I don't want to use anything that would harm my bases but...
Any suggestions on a home made or a cheaper alternative for a base cleaner?
I'm a Belgian racer and I never use base cleaner. Wax should be in the base to make the ski glide. A cleaner is just business. Give it a good name and people will buy it and think it's necessary. The more wax in the base the better the ski will glide, so removing this wax will make your ski go slower. Like most guys I just do hot scraping when I think the ski needs it before applying wax. So to prepare the base I eventually hot scrape and always brush of course. Just remember wax should be in the base to make the ski go fast. That's also the reason why most racers wax new ski's up to 10 times before using them the first time.
Depends on the base cleaner, duration and technique, among other factors. Blanket statements like above are inaccurate old wife's tales. I use a moderate base cleaner all of the time (either KUU Bio Citron or SVST Agent Orange for more aggressive wax removal and base repairs), usually followed by a saturating/hot scrape and have no issues. And, FWLIW, I have a super fast pair of skis that I did everything 'wrong' on the bases, including using sand paper instead of stone grinding the bases for structuring.
When you get dirt, pine tar, oil, old wax, hot scraping does not necessarily remove the gradoe.....not to mention when you get into fluoros. Base cleaners also save time, mess, energy, wax and money.
See this thread.
And for the record Briko-Maplus recommends base cleaner and is posting wins and high finishes with the fastest accelerant on the WC. Both Nordic and Alpine.
Here is the Maplus Waxing Manual. From Page 11:
WARNING !!!! Another blanket statement!
You don't need base cleaner!
Hot scrape with Dominator Base Renew for clear bases and Dominator Base Renew Graphite for black bases or you can use any cheap wax to hot scrape and then follow with Base Renew.
Excellent cleaning & conditioning of your bases and helps your final wax penetrate the base
Then wax normally with Base renew and scrape and brush out and wax normally with your final chosen wax.
For those who still don't believe there are times where base cleaner is the better option, we also carry Dominator Base Renew for clear bases and Dominator Base Renew Graphite for black .
Hey there boys, I'm going to try something new, let you know how works out.
Yesterday spring slush at Big Bear, all sorts of black crap on bottom of my board and my skis...
let's see how Dawn dish soap works. I know it's mild and it cuts grease maybe we'll get lucky here.
No hot wax I'll have to send out for a kit but have the Briko and Swix paste/rub on which will have to do for now.
Anybody tried veggie oil in a pinch-- til can get some wax? Will at least keep base somewhat hydrated.
Hey, just got done..Dawn works great! Diluted of course, and applied with a rag, then brushed with any kitchen scrubber (no steel wool tho).
Wipe off and then wipe down with plain water. No more greasy grimy bases.
Have to think that anything you wash dishes with and put your hands in can't be all that bad for your skis.
Hope this helps anyone who doesn't have immediate access to real product.
Youll be happy to know that Dawn was found to be the best detergent for cleaning oil from animals and the environment after an oil spill. Turns out that their advertising it true it is the best for grease and oil removal while not being so harsh as to ruin everything (like your health, or in this case skis) in the process.
I saw a video, I think on REI, and the guy said he doesn't use base cleaner except before major base repair.He wiped w/alcohol on a rag because it would dry very fast. I think is sounds true but I'm a rookie at the whole wax prep thing. I may wipe with plant based dish liq then dry. Not sure yet.
You could be right if you want wax to stick after. I never spend time & money waxing skis anymore. From experience I have found if I hot wax my skis once the wax wears off my skis they are slower then before the hot wax. Iam basing this on feel & not scientific testing. If my skis are going to be stored for a while I simply spray silicone to protect bases & edges & have skis that are 10 years old & older & I think they slide like new. Silicon is often used to protect wood, paint & plastic so I cant see it hurting skis.
It's not the "silicone" (probably PDMS http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polydimethylsiloxane) itself that's the issue here, it's the solvent that carries it out of the can. You're effectively buying a can of spray solvent and getting the silicone for free.
Prior to the Montreal Protocol it would have very likely been 1 1 1 - trichloroethane http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1,1,1-Trichloroethane which would work -great- as a wax solvent. Heck, for a while you could buy it for use as a keyboard cleaner.
I don't know what solvent the particular spray you are using is packaged with.
yep, if you look at the content of, at least SWIX base cleaner, its "60-100"% naphtha. perhaps this is best vs acetone or mineral spirits.
A lot of high fallutent opinions about whats best for use on the entire ski and methods etc. and I dont know much about all that.
I think the right solvent is necessary for small applications when doing moderate to major base, core shot repairs. you have to remove all the waxes and grime if you want the epoxies and p-tex to bond solidly!
Dawn dish-washing liquid in water or Comet (used carefully) are effective in removing excessive gunk from bases after a day on spring snow. The base must be rinsed with plenty of lukewarm water afterwards (a quick shower :-) ) and dried thoroughly. This will not dry the base and all you will need is a hot scrape to prepare it for your next wax cycle. Using a base cleaner (citrus or petroleum based) will dry out the base and you will have to saturate it again, it will be almost the same as getting a stone grind.
Naptha and Acetone are highly toxic, as are some other chemicals used for solvent/cleaning.
Don't know about you, but I did not take up skiing to destroy my health. Unless you race, avoid shop procedures that will kill you.
My skis run pretty well with normal waxing and maintenance. Aside from correcting a problem, I'd prefer skis that run pretty well and no nasty chemicals in my shop, to perfect skis and fumes in my shop that will definitely harm me seriously. Anyone who claims that a cleaner with Naptha can be safely used without extreme precautions is kidding themselves. My experience comes from being a woodworker and finisher.
I find it quite funny that people who take such good care of their ski bases think nothing of using products with mineral spirits on leather products, frex.
this stuff supposedly made for removing built up fluoros. I used it once at the end of last season WITH A MASK ON
• Apply the cleaner with Fiberlene.
• Brush with white nylon Brush T0161B, while wet.
• Wipe clean with Fiberlene.
• Let dry for ~5-30 minutes.
• Brush with hand steel or bronze brush (or Roto steel brush).
• Wax with Base prep wax or the glide wax you expect at the nest race.
I have been told that base prep waxes with graphite are good at cleaning fluoros out of the base. But that is one of those things where you need to make a leap and trust the source or send the skis to the chemistry lab for testing. Maybe Dominator Tom has some information?
Your information is correct, vsirin, a base prep wax with the correct type of graphite additive is the best way to remove fluoros from the base. This is a question requiring a complex answer, so I need to start at the beginning. But before I do that, I must make one thing absolutely clear regarding my previous post in this thread; Dawn, or any other soap used to remove spring-skiing-gunk, from the base must be COMPLETELY removed by rinsing well with lukewarm water, or it will contaminate your wax; now back to the hot scrape question.
There are two reasons for hot scraping: One, to remove dirt and two, to remove the old wax from the base so it does not mix with the new wax and alter its properties. Hot scraping will leave you with a clean base, but the leftover hot scrape wax (in the base) will alter the properties of the glide wax you will apply on top of it. This is the reason we came up with the Renew base prep, it is a complex mix of ingredients that work in tandem to clean the base, but at the same time leave the surface with a neutral layer that does not alter the properties of the wax to be applied after the cleaning step.
For this thread I will focus on the cleaning step. The soft cleaning wax works as a solvent that removes the old wax and floats the dirt stuck to the old wax. Softer waxes are better solvents than harder waxes as they penetrate better into the base and replace some/most of the harder waxes already there. Pertaining to the removal of the fluoro by hot scraping, there are two types of fluoro that the hot scrape wax may be called to remove: One, the fluoro additive that got there as a component of HF or LF waxes, and two, the 100% fluorocarbon powder. The fluoro additive will dissolve in the soft hydrocarbon cleaning wax. It makes sense that this will happen as it was delivered to the base mixed in a hydrocarbon wax and it can be taken off by one, especially a softer one with better dissolving power.
The 100% fluoro is NOT soluble in the hydrocarbon cleaning wax, but the cleaning wax can remove it anyway. The fluorocarbon does not penetrate into the base, it just adheres to the surface. That’s why all fluorocarbons only last for a few hundred yards as they are only on the surface and once they abrade off, they are gone. The cleaning wax moves past the fluorocarbon into the base, and lifts/floats the fluorocarbon off as it saturates the base. It is very easy to see when the fluorocarbon is gone, or if you need to hot scrape more. Fluorocarbons repel hydrocarbons so, in the beginning, it looks like the cleaning wax forms flakes and does not penetrate. It eventually penetrates into the base and, as you iron, you see a continuous wax layer that has little pinholes in it and it looks like an orange peel. When all the fluorocarbon is removed you have a smooth layer of wax when you are ironing. So to remove the fluorocarbon, just hot scrape and brush aggressively with a stiff brush -- at least twice -- or as many times as you need to until you see a smooth wax layer.
The “Beast" steel/horsehair oval available at www.the-raceplace.com is my favorite brush for hot-scraping and remember you MUST wear a respirator when hot-scraping fluoros.
Now to visrin’s original question regarding the graphite. We generally think of graphite as a dirt repellent, but special grades of graphite can be activated so they absorb impurities. Some of these grades are so effective that they are drunk as water suspensions to absorb accidentally ingested pharmaceuticals or some poisons. The graphite grade in Dominator’s Renew G has been carefully selected to remove dirt, pollen, salts and bacteria from snowmaking guns, and fluoros.
We sell around equal volumes of the non-graphite and graphite Renew, but in-house we use the graphite nearly exclusively. The only reasons to prefer the non-graphite version are that one can see when the scrapings are clean and that graphite may temporarily stain some clear bases. But, it is nearly certain that two hot scrapes with Renew G will remove all impurities and it does a better job of cleaning and conditioning the base than any clear or moly-prep we know of and that’s why we prefer it.
Dom Tom...the Beast soft steel/horsehair oval brush is in fact my favorite brush (actually, I have 2-- a new one for hair removal/base "freshening", and an older one (duller tips) for hard wax removal). Hot scraping as well! To everyone else, I STRONGLY recommend adding this brush to your collection...