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Waxing New Skis (Volkl AC4) Prior to First Use?

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
After reading the epicski forums extensively, I am learning a lot about tuning/waxing skis. To be honest, I did not realize how important waxing was prior to reading this forum (thank you!). Needless to say, my old skis were abused beyond belief rarely ever seeing wax for the past 10 years (190 cm straight Blizzard skis), and yes, the bases are speckled white. Without question, I plan on taking a lot better care of my brand new 2007 Volkl AC4 skis. The skis are sitting in my closet right now unmounted because I will not get a chance to ski them until next season. A lot of the posters on this forum suggest waxing new skis prior to skiing on them for the first time. This seems contradictory to me, since the Volkl factory must have a lot more skill in applying their wax than I will as a do-it-yourself job. From my reading, I understand why waxing is important for the base and why it should be done rather frequently. However, can someone explain to me why the initial Volkl wax needs to be replaced prior to skiing? If possible, in your explanation, please provide some wax combiniation suggestions for this particular ski in mid-february Alta conditions (ski trip planned for next year). Thank you!!!
post #2 of 28
I don't know the specifics of waxing a new ski... I'm assuming it's because they don't fully saturate the bases with wax.. (someone chime in here!)

Unless you are racing, just get some good Universal wax... it's cheap and works fine in almost every condition. Also, a lot of people say to wax every 2-3 times out, but I wax about every 6-8 times out and have no issues... Except during the spring when the snow is much more abrasive... You need to wax at least every 3 times out... maybe even every time out... After a few waxings you'll know what to look for and will be able to determine when you need to wax just by looking at your bases.
post #3 of 28
From what I have read here it seems that the factory wax may be the cheapest wax that can be bought and applied by mass producers of skis. The factory wax is probably meant to be a protective coating for shipping purposes. What I generally will do is hot wax and scrape while hot to clean the bases of the old wax. Follow with 2-3 coates of Hertel super hot sauce and finally go with a coat of Hertel race wax.http://www.hertelskiwax.com/Hertel_S..._Wax_s/123.htm

For summer storage I have been using a Zoom base conditioning wax and no scraping till fall.

I am not a racer but a penny pincher in some matters. It seems that the race wax lasts longer and in the end in cost effective. I personally wax every 2 x out whether they need it or not. In a pinch I will use a liquid or spray if time is an issue. Check the search menu for in depth stuff on tuning. Pray for early snow!
post #4 of 28
Some manufacturers send their skis well waxed but essentially most are just putting enough wax onto the bases to protect them in shipping, storage and the first couple of days of skiing.

There are many good brands of wax and some are cheaper than others: Solda, Purl are a couple that are more economically priced and work well.

You will always do better with a temp/ condition specific wax than with a general wax but most people cannot be bothered with the pfaff.

You should put as much wax into the bases as possible before skiing on them in order to protect them and allow for the 'just one more day/ or too tired to wax' factor when skiing.

I would get a good all condition or base prep wax (in a quantity that allows several waxes) and wax the skis at least three times with this.

Hot wax and scrape until wax is coming off clean - this removes any dust or oils etc that were picked up in transit.

Waxing: brush bases (or wipe with lint free cloth), crayon on the wax (touch to iron, rub onto base) which uses less wax, and iron in until the top sheet at tip and tail is warm to touch. Stand against wall in warmish room and let completely cool as wax will continue to absorb.

Once completely cool (cold - pref the next day), scrape bases, brush and wax again.

For example my new ski routine would be;
Evening 1: Hot wax and scrape to clean, then wax with base prep layer 1, leave to cool, go and watch some sport on TV.
Morning 2: Scrape, brush and wax with base prep layer 2, leave to cool go to work.
Evening 2: Scrape, brush and wax with base prep layer 3, leave to cool, go to pub with mates.
Morning 3: Scrape, brush and wax with super cold (ie hard) wax layer 1, leave to cool, go to work.
Evening 3: Scrape, brush and wax with super cold (ie hard) wax layer 1, leave to cool, take wife out to dinner.
Morning 4: Scrape, brush and wax with super cold (ie hard) wax layer 2, leave to cool, go to work.
Evening 4: Scrape, brush and wax with all purpose/ or cold (blue) wax layer 1 (this is the wax you intend to ski on), leave to cool, watch the hockey playoffs.
Morning 5: Scrape, brush and wax with all purpose/ or cold (blue) wax layer 2, dribble some wax on the entire edges, leave to cool.
Evening 5: Come home, admire handi-work, post achievement on forum so that we can all say 'well done', place in a cool, dry, dark place until next ski season.

Next season, pull skis out of storage, admire handi-work again, pack in Sportube for trip to Alta, arrive, scrape skis (do not leave wax on the hotel room carpet), brush out structure, look forward to awesome days skiing the next day.

The rub on waxes are okay for a condition change that you did not anticipate (normally best for wetter snow) as the flouro can help with the wetter snow. I think that with Alta in Feb you are going to be okay with blue and green (Swix) as it will either be cold or really cold and you are fine with a hydrocarbon wax with new dry snow.

Hope that helps, good luck and have fun.
post #5 of 28
Wax on new skis is cosmetic. The plastic wrap the skis come in along with their cardboard boxes provide most of the protection skis get in transit and storage. New ski bases also have debris and oil from when they were stoneground at the factory.

In addition to the comments posted above, you can use the search feature here to bring up a lot of useful threads on new ski prep. Just type key words like "new ski prep" or 'waxing new skis" and such. Also, the "stickies" at the top of this forum are helpful.
post #6 of 28
Sorry guy's. Lets keep this simple. Just ski the new skis, they'll be fine.

Wax every few day's with a All temp wax. It's all most of us need.

I like Dominator HyperZoom. I have Hetels Super Hot Sauce and Hertels Spring Sauce.

For most of the season I use the HyperZoom.

You know in all the years I've been skiing, I ski over 65 days a season. I have never used any of that Base prep or conditioner stuff people talk about and I still don't see many people pass me on a flat run out.

My gray AC4's have about 75 day's on them and I had them stone ground 1 time around 50 day's.
post #7 of 28
I don't think you can just assume that the wax used by manufacturers is crappy wax. You may be wasting some unnecessary material, time and expense if you blindly wax a bunch of coats initially, especially for rec skiers. Cleaning with light cleaner and/or hot scraping is probably a good idea at the bare minimum.

From another thread:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alpinord View Post
The skis I used Sunday were new. As a test, I tried this process to see how'd they compare to the typical multiple coats procedure:

1) cleaned bases a couple times with Biocitron until there was no more dirt and grime apparent on the shop towel
2) hot waxed 1 coat with race base soft and let sit over night
3) scraped, brass brushed, soft brass brushes manually, followed by roto brushing with hard horse hair
4) hot waxed with P2 Hot (LF)
5) scraped, brass brushed, soft brass brushes manually, followed by roto brushing with hard horse hair and polished with roto nylon

At the end of the day of fairly abrasive snow, lots of vertical and speed, the bases showed a slight whitish section under one foot, the rest of the base looked fine, except they clearly looked like they need another waxing as the typical Maplus sheen was gone. I'm thinking had I hot scraped or added a second cycle of the race base, or used the liquid, I'd have been golden. The skis did glide very well all day. I've since added a coat of liquid race base soft (after adding aggressive structure) and will repeat the remaining steps for this weekend to compare.
I just double checked the bases of these Dynastars after the second application (and adding coarser structure) and outing and they look and feel fine. They also ran great on a soft/wet to dry to abrasive snows. However, I definitely 'feel' like they will get even better as I add more wax cycles and days.

HTH
post #8 of 28
To answer the question of why you wax a brand new ski- it's in preparation for use and longevity. Will the ski work "as-is"? Sure it will, but it will not perform optimally. (Not just in a race/speed sense)

I like Andrew R's overview, but you can wax multiple times with whatever you prefer. Your essentially trying to saturate the bases with wax, get the microfibers of p-tex to stand up and be scraped away. Read up on any of the ski prep sites like Tognar Toolworks or whom ever you prefer. There is a ton of information online, and it's fairly easy to become educated and proficient on simple ski tuning and waxing.

Best of luck!
post #9 of 28
If you look closely at most new skis, considering the structure, the tip guards, the way the bases/edges have been ground to final spec, the surgically-clean condition they are usually in when new in the wrap, etc -- I think it suggests that they are not slathering on wax and ironing it in like we do at home (or even corking in a liquid). At best, it may be light sealant that they apply somewhere in the midst of the manufacturing process (certainly before tip guards are installed but after the final grinding). I just don't get the impression it's an honest to goodness waxing like most of us here would do.

My most recent pair of new skis actually had a gummy/waxy substance on the edges, presumably to keep them from rusting in the plastic wrap. I wiped the bases down with alcohol/water (what I use as a sharpening lubricant) and then gave them a good coat of wax for the summer. Compared to my older skis, these new ones *drank* up the wax. So if they had anything on them from the factory, it wasn't a lot. Perhaps just enough to seal the base.
post #10 of 28
Thread Starter 

Thank you --- more questions though...

First and foremost, thank you all for your help. I went to the Hertel website yesterday night and after reading through their free waxing book, I am sold on the Hertel Super Hot Sauce. It is relatively cheap (24 -1 oz bars for $30), and it eliminates the confusion of sorting through the thousand different wax choices on the market. I plan on throwing 3-5 cycles of the Super Hot Sauce on the base after doing the hot wax base prep scrape (to remove the manufacture wax and any oil/contaminants). Afterwards, I will consider possibly throwing on one layer of the Hertel Racing FC739 wax for my 4-day Alta trip, which is marketed to last 7 days and reduce the surface tension even further (14-16 dynes/cm2) for a faster ski (however, very expensive - $25 for 5 oz! Maybe overkill...) Here are a few more questions that I ran across in my reading:

1) Are fluorocarbons used as the encapsulated surfactant in both the Super Hot Sauce and Racing FC739 wax? This leads to my question #2...

2) During my online reading, I read that racers immediately remove their fluorocarbon wax after races, since the flurocarbons may clog up the base pores over time. This statement really confused me since the entire Hertel wax tenchology seems to be focused on their active fluorocarbon surfactant encapsulation process. They emphasize this concept throughout their wax book --- the ultimate goal is to penetrate the wax deeply into the pores of the ski base's honeycomb structure matting. However, this concept seems to contradict the idea of fluorocarbons being harmful to the base. If someone has more knowledge about this topic, please clarify. My guess is that the user posting that fluorocarbon-based waxes are harmful to the ski base was misinformed, but I am looking to confirm my suspicion.

3) In regards to the scraping process, I am thinking about buying three tools (in order of use): plastic scraper, soft brass brush, and a soft horsehair brush. Do you feel that these three brushes will be adequate in the waxing process? Basically, I am eliminating the hard brass brush, the nylon brushes, and hard horsehair brush from my shopping list in order to save some money (and it seems like overkill to buy more than two brushes).

4) I plan to hot wax with an iron, as described in detail on other epicski threads. For those of you using the Hertel Super Hot Sauce or Racing FC739, what temperature do you set your iron? The Hertel Wax Book states 170degF; however, a few epicski threads were stating 250-265degF for the Hertel Super Hot Sauce! What is a safe temperature to avoid damage to the base (assuming constant movement of the iron over the ski base)? I have read that the hot iron causes the base pores to open in addition to melting the wax, so I am assuming you don't want to be too cautious with the temperature. However, I do not want to be anywhere near a danger temperature for the ski base!

Thank you in advance for your help!
post #11 of 28
Brushes? I am a recreational skier and use the combo brass/nylon and horsehair found on this page http://www.tognar.com/wax_tools_hot_...owboard.ht ml

I use a final swipe or two with a white pad and towel in between brushings. I use the brass for opening up the base prior to waxing and the nylon for removing the wax. Horsehair for final touch just before the pad. As far as Iron temps, get it hot enough to melt wax BUT NO SO HOT THAT THE WAX SMOKES! Never let the iron stop moving on the base of the ski and don't let the top sheet get hot. Use your hand under the ski(on the top sheet) to test for warmth. I have used 2 different irons and the heat selector is different on both. Worth the money to get a spring gage to test the iron true temp if you are worried about it, but the smoke signals will let you know when it's too hot. Also for home waxing why not save some money on the hot sauce and get the st louis brick for $19. Also write an email to the Hertel comp and the owner will be glad to answer any specific questions about his products.
post #12 of 28
Yes the rule is don't let the wax smoke.

Don't worry about bubbling the base. I did that to my AX3's years ago (somewhere around 70 day's) and could never feel the difference on the snow. They have over 120 days and ski fine.

I don't race, I just ski hard and fast.

Just ski, touch up the edges with a diamond stone, lightly file when needed and wax them. If I was good with a camera and down loading photo's most of you would be amazed at what the bases of my skis look like. By some standards, lots of damage. They ski fine. I'll fill in the core shots and major Ptex damage near the edges. But the small stuff doesn't matter.

It's not rocket science. Keep it simple.
post #13 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by hydrogen_wv View Post
I don't know the specifics of waxing a new ski... I'm assuming it's because they don't fully saturate the bases with wax.. (someone chime in here!)
Ironically, I just prepped a brand new pair of skis tonight for a friend. I hot scraped them-there was dirt in the base as could be seen in the scrapings. I then waxed them using more than the typical amount of wax that I use on my skis. When the wax disappeared into the base, I added more wax, then more wax again. This proved to my friend that some skis do come with an insufficient amount of wax.
FWIW, when I buy new skis, I hot scrape until clean. I then add a minimum of 5 coats of base prep wax scraping and brushing between each application. I follow this with a soft HC wax. I finish with a LF or HF wax depending on temp and humidity.
As for wax temperatures, I use the Swix World Cup iron and the range is 110C - 165C. 110C is 230F so 170F does not sound correct.
BTW, if you are mounting the AC4s in a vise to wax them, good luck! I have a pair of Toko vises and I had more trouble holding my AC4s in them than any other ski. The sidewalls are pretty angled and they kept slipping out.
post #14 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Max Capacity View Post
You know in all the years I've been skiing, I ski over 65 days a season. I have never used any of that Base prep or conditioner stuff people talk about and I still don't see many people pass me on a flat run out.
Pass you? Nope, just trying to keep up!
post #15 of 28
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the info everyone.

Mkevenson --- By my math (I may be wrong), it appears the 24 oz. deal is the best (unless you owned a ski shop or wanted a lifetime supply with 160 oz).

Hertel Super hot sauce wax:
(5) 1 oz deal = 5 oz at $12 = $2.40/oz
St. Louis block is 3/4 lbs = 12 oz at $19 = $1.58/oz
(24) 1 oz deal = 24 oz at $30 = $1.25/oz
(160) 1 oz deal = 160 oz at $170 = $1.06/oz

The 24 oz deal seems to be optimal for your average recreational skier...
post #16 of 28
FWIW Maplus Universal is $18.68/1kg (35 oz)= $0.53/oz.
post #17 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiSkiSki View Post
Thanks for the info everyone.

Mkevenson --- By my math (I may be wrong), it appears the 24 oz. deal is the best (unless you owned a ski shop or wanted a lifetime supply with 160 oz).

Hertel Super hot sauce wax:
(5) 1 oz deal = 5 oz at $12 = $2.40/oz
St. Louis block is 3/4 lbs = 12 oz at $19 = $1.58/oz
(24) 1 oz deal = 24 oz at $30 = $1.25/oz
(160) 1 oz deal = 160 oz at $170 = $1.06/oz

The 24 oz deal seems to be optimal for your average recreational skier...
I stand corrected and never did the math. Shame on me
post #18 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alpinord View Post
FWIW Maplus Universal is $18.68/1kg (35 oz)= $0.53/oz.
Alpinord, as a frequent poster and helpful member of this board I respect your opinion and also like your price. Not to start a debate but do you have an opinion as to the merrits of the Maplus universal vs the Hertel Hot Sauce. If the waxes are truely equal in quality then the Maplus appears to be a cost effective wax.
Mark
post #19 of 28
BTW, if you are mounting the AC4s in a vise to wax them, good luck! I have a pair of Toko vises and I had more trouble holding my AC4s in them than any other ski. The sidewalls are pretty angled and they kept slipping out.[/quote]


I have the yellow toko vise from 1999/2000. Yea the newer fat skis are a bit big but you don't need to put to much pressure on the ski. When scraping you need to be a little careful. I like the way they hold the ski on a 45* angle for tuning.
post #20 of 28
I've used DaKine, SVST, Maplus, and Dr. D's Universal waxes and as a recreational skier with the intent of protecting bases, I think you should just go for the best value. I haven't noticed any drastic differences in how long before they NEED re-waxed, and the performance difference is negligable in most cases.

If you are trying to cut tenths of a second off of a race time, then you probably shouldn't be using a cheap Universal wax, anyway.
post #21 of 28
The Maplus Wax Test has some comments by Bears regarding Maplus Universal and Hertel.

I've read many comments indicating the Hertel HotSauce 'is slow or sticky' at the warmer temps and wetter conditions. (I do wonder if more aggressive base structure and brushing will help those experiencing this.) I haven't experienced this issue with the Maplus Hot (white) and some with the Universal (green). The Universal LF Hot is better (as is the P2 Hot) and my preference; especially for the moist snow in SW CO. The quality and durability is very good for the Maplus Universals, but the Race Base Med is my hands down favorite for it's broad performance range and higher durability/high melt wax (fewer waxings required). You can blend the Universal & Universal Hot. The combination of two Maplus solids cover the range of the Universal liquids and sprays.

Regarding the vises, I'll never use conventional clamp vises again due to wider skis and side wall issues. The T4B lasso 'clamp' conforms to any odd shape/binding and easily and quickly secures one or more skis at a time. It comes with the T4B Cinch and Cordloc vises. It can be used with existing conventional vise ends, in lieu of the conventional center clamp.
post #22 of 28
i have a basic question about brushing that I am confused about.

do you brush with the brass brush before you wax(presumably to remove old wax and expose the structure so more wax can be absorbed) or after waxing and scraping(presumably to remove excess wax).

i;ve seen directions where it was one way or the other.

thanks again
post #23 of 28
I use the brass brush before waxing to open the structure. After scraping, I use the Toko combination brush. I then use rotobrushes from there.
I do know some people who use the brass brush after scraping, but I never have.
post #24 of 28
A steel or brass brush are handy and versatile brushes to add to your kit. Along with freshening the structuring before waxing, they are good for general cleaning and with a stiff enough brush, applying adequate pressure and number of strokes, you can add structure to your bases.

After waxing and scraping, a metal brush can expedite the brushing by removing wax from (freeing) the structure quicker, followed by horsehair and nylon brushes. I use mine with soft and hard waxes.

You can obviously, vary the amount of pressure you apply depending on task at hand and wax hardness. A nord friend says his favorite/most frequently used brush is the soft brass (combination brass & nylon).

HTH
post #25 of 28
Alpinord,

Thanks for the link to the Lasso clamp. I ordered one.

Max

I don't brush before I wax. I use a nylon bush after scraping. If it's real cold snow, I'll follow up with a horse hair brush. BTW I use roto brushes. Have a "comby" roto but don't use it much.


There seems to be a lot of little differences in what we all do. The nice thing is everything seems to work.

I tune for a couple of friends, one PSIA III and one PSIA II, both know what they like. Neither one has any complaints.

And no one is getting upset because someone say's something different. This truely is a great site.
post #26 of 28
Thanks Max. FWIW, here's some views of the clamp. Since it doesn't care about the shape or size of anything, it's also pretty handy for oddball clamping tasks around the house or work.
post #27 of 28
post #28 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by mkevenson View Post
Alpinord, as a frequent poster and helpful member of this board I respect your opinion and also like your price. Not to start a debate but do you have an opinion as to the merrits of the Maplus universal vs the Hertel Hot Sauce. If the waxes are truely equal in quality then the Maplus appears to be a cost effective wax.
Mark
If you want a third-party opinion, I'd say get the Maplus universal. It worked well for me, and was comparable to many other universal waxes I have used. If it costs less, all the better!
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