Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Sticky, Slippery Slope

Some of these things are not like the others...

I was trying to remember where I put the anti-seize compound. It's not something I use very often, and I couldn't recall if I had stored it in the primary storage drawer for all things chemical and tube-contained, or somewhere else. Then I had one of those seemingly innocent ideas: I should categorize, organize, and store the chemicals in a more logical way, lubricants in one place, adhesives in another, as it is clearly illogical to store the JB Weld with the purple shock oil snuggling up with the bike swap bargain freaky chain lube. So it began.

Uh oh, there's more stuff in there, with somewhat overlapping categories...

My initial concept that the sticky things would go in one place, and the slippery things in another, ran aground on the shoals of thread locker, anti-seize and penetrating rust breaker. I thought to just throw them altogether, but surely this violates some aesthetic and possibly chemical principle of storing like with like?

Deal breakers: grease that sticks, and chemicals that shine

Then I found the Slick Honey and Judy Butter banging around in the box with the spray-on Bicycle Protectant next to the degreaser, and just gave up. Everything is back in the primary chemical storage location drawer again.

I never did find the anti-seize. Grease may work almost as well. As long as I don't confuse it with the bathtub caulk. Or mix it with the thread locker.

UPDATE! Substances with a primary purpose of lubrication regardless of secondary or tertiary adhesive or cleaning characteristics have gone into a storage box labeled "LUBRICANTS", while substances with a primary purpose of sticking or adhering regardless of secondary or tertiary slippery or cleaning characteristics have gone into a storage box labeled "ADHESIVES". Cleaners and polishes have gone onto the shelf next to a shoebox labeled "Clamps, Trim Tools, Sponges and Scrubbers". Exceptions to these rules are the threadlockers and the missing anti-seize compound, which clearly belong with the LUBRICANTS regardless of what literalists might say.

Additional clarification: I realize that the distinction between the cyanoacrylate-based super glue in the adhesives category and the cyanoacrylate-based thread locker in the lubricants category may seem tenuous at best. I was reassured by this informative site, however, which clearly states that CA-based adhesives are activated by humidity in the air, while CA-based thread lockers work by polymerization. I am not certain which works best for revealing fingerprints as seen on CSI and related programs, or whether the fingerprints are revealed through polymerization or some other reaction, but that is clearly of secondary concern to the main subject material of this blog. Although the CA-based wound adhesives could conceivably, and unfortunately, become relevant at some point. As adhesives, however, it is clear which box they belong in.

Final clarification: I realize I didn't lay out the slippery slope dilemma very clearly. I am amenable to the suggestion that the "permanent" thread locker belongs with the adhesives. However, if it goes there, then the "temporary" thread locker must go along with it. So far, pretty good. However, if the temporary thread locker goes with the adhesives, where does the anti-seize go? If/when I find it, I mean. Or buy more. Either one is an appropriate application for the bottom bracket threads, though not both at the same time. The concern being, then, no matter where I chose to store the anti-seize, it seems I would be partially wrong, as it neither (strictly speaking) adheres or lubes, doing a little of both while doing a lot of anti-both, not to mention difficult to find if I happened to be wrenching on a bottom bracket and wanted something to put on the threads. And if you look at where grease (lubricant) and soap (cleaner?) come from, and learn that some grease is really just oil mixed with soap, and that soap applied to wood screws helps them (lubricates) go into wood, you are sliding, baby, you are sliding right along with me.



  1. I tend to be suspicious of bike-peculiar stuff with fancy bottles. It is my equivalent of your skepticism of Endurolytes. And I do share that to some extent, but they are darn convenient compared to mixing my own.

  2. Steve, from pipe clamps to white gas, I'm willing to try non-bike-specific stuff out, including the oils and unguents dept. For example, I've tried the white gas + motor oil chain lube, and for my conditions it did not seem very effective, below the usefulness of the Dry Lube pictured.

    limom, I'm waiting for the EVOO to go on sale, since it has the viscosity and lubricity I need for our current 110F riding conditions, which are around 120F to 130F at bottom bracket height above asphalt in daytime.


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