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what is the purpose of brushing

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I did a search for brushing, and I read through 5 or 6 threads and I can't get a straight read on what the intent of brushing is. 

From some tuning guides on racewaxdotcom, it seems like you brush to get dirt and grime out before a hot wax clean cycle, then you hot wax clean a couple times, then you wax for real and brush the wax after you've scraped.  So it seems brushing is for pre-wax cleaning and post-wax excess removal and wax texturing. 

But then, from some of what I've read in some threads, it seems like the stiffer brushes (steel and brass) are used to actually texture the ptex base material, not just the wax on top.  Is that a structure maintenance action to do between stone grinds?  or is that actually done as an alternate structuring method?  And if you're brushing to actually deform the base material, do you do that every time you wax or just every now and again when you feel the structure needs it?
post #2 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Muaddib View Post


 brushing is for pre-wax cleaning and post-wax excess removal and wax texturing  ... the stiffer brushes (steel and brass) are used to actually texture the ptex base material, not just the wax on top.

Yep.

Perhaps the source of confusion might be taken away if one defines what task one wants to do first, by the value one gets from it as compared to not doing anything at all.
 

The first task most folks who buy brushes want to do (based on perceived value) is usually post-wax excess removal and wax texturing and wax polishing.  


(Softer metal, Nylon, Other bristle brushes) 
If they don't see value in doing that, there really isn't much value in using brushes for any of the other tasks.    There are tools other than brushes that can be used here. 


The second task is usually pre-wax cleaning.  

 

(Mostly metal brushes)
If they don't see much value in doing that, they might still brush out the applied wax, but they probably won't bother with the structure control with brushes.   Again, there are tools other than brushes that can be used here.
 

Structure control and higher-order tasks


(Stiff metal brushes, sharp-cut bristles)
Skiers who do this probably have the other tasks sorted as well, either with brushes or with whatever other tool gives them the results they want for the least effort and money.


So the question becomes:  What do _you_ want to do?    Will brushing save you money, time, or effort over the alternatives?   If not, go ski.
Edited by comprex - 11/11/09 at 9:49am
post #3 of 13
I brush my speed skis because I want to win and I've been shown how by a number of good techs.

Do the metal brushes actually change the structure of a ski or do they just reveal it?
post #4 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Muaddib View Post

I did a search for brushing, and I read through 5 or 6 threads and I can't get a straight read on what the intent of brushing is. 

From some tuning guides on racewaxdotcom, it seems like you brush to get dirt and grime out before a hot wax clean cycle, then you hot wax clean a couple times, then you wax for real and brush the wax after you've scraped.  So it seems brushing is for pre-wax cleaning and post-wax excess removal and wax texturing. 

But then, from some of what I've read in some threads, it seems like the stiffer brushes (steel and brass) are used to actually texture the ptex base material, not just the wax on top.  Is that a structure maintenance action to do between stone grinds?  or is that actually done as an alternate structuring method?  And if you're brushing to actually deform the base material, do you do that every time you wax or just every now and again when you feel the structure needs it?

Structure when you need it. The stone grind is likely better than anything you can do yourself; this is especially true for racers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MastersRacer View Post

Do the metal brushes actually change the structure of a ski or do they just reveal it?
 

Yes to both and the degree of change depends on the brush and how you use it, and if you're not experienced with a steel brush you should dull the bristles first.  A scotchbrite pad and a hot wax followed by a scraping with a sharp plexi scraper will help to knock down any base peaks or hairs created by the process.

More or base structure:
  • Like treads on a tire, ski bases need structure reduce drag (see below).
  • Your skis need to ride on a film of water produced from the friction of your base and edges cutting through the snow.
  • In cold, dry snow the structure should be fine and shaped to hold water a little longer under your ski since so little is available under these conditions.
  • On cold crystalline snow, the ski base should be as smooth as possible so the points of friction are minimized.
  • On amorphous, wet snow, a coarser structured ski base is better to minimize the points of friction.

For more info and pictures follow link to the base structure theory page.
post #5 of 13

Good post by Comprex. This can be confusing, and people can really complicate it. It depends on what your goal and needs are. The spectrum from average recreational skier needs to top end race ski prep is huge. You can make this simple.

Most skis perform better if they have some structure to the base. Most high end skis come "ground" to some degree. If your ski has a base structure, you'll want to open up the structure with a brush. A medium stiffness bronze or brass brush will work well. Not essential, but a good first step.

After you wax, and scrape, I'd brush with either a slightly softer metal brush, or perhaps a  synthetic brush. Ideally you brush until you can't see anything coming out of the base. Then you could brush a bit with a horsehair brush....anti static, and it kind of gives the base a polished look. Again, a final step that is not essential.

 

You don't need to spend a ton on brushes either. You don't need the same oval brushes that a professional tech uses. Now of course if you're an aspiring race tech, we could give you a reason to purchase about a dozen different brushes. Brushing the right way is one of the biggest factors, if not the biggest, in creating fast skis. Young racers are taught that they cannot brush too much!

In simple terms, you brush before waxing to open the structure, and after to clean out the excess, get down to the structure, and create the best performance. The wax IN the base, not on top of it is what creates the result.

 

 

post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 
I'm beginning to think that I should get into this diy tuning deal.  I just bought some new (old stock '07) sx:10's to add to my '04 metron 9's, so paying a shop to do a wax/sharpen deal on both would probably be at least 60 dollars, which is enough to buy a ski tune kit.  The only work I've ever done on my skis (or any skis for that matter) was a ptex base repair on my metrons, but that's pretty straight forward.  From what I've read and the responses here, I think I'll stay away from any base/structure work, but for my education, if you are going to brush your structure am I correct in assuming that you would do it before you clean and wax?
post #7 of 13
Those skis can be quite fun.

Given a $60 budget I'd spend it on side-edge sharpening tools, a steel scraper, a plastic scraper and 1or maybe 2 brushes specifically intended for after waxing.    Most recreational reward for the buck.

Brushing to 'open up' structure with sharp steel brushes, frex, is done before one does 'cleaning' or 'waxing for the day': your understanding seems quite correct.
post #8 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Muaddib View Post

I'm beginning to think that I should get into this diy tuning deal.

There should be no doubt!

Brushing purpose? To keep your bases looking like the following and gliding smooth and fast with little resistance:



(Another benefit is that hand brushing burns calories and keeps you warm and fit. )

Good info posted above. It's all easier than you think and the benefits out weigh the efforts and expense...especially over time. One thing I find is the more care I put into the skis I own and get them running well, is I'm less inclined to purchase replacements.

FTR, in the 'good a time as any' category, we are now offering our laser cut brush set (brass, nylon & boar hair) that should be a good all around set for most anyone's needs:


Edited by Alpinord - 11/11/09 at 1:40pm
post #9 of 13
Nice brush set. Perfect, IMO for the OP's needs.
post #10 of 13
The need to brush depends on the day and activity.  A day of free skiing on frozen spring corn?  Waste of time.

XC Skating on new wet snow?  The most important part of your day. 
post #11 of 13
The best explanation I have heard to describe base structure is as follows.

When your skis slide across the snow the friction melts the snow creating a thin layer of water. If your bases are perfectly flat this water will create a suction making the skis not want to slide. To demonstrate this take two planes of glass and put a couple of drops of water between them and hold them together, now try and pull them apart. It is very difficult to separate the two, just like when you ski under that snow gun your skis instantly want to stop. If one of the planes of glass had a rough surface the suction would not me nearly as great. This is why the coaster(snow) does not stick to your pint glass(ski base) if you put salt(base structure) on the coaster. For warm conditions you need more/deeper structure because there is a higher content of water under your skis. I colder conditions you need less/shallow structure because of less water.

When racing the structures can get much more involved but above is the basic principle behind why there is a structure on your ski base.

When brushing to clean/open the base you are removing micro hairs of base material left behind from the stone grinder when it put the structure in your base. After a stone grind you will have lots of hairs to remove. After skiing you will have some hairs from friction between your ski base and the snow after a day of skiing. Eventually you will need to re-structure your base as it breaks down and wears from use like tires on your car. The cleaner and crisper the structure of the base the better it performs.
post #12 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by CR0SS View Post

The best explanation I have heard to describe base structure is as follows.

When your skis slide across the snow the friction melts the snow creating a thin layer of water. If your bases are perfectly flat this water will create a suction making the skis not want to slide. To demonstrate this take two planes of glass and put a couple of drops of water between them and hold them together, now try and pull them apart. It is very difficult to separate the two, just like when you ski under that snow gun your skis instantly want to stop. If one of the planes of glass had a rough surface the suction would not me nearly as great. This is why the coaster(snow) does not stick to your pint glass(ski base) if you put salt(base structure) on the coaster. For warm conditions you need more/deeper structure because there is a higher content of water under your skis. In colder conditions you need less/shallow structure because of less water.
 
Expanding on the last line... Under cold conditions, there is less water produced and since you want some water to enhance your glide, the structure is designed to retain that water a little longer (than the warm case where you want to move it ASAP).
Edited by Doctor D - 11/22/09 at 9:25pm
post #13 of 13
One way to look at waxing skis in simplified terms, is to think of it as being the same as waxing your car.  You always wash your car first, before waxing, right ? Well, since ski bases are textured, and not as smooth a surface as your car, you need a brush to get the dirt, old wax, and whatever else made it's way into the texture of your bases, clogging up it's "pores".

When you wax your car, you first apply the wax, let it dry, than buff the heck out of it so there is no wax residue left on the car, just the wax shine.  It's the same with waxing your skis, you apply the wax by melting the wax on, you let it cool (dry), than, just like buffing your car, you have to remove the excess wax.  Since it's a very thick layer (relative to car wax), you first scrap it off with your plastic scraper.  Since the base has texture, if you don't brush with a nylon brush, you'll leave tons of wax "clogging the pores". So, you scrape and brush.  Now, there's no excess wax and time to "buff it to a shine", first using a scotchbrite pad, than some fibertex paper.  By now, you should have a wax "shine" on your ski bases, all the way down to the nooks and crannies of the texture.

This is simplified, of course - but it works for me, and I can tell when I've done a good job when I get my skis on the snow.
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