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Tuning on the cheap-yay or nay?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I've been tuning my own skis for 9 years now, and I thought I was doing ok, until I read the demographics poll and realized that not everyone tunes every time they ski. Well, I do, but the one thing I Don't Do is use an expensive ski wax. I use parrafin, drip it on with an old iron on low, smooth it on, let it cool, and scrape.

I know I will get bombarded with alternative wax solutions, but is there a harm to using parrafin? I have had some pretty good results, and after chucking out $40 for a tune one year, it was no better than what I can do for 50 cents worth of wax. I have 3 pair of skis and switch off during the day when they start to grab a little (usually after 5-6 hours of heavy use).

I do the edges every time I ski, too, and wipe the moisture off thoroughly at the end of the ski day. So far, I've been happy with that, considering I only paid $50 for each pair of skis at ski swaps. (One pair was new! With bindings!)

Would I be wise to discontinue using that kind of wax if I buy a brand new pair of skis? The only thing I ski anymore is Iowa Ice, unforgiving and hard as oak.
post #2 of 11
I remember reading somewhere (don't remember where) that parrafin is not good for ptex. Don't know the logic of that.

Isn't parrafin pretty soft? If all you're skiing is ice, wouldn't a better choice be some inexpensive (like Toko System 3) hyrocarbon wax, green or blue. Won't the harder wax protect the base?

Here's a better idea...move to OOOtah.
post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
What I know about waxes could fill a thimble.

Yes, it's very soft. But you don't buy wax in Iowa. The sports shop here looks at you like you're on Mars when you ask about wax. The wax I used to use (ages ago and some pretty spendy stuff) was really no better than the soft stuff. At least, I could discern no noticeable difference. :
post #4 of 11
Try one of the mail order outfits. Reliable Racing comes to mind. I use Hertel Hot Sauce which I buy in big blocks. I have also bought bulk Toko and Swix although I like the Hertel the best.

I got to like Hot Sauce and Hertel's 739 race wax when skiing in Michigan. It seemed to stay longer. Oddley enough, when I was living in the mid-west I also tuned every time I skied. Now that I'm out in Mt Hood's back yard I'm not so sure it wasn't a way to stay connected to my sport. If that's all it was .... it helped me survive the time and so was worth it!


This turned up on a Yahoo search for Hertel.

I hope this was helpful. Mal
post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks! I've used Swix before. Good stuff.

Perhaps it doesn't matter about wax at all since I do wax every time? Possible?
post #6 of 11
I have found the best price on Swix is at www.artechski.com for Swix the CH wax is parifin except for the low temp stuff CH4 which is synthetic parifin.
post #7 of 11
Thanks for that, dougw. Paraffin actually is the best when the snow is wet - it truly has a hydrophobic qualtity and the water droplets bead up and reduce friction. It has that quality in other conditions, too, but it's less durable there, so other ingredients are added, as I understand it [not being very knowledgeable in this area - yet]. Before heading out to the mashed potatoes and slush, I ironed on paraffin and it worked fine. How it could be harmful for bases I don't know, but if anyone reading this post has some particular knowledge about that, please post it.

[ April 29, 2002, 08:29 PM: Message edited by: oboe ]
post #8 of 11
Parafin wax is fine and will not do any damage to the base. If you are waxing every day, then you shouldn't have a problem. Parafin is soft, so it will wear quickly when the snow is aggressive. Check to see how the base dryed out after a ski day. If it is very dry, you might want use a harder wax the next time. If the dryness is isolated along the edgeline, you can apply very hard wax there, and then use parafin for the rest of the base. I like using parafin as travel and storage wax, since it easy to scrape off even when it is quite cold.
post #9 of 11

I suggest you purchase a very small bar of hard wax (cold, 0-20 F). Try it when your out in that weather. (Snow temp, not air temps) If you can't tell the difference, stick to the canning wax. mixing waxes is OK too. Just drip them on and iron in.

As ritual, I wax my skis several times with hard wax frequently during the season. Over that, I put the wax of the day.

I buy a big chunk of each White, pink and blue wax and they have lasted several years.
This year red (warm) wax was almost the only top way needed.

Scraped thin, any wax works better than none. Paraffin wax is good for ski bases. It just is not optimized for all snow temps.

post #10 of 11
Oboe, I'm not sure about parrafin being best when the snow is wet. Wet snow and high humidity are conditions for using fluro waxes. Or fluro waxes are really useful in these conditions and not so useful in dry conditions. The graphite are supposed to be for low humidity . I used the swix wax wizard at heir web site for -30°C and low humidity and it resulted in only one choice CH4 - LF4 9 low fluro and HF4 ( high fluro ) were not mentioned. They usually give you 3 levels dependant on what you want to spend. I think its the extra money for the fluro at low humidity doesn't do anything for you.
post #11 of 11
I know very little about wax.

I am also probably the worst about tuning my skis on a regular basis, the edges just tend to get eaten by the traverses and chutes out here. When they feel dull, I'll tune them, and I'll get a stone grind once a year to clean up the bottoms. P-tex when necessary. More tuning in the spring when I encounter ice more often.

When I wax, I usually pick up a few bars of the universal wax that are sitting next to the register at the shop, two coats. This seems to work fine for me.

When I lived and raced in Michigan, I tuned at least twice a week. But conditions were very, very different.

In my opinion, just do what works for you. (but I might ask a rep about the parafin thing)

Whoo-hoo, my 500th post!
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