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Why is hot waxing by hand better than hot waxing by a machine?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

I use to have a ski shop wax my skis with their hot waxing machine . Now I wax my own skis and the difference is like night and day. Turning is easier, I can glide on the flats faster than most, and I can now tell when my skis need waxing. I never noticed much difference with the machine waxing before, after or whenever.  Standing in a lift line with my freshly waxed skis I will slide sideways if there is a slight slope .

 

What is really puzzling is that I don't do a good waxing job. I use a universal wax, any wax I fine cheap, scrape lightly only once or twice, then brush with a fine bronze brush about 10 stokes, then with a fine horsehair brush about 50 strokes. I don't do any pre brushing, hot wax cleaning, use fluro, overlays. Don't even use a vise. I use a washroom sink to hold my skis. My iron doesn't have temperature control. The only thing I do different in my routine is for spring corn snow. I skip the brushing with the fine horsehair brush, and do about 10 strokes with the fine bronze brush.

 

But why is my half ass waxing so much better than machine hot waxing?

 

Is  machine waxing a big ripoff?

 

How much difference will I notice if I do a better wax job, i.e. use a low fluro wax, pre-brush, cleaning with hot wax and all that stuff? I don't really want do more than I'm doing now.

post #2 of 16

I think that your experience says more about the poor job the shop you were using did than about anything else. If you wanted to do a really good job, your performance would improve particularly if you have difficult conditions, i.e., very cold snow, very wet snow, etc., where the universal wax would not be that great. For normal conditions, a really good wax job, with just the right wax, gives very very slippery skis. I don't know the percentage of improvement but it is significant. But if you are happy with what your results are, it sounds like you've found a good spot for your effort vs. payoff balance.

post #3 of 16

most shops have "hand-iron upgrade" wax option which should give the same results as your home results.  If the shop didn't even have this option then yes the shop is sub-par.  If they did have the option, but you never took it, that's on you.

 

The usual theory is the wax machine works by heats the wax, then your ski goes over rollers which are coated with melted wax.  But the ski base is otherwise cold.  

 

When using an iron, you're warming the base with the melted wax so the base supposedly expands and absorbs the wax.  Also you go back and forth with your iron a few times, so the amount of time where you have molten wax touching the base is longer. 

 

It is like making a smore by just melting chocolate over a cold marshmallow 1 time.  Nnot the same as putting a torch to both chocolate+hot marshmallow together and multiple times(bad analogy I know).

 

 

Also, if your ski never got a good base soaked in wax to begin with, then the machine wax might not even have much to attach to.

 

Maybe a better analogy is in the automatic car washes that have in tunnel "wax"/"polish" options for your car, where basically water-based,  goo is squirted on your car, yet the next step in the wash just rinses it off with more water.  No way that "wax" sticks very well to your car as compared to something that is allowed to dwell for a long time. 

 

I will say the typical huge buffing machine will likely do a better job of clearing the excess wax then the hand brushing.


Edited by raytseng - 2/4/13 at 10:56pm
post #4 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by raytseng View Post

 

It is like making a smore by just melting chocolate over a cold marshmallow 1 time.  Nnot the same as putting a torch to both chocolate+hot marshmallow together and multiple times(bad analogy I know).

 

You do your s'mores with a torch?  Whatever happened to doing them over a fire? Now I did use to put pine tar on the bottomes of my wooden cross country skis with a torch, but s'mores? No way.

post #5 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldgoat View Post

You do your s'mores with a torch?  Whatever happened to doing them over a fire? Now I did use to put pine tar on the bottomes of my wooden cross country skis with a torch, but s'mores? No way.

 

To be honest, if you actually tried making smores in foil packets in the oven, they come out really well.

 

Despite the old-timey nostalgia, the wonders of a consistent temperature controlled heat box do produce a better product and much faster. 

 

Somehow this seems appropriate in this forum which sometimes seems run by the more OCD forum among us.  :)

post #6 of 16

You need to buy a roto brush to make your life easier.

 

I always just add wax too, never use wax remover or bother cleaning the bases. I use Dominator Hyperzoom on all my skis.

 

After scraping, I run the nylon brush up/down in short sections down the base, then do 3 tip to tial passes, right side,left side, middle. If it's cold out I'll use the horse hair roto brush.

 

Been doing that for over 12 years now.

 

Do you tune your edges ?

 

I use the ski visions base flatteners before I tune and wax. I'll knock any burrs off the base edge with a 1* guide and cheap a** file, just so they don't scratch the iron.

 

I use a 100 diamond stone on the edges after every ski day. once or twice may be 3 times down the edge just to keep them sharp.

post #7 of 16

"I do a half-assed wax job" doesn't match with "50 passes with the horsehair brush"  :)

 

Here is what half-assed is supposed to be like: (posted before) 

 

Quick And Painless Ski Tune 

(doug coombs)

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4O5GUAtShiU

post #8 of 16
liked coomb's skiing...always despised his quick and painless tune!!

zenny
post #9 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by zentune View Post

liked coomb's skiing...always despised his quick and painless tune!!

zenny

Isn't the point of tuning to ski better? It's not an end in itself.  If his skiing was ok I guess his tune was ok. If he'd been racing for 100th's of a second maybe it wouldn't have been.

post #10 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldgoat View Post

Isn't the point of tuning to ski better? It's not an end in itself.  If his skiing was ok I guess his tune was ok. If he'd been racing for 100th's of a second maybe it wouldn't have been.

   To me, at least, the idea behind this forum on epic is for those of us with extensive tuning knowledge to share it with those who wish to learn. Vsirin, cantunamunch, atomicman, Dominator Tom, myself, and many others here have a lot of knowledge from which, one can glean much information. I can't speak for the others, but for me it's not about "racing for 100th's" (I haven't raced a master's yet this year--been working with junior racers and instructors on improving their skiing). Rather, it's about getting the most out of those (in some cases) $1000 skis people have just purchased and increasing their lifespan through proper and regular maintenance. 

 

    All respect to Doug...he was a fantastic and gifted skier! And BRAVE as well! I ski mountaineer myself in the spring. Me and a few friends take to the mighty Bitteroots in search of fun lines (none nearly as scary as the one's Doug used to ski). Having said that, I regularly maintain my backcountry set-up as well. Especially after finding myself in a particularly icy coulour on time on dull edges...let's say it wasn't fun at all. Doug died after he slipped on a sheet of ice and fell over a big cliff while trying to rescue a friend.

 

   Don't rush your tunes (not saying this is  why Doug slipped--but sharp edges are nice)

 

     zenny


Edited by zentune - 2/6/13 at 6:03am
post #11 of 16
Thread Starter 

From: Raytseng

 

"The usual theory is the wax machine works by heats the wax, then your ski goes over rollers which are coated with melted wax. But the ski base is otherwise cold."

 

 To me this explains why machine hot waxing is inferior.

 

"I do a half-assed wax job" doesn't match with "50 passes with the horsehair brush"

 

  I didn't think I was doing anything special other than making the finish shiny.

 

As to the Coombs video, he doesn't brush?

 

I Watched it twice and didn't see any done, but maybe it was cut. But like he says "it works"

post #12 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by LTCold View Post

From: Raytseng

 

"The usual theory is the wax machine works by heats the wax, then your ski goes over rollers which are coated with melted wax. But the ski base is otherwise cold."

 

 To me this explains why machine hot waxing is inferior.

 

"I do a half-assed wax job" doesn't match with "50 passes with the horsehair brush"

 

  I didn't think I was doing anything special other than making the finish shiny.

 

As to the Coombs video, he doesn't brush?

 

I Watched it twice and didn't see any done, but maybe it was cut. But like he says "it works"

 

The video needs to be taken as tongue in cheek humor.  I would think, when things were serious, he would have appreciated a good tune as he knows all the terminology tricks and techniques.  But he's just saying for day-to-day people are taking things too seriously and you should just spend your time having fun instead.

 

Please also see this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xHTZOKkvaw8

post #13 of 16

All that brushing you do helps a ton.  The shop probably doesn't do a good job of scraping or brushing.  The result is a ton of excess wax on the ski and no structure....this will slow you down a lot, especially in wet conditions.  That brushing 50 times is HUGE.

post #14 of 16

I think some people are really anal about ski tunes, maybe it's because I grew up skiing 30+ days/year on ice in New England and only got my skis tuned once or twice a season, even my race skis would only get a tune once a year but they only saw a few runs through the gates on thurs nights; hey maybe if I tuned I could've been higher than a mid seed racer (shop tunes and tools were expensive and my money was better spent on my pass and bus fare to the mtn).  I think having sharp edges is a good thing, but don't over think the wax because it's usually gone after just a couple runs.  

 

Now a days I wax before every day, but I also do the halfassed wax and it works well for me.  Drip it on there, Iron it out, scrape it down 2 or 3 teams and then brush it a half dozen times.  I'm more of the Doug Coombs RIP school of  ski tuning.  Now if I were a serious racer, skiing iced down super-G runs then ya, I'd be way more serious about my tuning. 

post #15 of 16

Ski and board bases are very porous. Using an iron to wax ski is far better then the machine hot roller which only gives the bases a topical wax. Most of the time that machine wax will last you a few runs especially if the snow is hard and course. An iron wax will allow the bases to penetrate and hold a fair amount of wax for at least two to three days of skiing or boarding. If a base looks white or has that white look? its more then likely oxidized which just means dry and is starving for wax. At the end of the season I usually do a storage wax with not only protects the bases from drying out, but protects the edges from rusting and collecting condensation over the non-use time left in the garage.

 

I usually tell my customers to at least get a minor tune at the beginning of the season, and mid-season get a major tune which includes filling all gouges that were left in the bases from rocks or any obstacles in the runs at the beginning of the season. When the snow is plentiful, then make sure your bases are well groomed, just like when you first purchased them. It is important to maintain the equipment just like your car. You don't drive in the rain with bald tires? your skis or board are just like your tires, and are used to track and carve, without the structure the water has no way to escape or allow the ski to glide correctly.

post #16 of 16

"Why is hot waxing by hand better than hot waxing by a machine?"

 

Because it smells like skiing in the morning...

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