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When to use which brush?

post #1 of 47
Thread Starter 

I've gotten more in to ski tuning after getting some less than stellar results form shops.  I've invested in a lot of tools and so far the results have been pretty good but I trying to get the most out of the equipment I have.  I picked up a KUU roto brush set from Slide Wright.  It came with a brass brush, soft nylon, and horse hair.  If I understand things correctly the brass brush is for cleaning the bases.  The nylon and horse hair brushes are for after scraping but which one is best to use when?

post #2 of 47

I use the brass brush as the first pass after scraping, then nylon, then horsehair.

 

I also probably over-brush, as I thought this was better.  Your results may vary.

 

If you are using hard CH (a 6 or below), I'd suggest a pass with the brass after scraping.

 

Wear a dust mask while doing this.

post #3 of 47

With the set up you've described, I would definitely use the brass brush as the first brush after waxing and scraping. The "soft nylon" is more of a challenge as when it would be used depends on how soft it is. The general rule is softer and finer brushes go later in the cycle. I am guessing that the nylon is stiffer than the horsehair and would go in the middle slot but there are soft nylon and synthetic brushes that are designed as "polishing" brushes and are intended to be used late in the brush routine. You might check with Terry at Slide Wright as to where the brush you have fits.

post #4 of 47

Brass Brush is for cleaning and exposing structure before waxing.

 

Horsehair is first brush after scraping, nylon is last for further brushing and polishing.

 

 

http://www.skiwax.ca/tp/cb_roto.php

 

Not the order of use, just a description of what the brushes are used for (and maybe order of purchase)

 

 

  1. Handle (Single or Double),
  2. Hard Brown (Hard Horsehair) for initial bulk removal,
  3. Grey or Black finishing (depending on wax used),
  4. Velcro with FiberTex to remove micro-hairs,
  5. Brass/FineSteel for exposing base structure to new wax,
  6. Soft Brown (Soft Horsehair) for finishing pure fluoro waxes,
  7. Roto-Cork for applying pure fluros and gels,
  8. White for finishing hard, non-fluro waxes
post #5 of 47

Be *very* careful with the brass roto brush.  I would *not* use it after waxing at all.

 

Rather, I'd use the brass brush only to open up the structure as a first step of rewaxing a ski that needs to start over from scratch.  Think base cleaning.  Go very lightly.  From the product desription:

 

 cleans base of dirt & old waxes. Use @ 700 r.p.m.

 

You'll use the nylon brush after waxing and scraping.  And the horsehair brush after that if and only if you want that "finished product."

 

Edit:

 

I see Atomicman's post came in as I was writing mine.  Note I'm willing to believe that horsehair comes before the nylon in this setup.  I don't have a horsehair so I'm not too familiar.   I guess it depends on the individual brushes in question.  In this case, the horsehair is listed as hard while the nylon is listed as soft so maybe that's the correct order.   

 

 

post #6 of 47

I agree, I'd never use a brass roto brush, I just don't trust myself not to destroy the bases.  A plain brash hand held brush, sure, can't do much harm with that, but a roto brush?  

 

After scraping I use a horse hair roto then the nylon roto.  

post #7 of 47

I use brass roto all the time. I think you could really abuse it and not harm your skis. I've never seen any evidence of anything bad happening from it.

post #8 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by epic View Post

I use brass roto all the time. I think you could really abuse it and not harm your skis. I've never seen any evidence of anything bad happening from it.


i use the brass/horsehair roto with no pressure and mostly low rpm and it is really efficient. It is made for first brushing of a cold wax.

post #9 of 47



icon14.gificon14.gif

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by epic View Post

I use brass roto all the time. I think you could really abuse it and not harm your skis. I've never seen any evidence of anything bad happening from it.



 

post #10 of 47

Why horsehair before nylon with the roto, but nylon before horsehair with hand-brushes???

 

And if the purpose of brass is to "clean out wax" from bases, then how does it not negate the positive effects of waxing?

post #11 of 47


Brass is to open the structure before waxing to accept new wax. It is not to remove fresh wax that has only been scraped.

 

Stiff horsehair is always the first brush after scraping whether roto or handbrushing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vitamin Ski View Post

Why horsehair before nylon with the roto, but nylon before horsehair with hand-brushes???

 

And if the purpose of brass is to "clean out wax" from bases, then how does it not negate the positive effects of waxing?



 

post #12 of 47

Hmm.  Nail brushes and floor scrubbing brushes are ubiquitous and cheap.  Nylon brushes are 1/10 th the price at a tack shop.  I wonder if they have any horse hair brushes.....wink.gif

post #13 of 47

Honestly, I quit using nylon brushes long ago - I hate the static build up.  That's the advantage of a horsehair brush - no static.  So my routine is brass (or steel) to open up structure, wax, scrape, stiff horsehair, and then maybe soft horsehair (usually is I've used a harder wax and expect cold temps, otherwise I want my structure more open).

post #14 of 47

Horsehair or nylon (or both) after scraping doesn't really matter much. At least if you are not chasing 1/100sec in WC. But even for recreational skiing, never touch ski with brass brush after wax is scrapped off. Brass brush is used BEFORE waxing.

post #15 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by primoz View Post

Horsehair or nylon (or both) after scraping doesn't really matter much. At least if you are not chasing 1/100sec in WC. But even for recreational skiing, never touch ski with brass brush after wax is scrapped off. Brass brush is used BEFORE waxing.



Good to know; I wondered why my recent waxings weren't lasting very long.

post #16 of 47

Well, if brass brushes are not recommended after scraping as this takes wax "out of the structure," then it logically follows that the purpose of waxing is then to have wax within the base structure, which is actually ON the p-tex surface, not "in it, in pores" as some would suggest.

post #17 of 47

I use hand brushes rather than a roto brush but I have gotten contrary advice from Graham Lonetto at Edgewise who had been the tech for the US Ski Team at the SLC olympics. I have a series of metal brushes I use after waxing.

post #18 of 47

I also have a combo horsehair/bronze brush that I like after wax to really open the structure back up.  Bronze is softer than brass.

post #19 of 47

Don't you want to open the structure up before you wax. Not after.   READ THIS........................................................... From Red Creek

 

Pre-Wax Brushing

If you have the brass roto-brush it will be the first roto-tool to use. [If you have one of the fine, steel brushes it may be used instead of the brass roto-brush.


The brass roto-brush is used to clear the micro-structure of the base and remove a nano-amount of the base to expose fresh base. This will allow the wax to penetrate into the base maximally. This action is achieved by the tips of the brush bristles. This is why you do not want to press down. Press down will bend the bristles so that the side of the bristle goes across the ski (not very useful). Also by NOT PRESSING DOWN you will not heat the base material by friction.

Now remove the roto-shaft from the drill with the brass roto-brush. Take the roto-velcro and wrap either the coarse (green) or fine (white) fibertex around it snugly. Then place the roto-velcro on the roto-shaft and the roto-shaft in the drill. Remember to secure the drill tightly. The speed (RPM) setting for the drill should remain the same as previously. Starting from the tip and moving to the tail you will now roto-fibertex the base. This will remove any "hairies" from the base that have occurred due to skiing or that were raised by the brass roto-brush. Use no more pressure than the weight of the drill. Be sure to keep the tool level. Again, each pass should take about 10 seconds. Make several passes until the base appear glossy. Then you are done.

The first ski is now ready for waxing. Switch skis so that you can use the brass roto-brush and roto-velcro with fibertex on the second ski (or board). Then the second ski (or board) will be ready for waxing.

 

The brass roto-brush is used to clear the micro-structure of the base and remove a nano-amount of the base to expose fresh base. This will allow the wax to penetrate into the base maximally. This action is achieved by the tips of the brush bristles. This is why you do not want to press down. Press down will bend the bristles so that the side of the bristle goes across the ski (not very useful). Also by NOT PRESSING DOWN you will not heat the base material by friction.

Now remove the roto-shaft from the drill with the brass roto-brush. Take the roto-velcro and wrap either the coarse (green) or fine (white) fibertex around it snugly. Then place the roto-velcro on the roto-shaft and the roto-shaft in the drill. Remember to secure the drill tightly. The speed (RPM) setting for the drill should remain the same as previously. Starting from the tip and moving to the tail you will now roto-fibertex the base. This will remove any "hairies" from the base that have occurred due to skiing or that were raised by the brass roto-brush. Use no more pressure than the weight of the drill. Be sure to keep the tool level. Again, each pass should take about 10 seconds. Make several passes until the base appear glossy. Then you are done.

 

The first ski is now ready for waxing. Switch skis so that you can use the brass roto-brush and roto-velcro with fibertex on the second ski (or board). Then the second ski (or board) will be ready for waxing.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Noodler View Post

I also have a combo horsehair/bronze brush that I like after wax to really open the structure back up.  Bronze is softer than brass.



 

post #20 of 47

Here's info on brushes that Tognar sent out.  It looks like it sums up pretty much what everyone is saying in one comprehensive list.  YMMV.

 

http://tognar.wordpress.com/2012/01/05/deciphering-brushes/?utm_source=Response+2009+to+2011&utm_campaign=e4cd1a98e3-Response-2009-2011-Fall_Newsletter10_20_2011&utm_medium=email&mc_cid=e4cd1a98e3&mc_eid=0f01c71889

post #21 of 47

I use the brass rotobrush in what appears to be the standard way: as a clean-out step before waxing, rather than for wax removal.

 

It might (?) make sense to use the brass after waxing, when using a very hard wax ... but I never use very hard waxes, so that's not really an issue.

 

One thought on nylon and horsehair: just talking about the material ignores the primary dimension that seem to matter, which is stiffness. Both types of brush can be made with a wide range of stiffness, depending on length and the characterstics of the hairs. Generally, you'd use a stiffer brush first to remove wax, then a softer one to polish (or just skip the polish and use one brush). If you use too soft a brush initially, you may be brushing for quite a while. How hard the wax is comes into play here, as well: harder wax -> stiffer brush, in general.

 

It is possible to damage a base with a brass brush by using too much pressure or speed. Basically, you just raise microhairs, which makes the base look a bit greyish. Not an uncorrectable disaster, but kind of the opposite of what you're trying to accomplish.

post #22 of 47

SJ, always the voice of reason! icon14.gif

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sjjohnston View Post

I use the brass rotobrush in what appears to be the standard way: as a clean-out step before waxing, rather than for wax removal.

 

It might (?) make sense to use the brass after waxing, when using a very hard wax ... but I never use very hard waxes, so that's not really an issue.

 

One thought on nylon and horsehair: just talking about the material ignores the primary dimension that seem to matter, which is stiffness. Both types of brush can be made with a wide range of stiffness, depending on length and the characterstics of the hairs. Generally, you'd use a stiffer brush first to remove wax, then a softer one to polish (or just skip the polish and use one brush). If you use too soft a brush initially, you may be brushing for quite a while. How hard the wax is comes into play here, as well: harder wax -> stiffer brush, in general.

 

It is possible to damage a base with a brass brush by using too much pressure or speed. Basically, you just raise microhairs, which makes the base look a bit greyish. Not an uncorrectable disaster, but kind of the opposite of what you're trying to accomplish.



 

post #23 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vitamin Ski View Post



Good to know; I wondered why my recent waxings weren't lasting very long.



possibly, for rec waxes, you don't want to use metal after scraping.  for a race wax, you want every bit ow wax off the ski that you can get.  I go brass(steel on a hard wax), nylon, horsehair, (apply overlay, cork, fluoro-specific nylon, horsehair) felt, blue nylon, polishing cloth.

post #24 of 47

I do hand brushing and my race prep is: fine steel brush (unless I have a new grind then stiff steel brush), base prep wax, hot scrape, daily wax, cool overnight, scrape, coarse nylon, rescrape, stiff brass brush (stiff steel on super cold wax), soft bronze brush, coarse horsehair, synthetic polishing brush, fine horsehair, overlay as appropriate, cork (rub like crazy then rub harder), horsehair brush, felt.


Edited by vsirin - 2/28/12 at 10:10pm
post #25 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by vsirin View Post

I do hand brushing and my race prep is: fine steel brush (unless I have a new grind then stiff steel brush), base prep wax, hot scrape, daily wax, cool overnight, scrape, coarse nylon, rescrape, stiff brass brush (stiff steel on super cold wax), soft bronze brush, coarse horsehair, synthetic polishing brush, fine horsehair, overlay as appropriate, cork (rub like crazy then rub harder), horsehair brush, felt.



Sounds good, but wouldn't you do another brush after the felt?

post #26 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by AttitudeXX View Post



Sounds good, but wouldn't you do another brush after the felt?



The felt cloth is the last step.  And actually, you want light pressure (not heavy) or you'll just rub out the overlay.

 

 

And just so everyone is aware, this complete race job described is costly, HEAVILY time-consuming per pair, messy, potentially-toxic, and not necessarily durable past a run or two.

 

It is very effective; once you get to a certain level of racing, the wax is extremely important.  But when I tried doing these complete jobs I struggled with the cost-benefit analysis, such as the marginal utility derived from each additional hour spent on waxing per minute of subjective fun on the race course.  It's a balance we all need to find.

post #27 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vitamin Ski View Post

 

this complete race job described is costly, HEAVILY time-consuming per pair, messy, potentially-toxic, and not necessarily durable past a run or two.

 


The overlays and fluoro waxes are expensive. I only use overlays one or 2 races a year. I learned that unfortunately technique is 99.7% the determinant of the outcome and wax the other .3%. As I just do this for my own fun, there are not many events that I care  about sufficiently to justify the cost of the overlays. I also like to do the ski prep the night before an event and to take a warm up run or two. These warm up runs in the east tend to scrape off the overlays so you really need to do that at the start to get the best payoff. A good wax job is a different story, it will last most of the day unless the snow is both very wet and very aggressive (wet slush of ice crystals).

 

I always wear a respirator when using fluoro - both putting on and scraping/brushing. I don't use heavy fluoros a lot. My most common daily wax this winter has been a swix moly fluoro and I have probably 30-40 days on a half a big block of it that I paid about $40 for. I use mostly Holmenkol race waxes (some Dominator for v. warm). I have not used any overlays or ultra high fluoros so far this year.

 

I am not sure I agree on the time consuming part. I generally do about the same prep whenever I ski (up to the overlay part) and can wax 3 pair in half an hour (including edge touchup with diamond files) and then about another half hour for the scrape and brushing and packing of the 3 pair. I guess it is time consuming to some but to me it is not too bad every week and it has a very good payoff in performance.

 

post #28 of 47

My biggest gripe with waxing is the messiness... I need to take a shop vac and vaccum the edges for wax dust, and vacuum the whole wax area... it is really annoying.

 

And scraping and brushing is a real workout... not something for milquetoasts.

post #29 of 47

I use a plastic drop cloth under my wax table in the basement. The dust is especially troublesome with cold waxes, which unfortunately, we haven't needed this winter in PA. Two things that really help in terms of the workout - sharp scrapers (I love the Holmenkol scraper sharpening tool which I use usually twice in doing each ski (I also use a different scraper for hot scrapes)) and the metal brushes.

post #30 of 47

Well I'm tired of base burn (based on how aggressively I ski), so I always crayon-on a layer of CH4, before I put on a warm-weather wax.  Warm-weather wax doesn't even last me all of a short day.  I think the old, granular man-made snow is actually sharper than new cold snow?

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