Originally Posted by SAK
...If I could ask a couple more questions:
1) Is there a place for sanding the base in the prep process, or is scraping the way to go? Seems like scraping would be cleaner (no chance of grit getting into the base) but I see a number of places that sell sandpaper and sanding pads... am I missing something?
2) Is a metal scraper OK or should I use a plexiglass one? Being a woodworker, I already have some metal scrapers handy.
3) When brushing the wax, should I use a brass brush? It seems like the brass would be harder than the material the base is made of, do I need to worry about scoring the base? Do I brush lightly or firmly? How do I know when I have brushed enough?
Thanks again for the time and patience... I am learning a lot!
1). Sandpaper is not needed for base prep. In fact, it tends to create more P-Tex micro-hairs that should then be removed. I use a non-abrasive type fiber pad like a Omni-Prep pad after brushing. The brush removes excess wax from the valleys of the base structure, the pad removes excess wax from the peaks that the scraper doesn't get. Some use regular scotchbrite pads and some argue against that practice as also creating micro-hairs.
2) Metal scraper?
Since you are a woodworker you may be skilled enough to use one safely. However, they have a bad habit of leaving horizontal gouges in ski bases. They are usually used to scrape excess P-tex from base repairs.
Most folks use a sharp plastic scraper. You can keep the scraper sharp by buying one of several tools for that purpose or by sanding using a fine grit piece of sandpaper on a flat surface, or with a file held perpendicular to your scraper. Keeping your plastic scraper sharp makes doing the job much more efficient.
3) There are steel, copper, brass, bronze, horsehair and nylon brushes as well as various combinations thereof. Basically, a steel brush further opens up the base structure an issue which mostly racers are concerned with unless you are really anal about your ski prep. It can also be used to "refresh a structure that may get worn down though heavy duty use during the season. The other metal brushes are mostly a matter of choice. Bronze or Bronze/horsehair brushes are probably the most popular and used to brush harder cold weather waxes. Nylon is the common choice for warm weather waxes. You can dispense with the steel brush unless you race or really anal about base prep.
This is just my approach to answering your questions. Swix has a booklet that covers new ski prep as well as regular waxing and edge tuning. In addition, if you search the Epic forums using "new ski prep" or "new base prep" you will find a lot more information on the subject.
You will find that there are various new ski prep approaches. At the end of the day, it is all about filling the spaces between P-tex molecules (the so-called "pores") with as much wax as possible while eliminating excess wax and other sources of friction like micro-hairs, grit, dust, and oil that are common by-products of the manufacturing process and present even on brand new skis.