So I’m trying candle wax as a bike chain lubricant. It’s not as random as it sounds: paraffin wax has been used by cyclists for many decades and usually outperforms everything else when tested, and I’m fairly sure the candle wax I have is mostly paraffin. Waxing the chain requires you remove it from the bike, which I had to do anyway to fit the new front mech, so I took the opportunity to give it a go.
I cleaned the chain as thoroughly as I know how, using a degreaser to remove the old lube, then rinsing thoroughly with water to remove the degreaser and finally using WD40 to remove the water. I then left it overnight so the WD40 would have a chance to evaporate. At this point the chain was cleaner than I can usually manage to get it before lubing.
The wax is white as a solid, transparent when molten, and (at least in my case) turned black almost immediately I put the chain into it. Whether or not the wax is going to turn out to be a better lubricant than I have previously used it is certainly a better chain cleaner than I have used previously. Now that the process is complete and the wax has set I can see that there is a lot of metal flake residue in the wax: if it was in your car’s oil filter you’d be replacing the engine.
Hopefully the chain is OK; it’ll go back on the bike relatively soon and then we’ll see how it performs. The amount of metal flake which came off during the process worries me quite a lot, and if it doesn’t work well I won’t be sure whether the problem was that I used the wrong kind of wax or a past-it chain.
If it does work I shall regard it as being despite using a worn chain. I can then prep my stash of as-yet unused chains before they suffer any wear. If it doesn’t I will get some proper paraffin wax and try again (with a fresher chain).