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Wax Iron temp?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I just started out tuning my own skis and I have a few questions on waxing. I have a dakine iron with automatic temp control between 260 and 280 degrees farenheit. Its the same thing as this one http://www.artechski.com/Merchant2/merchant.mv?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=A&Product_Code= 398&Category_Code=09H Could this be too hot? I've read that bases can burn at 284, seems awfully close. I've also used a softer wax with it (swix ch10) and it was smoking. Wax should never be smoking, right?
On tognar's site in their waxing tips it says that the optimal temp to heat the base to is somwhere around 240-260. Then swix says you should use the temps they recommend for their waxes which is only 225 I think for ch10. What is the correct thing to try to do?
Should I buy the cheap swix Iron for another $50? Reliable racing has their next model up in the line for $59
post #2 of 11
I bought a $3 travel iron with a flat, teflon-coated base on ebay last year. Not only can I take it with me on trips, but I have never had wax smoke on me, even at the highest temp setting.
post #3 of 11
Originally posted by mr x:
I bought a $3 travel iron with a flat, teflon-coated base on ebay last year. Not only can I take it with me on trips, but I have never had wax smoke on me, even at the highest temp setting.
Some of these small travel irons switch from 110 to 220V so you can use them in Europe with an adapter plug. I use an old clothes iron with a Teflon base and just set the thermostat. Do not breath the vapors especially if it is fluorinated wax. Open the window and get a respirator at the hardware store or something. As long as you get a good impregnation and the top sheet and edges do not get too hot you should be O.K.

[ October 29, 2003, 06:39 PM: Message edited by: Jørn ]
post #4 of 11
I don't know what temperature but...(I use an old household iron). I was taught if the wax smokes the iron is too hot. Get you iron as hot as you can without the wax smoking. It is important to keep the iron moving when you wax (don't let it sit in one place). I iron the base until I can feel the heat comming through on the topside of the ski.

Hint: unless you are a racer by the cheap all purpose bulk wax by swix...I buy it from MEC www.mec.ca
post #5 of 11
The iron you choose depends on what you want to accomplish.
A cheap household iron can work well for recreational skiing, preferably one without holes. When the holes plug up with wax, it can affect the thermostat response.

The problem with household or other cheap irons is that their thermostats tend to fluctuate widely. The harder the wax you apply, the higher temp. setting is required. This is where a houshold iron can run up against the limitations of its unreliable thermostat and potentially cause damage to the ski bases or the internal works.

Swix recommends a temp setting of (110C)230F for its CH10, (120C)245F for CH 8, (140C)280F for CH 6 and so forth. These are all hydrocarbon waxes which work great for recreational skiing. Other manufacturers make comparable waxes.

The more expensive the iron generally the less the thermostat will fluctuate. Since you keep the the iron moving over the base to which you have applied wax the ski base temp. will be lower than the iron temp. How much lower is a function of how quickly the iron is moving and how many passes over the ski you make.

If you do not use hard waxes a cheap iron will work. However, if you apply a hard wax like Swix CH 3 or its equivilent near the base edges to avoid base burn or use hard waxes as a base layer or because of very cold snow and air temps then you probably will be better off with an iron with a more precise thermostat since these waxes are applied at higher temps.

If you do a search here you will find a lot of advice and different theories on wax application such as how many passes, how fast to move the iron, how warm to allow the topskins to get etc. Waxing can be a mindless pleasure when done correctly.
Wax on.Wax off. Have fun. [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
What is the effect of smoking wax? Why is it bad?
post #7 of 11
I'll let PM or some one with his kind of knowledge answer what's in the smoke.
I like the old iron without holes because it seems to stay more stable then the new $XXX.XX swix iron that our racer use's. When using the swix iron the red light comes fequently when the iron is on the ski. My old iron I can hear it click on and off when I'm using it, but not like the swix iron that takes longer to heat back up and seems to cool off quickly. I believe it has something to do with the mess of the iron.

All most of us need to do is get the wax hot enough to melt, not smoke. I try to get the wax on the ski hot enough so that the tip is still liquid when I have the iron on the tail, with out smoke.
post #8 of 11
I am have been told that highly fluorinated wax can emit Acetic Acid when it is vaporized at high temperatures. The small vapor particles can supposedly also get into the alveoli (air sacs) in your lungs. I do not think the smoke from the hydrocarbon wax is healthy to breathe either.

I find tech jargon about special irons and stuff to be somewhat irrelevant, unless you are a ski technician for a World Cup racer or something. Just get an old iron and adjust the thermostat until the wax melts freely without smoking. Drip the wax down the base of the ski, then buff it in with even strokes of the iron. Get the wax hot enough so the base absorbs it, but not so hot that you can feel a lot of heat on the top sheet of the ski. Scrape and repeat if necessary. Then you may buff the base if you wish. Keep it quite simple. I have been tuning my own skis and sometimes helping others to tune their skis, for almost twenty years.

The best ski tuning equipment for me, with a few exceptions, comes from an auto parts store, hardware store, craft shop, department store etc. I try to avoid paying ultra-high prices for items. Aside from special wax, P-tex, and some specific tools like file guides, vices and rotary structuring tools; you do not really need to buy special equipment. You do not even really need fancy vices, file guides, and rotary structuring tools. There are ways to make your own substitutes if you have enough experience. You can even formulate your own wax if you have enough knowledge.

[ November 01, 2003, 12:38 AM: Message edited by: Jørn ]
post #9 of 11
Wow. I have learned more on this forum in 15 minutes than I have in a month at Powdermag's. Anyway, about waxes: the colder and drier the snow, the harder the wax, right? And the harder the wax, the faster the ski will go, right? What do you recommend for a 15-day-a-year guy who skis out West and looks for pow whenever he can? CH 8 should be about right, right? I'd appreciate any advice. Thanks.
post #10 of 11
If your wax is smoking that's a bad thing. Turn your iron down. Your iron is the least important thing in the whole process. Not only that but ANY wax fumes are dangerous...floro being the worst. I tune for a living and I wear a mask and have ventilation going at all times while working with wax. If you are using a colder wax your iron has to be hotter but not much.
Basically just play around with the settings to see when your wax is melting and leave the temperature there. Always keep your iron moving while ironing in wax. If you leave it too long you will burn the p-tex thus sealing it and rendering it's wax absorbing properties useless...how does waxing after every day sound? You can even make the p-tex bubble if it's really too hot. So no matter what wax you are using, if it isn't smoking and it's melting then it's okay to apply it and you aren't running too hot to burn the base provided that you KEEP MOVING!!
Happy Skiing

For more info on tuning check out KUU Sport's tuning guide in pdf form on their website [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]
post #11 of 11
The idea of any health effects from wax fumes has me intrigued. I did a bit of searching on the net and came across a few articles on this topic. In particular here's one specific to ski wax fumes that is interesting:

Health and safety considerations
These final comments and recommendations have been taken from articles published in NORDIC UPDATE and are supported by information from ski wax manufacturers As with any new product that we use today, no one can ignore the possible long term effects these products may have on our health .Particular interest to all racers is the evidence that definitely supports the short term effects of exposure to wax fumes - both paraffins and fluoro carbons.

The loss of up to 30% Vo2 maximum oxygen capacity would be a disaster for any racer wishing to perform at their personal best XC skiers and biathletes have all verified that other nations do not permit their competitors to enter the waxing cabins without wearing repiratory face masks.

As Australian teams with very limited support personnel aim to match present International XC skiing standards, our skiers are suffering from lack of support staff which exposes them to the physiological dangers of having to wax their own skis, thus affecting their overall performance during races.

If our elite 'A' team skiers feel a strong need for improved support in this area, all club and recreational racers should take heed of the following information.

>From the SVENSK SKI SPORT Magazine:

"Research was performed a the Junior Swedish Championships last winter, and was carried out on a selection of coaches, who cooperated in advanced lung function testing The results showed that the oxygen exchange which occurs between the lungs and the blood was reduced by up to 30% Because waxing is often done in poorly ventilated areas, it can lead to poor results.

The report shows that the same effects occur with both the powders and normal paraffins For this reason, not only the 'pros', who spend hours in the wax room, are affected, as well as people who merely come in contact with waxing.

When wax is melted a vapour is created which rapidly condenses into small particles in the air These are so small that they penetrate deep into the lungs, into the area where the oxygen exchange takes place between the lungs and the blood It appears that 4-5 days relief from waxing would allow complete recovery."


"Olsson points out that it is obvious that competitors who need to perform at peak conditions should not stand and wax their skis in poorly ventilated ski rooms the night before a race."

DER LAUFER (Swiss Magazine)

Bruno Knopli remarked that "The effect on the oxygen uptake cpacity can last 30 minutes to 24 hours and begins within half to three quarters of an hour after entry into the wax room, especially when a synthetic 'wax' such as Cera F is used at a very high temperature, which release gases - we now see that ordinary petroleum based waxes produce similar results."

TAIT WARDLAW - US Ski Racing Magazine

Wax today contains more hazardous stuff than ever before The most conventional wax, called hydrocarbon or paraffin wax, is distilled from petroleum and when burned, releases carcinogenic sulphur dioxide into the air Keep the melting temperature of your iron as low as possible to avoid smoking If smoke billows from the iron or the ski, stop and turn the heat down." (Suggested that you install a START Air Defense to your wax iron or install an exhaust fan above your ski wax area ).

On the positive side, it has been reported:

"That wax vapours cool when exposed to air at normal room temperature As the vapours cool, re-condensation occurs and particulate matter is formed If the environmental air is cool enough, it is possible that the majority of the vapour will condense prior to inhalation The use of a simple dust mask should be protective against the inhalation of this particulate Thus, reasonable precautions for short periods of waxing include the use of a dust mask with necessary filters, and waxing in cool and well ventilated area.

Observing the following precautions should reduce the risks to a minimal level:

Lower ironing temperature;
Clean the iron directly after use;
Ventilate as well as possible in a cool area;
Use a face mask/respirator or point ventilation where possible;
Install START Air Defense to your existing waxing iron."
As Hans Malker says,

"A racer who waxes his skis in a poorly ventilated area before a start might just as well be smoking cigarettes before a race."
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