Chain Waxing Tutorial

So I ended up doing two chains, one with comet and one with acetone. This is after the initial degreasing step, so I still used mineral spirits there for both of them.

My understanding is that the last step is meant to remove any film that gets left by the degreaser, so the wax can adhere to the chain better.

The video I shared is for paint prep, but it makes the claim that the standard acetone/alcohol approach actually does leave a thin film whereas comet/ajax/bar keepers friend rinsed away with water can eliminate it completely.

For my chain with comet, what I ended up doing was a very brief hand scrub with water + comet. Then I put it into a ziplock with more comet and a little water, and I put that ziplock into the ultrasonic cleaner (with water in the ultrasonic cleaner). After that I took the chain out of the baggy, rinsed out the chain in water, and threw it back into the ultrasonic with only water to try and make sure all the comet was out. I let the chain dry and I didn’t see any white from left over comet, but obviously can’t see into the rollers.

Not really sure how to compare the results, but I’ll keep track of mileage and see if there’s any noticeable difference.

For my wax I used Runaway Bike PTFE Powder from amazon and a 1lb paraffin block from home depot (https://www.homedepot.com/p/Household-Paraffin-Wax-BW-407/314269840). I did ~1:75 ptfe:wax by weight.

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If I ever try to prep a used oiled chain for wax again, I might try using Ethylene Glycol (green antifreeze) as a degreaser instead of mineral spirits. And then follow it with the acetone (or comet) rinse.

Do people find freshly waxed chains a lot noisier than a chain using specific chain lube?

I have just fitted a new chain that has been fully stripped of grease/oil and then placed in Molten Speed Wax heated to 200 degrees F in a slow cooker. I have turned the pedals for around 5 mins on a stand, the drive train is behaving like it needs to be re tuned. (di2)

The chain was left in the wax for about 5 mins before I took it out, did I not leave it in the hot wax long enough? I have read elsewhere that the chain should be left in the wax for longer.

newly waxed chains should be silent.

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Thats what I thought… :exploding_head:

When the chain is freshly waxed it is rather stiff and the shifting might be noisier or it might occasionally miss-shift. That should pass pretty quickly when some excess wax drops off, say a couple of minutes. Then it will be silent as mentioned above. That smooth pedalling with a freshly waxed chain is something I look forward to.

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It depends, a wet lube with a thick enough viscosity dampens noise both within the chain and on the chain cog interface according to Jason Smith at ceramic speed/friction facts, a waxed chain is quiet but if you’ve ever used a lube like Chain-L you’ll know what a truely silent chain sounds like.

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This is what I was expecting, the chain is running quite loud even after 10 mins or so of turning the pedals with bike on a stand and cleaning the excess wax away.

I have not ridden the bike yet so I may just remove the chain and re wax, this time I will leave the chain in the hot wax a lot longer. I am thinking maybe that is the issue.

If you can, add a thermometer in the bath so you know the chain itself has reached a sufficient temperature (93* C). I like the MSW method of dropping the chain onto the cold block of wax then turning the pot on. This should help make sure that the chain temp = bath temp.

And take the chain out as the wax cools and starts to form a crust.

Does anybody use a thin grate at the bottom of the crock pot to keep the chain out of the black stuff that accumulates at the bottom of the wax?

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Spinning the chain on a stand is no substitute for putting some actual power through the drive-train. A couple rotations is all, then take it out. Any roughness should even out in a few hundred feet of travel.

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This - I see the same thing. Clunky on stand, and beautiful by the time I get down my 1/4 mile driveway with a couple 5-10 foot hills that put some light load on it to fully break it in.

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What temp does the wax need to be?

I go with high on my crockpot

I heard 140 from silica
If im applying at say 180 is the higher temp allowing me to get enough on?

I have to rewax after 70miles and a few puddles on a ride kinda sucks

FWIW the Zen Master’s guide to chain waxing from zero friction cycling says - in bold - to use the low setting on the crock pot… but MSW’s instructions specifically say “high”. So… yeah. :laughing:

But MSW says 200F for temp.

The important bit seems to be to leave it until the wax gets to around 55 degrees C before you take it out. As long as you let it sit in the wax for a few minutes it should be OK. If you drop a cold chain in the hot wax you’ll see the wax go white around it and then start to melt as the wax hears up…

I use a slow cooker on low. If you’re finding that you have to rewax so often it’s likely that your chain still contains grease/oil in and on it.

Despite my replies on this thread I’m having a bit of an internal wrangle about carrying on with waxing. I’ve now had two chains get pretty rusty after wet/damp rides. The wax doesn’t seem to protect against this.
I’ve searched all over and not found a solution.
I’ve had to bin those chains so not that happy as they weren’t that old.

Anyone got any tips on preventing this?

:thinking:

UK based so often it’s a bit damp outside… :joy: