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Pinewood Derby Lubricants Q&A

What is the best graphite for pinewood derby cars?
In our testing, the best graphite was pure flake, high purity (99% pure), with a medium to fine particle size. Max-V-Lube meets these characteristics, and was the top performing graphite in our testing. You can find Max-V-Lube Here.

What about graphite with molybdenum (moly)?
Molybdenum is a hard metal that is used as a lube in some industrial processes which require a lubricant with no electrical conductivity, high pressure, and high heat. None of these conditions apply to pinewood derby racing. In our testing the addition of molybdenum to graphite did nothing for performance, but did scratch the axles that you just spent so much time polishing.

How do molybdenum disulfide (MS2) and tungsten disulfide (WS2) work with pinewood derby cars?
Marginally. Graphite easily outperforms both of these lubricants

We can only use "Dry White". What do we do?
Dry White is a Teflon powder lubricant. In our testing, Dry White performed very poorly. In fact, running without lube was superior to running with Dry White in most cases.

I have heard of "secret" lubes that people use. What are they?
People have tried all kinds of lubes including silicon, Pledge furniture polish, various waxes, food oils (peanut, safflower, olive, etc.), WD-40, liquid graphite, etc. I have tested most of these products and found that although many of them work quite well, graphite was still superior.

Specifically, silicon sprays are generally very fast in the first few runs, but quickly wear off (spray it on the axles, let it dry, then lightly wipe it off). WD-40 is not bad, but it is a solvent so it can damage wheels. I do recommend avoiding liquid graphite. These generally perform poorly.

Our rules say "dry lubes only". Will a liquid lube be legal?
Technically no. However, when properly applied, liquid lubes are cleaner than graphite.

How do liquid lubes compare with graphite?
It depends on the application. When applied properly, Krytox 100 and XOil will equal the performance of graphite. But in situations where the wheel bore to axle tolerance is very tight (outlaw wheels/axles, Awana wheels/axles), the liquid lubes will generally outperform graphite.

Which is better, Krytox 100 or XOil?
Both work similarly. However, Krytox 100 is easier to apply and is thus generally more popular. XOil is slightly more sensitive to application, but lasts longer.

Can I mix liquid lubes with graphite?
Although this technique is touted by some web sites, I have never had success mixing liquid and dry lubes.

How do you remove graphite that has gotten onto the paint?
Depending on the type of paint, and whether the paint was fully cured when the graphite was applied, removing graphite can be relatively easy or very hard. Graphite on enamel paint is usually very difficult to remove, especially when the enamel is not fully cured. But in any case, here are some techniques you can try.

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