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Tuning - Black/Grey Streaks In Wax While Scraping

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I posted on this awhile back but wanted to revisit it.

Sometimes when I scrape using a plexi I get some grey in the wax as it comes up.

Some people said that it may be dirt in the base and others said that it may be from the iron slightly burning the base.

I always hotwax first to clean the skis and I always crayon wax into the base before cleaning and waxing so I do not burn the base on the inital pass. I use slightly more wax then I need so I do not burn the bases. I do not make a ton of passes and I make sure that the ski does not heat up too much.

So could my bases still be dirty even after a hotwax and scrape and cause this grey? Would it help to let the cleaning wax cool first and then reheat it to hotscrape?

Is my iron too hot? I currently use a http://snowshack.com/skwaxir.html

post #2 of 11
Spring skiing will gets you lots of dirt/oil in your wax. I do multiple hot scrapes and even use a degreaser to wipe before applying new wax. I know some will say this dries or can dry the bases out...I wear skis out long before a dried base would become evident or a problem
post #3 of 11
the p-tex on your bases get roughed up while you ski, it could be the hairs of p-tex coming off in the wax. ski bases are like sponges, alot of wax is sucked into the p-tex, so wax more frequently and you should be all set.
post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the input.

In between tunes, which is only when I am at a resort for multiple days, I usually crayon wax on and use a cork or other device to rub it into the base.

When I tune at home ,which is every Thursday or Friday before skiing, I usually hot wax so I am not sure how much more I can wax. Maybe a few times each time I tune?
post #5 of 11

Maybe when you stop to pick-up your skis from SkiDoc you could ask him, and then let the rest of us know.
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
I actually just spoke to him on the phone.

I'll ask him next time.

I think either him or someone once told me that it could be oxidation from hot waxing or something like that.

It's not like I can take off base material by accident with a plexi so I am not too worried about it.
post #7 of 11
Spring skiing, particularly with surface lifts will get oil and grease deposits from the lifts that drip down from the cables, sheaves and the bull wheel. This is also true of chairs, the older ones in particular, but less tends to get on your skis from chairs. You have to watch out for grease dripping on your clothing though...I had grease drip on my yellow jacket last season.
post #8 of 11
If your iron has an aluminum base, it's likely the aluminum rubbing off and getting in the wax. No big deal. This happens on my skis ocassionally (I use an old aluminum iron from the 1960s), and it just looks dark-grayish and dirty (no metal chips or anything like that). Actually, aluminum can rub off and discolor a lot of things. I have seen aluminum shower curtain rods stain towels from the same type of effect.

post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 
SkiDoc(Mike) gave me an answer as he just gave me my tuned skis today.

The grey is base material from my dumbass burning the base alittle.

Guess I need to go easy on the iron.
post #10 of 11
Originally Posted by Scalce
SkiDoc(Mike) gave me an answer as he just gave me my tuned skis today.

The grey is base material from my dumbass burning the base alittle.

Guess I need to go easy on the iron.
Whenever your plexi scraper feels like it is dragging along the base, that's what indicates that you have burned it. It's at that time you'll notice a dark residue in the scraped wax. That is polyethylene that has been melted.
First price skis generally come wth cheap double sint or extruded bases. Both types of base offer very little wax absorption, but relatively high durablity.
Sintered bases are generally found on mid- price point skis on up. These bases are generally manufactured by a company named IMS in Switzerland for just about all ski manufacturers. They produce molecular density's ranging from 2000(fastest/most fragile/most versatile/most expensive) to 6000(hardest/least porosity/least fragile/least versatile).
Most of you probably have either 2000 or a fairly recent developed Okulen 3000 type bases. 3000 is not as expensive as 2000, but shares many of the same properties regarding glide and versatility.
Hot waxing is a very involved procedure. One must understand that it is heat that bonds skis together during their construction, and it is heat that will take them apart as well.
Use lots of medium hard pure hydrocarbon waxes for good overall base protection and glide versatility, i.e. Dominator Zoom All Temp, or Swix CH7. Obviously there are other waxes available that are also great. All paraphins are wrought from the same chemical family. So mixing different wax companies are not an issue.
Anything metal residing under the base attracts heat, i.e. titanal, edge matrix, etc. These materials will conspire with your iron making it very easy to burn polyethylene. Rub wax on the base first, then melt two fat rivulets of wax near the edges. 3-4 continual passes max, tip to tail or tail to tip does not matter. Iron temps should be around 120 to 130 degree celsius. First pass is slow looking for an even melt. Successive passes become faster. Always use an upward pull on the iron to suck the wax under the iron base plate . Too much wax dripping down the sidewall indicates too much downward pressure, and will over-disperse the wax and encourage base burn.
When you feel the iron suck down to the base, this indicates it has been burned. It is not irreparably damaged, and it can happen to the best of us.
When a sintered base has been burned, it means the pores in the base that are there to absorb the wax are now closed. Over-waxing with excessive heat or improper technique will effectively narrow the range of temperatues and snow types the ski can run in. This generally leads to a colder range.
2000-3000 bases are formulated to work in warm and cold temps.
A burned base looks multi-pigmented. Indicated by grey and dark black shaded areas along the running surface. The only way to remove this is to have the skis stone ground in order to reveal a fresh layer of base. Always make sure the wax you are about to melt is free of contaminants, i.e. filings, dirt etc, as they will scratch the base. Also, always make sure the base plate of the iron is clean and kept freshly sanded with 220-320 grit paper. This helps create a little structure in the base plate and encourages wax dispersion.
Always use a burr-free super sharp plex-scraper. Race Werks sells 12" Strawberry files, they are the best. Mount this to a bench surface and use it often. A good sharp scraper will only enhance smoothing out base structue during the scraping process.
Unless you are racing or trying to set speed records, use a nylon or brass brush to remove excess wax. You generally want to keep whatever structure is in the base, open for optimal glide. Anytime you see wax standing on the base it will create drag. A little bit is no big deal unless you're as anal retentive as I am. Finally, finish it out with a horsehair brush using a back and forth motion until the base is bright and shiny. Back and forth brushing is not to be done with nylon, brass or steel brushes for obvious reasons. Except when employing specific structuring techniques designed to enhance a specific stone grind structure. That is a whole other story.
Hopefully I have not bored you all with TMI. At some point, I will discuss the often misunderstood merits of rubbing paraphins on bases.
post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the update.

I just needed a refresher.

I will go easy this year with the iron as I don't feel like getting two base grinds in one season.

I might pickup a better iron as my small one doesn't hold a consistent temp because of the small surface area.

I also use the Ray Way's waxer inbetween hot waxes like you said.
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