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Rippling Pattern on Base of New Skis?

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

I picked up some clearance skis from  RAMP (see earlier post about the Jailbird), and they arrived today.  I'm about to leave town for the summer so I put a quick layer of base prep wax on them prior to storing. As soon as the wax began to dry, I noticed a weird ripping pattern on both sides of each base, and it appeared on both skis.  The wax was super soft, and I used a low iron temp; there was no smoking or anything, so I'm quite sure I didn't overheat the bases.  

 

What's the story here? 

 

post #2 of 23
Looks like the metal from the embedded edge. It might be the heat conducts faster out of the metal so the wax cools faster along that pattern. Or the opposite and that part stays warmer a Touch longer.
post #3 of 23
This is what ski edges look like:

http://www.store.skilab.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=5

And matches your pattern
post #4 of 23

Looking at your picture, what I see is not unusual for skis that have concave (aka: "railed") bases.  Due to the concavity, the edges are effectively higher than the plastic base material.  So, when you hot wax the skis, the metal edges end up absorbing more heat than you'd expect.  In the pic, the wax texture on your bases seems to show signs of concavity: more wax accumulating in the center of the base along the length of the ski.

 

New skis with concave bases are, unfortunately, pretty common.  Easy to fix: just take the skis to a good ski shop & have them ground flat.

 

Now, if you checked the bases for flatness (before waxing) and are sure they were truly flat then there's two other possibilities I can think of.  The base of your waxing iron may be too concave.  If that's the case, sand it flat ( http://www.epicski.com/t/142946/flattening-a-waxing-iron ).  Or your waxing technique needs refining (e.g.: moving the iron way too slowly and/or allowing the iron to contact the edges too much).

post #5 of 23
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the help!  I waxed 3 pair of skis and the only ones that had this edge-pitting were the J-birds.  I did also notice a bit of a suction-y feeling when waxing; again, just theses skis, not the others.  I will check my iron for sure--never even thought about that. A good lesson to pay attention to the iron on a more regular basis.  The evidence seems to point to concavity in these particular bases.  I guess a stone grind is in order.  

post #6 of 23

Um, let's take a step back for a sec.    

Yes, the print-through is from the edges cooling faster than the base center.

But take another look at the wax itself in the base center.      See that smearing, where wax was pulled along the base by the iron?     See those little eyelets in the wax?

Those are classic symptoms of not enough heat in the wax to make it truly close to liquid.     Notice I do not say 'iron temp not high enough'.     I am speaking of total heat, which the iron requires time to impart to the wax.

 

The wax didn't have enough heat to cool slowly and self-level as it cooled, and that shows along  the edges AND the bases.

 

Now, are the bases edge high?   Maybe, and they need to be checked, but the wax will have to be scraped off first.

post #7 of 23
Thread Starter 

Cantunamunch, thank you, that's really interesting.  Perhaps I was too wary of overheating.  I'll scrape and do a check with a true bar.  I should have done it initially but didn't have great light and just wanted to get them done. 

 

So, my understanding is that if I let the iron heat up fully and take my time running it over the wax, it may cool without the pitting (that is, if the base is not railed)?  That would be awesome. 

post #8 of 23

Yes, working the iron very gradually and leaving behind a little trail of edge-to-edge melt will give you a smoother appearance on the wax coat.   

 

I wouldn't really worry about doing work on the skis now, rather leave it for Sept-Oct.    FWIW just scraping the skis will give you a rough idea of whether they are railed.

post #9 of 23

I'd be concerned that the skis were concave (railed) and were ground flat, leaving very little base over the edges. Check the side edges to make sure there is a decent amount of base. A number of people have said the problem is due to technique, but then the other skis you waxed should have had the same problem.

post #10 of 23
Thread Starter 

Yeah, it's true that it was only this pair of skis, and I did have a nice even melt pattern behind the iron. Oh well.  I'll put them away and deal with it in the fall.The only reason I'm doing any tuning right now anyway is as a break from grading final exams.

 

Also, I contacted RAMP about what the factory edge angles are and they never got back to me. Pretty disappointing, as my experience with other companies (ski, bike, boat, etc.) is always great in that regard: a very quick and helpful response.

 

I hate to spend more money on these, but I'll likely have to have a shop set the bevels anyway, so I'll have them do a general assessment of the skis and see what my options are.  

post #11 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sallycat View Post

Also, I contacted RAMP about what the factory edge angles are and they never got back to me. Pretty disappointing, as my experience with other companies (ski, bike, boat, etc.) is always great in that regard: a very quick and helpful response.

 

It doesn't matter - you will be setting them to 1 and 3 anyway :).     Don't expect RAMP to be like other companies - they have a particular brand of eco-capitalism that has very strong expense-cutting consequences.   I would be surprised if they have more than 1-2 employees on site at any given time over the summer.

post #12 of 23
I own 3 pairs of RAMP skis, 2 for my self and 1 for my fiancee, in addition both my parents and sister have skied of RAMP skis in the last 2 years. All of them have shown the same pattern of heat distribution into the ski when waxing. It's not really anything to be concerned about in my opinion as I have not notice any issues or problems arising on or around the edges or the base material of the skis.

I don't know what the exact base edge angle is but it seems to be something like 1* base and 3* side from tuning the pairs I own.

Myself and everyone else i know locally who has a pair of RAMP skis quite likes them.
post #13 of 23
Thread Starter 

Their website says they ship in reusable bags, too, but mine just came in a cardboard box. That's too bad; I actually would have paid a little extra for the bag, which would be useful long term. 

post #14 of 23

They are in the end of selling off all of their factory seconds and remaining inventory, I'd have to go look, but I think they had a facebook post a while back that said that all the seconds would come in a box rather than the bag. They could have run out of bags too.

 

The bag is actually pretty nice too, spacious, decently padded, and durable.  The bags survived the trip to Alaska with minimal wear damage and no damage to the skis on the inside.

post #15 of 23

Hi.  I have that edge plate pattern come through on a number of skis that have nothing wrong with them, in terms of skiing on them - both wider skis and narrower.  Most of these are not rail high.  If they are slightly rail high, they are not rail high within a half inch or cm. or so of the edges, which is all you need to have the ski behave optimally on snow for recreational skiing.  

 

Often in machine grinding/flattening a ski, the techs will run the machine too hot (or some other mistake), and when the base cools it is no longer flat but rail high.  I've had it happen a number of times, to the point where I've taken to flattening the bases myself always (topic for a different thread).  

 

The point is, if the ski is rail high because of faulty base grinding at the factory or a shop (both common), then insisting on having it completely flat can take off too much base material unnecessarily for optimal ski performance and life of the ski.   All that's really needed is that the base be flat within a cm. or so of the edges, in my experience and as explained in a number of threads on this site.   

 

So don't be in a rush to have that base grind before checking with a true bar, and above all, testing the skis out on the slope.   They will probably ski just fine.  

 

P.S. For me, that pattern at the edges just shows through the wax without pitting the way your skis have (with the wax close to flat, for me).   I'd guess that pitting was probably a "heating the wax evenly" problem, just as @cantunamunch described.   

post #16 of 23

...Ski them before taking them to a shop for base grind, edge beveling, etc.   They're probably just fine they way they are.  If after you ski them, they don't 'feel right', then you can take them in for a little tune. And as several others have said, the pattern is just the edges - on some of my skis it shows up during waxing, and on others it doesn't. I wouldn't spend any more time worrying about it - worrying is a waste of imagination (ok..so I stole that line from the Diamondback bike ads, but I like it).

post #17 of 23
Thread Starter 

Well, curiosity got the better of me so I scraped one of them and put a true bar on it.  It is extremely concave. I'm a novice at assessing bases; I've checked my other skis, wondering if I was observing correctly because I wasn't seeing light come through.  Then I put the bar on the j-birds and there it was: a big ol' Luke Skywalker light saber across the center of the ski, stopping at each edge. 

 

I don't have bindings on them yet.  If I decide to have the bases done, would it be better to do it before mounting, or does it not matter?  If it doesn't really matter, I'll probably mount and ski them for a while and see how they feel before messing with the bases.

post #18 of 23

Don't worry about the bindings complicating a base grind.  Give your shop a call & they'll explain all the details of base grinds.

 

If you do decide to try skiing your Jailbirds before getting a base grind then consider taking a second set of skis with you (that have a reasonable tune & you know they ski well) as a backup - just in case.  Nothing worse than equipment issues impacting a potentially great day on the mountain.

post #19 of 23

If they are severely concave you should send them back. If you have a shop that's still open you can get their opinion on whether they can be ground flat without taking off too much base and edge. The amount between the bar and the center of the ski is the amount of edge and outer base you will lose. A concave base not only makes a ski hard to turn but makes the base hard to wax, makes setting and sharpening the side edges inaccurate, since the guide references off the base, and makes the ski impossible to grind a structure into without first grinding it flat, so even if the ski is skiable, I wouldn't keep a pair of badly railed skis. You can measure the gap with a feeler gauge or guesstimate with a good ruler--if you tell us the amount of the gap perhaps someone here can tell you if the skis are salvageable.

post #20 of 23

....not sure where you're located and what ski shops are in your area, but from the sounds of things - if the bases are that far off of flat, you can easily spend $60+ to get the base grind, edges set, etc.  Are the skis still a great deal at that price ? I've purchased many skis over the years and I've never had a pair that needed a base grind  when brand new - although there are others on epic that say they often do. If they didn't disclose that they are 2nds, might be able to return if you're not comfortable with the way the bases are ?

post #21 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sallycat View Post
 

I picked up some clearance skis from  RAMP (see earlier post about the Jailbird), and they arrived today.  I'm about to leave town for the summer so I put a quick layer of base prep wax on them prior to storing. As soon as the wax began to dry, I noticed a weird ripping pattern on both sides of each base, and it appeared on both skis.  The wax was super soft, and I used a low iron temp; there was no smoking or anything, so I'm quite sure I didn't overheat the bases.  

 

What's the story here? 

 


That's the edge keys.  As long as you did not overheat the bases you are fine.  That's pretty normal to see. Do make sure the skis are not edge high.  In that condition the iron may have too much edge contact and that can lead to overheating the edges thus overheating the plastic there as well.

post #22 of 23
Jacques, just above this is where s/he takes a true bar and finds them edge high. The question now is whether it is so edge high they need returning.
post #23 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

Jacques, just above this is where s/he takes a true bar and finds them edge high. The question now is whether it is so edge high they need returning.


I say just bevel the base edges so the iron doesn't have so much contact when making a flat pass with the iron. 

Other than that,  the wax is cooling and or heating at a different rate above the edge keys, so it's just the wax that has bumps as it cools.

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