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Cleaning bases?

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
I have been tuning my families skis and boards for a short time. I have always used a commmercial base cleaner prior to my hot wax application. Since joining this forum, I have seen many people say not to use cleaners.

What is the best way to clean the bases prior to hot waxing? Some say wipe 'em down... some say use cleaners... some say use hot wax- scrape and wax again.

I'm confused. Please help by explaining your opinions and explanations.
post #2 of 24
Check out the latter part of this thread from the last few days. HTH
post #3 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by ski1024 View Post
I have been tuning my families skis and boards for a short time. I have always used a commmercial base cleaner prior to my hot wax application. Since joining this forum, I have seen many people say not to use cleaners.

What is the best way to clean the bases prior to hot waxing? Some say wipe 'em down... some say use cleaners... some say use hot wax- scrape and wax again.

I'm confused. Please help by explaining your opinions and explanations.
Hot scraping is the preferred method. Base cleaners dry the base out badly.

here is an excellent manual put out by TOKO on tuning and Waxing including Hot scraping. this tuning manual is very accurate and repeats many bits of information I and many folks have posted on the forum!

.http://www.tokous.com/Manuals/Alpine...ual%200506.pdf
post #4 of 24
There is a limited set of exceptions to the ^above^.

- Contamination of the bases by something that would dissolve in the wax (pine tar, diesel oil, heavy grease)

- Highly fluorinated bases (race wax or Zardoz) that do not mix with the CH hot-scrape waxes.
post #5 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by comprex View Post
There is a limited set of exceptions to the ^above^.

- Contamination of the bases by something that would dissolve in the wax (pine tar, diesel oil, heavy grease)

- Highly fluorinated bases (race wax or Zardoz) that do not mix with the CH hot-scrape waxes.
Just in case someone mistakes race wax for racewax.com wax, my fluoro waxes are microfiber based and they will hot wax out.

Base cleaner is also handy for cleaning damaged areas before p-tex application.
post #6 of 24

If you believe, then:

If you believe:
( any or all of the following, then HOT SCRAPE TO CLEAN your ski or snowboard bases)
-in all trades, including ski & board technicians & DIYers, tradition, common practice, experience, age, mixed with a little superstition, and considering new alternatives backed with scientific and perceived research, and randomly and subjectively believing and understanding certain selective facts and myths, is the only way to do things.
-washing your car makes it run better.
-when heated, dirt and contaminants know that they should and will leave the wax versus mix with the remainder.
-always putting your right (or left) boot on first makes you ski or board better.
-that ski bases are porous and absorb wax and cleaners.
-softer waxes bonding to bases with other softer waxes and contaminants with harder waxes above is the most durable than the reverse.
-the 1%/15 microns or so thickness of an inert sintered base covered by a cleaner that evaporates WILL dry out the other 99%.
-that if a pitcher steps on the base line between the mound and dugout, he'll pitch poorly. It's a fact!
-hot scraping is another way to get connected with your boards and is enjoyable. It's a form of seasoning or aging.
-if you have nothing better to do and like making messes.
-wish to spend less on cleaning supplies, by spending much more on waxing supplies.

(-Next time you wash your car, don't. Just wax it and see how clean it gets.
-Next time you wash your face, don't. Just apply lotion and see how it feels.)

If you believe:
( any or all of the following, then USE BASE CLEANER TO CLEAN your ski or snowboard bases)
-in all trades, including ski & board technicians & DIYers, tradition, common practice, experience, age, mixed with a little superstition, and considering new alternatives backed with scientific and perceived research, and randomly and subjectively believing and understanding certain selective facts and myths, is the only way to do things.
-washing your car makes it look better and protects the finish better.
-when heated, dirt and contaminants are also likely to mix with the wax remaining on the base and the base itself.
-always putting your right (or left) boot on first only makes you THINK you ski or board better.
-removing all foreign matter from the base with a detergent will provide a better bond between the wax and base material.
-harder wax bonding to bases with softer above is more durable than the reverse.
-the 1%/15 microns or so thickness of an inert sintered base covered by a cleaner that evaporates WILL NOT dry out the other 99%. (Flouros are another issue.)
-that if a pitcher steps on the base line between the mound and dugout, he'll pitch poorly. It's a fact!
-hot scraping after using a base cleaner is an optional additional step.
-if you are short on time or do not wish to spend the additional time or want more mess, and want to assure clean bases before waxing.
-wish to spend less on wax and cleaning supplies.

If you believe:
(any or all of the above, then USE BASE CLEANER TO CLEAN and/or HOT SCRAPE TO CLEAN your ski or snowboard bases). Whatever trips your trigger, we have the right stuff.

Disclaimer: For every 5 tuners, you'll get 6 opinions. All 8 of them are right!
post #7 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alpinord View Post
If you believe:
( any or all of the following, then HOT SCRAPE TO CLEAN your ski or snowboard bases)
-in all trades, including ski & board technicians & DIYers, tradition, common practice, experience, age, mixed with a little superstition, and considering new alternatives backed with scientific and perceived research, and randomly and subjectively believing and understanding certain selective facts and myths, is the only way to do things.
-washing your car makes it run better.
-when heated, dirt and contaminants know that they should and will leave the wax versus mix with the remainder.
-always putting your right (or left) boot on first makes you ski or board better.
-that ski bases are porous and absorb wax and cleaners.
-softer waxes bonding to bases with other softer waxes and contaminants with harder waxes above is the most durable than the reverse.
-the 1%/15 microns or so thickness of an inert sintered base covered by a cleaner that evaporates WILL dry out the other 99%.
-that if a pitcher steps on the base line between the mound and dugout, he'll pitch poorly. It's a fact!
-hot scraping is another way to get connected with your boards and is enjoyable. It's a form of seasoning or aging.
-if you have nothing better to do and like making messes.
-wish to spend less on cleaning supplies, by spending much more on waxing supplies.

(-Next time you wash your car, don't. Just wax it and see how clean it gets.
-Next time you wash your face, don't. Just apply lotion and see how it feels.)

If you believe:
( any or all of the following, then USE BASE CLEANER TO CLEAN your ski or snowboard bases)
-in all trades, including ski & board technicians & DIYers, tradition, common practice, experience, age, mixed with a little superstition, and considering new alternatives backed with scientific and perceived research, and randomly and subjectively believing and understanding certain selective facts and myths, is the only way to do things.
-washing your car makes it look better and protects the finish better.
-when heated, dirt and contaminants are also likely to mix with the wax remaining on the base and the base itself.
-always putting your right (or left) boot on first only makes you THINK you ski or board better.
-removing all foreign matter from the base with a detergent will provide a better bond between the wax and base material.
-harder wax bonding to bases with softer above is more durable than the reverse.
-the 1%/15 microns or so thickness of an inert sintered base covered by a cleaner that evaporates WILL NOT dry out the other 99%. (Flouros are another issue.)
-that if a pitcher steps on the base line between the mound and dugout, he'll pitch poorly. It's a fact!
-hot scraping after using a base cleaner is an optional additional step.
-if you are short on time or do not wish to spend the additional time or want more mess, and want to assure clean bases before waxing.
-wish to spend less on wax and cleaning supplies.

If you believe:
(any or all of the above, then USE BASE CLEANER TO CLEAN and/or HOT SCRAPE TO CLEAN your ski or snowboard bases). Whatever trips your trigger, we have the right stuff.

Disclaimer: For every 5 tuners, you'll get 6 opinions. All 8 of them are right!
I am nominating you for Post of the year
post #8 of 24
I believe that the ski company technical reps that design and build skis recommend hot wax scraping over chemical cleaners because they believe it is best for their product. I am reinforced in this belief because more than one rep from more than one company told me so.
post #9 of 24
As a total tuning noob my bets are:

(1) cleaning my bases with either the "hot wax" or "base cleaner" method, followed by hand ironed wax, scrape, and brushing, will be HUGE improvement over giving it to a ski shop for a quick run over the waxing machine.

(2) "hot wax" vs "base cleaner" methods won't make a huge difference over the long run, for a recreational skier.

(3) any damage from drying out via base cleaner, or leaving some contamination via hot wax, will not be the reason I give up a pair of skis. I'll give them up when I break them or more likely, succumb to the lure of the latest, greatest, newest, and shiniest ...
post #10 of 24
Right on ts01. You've got it correct.

I'd also bet that whether there is a some contamination in the wax slowing you down, (perceived or real) very negligible damage to bases from cleaning (much less than skiing on highly abrasive snow and ice), would truly not be noticed by most skiers or boarders (including me). I have skate skis over ten years old showing zero dryness and damage due to base cleaning and are running and looking great. You really notice smaller changes when self propelling up hills and have experimented with both.

Periodic base repairs and structure removes base material and makes all of it moot as does base grinding. I do both hot scraping and base cleaning and truly see no difference in performance. The dirtier or older the existing wax is or seems, I'll be inclined to use detergent. Other times I'll hot scrape more out of enjoyment and therapy and 'seasoning the bases' (especially if they are running well) than for cleaning, but realizing it does pull out some, not all, of the grunge. Using cheap and slow wax after spending the time and energy cleaning and preparing the bases makes all of the above moot anyway.

BTW 15 to 20 microns is about 0.0006 to 0.0008 inches thick of base thickness possibly or perceived to be affected by cleaners designed to clean the bases, not damage them. If in doubt or concerned, light sanding, scraping, base filing, brushing and of course, structuring will surely remove this miniscule thickness in no time.

Do what feels right, keep it simple and have fun.

(BTW Atomicman, thanks! What's the prize if I win? When and where is the ceremony? What to wear? )
post #11 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alpinord View Post
Right on ts01. You've got it correct.

...(BTW Atomicman, thanks! What's the prize if I win? When and where is the ceremony? What to wear? )
Neon, of course. Why do you ask?

http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?t=47356
post #12 of 24
I've been reading the above posts regarding base cleaning with interest. There seems to be some old wives tales at work when it comes to the debate over using cleaners vs. hot scraping. From a technical standpoint sintered bases are basically inert and do not bond well with anything. The surface of the base in contact with the snow is amorphous and random in nature. Structuring the base creates lines in the base material and establishes a pattern, but the underlying material is still amorphous and random. Wax (or base cleaner for that matter) only penetrates a very small amount into the base, about 15 microns and only where random voids exist. 15 microns is a very small measurement. How can base cleaner possibly "dry out" the base if it only penetrates 15 microns? The answer quite simply is it doesn't. Base cleaner, or at least Maplus base cleaner is basically detergent dissolved in a solvent. The solvent almost entirely evaporates and the detergent works to properly clean the base. When you take your dirty car to a car wash do you wax it first or clean it with detergent and then wax it? I've tried both and the later definitely seems to work better.



A distinction should be made between paraffin and perfluorinated waxes. A specific base cleaner called Fluorclean should be used to remove perfluorinated waxes as it is designed to remove all traces of fluorine from the base. Hot scraping at best blends new wax with a combination of old wax and contaminants in the old wax. I admit you will notice some contaminants being drawn out of the base when hot scraping if the base is dirty, but the iron is not a magnet and does not magically remove all contaminants using wax as a conduit. Residual wax left on the base after hot scraping will still have undesirable stuff in it.



I'd definitely recommend using a detergent to properly clean your base prior to waxing for best results. Here's what Maplus recommends as proper procedure:



"INTRODUCTION
Before applying ski wax, the base must be prepared in line with the latest criteria. Top results cannot be guaranteed if the skis have not been prepared and cleaned properly: these ski waxes are based on the very latest developments in chemical research into sliding products.

CLEANING THE BASE
If using perfluorinated wax (P4), the skis must first be cleaned using “Fluorclean” (a liquid detergent that removes all traces of fluorine) and then cleaned with “Clean” (a liquid detergent that removes all traces of paraffin). If using paraffin waxes (Universal - Racing Base - P1) or fluorinated paraffin waxes (P2 - P3), clean with “Clean” only. Always start cleaning the skis from the tip, working towards the tail.
  1. Spread the detergent evenly over the entire surface of theski using a paintbrush;
  2. Wait 2-3 minutes for the detergent to work;
  3. Manually brush the ski using a soft brass brush to improvethe action of the detergent;
  4. Remove the dirt and wax residues with fiberlene wrappedaround a plexiglas scraper;
  5. Dry the ski with fiberlene.
If the ski bases are exceptionally dirty, you may need to clean repeating the process with the “Clean” only. Wait for the ski to dry thoroughly before cleaning it again."
post #13 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by RacerRick View Post
I've been reading the above posts regarding base cleaning with interest. There seems to be some old wives tales at work when it comes to the debate over using cleaners vs. hot scraping.
My tales are from Willi Wiltz and some guys with beards from Rossignol and Atomic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RacerRick View Post
How can base cleaner possibly "dry out" the base if it only penetrates 15 microns? The answer quite simply is it doesn't.
This is true, but it does dry out the active surface region of the base that holds your wax. In doing so, the wax is replaced by pockets of air. When you re-introduce wax later to prepare for skiing, you must displace those pockets of air with wax.

When Willi waxes a racing ski 10-20 times before it hits the snow, it is to maximize the depth of the wax penetration. He does not recommend solvents because the solvents undo all the work he just did.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RacerRick View Post
Base cleaner, or at least Maplus base cleaner is basically detergent dissolved in a solvent. The solvent almost entirely evaporates and the detergent works to properly clean the base. When you take your dirty car to a car wash do you wax it first or clean it with detergent and then wax it? I've tried both and the later definitely seems to work better.
The car analogy doesn't work because that is not what you are doing with hot-wax-scraping. You left heat out. The correct analogy would be to heat the dirty car so the surface dirt and wax is molten then melt more clean wax over the car, "washing" away the old wax and dirt while hot, and repeating this until you are left with clean wax on the car.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RacerRick View Post
Hot scraping at best blends new wax with a combination of old wax and contaminants in the old wax. I admit you will notice some contaminants being drawn out of the base when hot scraping if the base is dirty, but the iron is not a magnet and does not magically remove all contaminants using wax as a conduit.
It is not a magnet, but it is a source of heat (and this component is not present with chemical cleaning). The heat melts the wax, expands the base and contracts the pores to help in drawing the old wax out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RacerRick View Post
Residual wax left on the base after hot scraping will still have undesirable stuff in it.
This has to work both ways. If the residual wax has undesirable stuff in it, then residual cleaner has to leave undesirable stuff as well. Moreover, a case can be made that, because you don't heat chemical cleaners, it is more likely that residue is left behind by chemical cleaners.

Chemical cleaners have detergent to gather the old wax and a solvent to carry the detergent, wax and dirt away. Then the solvent evaporates leaving behind the solids (wax, dirt), just like the residue you see in a glass after water has evaporated. Then the old wax and dirt on the ski surface is brushed and wiped away.

All of the cleaner applied to the ski does not escape from the base, and the surface wipe does not remove what is in the pores. Some of it is trapped and after the solvent evaporates from the pores, there is some of the old wax and maybe dirt left behind (yes, you can repeat the process, but there is no heat to get the cleaner in the pores to flow out, some is always trapped). Like the dirty glass that contains residue from solids dissolved in water that has now evaporated, there is residue left behind in the base from chemical cleaners after its solvent has evaporated.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RacerRick View Post
CLEANING THE BASE
Always start cleaning the skis from the tip, working towards the tail.
I learned in Willi Wiltz's tuning class that he always cleans tail to tip.
post #14 of 24
Willi Wiltz is a very good technician with a great deal of experience. If in fact Willi doesn't advocate using cleaners that's his opinion which he's entitled to, but I disagree. By the way, does Doctor D have an opinion?

I'm glad there is agreement using base cleaner does not dry out the base. As for drying the base surface, after cleaning new wax is again applied and assuming the base is waxed properly air pockets should not exist. This brings into consideration wax coverage. Anyone interested in maximizing wax coverage on the base should consider liquid and spray application which is superior to applicaton of solid wax. Durability is then maximized by placing a teflon sheet between the iron and base and ironing in the liquid wax.
post #15 of 24

The Half Rule!

Half of what I have learned about ski tuning is no doubt crap, but like everything else I've learned in life, I don't know which half.

If I could save the world skiing then I might look at it differently but I ski to be happy therfore I tune to be happy. Nothing more, nothing less!

Enjoy the speed and I'll see you at the bottom!
post #16 of 24
Only half?

So, back to the original question. The best way to clean the bases is the method that is best for you, your preferences, time available, costs or beliefs: either hot scraping, base cleaner or a combination. If you are concerned about base cleaner remnants on the base, you can also hot scrape afterwards or simply wipe off with water....oh no, should it be distilled water to not leave mineral residue? :

As an aside, for patterned touring skis, incorrectly termed 'waxless' (referring to 'grip' wax not 'glide' wax), cleaning the scales or grip zone patterns need cleaning and glide wax to avoid clumping and icing, and to provide glide. A base cleaner is really your only option as it's obviously counterproductive to fill the pattern with solid waxes as would occur during hot scraping. This is another area where liquids, preferably sprays, excel.
post #17 of 24
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all of the input. I'm sorry to have caused such an issue.
post #18 of 24
Clearly from the 'using base cleaners' appropriately is OK camp, with all the talk of 'clogged' bases and Teflon, it's time to resurrect this old post.

I still can't see how you can be assured you have fully removed contaminants by relying entirely on hot scraping.

Why do all major ski wax manufacturers fabricate and recommend using base cleaners if it would reduce the effectiveness of their wax products?
post #19 of 24
Sorry Terry but after 2 years I still disagree.  As a chemist I don't understand how you can be assured that you remove all contaminants with a cleaner.  Sure it lifts stuff up but it also evaporates and if it evaporates faster than it pulls stuff out of the deep pores, the contaminants are left behind and you will never know it unless you soak the base (and that is what hot-wax-scrape cleaning does).

From my discussions with the wax guru Willi Wiltz and ski (not ski wax) manufacturers I understand that avoiding cleaners will allow skis to become faster with time.

But hey, if one is not racing and wants to do things quick and easy to save time, pour the cleaner on, it's not going to hurt anything (except kill a few brain cells if the ventilation is poor), it is a time saver for sure.

Which you use is a matter of lifestyle and performance requirements, one size does not fit all, pick the one that works for you.
post #20 of 24
Jeez Marc. I did not say to solely rely on cleaners, nor did I suggest not to hot scrape, merely that it's not a 100% cure all as you said. And from this thread:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doctor D View Post

Everything everyone has said is correct, and I will attempt to glue the comments together to hopefully make more sense.

Yes, the ZardozNotWax (ZNW) forms a micro thin coating but if that micro thin coating seeps into the micro pores of the base they clog that pore. That is why you need a chemical solvent to remove it.  The solvent will mix and displace the ZNW to remove it.  Chanwmr's problem is that the wax will not remove the ZNW.  ZNW and wax are not compatible, as in oil and water.  So if you try to add wax to a base with ZNW it is like having a sponge with water in it then trying to get oil to soak into the sponge.  You have to remove the water first and you can't do it with oil, oil won't rinse the water out.

I read this to also say that sometimes ya need a cleaner.....

Also, it is recommended in a similar fashion that to remove fluoros, a fluoro cleaner is the call. What's your take?

I'll bet that at the end of the day, there are few people that could tell the difference in glides between a hot scraped ski and one cleaned judiciously with a cleaner. Certainly, the glide will be better and one's gear better tended to than those who do nothing.

For me it's about getting out as efficiently and as often as possible on fast and sharp skis for all disciplines (nordic and alpine).

As a designer trained to objectively consider alternatives, weighing subjectivity, facts and 'common practices' (sprinkled with lots of experience) to solve a given problem, I do not blindly follow any one 'guru's' opinion or believe in absolutes for stuff like this, especially for rec skiers with busy lives. Experiment and find what works best for you. Science only goes so far as does experience.....and egos.
Edited by Alpinord - 10/27/09 at 12:25pm
post #21 of 24
This is what happens when one brings up "old dirt"

I think we are done
post #22 of 24
Problem is that dirt will always be around.
post #23 of 24
So, if you wax the skis without properly cleaning the dirt out of them, and you're not a racer, will you even be able to tell the difference between a clean skis and dirty ones when you ski on them?
post #24 of 24
Dirt and contaminants reduce glide. The amount is also dependent on other variables like structure, snow type and temperature, etc. Noticing the degree of the difference is also a variable and highly subjective. Cleaning is an easy and quick step which ought to be employed to assure your skis best performance and maximize wax durability but may be only subtly noticeable or not at all for some.

During a hot waxing cycle, you should inherently be reducing the amount of dirt and other contaminants on and in the base. Adding a hot scrape or two or a cleaner with optional hot scrape cycle before hand should increase the dirt removal. It gets to be about the actual level of dirt and a lot of this is about splitting hairs on what percentage of dirt remains mixed with the wax and it's real affect on your glide.

If you prefer liquids or pastes or use overlays on a prep wax, cleaners are your best option. Better cleaning increases wax adherence and durability.....and takes seconds.

One thing to note about cleaners that there are levels of cleaning and the implications stated previously give the wrong impression of affect. You can basically clean from a topical cleansing in seconds to a deeper, wax removal cleaning depending on the solvent/cleaner duration and level of additional steps like scrubbing and brushing.

We have cleaning and waxing application tips in our weblog.

HTH
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