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confused about wax irons and such

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
When I was small, my dad used to apply the block of ski wax onto my skis, and spread the wax with the warmth of his palm. Things were so much easier then!! Now I come back, after not skiing for over 10 years, there are irons and such, that are involved in waxing one's skis: . I don't know what I'm supposed to buy to wax my skis. I've alerady read the FAQ at the beginning of this section...I find it too complicated for me to understand. Please could someone explain how I'm supposed to wax my skis (nowadays!), and what I need to buy? I'd appreciate any information. I'm kind of lost .
post #2 of 18

holmenkol.us

you should check out Holmenkol.us-I may be a little bias, my husband works for them, but there is a lot of good info on their site and if you have questions you can contact them directly.
post #3 of 18
While you can buy specialized "ski" irons, many people (including me) use an old clothes iron (or buy one cheap at Wal-Mart). I honestly have had zero problems using clothes irons. If you can find one with a stainless steel base, those are better. Aluminum base irons can leave gray skid marks in your wax as they rub on the ski edges. The main issue with clothes irons is that you have to experiment to find the right temperature for ski wax (approx 130F), but it's easy. There will be a window of temps -- on the low end where the wax just starts to melt -- on the high end where the wax smokes. Get right in between and you'll be golden. Just give the iron time to heat up and reach a steady state temp before experimenting.

My technique is to press the wax against the iron base to melt it and dribble it on the ski (leave a trail of drips along the length of the ski). Then go over with the iron to melt and "sheet" the wax on the ski bases (the wax will glisten and look wet once it's spread properly and melted). Once there is a coat of hot wax uniformly over the whole ski, you're done.

For racers and serious skiers -- or those with OCD , you'd want to scrape and brush the wax to make it smooth and give it the proper structure. For most people, you can just leave the wax alone and ski it smooth. I have been doing that for 10+ years and am happy with that approach. It also eliminates the mess you get when scraping the skis at home. The first 20-50 feet of skiing will feel sticky as the wax rubs out, but after that it's smooth sailing.

Good luck!

Craig
post #4 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skicrazed
When I was small, my dad used to apply the block of ski wax onto my skis, and spread the wax with the warmth of his palm. Things were so much easier then!! Now I come back, after not skiing for over 10 years, there are irons and such, that are involved in waxing one's skis: . I don't know what I'm supposed to buy to wax my skis. I've alerady read the FAQ at the beginning of this section...I find it too complicated for me to understand. Please could someone explain how I'm supposed to wax my skis (nowadays!), and what I need to buy? I'd appreciate any information. I'm kind of lost .
Skicrazed, you will find many opinions on these threads. try looking at this site. http://www.tognar.com/ I purchased a ski iron from them and one of the little coil temp gauges. A couple scrapers and a combo brass/nylon brush. Probably all you need EXCEPT wax. I use Hertel second all temp like this http://www.hertelskiwax.com/salobrse4po.html try this to start. you might also get a tuning video or watch the swix site or look at this http://www.tetongravity.com/forums/s...&threadid=5528 Oh you probably will want a tuning table. I just cut a piece of scrap 3/4 plywood about 4 1/2 ft by 12" and attached a set of folding metal legs that I got at the local hardware, cost for legs about $30. So I made a tuning table for $30 and I did get a set of ski vices like these at tognar Item #TOK 4260 World Cup Vise: $99.95 . This stuff all works great and I'm absolutely glad I got it. Oh I did get a couple diamond stones and a multi edge bevel like this from tognarItem #MTK-701 Multi Edge Tuner with Mill File: $39.95 . I know that a lot of the tuners here like the individual bevel guides but at the time of my purchase I had Volkl, Solomon, and atomic skis and several different edge guides needed. At any rate for my recreational use these tools seems to work and I can carry the whole lot in a small tool box for travel tuning. Even the table legs fold flat and not a problem in the trunk or back of the 4 runner.HAve fun. This is an enjoyable part of the game! IMHO.
Mark
post #5 of 18
if you don't want to go to the expense of buying an iron (and risk burning your base if you're not experienced at doing this), you can crayon the wax on the skis and use a hair dryer set on low to heat up the wax...
post #6 of 18
This has been mentioned in several other places, but just in case you haven't looked at it yet:

http://www.tetongravity.com/forums/s...&threadid=5528

This is one man's ski tuning process with pictures. In particular, it does a great job explaining the waxing process.

It's not quite as clear about edge sharpening and beveling. Which seems to be universally true. Everyone has a different technique and a different tool.

I've just recently started waxing my own skis, but I'm still a little confused about edges.
post #7 of 18
You want an iron that has fairly close setting where the internal thermostat switches it on and switches it off. It can have the right dial setting, but if the built-in thermostat has too wide an operation, the iron will be too cool part of the time, or worse, too hot. Too hot has the risk of damaging the ski. You want the wax to melt into the pores in the P-Tex base, and don't want wax on the surface. If you aren't racing, you don't really need to scrape and brush the waxed skis. Just ski it off.

Tognar usually has a budget priced iron, or just use the Mrs.' iron with some aluminum foil over the steam holes.

I like 1/2° base bevel on dry snow and 1° on wet snow. I like 2° side bevel. 3° side bevel and hitting a rock really hard may cause too much edge damage.

You must use guides...no free hand work. There are various guides, and I haven't yet found the ONE...I use one until my hand gets tired, then switch to another. If you use guides with real files, buy the files from the ski tune shop. Most hardware store files are too soft and dull way to easily.

Don't over file the edges. You can remove too much material if you're not careful.

I like to carve my skis, so I don't detune the tips more than an inch. Folks who skid their turns need more detuning.

I buy tuning equipment from Tognar.com and artechski.com.


Ken
post #8 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skicrazed
Now I come back, after not skiing for over 10 years, there are irons and such, that are involved in waxing one's skis:
Hmm. Well, I remember using an iron to wax my skis in the late '60s.

The answers above tell you pretty much all you need to know. A clothes iron (or at least some clothes irons) will work. The problems -- more pronounced with some than others -- are: temperature range that isn't quite low enough and too much temperature fluctuation. Some work fine, others only if you ride the temperature setting, which is too much work and too much opportunity to screw up. Little "made for ski waxing" irons are more numerous and cheaper than they used to be also.
post #9 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thank you for all your valuable information! I do appreciate all your help
post #10 of 18

No clothes iron

Do NOT use a normal iron for your skis. A normal clothes iron temperature fluctuates between 50 and 75 degrees, meaning if you set it at 130 it could potentially go all the way up to 205 and burn your base. Waxes have a very specific melting point, as do the bases. By changing this, you risk frying your base (which I have done) and scraping the base off of your skis. Crayons are also a bad idea. Ski waxes contain fluorocarbons, which provides the glide, where as crayons do not. If you don't want to spend the money to wax yourself, taking your skis to a local shop for a simple hand wax is relatively inexpensive (around $15).
post #11 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by jaysquared
Do NOT use a normal iron for your skis. A normal clothes iron temperature fluctuates between 50 and 75 degrees, meaning if you set it at 130 it could potentially go all the way up to 205 and burn your base.
This is definitely true of some clothes irons (I don't know about the exact degrees, but they do fluctuate too much). I think some of them work okay: generally old ones, so far as I can tell, with heavy bases.

Quote:
Crayons are also a bad idea.
I think they meant "crayoning" (a verb), as in rubbing the wax on the ski instead of dripping it. One should not use actual crayons, if for no other reason than they're not that cheap, and your kids will get mad if you reduce their art supplies to a puddle or floorful of scrapings. And no ... the yellow ones (e.g. sunglow, dandelion) don't work better for warm snow than cerulean or robin's egg.

Quote:
Ski waxes contain fluorocarbons
Some do, though personally I use HC waxes, except for racing.

The "standard" crayoning technique is just a variant of hot-waxing. Touch the bar quickly to your iron, then rub on the ski; repeat until ski base is pretty well drawn on; iron in the usual way; scrape and brush the usual way. If done judiciously, it wastes less wax (a good thing, if you're using pricey fluoros), and makes scraping quicker and tidier.
post #12 of 18

travel iron

I have often thought of spending big bucks for a ski specific waxing iron....

no need, I have an amazing waxing iron...norelco folding travel iron. No holes, very steady temperature and nice size to fit between the brakes, no need to tie em down. Have had it nearly 10 years. I think they still make em...I will hunt down another if it ever craps out...

The comments about normal clothes irons I would agree with too risky...this little Norelco tho...it's the one
post #13 of 18
Thread Starter 
OK. I've read up on some wax irons and stuff. They seem to sell thermometers to check the iron temperature; and the optimum temperature for ski wax, and the temperature for damaging p-tex seem to be awfully close..something in the range of 10-30C. This makes me scared, really scared: that I would damage my base... do you all have iron thermometers, and check the actual temperature?
post #14 of 18
Nah, just find a setting where the wax barely melts. If it is too cool, you'll drag on the ski base when you're trying to smooth out the wax and melt it into the base; raise the temp one setting. Too hot will smoke. NEVER let the iron sit stationary on the ski bases. Keep it moving. If you feel warmth through the other side of the ski, don't heat any more.

Tognar has irons for $25, $35, $55, $65, $100, & $250. I highly recommend the $250 iron...the $25 iron waxes my skis fine, though.
http://www.tognar.com/wax_tools_hot_...t ml#SPK-IRON


Ken
post #15 of 18
post #16 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoftSnowGuy
You want an iron that has fairly close setting where the internal thermostat switches it on and switches it off. It can have the right dial setting, but if the built-in thermostat has too wide an operation, the iron will be too cool part of the time, or worse, too hot. Too hot has the risk of damaging the ski.
Good input, but it's really only half of the story.

I think you'll find it difficult to shop for an iron by looking for thermostat specs. It's probably true that better irons have better thermostats, but it's not guaranteed. Focus instead on the heat sink or the "weight" of the metal sole. Good irons weigh more than cheap ones for a reason. A heavier sole will "hold" it's temp better than a light weight one ... especially when you put it on an even bigger heat sink - the ski.

A light weight sole will cool off when you start to wax the ski ... so you crank up the temp, and then start to smoke the wax ... back it off and then it cools down too much again ... and repeat.

The best irons are the mega buck wax specific World Cup models, but who's going to pay that much to melt wax? The next best alternative is to find an old, and I mean OLD, iron from a Red & White or thrift store - the kind of iron that was made before the steam option so it has no holes, and usually has a sole that weighs 3 three times that of any new fangled iron.

The one I use right now I bought for $1.49, and it works better than most of the wax specific models.
post #17 of 18

iron info

An easy way to get around the calibration of irons was taught to me by the wax guru Willi Wiltz. He says to use the lowest setting that will produce a 4-6 inch trail of wet wax behind the iron; 8-10 inches and you are overheating the wax. This way you use your eyes all the time and never have to worry about whether the iron is the right setting (or even have to remember settings) for the wax, or if the iron is not a high quality and changes temp, you can use the trail as a guide to the temp fluctuations.

I am told you want an iron that is at least 800W and, as mentioned, a thick base plate will assist in maintaining an even temp. I sell a Wintersteiger one in my site www.racewax.com for $40 that is as good as the $100 pro model I bought for myself years ago; so good, I stopped selling any higher priced model.

I have lots of tuning tips on my site http://www.racewax.com/tune.html
post #18 of 18
I agree with that, I usually try to keep about 6 inches of "wet" wax behind the iron. Id never use a clothes iron on my skis because the temperature isnt even throughout the whole part that touches the base. Ski irons have internal thermometors that turn on and off when the desired temperature is reached. For a starter kit id buy:
Ski iron
Universal wax
Scraper
Nylon and or Horsehair brush
Brake retainers
That should be good for a basic set up , like everything it gets more complicated as you go along but go with it and you will get better.
-JMK
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