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The Sheldon Shake

Discussion in 'Bicycle Mechanics and Repairs' started by PrettyboyTim, 21 Jan 2008.

  1. PrettyboyTim

    PrettyboyTim New Member

    Well, for the first time today I used the Sheldon Shake method to clean my chain. It's been the first time it was practical, as I've only recently got a SRAM chain with a Powerlink.

    Probably the first thing I learned was that you should only do it with a plastic bottle with a fairly wide neck. I ended up having to cut the bottle open to remove the chain as it had wound around itself and the neck wasn't wide enough to admit a doule thickness of chain.

    However - I now have a question: can you reuse the white spirit? I have saved it all in a tub and I'm hoping I can leave it to settle and then filter the rest with coffee filter paper or something when I next need to use it. Apparently white spirit is rather environmentally unfriendly and you shouldn't flush it down the drain. (As well as harming aquatic animals if it gets into rivers or the sea, apparently it's not very good for the bacteria they use for treating sewage)

    What do other people do with theirs?
  2. ransos

    ransos Legendary Member

    I do a variation on this - using a takeaway platic container with lid - you can lay the chain flat so it doesn't get twisted. I also used muc-off, which works fine if you leave it for 30 minutes or so, and of course is much better for the environment than white spirit. Though there's no reason why you couldn't re-use the filtered white spirit as you suggest. If you don't want to, your local council tip will take it for safe disposal.
  3. PatrickPending

    PatrickPending Veteran

    give it a go, was going to do this myself - I can't see why filtering out the grit etc wouldn't render the solution reusable.
  4. PrettyboyTim

    PrettyboyTim New Member

    Ah. I see the Muc-Off degreaser is apprently environmentally friendly. The orange degreaser I was using before wasn't. Looks like I might have to get some.
  5. Jacomus-rides-Gen

    Jacomus-rides-Gen New Member

    Guildford / London
    PBT - buy quality dry-lub, and never degrese your chain again!!

    Apply... wait 5 mins... wipe... done. After you have done this 5 or 6 times your chain will be running beautifully, and you will never Sheldon Shake again. (unless you are desperate for clean looking chain)
  6. barq

    barq Senior Member

    Birmingham, UK
    I sank so far into mud on Saturday that most of my drivetrain was totally immersed in muddy, gritty goo. ;) I guess compressed air would be a good cleaning option but my options were limited to a casual wash with water (along with the rest of the bike) and then chain removal for more careful attention.

    To be honest I've been filtering* and reusing the same white spirit for years. It lives in a coffee jar with a nice wide neck and a spoke to fish the chain out. I'd rather not degrease chains as I like the manufacturer chain lube to stay in place as long as possible, but there does come a point of dirtiness where it becomes a necessary evil.

    * Actually it isn't very technical, the gunk settles at the bottom and you can pour off the surprisingly clear white spirit.
  7. Dave5N

    Dave5N Über Member


    Just to add: I tie a fine line to one end of the chain and trap it under the lid so I can fish it out again.

    Jacobite's answer doesn't work for dirty chains - try getting the grit out of four muddy chains each week like that.

    I found the Park Chain cleaner is excellent. Tried a few before and never impressed, but the Park one really does the job.
  8. Dave5N

    Dave5N Über Member

    Jacomus. Sorry.
  9. PrettyboyTim

    PrettyboyTim New Member

    Luckily my bike only has one chain :tongue:

    I have a chain cleaner that seemed to do a reasonable job, but I found the Sheldon shake to be a bit less messy.
  10. Dave5N

    Dave5N Über Member

    Ha Ha!

    Four bikes!
  11. freakhatz

    freakhatz New Member

    You don't need to filter white spirit. Just leave it in a clear sealed container and all the grunge will sedimentate(c) at the bottom, leaving the white spirit clear, albeit a little yellow.
  12. andygates

    andygates New Member

    Two pickled onion jars (nice wide necks). Decant the settled stuff into t'other. When both are oogy, shake up the full one and pour it back into the settling one. Decant again. I get a whole summer's worth of cleaning out of one splosh.
  13. Jacomus-rides-Gen

    Jacomus-rides-Gen New Member

    Guildford / London
    This is v true, I was coming from a roadbike perspective here.

    p.s. thanks for getting my name right a bit futher down ;)