What iron do you recommend?
Apparently the heat gun contingent will use anything that's cheap so clearly temp control is not a big issue to them.
The pot on the stove with tinfoil is pretty unstable.
How about the Toko T14 for a digital or that new svst digital iron, or the holmenkohl which is about 100 more. Or are you talking going all the way to the 4-500$ irons?
I don't get any chips. Those things will make you fat! Like she said, "Start with soft wax, then go harder, harder, harder!" If you do it like she said, no chips. Well, okay, you still need a good steel scraper! Good night.
Bummer! I might go up to 220 F for a hard wax, but that's it.
CH4 has been discussed here before. I find it works best for me, when I do single tip to tail passes, with a 1" wet trail behind the iron and letting it cool between iron passes at 290f. Usually takes at least 3 passes to achieve good saturation. I also mix it sometimes 1:1 with CH6 at 280f, as well I use it as an additive occasionally to a unscraped CH6 layer (cheese grater CH4 into powder) at 280f as well.
I have had the T71 and the T72, but those irons didn't work very well for me (I might of had a bad batch). Swix stands by their product, so I had no issues with refunds. Now I use T14 (been discussed as well) as my primary iron, and I also have a T73 - which I find very reliable as well.
I also use this baby to calibrate my irons.
Not neccessarily - it maybe that you just "boiled" the wax - that's why the bubbles, I get them sometimes, especially when switching waxes but perhaps not temperatures. Also, the black soot maybe burned wax as well - you could test with your finger on top of the wax, see if any black soot comes off., so you did not neccessarily melt the base... although smelling plastic is not a good sign...
there are some waxes that are really really really hard to put on - I haven't used CH4, but I have some super-cold race wax from RaceWax that is extremely hard to put on.... I prefer the average cold wax (blue/green) and hot wax every day, when it's cold.
edit - as to the ski base, if you think something's wrong, you could do a few passes with sandpaper, 150 and then 220, then fibertex and brush a lot and see if there's any changes.
I didn't bother to wade through this entire thread, but I will say there is one very good use for a heat gun. A few times a year I hot wax my fish scale "waxless" cross country skis. I then use a bunch of paper towels and a heat gun to clean all the wax out of the fishscales---the fishscale scraper has not been invented yet! The hotwax really improves the glide and prevents icing in the kickzone, but if you don't get all the wax off, you'll have no grip.