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# The myth of ski wax??? - Page 7

So, once you do this you CAN'T wax? I was just thinking maybe this might be a neat tool to refresh the structure without a stone grind.

I couldn't run the angle grinder due to sleeping family when I posted the previous pictures, so I hand brushed only. I have now polished them again and added structure for wet conditions. This is polyethylene only, no wax at all.

This is the ski. Sintered base.

Tools used.

We just got some fresh snow, so I've been skiing on another pair. As soon as it turns grainy I will start using this one again. I will clean them with Swix citrus base cleaner after each outing and post another picture in a while.

I looked at my log and found that I bought them in late Feb 2013, not January as I thought, and I waxed them a couple of times before scraping them in early March. They currently have about 160 km on them since last waxing.

Edited by osloskier - 3/3/14 at 12:38pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky

So, once you do this you CAN'T wax? I was just thinking maybe this might be a neat tool to refresh the structure without a stone grind.

You can wax, of course, but I have no idea how the wax will behave.

But the best time to try scraping would be when they need a new grind anyway, I can't see how anything could go wrong then.

Edited by osloskier - 3/3/14 at 12:36pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by osloskier

sibhusky: If the average gradient in degrees is α, vertical distance is V, then distance traveled over snow is D = V/sin(α). E.g. 5000' and 20 deg avg gradient yields D = 5000/sin(20) = 14619'.

A foot is 0.305 meters. 14619*0.305 = 4459m, or 4.5 km.

Going the other way, (4.5 km * 1000 ) / 0.305 = 14754'. 14754*sin(20) = 5046 vertical feet.

I must have been half asleep when I wrote that. That would have been true only if going in a straight line. Hopefully a skier will make a turn now and then... If the skier performs a series of sine wave like turns the path is about 22 % longer. Also, 20 degrees is probably too steep.

With 1000', 10 degrees and sine wave like turns, I get 1.8 km. So I'd say that every 1000 vertical feet should be equivalent to about 1.5 to 3 km, but it depends a lot on the steepness and how you turn.

I'm a bit addled with cold medication right now, but I think that equates to roughly double the distance I try to get out of a wax job. 250/1.8*1000, right? And I'm scratching off the Ptex.
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky

I'm a bit addled with cold medication right now, but I think that equates to roughly double the distance I try to get out of a wax job. 250/1.8*1000, right? And I'm scratching off the Ptex.

250/1.8 = 138 k ft, do you get 70 k ft out of a waxing?

My experience with XC skis has been that initially it may already be starting to turn grey by 15 km or so, and older bases may last perhaps 50 km per waxing. That means that I have to continue waxing at least every third outing, but preferably more often.

If my guesstimations are correct, 15 km should be the equivalent of about 5 to 10 k ft (e.g. 15 km / 3 km per k-foot = 5 k ft). 50 km: 17 to 33 k ft.

"And I'm scratching off the Ptex" - not sure I understood that.

Edited by osloskier - 3/5/14 at 4:39am
I try and wax every 60,000 feet, sometimes it goes to 80,000 or so. It's a goal. The skis stay healthy.

With your thingy, I'd be scratching off Ptex once a week instead of waxing twice a week. Not a huge savings in work given the impact to the life of the ski.

We have soft snow here.

I think these calculations involve too many unknown parameters. Alpine skis are more than twice the width and must have a larger contact area and lower pressure, for example. I get five to ten times more skiing per scraping than I get per waxing. I'd be surprised if that isn't true for alpine skis too, but I don't know for sure until someone has tested it.

To scrape skis with steel edges, some sort of jig to keep the scraper away from the edges would be needed. I have an idea, but I'm not sure it will work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by osloskier

I think these calculations involve too many unknown parameters. Alpine skis are more than twice the width and must have a larger contact area and lower pressure, for example. I get five to ten times more skiing per scraping than I get per waxing. I'd be surprised if that isn't true for alpine skis too, but I don't know for sure until someone has tested it.

To scrape skis with steel edges, some sort of jig to keep the scraper away from the edges would be needed. I have an idea, but I'm not sure it will work.

I just do a long base bevel, then scrape like crazy.  Work it this way, then that way.  Works awesome for alpine.  I do wax, but the no grinding, and scraping only, works very well indeed.  I have some thick scrapers and some thinner ones as well.  Takes a bit of art and feel that's it!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacques

I just do a long base bevel, then scrape like crazy.  Work it this way, then that way.  Works awesome for alpine.  I do wax, but the no grinding, and scraping only, works very well indeed.  I have some thick scrapers and some thinner ones as well.  Takes a bit of art and feel that's it!

:) Great!

Those who have tried to use a Kuzmin scraper on BC skis with steel edges report that the scraper quickly becomes dull. They are fairly expensive, but they last for a long time so it doesn't matter all that much - as long as you don't ruin one edge per ski!

Your scrapers have smooth edges, and then you add the structure afterwards?

Quote:
Originally Posted by osloskier

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacques

I just do a long base bevel, then scrape like crazy.  Work it this way, then that way.  Works awesome for alpine.  I do wax, but the no grinding, and scraping only, works very well indeed.  I have some thick scrapers and some thinner ones as well.  Takes a bit of art and feel that's it!

:) Great!

Those who have tried to use a Kuzmin scraper on BC skis with steel edges report that the scraper quickly becomes dull. They are fairly expensive, but they last for a long time so it doesn't matter all that much - as long as you don't ruin one edge per ski!

Your scrapers have smooth edges, and then you add the structure afterwards?

No, I use a burred scraper(s) to get structure and file edges like a scraper too as I had mentioned.  Then I have less sharp steel to smooth the highs.  A bit of red fiber pads too.

One can scrape many more times to "renew" than grind as you know.  I have not ground a ski of mine in years now.  The new skis I've gotten with ground structures needed lots of scraping to mellow the grind and get speed compared to my scraped structured skis.  Bevel long, scrape hard!

Uggghhh The Kuzmin myth from osloskier on this forum as well....First hand structure may be great for alpine but it is inferior for nordic. The bases are too soft and prone to warping when using hand structure. a grinding machine produces a flatter base which translates into a faster ski.

I do not think the structure pictures that Osloskier provides look very good. The structure does not look uniform like you would get from a machine.

Waxing definitely produces a faster ski. I will concede that a fresh base is also very important but to discount wax is to discount an important aspect of ski speed.

Regarding scraping of metal-edge skis, esp. alpine ones: It is not only very expensive to do it with a Kuzmin scraper, but the scraper is also too narrow - certainly narrower than the tips and tails of SL skis and most others.

Anyway, I have been wondering ... what about using the HS brushes? If those are used directly on stone-ground skis (or new ones), w/o any scraping - is it any good? Also, there is now an abrasive version of the HS brush - will that allow one to avoid steel-scraping?

With the exception of spring skiing when the snow is very sticky, when I look at 90% of skiers on the mountain, they are doing everything they can to slow down, skidding, braking, etc.. so besides helping them glide more on the flats, is there really any benefit to waxing for the typical skier during the winter? If anything are they not better off with a "slower" ski?

And for a good skier who skis somewhere that doesn't have any flats, that can carve from top to bottom with the ski on edge the whole time, what benefit is there to routine waxing?

And finally, does waxing improve base durability against damage and coreshots? Or is that just a myth perpetuated by shops that want you to wax your skis more often?

Quote:
Originally Posted by borpborp

With the exception of spring skiing when the snow is very sticky, when I look at 90% of skiers on the mountain, they are doing everything they can to slow down, skidding, braking, etc.. so besides helping them glide more on the flats, is there really any benefit to waxing for the typical skier during the winter? If anything are they not better off with a "slower" ski?

And for a good skier who skis somewhere that doesn't have any flats, that can carve from top to bottom with the ski on edge the whole time, what benefit is there to routine waxing?

And finally, does waxing improve base durability against damage and coreshots? Or is that just a myth perpetuated by shops that want you to wax your skis more often?

1) yes, since a 'typical, meaning not very good' skier is on his or her bases more than an 'advanced' skier and also attempting to pivot the skis on their bases.    A waxed ski is easier to pivot.   Also a waxed ski is easier to pole along on at very slow speeds.   This is related to the concept of "breakaway speed" that I posted about elsewhere on the forum.   Breakaway speed is the minimum speed at which a ski shifts from static friction to dynamic friction.   Wax lowers that and makes life at low speeds less exhausting.

2) Cat tracks/runout glide is better meaning less poling.      Skating is easier (see: breakaway speed).    Difficult snow (super wet, new snow, super dirty, super cold, super harsh, several dozen varieties of manmade) is much much easier.   No one can stay on edge the entire time since they have to transition to new edges before every new turn.

3) Do a search on 'base burn'.    Wax very definitely helps with that.    Coreshots?   Well, I don't really know.     Most bases are 68D Shore hardness or thereabouts, and very very few waxes even come close to that hardness.     Of course, it's easier to dent an empty beer can than a full one, so there might be a mechanism by which coreshot damage is reduced with waxing.

A long time ago I came up with an idea for an experiment - take some chair skis and wax one.   Prop them up base side to the front on a target range.     Empty a few boxes of .22s at them.    Examine the damage.

I didn't get around to it last summer, maybe next.

Edited by cantunamunch - 2/25/15 at 10:58am

I don't believe that wax is ever needed or makes any difference for non-race skiing, mostly for the reasons you mentioned - most of the speed control is done through adjusting the turn depth and shape. Faster or slower skis make a tiny speed difference, which I believe can only be detected by precise timing and can not be easily felt while skiing.

Assuming that wax helps at all, I don't believe that it stays on for more than a run or two anyway. Unless you have a race pair of skis that you put at the start for 50-60 sec run, it is pointless.

I also don't believe that wax "protects" the bases. Again it won't stay on for more than a couple of runs, at best. Then it is not clear that UHMWPE needs any protection - it's main qualities are: strength, abrasion resistance, and low friction.

I also think that "base burn", "base drying", "oxidation" etc., which seem to be terms that describe the visual greying of parts of the bases, is a purely mechanical effect. Thin hairs of plastic on the surface. And they are mostly left overs from stone grinding. Waxing temporarily glues them back (as does a simple press with a fingernail). As you wax/scrape, you shave off more and more of them. It is the scraping that really shaves them away, hence steel scraping/cutting presumably does the same job done much faster.

In any case, seems like "base burn" does not pose any long-term threat to the bases. Just doesn't look nice and is possibly slower, but can be remedied any time.

At lest this is my current view after researching the subject for a couple of seasons :-) I understand that opinions vary.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky

Quote:
Originally Posted by litterbug

Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky

Quote:
Originally Posted by borpborp

With the exception of spring skiing when the snow is very sticky, when I look at 90% of skiers on the mountain, they are doing everything they can to slow down, skidding, braking, etc.. so besides helping them glide more on the flats, is there really any benefit to waxing for the typical skier during the winter? If anything are they not better off with a "slower" ski?

And for a good skier who skis somewhere that doesn't have any flats, that can carve from top to bottom with the ski on edge the whole time, what benefit is there to routine waxing?

And finally, does waxing improve base durability against damage and coreshots? Or is that just a myth perpetuated by shops that want you to wax your skis more often?

Skiing slowly is more about skill than friction between the base and the snow.

Sticky bases suck energy from MY legs, I don't know about you but sticky snow days affect everyone I talk to on the chair the same way too.  When I come across a 'skier' who LIKES draggy bases, I notice that they shop for a turn between traverses.

Indeed, skiing with a pivot and edge brush depends on zero to minimal friction, sticky snow just makes an effortless movement difficult.

The key to avoiding excessive coreshots is by letting go.  Let go of those edges, press the P-tex down and the edge engages as an effect of the ski actually working.  I see way too many skiers 'challenging' themselves on the blacks digging that edge into the poor snowpack in a gigantic effort to maintain 'control' when doing so puts the terrain in control of you.

Skis like gravity, and slipping snow under your edge takes pressure off the bases when you strike a rock and you end up scratching instead of gouging them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by borpborp

With the exception of spring skiing when the snow is very sticky, when I look at 90% of skiers on the mountain, they are doing everything they can to slow down, skidding, braking, etc.. so besides helping them glide more on the flats, is there really any benefit to waxing for the typical skier during the winter? If anything are they not better off with a "slower" ski?

Good skiing at any speed requires the skis to glide. An unwaxed ski is grabby at slow speeds. Skiers on unwaxed skis tend to fight the ski to keep it moving. The stop-and-start movement of an unwaxed ski works against all skiers, from beginners to experts. The effect is most jarring at slow speeds, where a grabby ski will continuously operate on the threshold of start-and-stop.

The easy solution: rub-on wax. It's around \$15 and will last the entire season.

Only if you ski once a season. ;) Otherwise there's unfortunately no wax, which would last for 100s of kilometers. In reality, wax lasts about 30-50km, depending on snow, temperature, humidity, how maintained ptex was before this particular wax was applied etc..

I think he meant the tube or bottle would last the whole season.

Oh sorry then. I obviously misunderstood this. :)

Forgive me for dragging this old thread up, but, I've been doing my due diligence on researching the forum and had a question. If I missed the answer in one of these threads, please just direct me there.

Other than anecdotal evidence, of which there is plenty, is there any proof that modern ski bases have pores and that those pores retain wax? By proof, I mean scientific evidence. As much as I look, I don't seem to be able to find difinitive proof one way or the other. A study that compares weights before and after waxing, an HD microscopic image of pores, a difinitive explanation of how these pores open with heat, something, anything?
The proof is in what the top professional Racers are doing trying to gain one one-hundredth of a second
Quote:
Originally Posted by levy1

The proof is in what the top professional Racers are doing trying to gain one one-hundredth of a second

Sorry, but it's not.

It makes sense, and may be a contributing factor, but there are too may other variables to take into account to isolate the existence of pores in P-Tex. I'm not looking for third party proof, I want definitive evidence, if it exists.

Rather than pores, think voids in the selected base material:
http://primateriasport.se/PDF/Peter_Sturesson_examensarbete_skidfriktion.pdf

Quote:
Originally Posted by nflanagin

Rather than pores, think voids in the selected base material:
http://primateriasport.se/PDF/Peter_Sturesson_examensarbete_skidfriktion.pdf

I can't get your reference to open.

But yeah, the way I understand it the "pores" idea is a low-resolution analogy.

I read a good paper on one of the wax company sites that explains it a lot better.

P-Tex is a hydrocarbon, and wax is hydrocarbon, so it (loosely speaking, I am not a chemist) dissolves into the P-Tex.

Not really a mechanical filling-in at all.

The magic of flouro waxes apparently is they have molecular chains whichN are hydro-carbon on one end, so are compatible with the P-Tex, and stand-offish flouride-family chemicals on the other, so they stick out and repel everything, or dissipate static electricity, or something.

Speaking from memory, I've lost the copy of the paper with the explanation, and IANAC.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nflanagin

Rather than pores, think voids in the selected base material:
http://primateriasport.se/PDF/Peter_Sturesson_examensarbete_skidfriktion.pdf

I'm going to confess to not having read much of that, skipping down to the conclusion area. However, it seemed to be discussing the impact of structure for different conditions, and not wax. And I think the question was about wax penetrating the pores?
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