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Waxing Skis

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
In an effort to save my cash for lift tickets, I waxed my skis last night.

My question: After scrapping off the excess wax, how important is it for the surface to be completely flat? In making sure that there were no buildups of wax, I felt like I was removing all of the wax that I put on them.

Also, on the wax package there is mention of a bronze brush. Is this necessary?
post #2 of 26
When you wax skis, it is important to melt the wax INTO the base. The base is porous, and the wax flows into these pores when melted. After the wax has cooled and hardened, a sharp plastic scraper is used to cut the excess surface wax off the base, leaving only (or most of the) wax in the pores. The iron temperature should be high enough to melt the wax, but not so high so the wax starts smoking. After using the scraper, brushing the base with a brass bristle brush gets the excess wax out of the base's structuring grooves. The structure of the base is made when stone grinding, and are fine striations running along the base surface. These grooves help break surface tension, and allow for more glide. As the ski sides accross the snow, there is friction created. This friction turns to heat, and as the base heats up, the wax stored in the pores gradually melts out and helps lubricate the sliding. Different snow crystal structures will cause different degrees of friction, and therefore there are different temperature ranges (hardnesses) of wax. When the snow is cold and dry, the snow crystal is much harder than when is warm and wet. Hard wax for cold, soft wax for warm.

Hope this helps.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ November 20, 2001 08:16 AM: Message edited 1 time, by BetaRacer ]</font>
post #3 of 26
BetaRacer is right on the money. When you are finished, you should be able to see the structure and feel it. If doing it for a customer, you know you did right if the customer asks, "Did you really wax these?" Most of the wax belongs inside the base, not on it. Visit my website lacyslatherworks Hit <links> then <bobs ski page> and read "How to Wax and tune your skis". There's a lot to this, but this is a very good start. But then it sounds like you did good here.
Your iron should be 248 degrees and no more. More than that and the base starts to melt. 248 is the maximum wax absorbtion rate.
post #4 of 26
BetaRacer and jyarddog gave advice that was right on the money, I would like,howerver, like to add a step that I do every time I wax. After you have scraped the ski, with a plexy scraper, you might notice a dull look to the base and there may be high wax that you can't see. I take a green scowering pad, that you can pick up at any grocery store,and run it up and down the ski with a fair amount of pressure. If there's any left over wax on the ski you will find the pad to stick a little and the area will turn kind of white. Just buff it with the pad as many times as nessesary until it's gone. This process also polishes the base nicely. Next I recomend a brass brush running tip to tale always, then nylon, and finally a few passes with a hoarse hair. If you don't want to by so many brushes I would go with a nylon brush.
I would also like to say that waxing temps very greatly. I agree that the iron should never smoke, however, high end waxes with a high florocarbon content need to be applied at low temps. as not to burn off the HF.
post #5 of 26
This is all great stuff but something to remember for all of us mortals out here is that in order to just protect your bases and keep some wax on them, a quick hot wax without the high end scraping, brushing/buffing and polishing is fine. The smoking issue(Too hot) and the heat up enough to open up the pores is important.
I find that unless I'm planning on trying to go fast early in the morning or am about to take a class it really doesn't help me much to do all the polishing and brushing. Hot wax and a quick scrap with the plex does just fine.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ November 20, 2001 11:44 AM: Message edited 1 time, by dchan ]</font>
post #6 of 26
I only have one difference in opinion, I would never use a bronze brush on a waxed ski. Beyond that I agree with everything else said above.
Now, maybe if I was racing at a level and needed to go as fast as possible to earn my meal, it would make sense to remove the wax from the structure.
The SWIX ALPINE TUNING GUIDE suggests using th bronz brush for wax removal before a new coat is applied.
post #7 of 26
I remember back in the day, when straight skis were the "in thing", and waxing was a once/twice thing every once and awhile(2-3 weeks). Now i've noticed with the newer skis that waxing is much more time consuming. Instead of once or twice every few weeks, i find myself waxing four to five times. I've found that the bases do not seem to hold the wax as long as earlier model skis. So when it comes to how much should i wax? i would suggest many coats.
post #8 of 26
I'm wondering how important it is to even scrape off the excess wax at all after hot waxing. It's time consuming and messy. I usually just hot wax and leave it to the skiing to take off the excess wax. I notice that after a couple of runs, that any excess wax is gone. I can understand it if you were in competitive racing, where you might want to have the excess wax removed, brushed and polished to get the most glide out of your ski. But for a recreational skier, it it really even necessary to remove that excess wax?

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ November 20, 2001 06:06 PM: Message edited 1 time, by wizard ]</font>
post #9 of 26
Wizard, you're probably right. But if you don't like that "sticky" feelin as you head to the lift line, a light scrape will solve that. Also, don't forget to remove the excess wax from the edges! Your 1st run down the slopes may feel like someone took a dull stone to your edges. [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #10 of 26
Just a comment or two:

Like Lbrother1, I am waxing a LOT more often. Every 3rd day or so. I notice it making a difference with the Western Washington (Cascade cement) type snow versus when I skied exclusively in eastern Washington on the drier powder. It's especially more noticeable in warmer temps, particularly in spring.

More important than glide, however, (for me) is protecting the base of my skis (which weren't cheap)... After the third day, I can see the base starting to dry out; and I learned as I got older that like changing the oil in my car, things last longer if you take care of them.

It takes me about an hour and 15 minutes to hot wax, scrape and brush them out. Since I am usually up early (4:30 am) I have time to do this before heading to the hill (around 7). BTW, I always brush with the brass (or is it copper?) brush *before* applying the wax. Cool for 1/2 hour, scrape, and final brush to the texture with the nylon brush. They shine so nicely ... they look new

but once I am on the hill (unless conditions are sticky) I forget all about it.
post #11 of 26
A few questions:
My local shop had a tuning clinic.
They said to wax with as much as 6 coats of wax before the saeson starts. The reason being that the wax would penetrate the all the way through the base material.
I don't see how this would be necessary.
Is it?

The shop also said to not heat up the ski to where it feels warm on top (binding side).
Now, aren't skis pressed during the manufacturing process at temperatures much higher than my wax iron?
If so, how could my wax iron temperature damage the ski?

If I won't damage the ski with a wax iron, why not keep ironing it for a longer time and let the wax soak in as deeply as possible?

Thanks in advance for your help.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ November 20, 2001 07:12 PM: Message edited 1 time, by zeek ]</font>
post #12 of 26
Get a brand new pair of skis and you'll see how important it is. Example: my brother and i both got new skis last year. I got atomic 9.10s and he got atomic 9.20s. We waxed and worshiped our skis the first days we got them, like every normal ski enthusiast would. But, after the first full day of skiing we noticed the dry whiteish color showing through. The only way to remedie the situation was to wax with more coats and more often. I've only had the skis a year, but i haven't noticed them accepting wax any better as they've gotten older.
post #13 of 26
CERA F- That pad is like a Scotch Brite pad isn't it? Good item to have on hand.

It isn't really how much wax, but how often you was. Remember: You cna never wax your skis too much.

Bases years ago didn't hold the wax like today's bases. Most of us just rubbed it on and we could see the wax. Today we know that hte wax belongs INSIDE the base, not on top. It changes the molecular structure of the base so it can do what, I believe, Dchan was talking about, pressure, heat, melting snow into proper amount of water for the correc glide.

Zeek- I think that waxing clinic is afraid that some people might get the ski too hot. So they say wax often. This will accomplish the same thing eventually. The heat won't hurt hte ski, but it will hurt the base if it's too hot.

You want the iron to be as close to 248 degrees as possible without going over that! This is the temp. where you get the maximum amount of grmas per minute absorbtion rate of wax.

Mikla has the right idea of waxing often. Do this and the ski gets faster and faster through the season.

Again I post Bob's ski pagehit <liniks> then bob's ski page. Any questions, e-mail me. there are many places to learn waxing and tuning, and there is so much to this. What I wrote at this site is a good, solid start. Racers then get crazy with $150 waxes and the like. A few of us don't have that kind of money; especially after gas prices, ski and binding prices, lift tickets, $6.50 dried out cheese burgers, and paying off bets at the lodge for when you bet you could make that last mogul hill.... and didn't! :
post #14 of 26
When the base gets chalky and whitens, its time to throw on some wax. When it appears that the base is melting, you've waited too long. The new shaped skis can start base burning after a few hours of carving. The burn happens as the ski is on edge. Friction along the edge is very high, and the wax is used up much faster than on the rest of the base, since a carving ski hardly runs flat. Once the base becomes 'burnt', it can only be fixed by filling the affected area with p-tex and scraping off, or getting a grind done. (We covered this topic last year, but we'll start again). To prevent this, a more technical wax technique is required. Wax about a 1cm wide strip along the edges with the hardest/coldest wax you can get. Avoid getting the hard wax on the rest of the base. Scrape off, and then apply the required wax for the conditions. It will still wear out, but not as fast. Neglecting this stage once will set you back to square one. With practice, the whole process will get faster and faster, and so will the skis.

Top level race skis only get one run on them and are then rewaxed. DH and SG skis at the top levels will have the bases p-tex'd after each run, since the speeds and forces are so great. GS and SL skis will be 'hard waxed' after each run.
post #15 of 26
Hi CERAF and Lbrother1

It's about time you guys showed up!
I've found the absolutely best way to keep my skies tuned and waxed.
I let my boys do it!

That's because I've got no choice. They lifted all my tuning tools, vises, wax and iron for their own shops.

After 15 years of tunings and waxing skies every Friday night so that the boys would be ready for the weekends races, I'm ready to give it up and let someone else enjoy the aroma of freshly melted wax. :
post #16 of 26
Just a few more additions:

Waxing untill the top sheet is warm is an older school of thought. Probably not a great idea if it can be avoided. True, the skis are laminated under more severe conditions, but if you constantly heat and cool the ski through it's core to the top sheet, it eventually compromises the integrety of its guts and can mess with the natural camber of the ski.

Repetitive waxings supersaturate the ski base which is both healthy for the ski & allows them to run at peak performance. Also plays a role in subsequent wax absorption. Prior to a new wax called Rase Service 1 SBC1 Base Prep wax, WC technicians would repeat hot wax steps in excess of 20 times before they even began thinking about applying the race wax of the day.

I'm not aware of a magic iron temp. that will allow optimal absorption (doesn't mean there isn't one). It's all a function of the properties of a particular wax, all of which vary, sometimes a great deal..and the sintering process followed to create base material. Iron temp is probably the least technical part of ski waxing. As long as the wax isn't smoking and you leave about a 6-8" melt trail behind a slowly moving iron (iron in one direction, it's not your work shirt ya know! [img]smile.gif[/img] ) you're in the $$.
post #17 of 26
If a person was using a regular household iron, what setting would the 248 degree temp. relate to? I've noticed that a lot of irons settings like, silk, and cotton, and whatever else you can think of. I realize the best thing to get is an actual ski iron, but some of us don't have that kind of money. I've always used just a conventional iron. What I've always done is find the setting where the wax will just barely smoke, and then turn it down a little until the wax stops smoking. Is this the right setting to use?
post #18 of 26
You've got the right idea 7Mary3. At the mountain I use a real wax iron but back home in my shop I use a normal iron. I've been using it for 12 years, works great! Just like you said, find the setting where it just starts smoking then turn it down a hair.
If anyone tells you that a normal iron doesn't work well or right they are full of crap.
Yah, and if some of the stuff I wrote earlier sounds a bit unnessesary, it is for most. Ski instructors and just avid skiers don't need to get so technical. I on the other hand want my racers to perform at their best. Well tuned skies and the right wax combos help them perform to the best of their abilities. I'm very picky when it comes to ski tunning. Yes you can use brass after the ski has been waxed. You don't want to be aggresive with it.
Hi HarryO and Lbrother1 good to see you here. Can't wait to jump off some cliffs again at Mad River this winter.
post #19 of 26
You guys are truly masochists. Or maybe alchoholics who need an excuse to spend an hour in the garage where your bottle is hidden. I spend 30 seconds putting Notwax on my skis in the morning, and go skiing. Whoops, I forgot another 30 seconds for my wife's skis! Damn, another 30 seconds for my sister's snowboard. Time enough for a beer! [img]tongue.gif[/img]

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ November 22, 2001 10:16 AM: Message edited 1 time, by milesb ]</font>
post #20 of 26

All that money spent on psychotherapy, and in one post have cured me. Alcoholism coupled with masochism.

Kidding aside, spending time tuning skis will make them last longer. It is much easier to deal with rock damage right away when you're still pissed off at it, than waiting a week to get to it later. There is that time between getting home from skiing/apres and dinner that I use for tuning. Its either the skis or plonk myself in front of the tv for an hour. Might as well be productive. Good reason to crank the tunes and have a beer or two. Or is too many?

Not-wax works well to improve glide, but does little to condition the base. You should still wax your skis regularly.
post #21 of 26
Like i've said before: to some "tuning" is an art, a passion, a love, and to others its more of a hastle.
- oh boy, can you smell the wax now!
post #22 of 26
What do you mean by condition the base?
I've been using Notwax (by itself) on my Chubbs for 6 years now, and they work just as well as when I bought them. I would say the same for my SuperKarves, but I bent them last year. But I don't think it was the Notwax! I've found that Notwax is one of those rare products that surpasses it's maker's hype.
post #23 of 26
Milesb isnt Notwax only good when its warm and wett? Its supposed to stick when its real cold out. Plus as betaracer said it doesnt help to keep the base in good condition like hot waxing does. But it sounds like your sold on tha Notwax.There is another thread in which they say notwax isnt any good in cold temperatures, and the manufacturer also confirms this acording to this other thread, but i havent confirmed this myself. Guess i got somthing to check out for curous nature of me.
post #24 of 26
It works great everywhere I've skied. Of course, the coldest day was probably 5 degrees farenhight, so......

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ November 26, 2001 02:32 PM: Message edited 1 time, by milesb ]</font>
post #25 of 26
BetaRacer: After I repaired the base I noticed that the area repaired is not as slick feeling as the rest of the base. I smoothed the repair and sanded it with 320 silicon carbide paper but it still has more drag than the unrepared area. Any suggestions (besides waxing.)
post #26 of 26
Lucky, what type of repair did you do?

P-tex a few small scratches, or replace a section of base with a patch?

Try waxing with a harder (colder rated) wax. Apply with an iron (normal hot wax procedure), and scrape. Take your block of wax and rub it over the area of concern, so that it leaves a small film of wax. Get a cork block and rub the heck out of the area, warming up the wax with friction. Re-hot wax with the same hard wax, and scrape and nylon brush, and then wax for the desired temperature and scrape and nylon brush.
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