffin waxes’ and there are loads of references, eg:

    https://www.intechopen.com/chapters/76177

    Section 2.1.1

    Thermal stability of paraffin waxes is defined as the maximum temperature limit after which thermal decomposition begins and it is normally 150–170°C

    – so i suspect the concern is that if exposed to a hot element, then the local temperature of the wax exposed to the element could exceed those sorts of numbers and hence degrade

    finbar
    Free Member

    Thanks that’s very helpful, I’m no chemist.

    I will check how hot the pan base of my rice cooker gets with a thermometer.

    Daz
    Free Member

    Like beetlejuice I’m here, except only need to say my name once!

    Ok so temperate and damage to wax, it’s quite a complex thing and has been explained to me by my tamed professor but with regard to all the in depth details, my head exploded. Basically overheating the wax won’t ruin it totally but will change its features. It shortens the long chain hydrocarbons and weakens the bonds in the material, grades of paraffin all have different melting points and temperatures they can tolerate, that’s why I recommend a slow cooker on low/medium with the lid off. It beats the wax slowly and won’t exceed 100 degrees usually.

    Heating on a hob or rice cooker will definitely exceed this temperature and that does harm the base wax I use. The effect is that the wax feels easier to break, hard to describe but probably more chalky and won’t adhere to your chain as well. It will still work, but just won’t last as long.

    The additives are really what it’s about anyway, at least in the case of our wax, the wax is a carrier and also a great barrier for contamination, the main lubricant and wear protection comes from the additives and that’s where we’ve spent most of the time and money researching.

    Speeder
    Full Member

    Damn I’ve just bought some Putoline with the aim of going to chain waxing and it seems like I should have bought one of Daz’s bricks instead.

    If I do continue with the Putoline, anyone know how to get the bloody lid off? Google translate says something like insert screwdriver into cam but that makes no sense as it’s just a rolled edge. It doesn’t look like a paint tin as there’s nothing to hook onto and I don’t want to go butchering it.

    Cheers
    G

    Daz
    Free Member

    If you want a much quicker, more temp controlled wax melter, I’m using a Lakeland multi cooker on slow cooker setting, it melts wax a lot quicker but so far I’m not finding any degradation in the quality of the wax. Recommend them!

    thisisnotaspoon
    Full Member

    eApols if this has been covered, but could someone explain with science how heating it on the hob or in a rice cooker can damage GLF wax please?

    Easiest way to think of it is the chain will break at the weakest point. And hydrocarbon chains are no different.

    Unsaturated chains with double bonds, like unsaturated fat, are easier to break because you’ve got a big cloud of electrons fizzing round just waiting to react. This is pat of the reason why synthetic oil is better than mineral oil, synthetic oil is made of alkanes (saturated) rather than a random mix of alkanes/alkenes which makes it more stable over time. It’s also why replacing your synthetic oil at 6,000 rather than 24,000* miles is a waste of money unless you have some other issue contaminating it, the oil itself is fine.

    So when you heat up oil or wax until it begins to smoke, the long unsaturated chains are breaking up. So your =C20 paraffin becomes C9 + C9 + CO + CO, then CO reacts with itself to make CO2 and C, which is why it’s smoky.

    *or whatever the manual says

    [several steps have been glossed over for the sake of simplicity]

    If I do continue with the Putoline, anyone know how to get the bloody lid off? Google translate says something like insert screwdriver into cam but that makes no sense as it’s just a rolled edge. It doesn’t look like a paint tin as there’s nothing to hook onto and I don’t want to go butchering it.

    It’s exactly like a paint tin unless they’ve changed it.

    molgrips
    Full Member

    Hmm. My current bat h of putoline was initially used for a few times in a dff with a naked element. Heated up really quickly but it did smoke a bit. Only at first though, until there was enough liquid to connect the heat around.

    I wonder if it’s harmed it.

    Speeder
    Full Member

    thisisnotaspoon
    If I do continue with the Putoline, anyone know how to get the bloody lid off? Google translate says something like insert screwdriver into cam but that makes no sense as it’s just a rolled edge. It doesn’t look like a paint tin as there’s nothing to hook onto and I don’t want to go butchering it.

    It’s exactly like a paint tin unless they’ve changed it.

    If it were I’m sure it’d be simple. The lid I have appears to be a single continuous piece in the centre that wraps up the vertical and over. There’s no obvious leverable point except for the very edge and that wraps so far over that I can’t see anything to lever against. I’d take a pic but I’m at work and it’s in the garage at home.

    finbar
    Free Member

    I seem to remember basically having to claw at the edge of the Putoline lid with some pliers to get the ****er off.

    Thanks to Daz, TINAS and others re. damaging wax by oerheating. I don’t really want to buy another appliance and send my mucky old ricecooker to landfill, I will see if there’s a cheapo slow cooker on FB marketplace nearby…

    thisisnotaspoon
    Full Member

    Hmm. My current bat h of putoline was initially used for a few times in a dff with a naked element. Heated up really quickly but it did smoke a bit. Only at first though, until there was enough liquid to connect the heat around.

    I wonder if it’s harmed it.

    My first Putoline tin ~2008 definitely started off hard, the chain would jump and skip if I pedaled hard out the garage on a cold day and excess wax came off as flakes. Over a decade of generally not really thinking about it, throwing wet chains, oily chains, greasy chains, into it at 190F it definitely became softer and greasier.

    My second tin seems to have started off where the first left off.

    So either:
    1) My memory is cloudy.
    2) There’s variance between their batches or they’ve changed the recipe, and it does go off if mistreated.

    I’ve said previously though I’m not sure it’s enough to worry about. Hot waxing chains at all seems to be the big improvement, swapping waxes or cookers probably less so. If I was setting up from scratch, yes I would clean chains in an ultrasonic bath of hexane, then wax them in a slow cooker of MSW or Daz’s wax. But until my fryer packs up I’ll probably stick with cleaning in diesel, and putoline with a slightly smoky warm-up.

    thisisnotaspoon
    Full Member

    Just looking on amazon, and it turns out several things I didn’t know existed, actually do.

    1) Molten parafin wax as a beauty treatment that you dip your hands/feet into.
    2) Scented wax for the above.
    3) Temperature controlled tubs for doing this it.

    Scented* chain wax anyone?

    *not putoline smell.

    fazzini
    Full Member

    Well I’ve joined the ‘throngs’ of waxers! I bought a 0.9ltr Tower DFF from TJ Hughes for £15 and some putoline. Cooked my first 2 chains on Sunday and no dramas (that’s as much of a surprise to me as anyone else 😂) having previously tested a couple of chains with someone else cooking them for me – thanks @nobbingsford 😁. The Tower DFF does not have an exposed element which, having read through some of the comments on here, I thought was wise.

    leffeboy
    Full Member

    Ive joined the putoline crew as well.  It’s not as clean as i had hoped but does seem to work well and is super quiet.  It’s also much easier to do than i imagined. I found a second hand electric fondue in a recycling shop near us which is perfect.  No chance of overheating as it isn’t that powerful

    molgrips
    Full Member

    I cleaned the last two chains with white spirit before frying. Doesn’t seem to have negatively impacted the results, if anything it’s cleaner. But it’s not wet out in trails or roads at the moment. I’m wondering if the solvent helped draw the wax into the chain somewhat? No idea.

    oceanskipper
    Full Member

    I’ve been using MSW on my new bike and I’m pretty unimpressed thus far. Gets noisy after only a few dry rides of 50 kms or so. When I say noisy it’s not the chain being noisy whilst pedalling – it’s when I shift that it starts to clunk louder and louder. The Putoline never did this but it was in a completely different bike. I have no idea if the wear rate is any different as yet – I’ll measure tomorrow but it’s an XO1 chain that has done about 500 miles so far. If it’s started to wear I will have a couple of blocks of MSW for sale along with a slow cooker!!!

    jkomo
    Full Member

    Daz please send me a DM with a link or someone else stick a link on here. I WANT DAZ WAX!
    I’ve been using a camping stove so bolloxed my plutoline.
    Thanks

    theotherjonv
    Full Member

    Glfwax.com

    stevehine
    Full Member

    I’ve switched from Putoline to Daz’s glfwax, initially on my road bikes and now across the entire fleet.

    Lasts really well (I did a whole weekend riding in torrential rain in the lakes a few weeks ago) and chains are so much better to handle without the tackiness of putoline. Just ned to scrub the old detritus off my mechs and frame so they look as clean as the chain and cassette 😀

    fwiw; I use a “professional wax heater” from Argos; it has the advantage of both thermostatic control and an element that doesn’t go above about 95C; at the expense that the wax pot is small (it does easily fit a chain in thuogh)

    Dedicated wax heater thing

    molgrips
    Full Member

    That does look good, but the basket on a deep fat fryer is handy. How long does it take that thing to fully liquify the wax?

    mert
    Free Member

    There’s variance between their batches or they’ve changed the recipe, and it does go off if mistreated.

    Rules around VOC/Solvents in manufacturing plants may have impacted the consistency (and effectiveness) of putoline.
    I know there have been some materials related issues around reduction and deletion of various chemicals from manufacturing processes.

    stevehine
    Full Member

    I reckon it’s about half an hour; though I don’t ever time it. Just chuck the chain on top; switch it on then remember I left it on sometime later; grab the chain and chuck it in a cermic plantpot to let it cool. glfwax sell a swisher (a piece of wire with a screw connector on) which sits out the wax and makes retrieval simple. I’ll time it next time and let you know !

    oceanskipper
    Full Member

    Chain wear zilch on my XO1 chain so that’s OK. I rewaxed today ready for a 60 miler tomorrow morning so I’ll see how it is. I wonder how different to MSW the GLFwax is?

    TroutWrestler
    Free Member

    I have bunch of metal tags made from 3mm aluminium strip. These have a hole drilled in for a keyring, then a number of holes that corresponds to the number of the chain. Each bike has 3 chains, one (one hole), two, (two holes) and three (three holes). This means I can tell which chain is which. Treated and used chains get stored in labelled recycled take away plastic tubs.

    I put the keyring through the eyelets in the ends of the chain, and then lob the chains in the wax. When I take them out I hang them by the keyring from a hook above an old Amazon box which absorbs any drips. When the chain is nearly at room temp, I wipe the exterior plates down to remove any excess wax. When cold, I store in the boxes.

    I run them for approx 100km (offroad) before rotating to the next chain.

    It is way better than any other lube system I have ever used.

    Onzadog
    Free Member

    Do the additives in @DAZ wax separate when melted? Do the pot need stirring?

    Is it worth making a small mesh tray to support the chain in the wax bath so any contamination sinks to the bottom under the chain?

    Could you then scrap off the bottom contaminated layer or would that lose the additives?

    nickc
    Full Member

    I have bunch of metal tags…

    This is madness, I mean, I bet you get amazing mileage, but clearly you are insane. 🙂

    Daz
    Free Member

    The additives in GLF do separate or sink slightly, when we were working on the ideal mix we tried adding all kinds of surfactants etc to avoid this but they all had an effect on the performance of the wax in use. We also looked at the penetration of the additives into the chain under electron microscope and arrived at the concentration, particle size and process we use now. The agitation of the chain in the molten wax is sufficient to stir the mix and ensure sufficient penetration. Remember your chain sinks down to where the greatest concentration of additives sit when melting and then shaking the chain submerged allows this to flow into the links.

    Just one point to remember, leave your chain submerged for 15 mins at least, preferably more, this allows the inner surfaces of the chain to heat up and stops wax solidifying internally in your chain, this is needed to make sure your wax is filling every small gap. If you want to go into it very deep, a heated ultrasonic cleaner does this even better, but that’s being very OCD.

    What’s the difference between MSW and GLF? Well I can’t give too much away but our wax has different properties which means it avoids abrasion better, and our additive while apparently the same material, has a different appearance. One of our initial batches had the same appearance however we stopped using that additive.

    We also have a much more premium product in development, the performance of this one is much better, but it is much more expensive and probably only for race chain use.

    Both products will be going for testing at a popular test facility when finances allow.

    Onzadog
    Free Member

    So would a rack to keep the chain out of the silt at the bottom mean that you weren’t getting the ideal concentration of additives?

    Daz
    Free Member

    I haven’t tested the rack idea but it’s definitely sound principles, I haven’t really found contamination to have a huge negative effect in truth though, yeah your wax starts to last a shorter time after 30-40 waxes but it’s worth having to change to fresh wax more often to save any drivetrain cleaning in my opinion (I’m selling it so would say that 😉)

    If your chain is very dirty, a good rinse under boiling water cleans most of it off, I have an old kettle I whack it in and boil it for that purpose. I’d only do that in really stinking days and never on my road bike.

    thenorthwind
    Full Member

    Coincidentally, I made a basket for my slow cooker from some thin welded mesh I had lying around the other day:
    20230527-175203

    If your chain is very dirty, a good rinse under boiling water cleans most of it off, I have an old kettle I whack it in and boil it for that purpose. I’d only do that in really stinking days and never on my road bike.

    Took me a while to work out that boiling water is a much more effective way of cleaning wax off things than solvents.

    Haze
    Full Member

    Just stumbled across this and have been wax curious for a while.

    Quick question and apologies if this has already been covered…how meticulous do I need to be with cleaning my chainrings and jockey wheels?

    They have only ever seen drip wax in the form of Squirt.

    I’m starting with a new (fully stripped) chain and cassette.

    theotherjonv
    Full Member

    if you’ve only used drip lube before I don’t think it will be too bad for build up and you can get away without. If they do have build up, a wipe over the chainrings with some degreaser (I use Screwfix No Nonsense) and maybe drop the jockey wheels out and give them a quick clean.

    Using Dazwax (glf) on my road bike, and there’s no buildup in use. Putoline on the gravel / winter and MTB, that can build up on jockey wheels in particular

    molgrips
    Full Member

    The agitation of the chain in the molten wax is sufficient to stir the mix

    So a deep fat fryer with the chip basket is probably good for this purpose…?

    mudfish
    Full Member

    Hi Daz.
    Your GLF wax website is good and informative.

    I totally agree that initial solvent cleaning is vital with a new chain. It’s obvious that the hot wax needs to bond to the metal and can’t do that with manufacturers grease in the links.
    Then, once clean and waxed – no more solvents and a lovely “fresh” chain every rewax.

    I’ve been using MSW then Silca hot melt wax a few years now (chain and drivetrain wear is massively reduced and it’s all lovely and clean)
    I do rinse in boiling water after any wet ride as ZFC recommend. Never in a closed container, it almost explodes when opened. I use an old pan on the hob and a couple of water changes then dry with hot air gun.
    Good to see you explaining all that here.
    https://www.glfwax.com/pages/instructions-1

    You’re right that Adam at Zerofrictioncycling is a treasure trove of info on all this wax stuff.

    BTW
    I think you mentioned a fryer at one point there, maybe you meant the slow cooker you mention elsewhere? Just sayin. I learned that keeping the wax above 200F (93C)for very long will risk damaging the wax.

    At £20 for your GLF wax I find it hard to imagine why anyone would bother with candles / homebrew wax. Even a low end Sram cassette costs a fortune these days and wasting drivetrain parts is hardly “eco”.

    Your prewaxed chains seem a proper bargain too if the wax looks after the drivetrain like MSW and Silca waxes do.
    As you mentioned – what the hell did AB do with theirs tho!! Their other products are fab.

    I guess it’s too costly to get yours tested by ZFC? I’d love to see the result and switch to yours.

    theotherjonv
    Full Member

    So a deep fat fryer with the chip basket is probably good for this purpose…?

    Depends, a DFF will heat up to close to 200C which means that you could have very high heater temps and start the break the wax down – as per discussion at top of this page.

    The basket is a decent idea though

    Haze
    Full Member

    Cheers @theotherjonv…I have the ScrewFix stuff, will give them a wipe down with a rag soaked in that then perhaps repeat with methylated spirits.

    Didn’t fancy whipping my chainrings off and soaking overnight although it might actually be less effort…

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