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Ski & Snowboard Wax Protocols

Why wax?

Waxing prevents bases from drying out.  If the bases look dull and pale most likely they are in need of waxing. Proper preparation and waxing makes for optimal effortless gliding thereby, reducing sticking and jerking rides as well as reduces the need to pole or scoot the board on flats and provides safer and greater ease to maneuver for a smoother ride. Wax adds a layer of protection minimizing impact destruction and protecting the bases from potentially damaging elements such as; road grime, air pollutions, chemicals used in snowmaking, pollens, oils, etc...The base when exposed to air oxidizes and becomes brittle and greatly reduces the ability to absorb and hold wax.  The board performance and longevity is then horribly compromised as well as your safety.

 

How often should you wax:

We recommend for most recreational users a good Hot Wax be performed after every three days of riding on the equipment.  It is said that a proper waxing after every 20 to 25 runs has the potential to extend the life of your skis one or more years longer.  If you are serious then your base(s) should be waxed at least every other time out or after each day on the snow. A race ski or board should can be waxed multiple times during a day on the snow.  For most recreational skiers and riders try not to go more than 5 days of riding without some form of waxing (see Emergency Waxing down below)

 

What type of Wax should you use:

Wax comes in many forms from liquid, paste, solid bars.  We recommend the solid bars that allow you to hot wax. These waxes last longer and provide a longer quality performance.

We recommend all temperature wax to meet both cold and warm conditions for the recreational skier and snowboarder.  This wax is made to provide you with an enjoyable ride allowing you to perform in most conditions while protecting your bases from harmful oxidation and dehydration.  We recommend for Spring condition to use a Spring specific wax as an overlay.  This will keep out the Spring pollen and debris from embedding into the wax and slowing the glide performance.

Liquid and Paste waxes are fast and easy to apply and are typically used as top waxes put over your normal wax to further improve performance.  They last for about one day or less.  They can also be a quick emergency solution when you are on the hill and need more glide. (For further info on different types of waxes see below regarding Fluoro-wax and check out the Tune-Up page on temperature specific waxes)

 

What type of iron should you use: 

For a basic wax job, youíll need to iron the wax into the base as p-tex is a porous material heating it up will allow the wax to be absorbed into it. Irons meant for waxing have a more stable temperature control reducing large temperature fluctuation from occurring and have gradual temperature control in the proper range for melting wax. 

The better wax irons not only have a good temperature holding capability but a smooth rounded edges that allow the iron to move easily along the ski/snowboard base with wax drips on it.  To make this point about temperature stability of an iron when you place an iron onto the dripped wax base to melt the wax the iron plate temperature will drop in temperature.  A household or travel iron may drop as much as 30oC before the thermostat kicks in to heat back up the iron.  A good ski wax iron will drop only 15oC or less to maintain the proper temperature.

You can purchase a proper waxing iron from most good ski stores, but regular clothes irons will also do the job but you just have to be more careful adjusting and keeping the proper temperature. Best not to get the ones with steam holes as it clogs with wax, but if you donít mind that then such irons can also be used if you don't have a ski /snowboard wax iron.

 

Protocols for Waxing: 

Two protocols are included:  The first one uses an iron and the kit components.  It is the fastest and easiest procedure.  The Second procedure is a more involved process that comes very close to a professional wax job that is performed by racers and requires a few additional elements.

 

 Protocol 1: 

The Hot Wax only and make it KISS fast

(using base cleaner to clean base & no need to do any repairs)

 Tools & Materials list

1. A well lighted work area with a table top space

2. Electric Iron

3. Lint free cloth

4. Base Cleaner 1

5. Wax 

6. Plastic Scraper

7. Scotch-brite pad

8. For skis: need brake retainers

9. Two blocks to rest skis or boards when working on them 2

10. Top surface cleaner and polisher

11. Newspaper or plastic sheet or tarp for laying on the floor

 1.  A specific agent that strips wax without harming or drying out the base as well as cleans the base.

 2.  For resting the skis or snowboard to support the ski or board so that the base is facing upwards.   If you are desperate you can use a large box opening to set the ski or board to stacks of books on your kitchen table.  If you have the money you can buy a ski or snowboard vise and a portable wax and tuning table.

 Suggestion: A convenient commercial wax kit is the Hertel Wax kit which you can order from www.hertelwax.com    It has items 4, 5, 6, 7 above to allow you to perform ski waxing at home or on the mountain.   All you have to do is provide for the hot iron.  Kit includes: Five 1 ounce bars of Hertel Super HotSauce snowboard wax), 1 Base Cleaner packet, 1 Top Sauce packet, 1 plastic wax scraper and 1 Scotch Brite buffer.  Or just put a kit together.

Waxing Protocol 1 (KISS fast):

 STEP 1:  Prep base  - Put newspaper or magazines down to catch debris and dripping wax. Put base facing up on your blocks or in your vice to keep it stationary, if you donít have blocks or vice but can find a empty box that is big enough you can set the ski or board across the opening.

Clean the base using the base cleaner wipe. 

   A. Wipe on Wax Remover: Wipe on Base Cleaner rubbing it thoroughly on the base. Leave the wax remover on for a short period of time (short as 15 seconds will work or as directed)

   B.  Rub off with lint free cloth:  Rub off thoroughly with a lint free cleaning cloth.

   C.  After removing the wax remover leave the base to dry for about 15 minutes. It is then ready

STEP 2:  Drip Wax  - Set your iron at low - medium heat (set it to 110 Ė 150 oC. depending on type of wax)  

(If using a home iron here is a guide line: rarely do you need to set the clothing iron for waxing purposes higher than "Cotton Blends".  For regular waxing no higher than "Rayon".  Higher settings above Rayon usually result in excessive wax fumes and potentially smoke from burning wax. Recommend setting the iron between "Acrylic" and "Nylon/Silk". Let the iron warm up for 15 minutes first at this low setting.)

 If the wax smokes you know it's too hot, turn it down.  Once the iron has stabilized and easily melts the wax but does not create smoke you are ready to go on.

Hold iron perpendicular to your board with the pointed side down.  Now, hold your Wax against the iron and let it drip onto the base. As the wax drips, move the iron and wax up and down the base, striping the board 1 to 2 inches at most, apart.

 Time saver: use blue paint tape and tape off sides so that dripped wax wonít get on sides, bindings and top.
Remember, if wax starts smoking turn down your iron and donít breath the fumes.

STEP 3:   Iron  - Now iron the striped wax on your board until base is fully covered. Make sure to keep the iron moving at all times. This soaks the wax deep in the pores of your board. Whatever you do, do not leave iron still on board. No need to press down on the iron.  The weight of the iron is enough pressure.  As long as you have wax between iron and the base the chances of damaging the base is minimized.

Ironing suggestions & hints:

Donít let the iron smoke the wax.  Dial it in so it just melts the wax easily.  Donít scrimp on wax. Better to over load the base with wax than having spotted bare spots that iron makes direct contact with polyethylene base and damages the porosity of it. Always keep a layer of wax between iron and base.   Keep the iron moving slowly from tip to tail moving constantly just slow enough to have a trail of 4 to 6 inches of melted wax trailing the iron.  Minimize any quick back and forth motions with the iron.  Remember you are not ironing a shirt, you are putting a consistent layer of wax into and onto the base.

STEP 4:   Scrape  - Turn off the iron. Wait 10 - 20 minutes or until wax is fully cooled.  The longer you wait the better for the wax to set deeply into the pores of the base. You can even leave it over night to cool down and set. Then grab scraper and scrape off excess starting at the nose and scraping down to tail. Do your best to get as much wax off the surface of the base as possible with your scraper.  What is critical is the wax that remains in the pores and a microthin layer left on the base.

STEP 5:   Buff  - Finally, Scotch Brite or Fibertex the base in the same nose to tail action. This will buff the board and gets any excess still remaining off. Make sure you leave with glossy finish

 Time saver: use a plastic pot scraper sponge to remove any wax dripping or excess wax on metal edge or sides.

Now hit the snow and have a great Ride!

 ___________________

 

Protocol 2

The Hot Wax Pro style

(using Hot Wax Scrape technique to clean base & no need to do any repairs)

This procedure 2 varies from Protocol 1 in the way we clean the base prior to waxing and also more tips on buffing the base.  The Hot Wax Scrape technique cleaning method is preferred by professional race waxers because it does not impart any base cleaner to remain on or in the base and it is believed that this method removes more debris from the baseís polyethylene pores as well as conditions the polyethylene base better than using cleaning solution.

 Tools & Materials list

1. A well lighted work area with a table top space

2. Electric Iron

3. Lint free cloth or fiberlene paper

1.      All-Temperature wax or softer wax or specific waxes for Hot Wax Scrape technique. 1

2.      Copper Brush 2 or Brass Brush or Bronze Brush or Nylon Brush.

6. Wax 3

7. Plastic Scraper

8. Scotch-brite pads or Fibertex

9. Nylon Pot scrubber pad

10. Blue painter tape

9. For skis: need brake retainers

10. Two blocks to rest skis or boards when working on them 4

  Foot notes:

1. All Temperature wax or softer wax  or use a specific base preparation wax for Wax cleaning the base and with the Hot-scrape technique allows the wax to lift out dirt from the pores of the polyethylene base. A specific base preparation wax is usually enriched with molybdenum and penetrates deeply into the base due to the soft wax properties. At the same time it establishes a base foundation.

The base prep wax is great for new bases to get out the factory wax and establish a great base.  Renews old, oxidized or dry bases. Good as a summer storage wax or travel wax.

 2.  Copper Brush: remove any remaining wax, any hardened residue on the base, and dirt after Hot Wax Scrape.  Can also substitute with a brass brush or a nylon brush

 3.  You will need 15 to 20 grams of wax (1/2 oz)  to hot wax a pair of alpine skis for snowboards 25 grams or 3/4 oz.  If you rub and cork in wax it only takes 1/3 this amount (1/6 oz).  (note 30 gm = 1 oz.)

4.  For resting the skis or snowboard to support the ski or board so that the base is facing upwards.   If you are desperate you can use a large box opening to set the ski or board to stacks of books on your kitchen table.  If you have the money you can buy a ski or snowboard vise and a portable wax and tuning table.

 

 Waxing Procedure:

 STEP 1:  Prep base*  - Put newspaper or magazines down to catch debris and dripping wax. Put base facing up on your blocks or in your vice to keep it stationary, if you donít have blocks or vice but can find a empty box that is big enough you can set the ski or board across the opening.

Iron in soft wax. Choose a soft wax to iron on (I use an All-Temp wax or softer bar wax). Drip on wax and iron in. (follow steps 2 and 3 for dripping and ironing)

Scrape off the wax while it is still warm. While the wax is still warm, scrape it off using the Plexi scraper.  Repeat the process if the base is extremely dirty.

When hot scraping, you want the wax to penetrate into the base and cause the dirt to float to the surface. Keep doing a hot scrape until the wax no longer comes off dirty.

Brush out with copper brush. After Hot Scrape Technique waxing, brush the base out thoroughly in the opposite direction (tail to tip) using the copper brush to remove any cleaning wax from the structure. This way if micro polyethylene hairs (fuzz) are produce during the brushing they will lay with the direction of the running base.

Note: copper brush is best  but  a brass brush or a bronze brush or a coarse nylon brush can also be used.  Combo nylon/brass brush are available where you use the brass side for after hot scrape and nylon for polishing. The copper brush is softer and will not create as much micro polyethylene hairs (fuzz) as the brass or bronze brush.

Use a fibertex pad or scotch brite or better yet use a Omni-Prep pad to remove any 'fuzz' created by the brushing. Vigorously wipe the base.

 Note: If hard wax was applied to base: use a base cleaner then wipe off.  Let dry and then brush with a Soft, fine steel for removing any remaining hard waxes. Follow with fibertex or Scotch britepad or better a Omni-Prep pad to remove any micro hairs created by the steel brushing. Then proceed with the Hot Wax Scrape.

 STEP 2:  Drip Wax  - Set your iron at low - medium heat (set it to 110 Ė 150 oC.) If the wax smokes you know it's too hot. Hold iron perpendicular to your board with the pointed side down.  Now, hold your Wax against the iron and let it drip onto the base. As the wax drips, move the iron and wax up and down the base, striping the board 1 to 2 inches at most, apart.

 Time saver: use blue paint tape and tape off sides so that dripped wax wonít get on sides, bindings and top.

STEP 3:   Iron  - Now iron the striped wax on your board until base is fully covered. Make sure to keep the iron moving at all times. This soaks the wax deep in the pores of your board. Whatever you do, do not leave iron still on board. No need to press down on the iron.  The weight of the iron is enough pressure.  As long as you have wax between iron and the base the chances of damaging the base is minimized.

STEP 4:  Scrape   Turn off the iron. Wait 10 - 20 minutes or until wax is fully cooled.  The longer you wait the better for the wax to set deeply into the pores of the base. You can even leave it over night to cool down and set. Then grab scraper and scrape off excess starting at the nose and scraping down to tail. Do your best to get as much wax off the surface of the base as possible with your scraper.  What is critical is the wax that remains in the pores and a microthin layer left on the base.

STEP 5:   Buff  - Finally, Scotch Brite or Fibertex the base in the same nose to tail action. This will buff the board and gets any excess still remaining off. Make sure you leave with glossy finish

Time saver: use a plastic pot scraper sponge to remove any wax dripping or excess wax on metal edge or sides.

Now go out and Ride! Or if you want to do more to your bases read on:

 

.

Additional or Alternative Waxing Steps:

  1.      Restoring base structure

 In many skis and snowboards a base grinder either at the factory or done by a shop provides better glide on different snow conditions.  It is important after you wax the base to expose the structure without losing the micro thin layer of wax.

  Brush the surface wax out of the structure with nylon or horsehair brush.  This clears the moisture channels to break the suction and enhance glide.  Final cleaning of the base with a fine fiber pad (ex. Fibertex) removes excess wax and polishes base for max glide.

 

Take a course Nylon brush and go only from tip to tail  after ďStep 5Ē to expose existing base structure as well as puts grooves in the base that break up suction and allow you to go faster and turn easier.


The Nylon Coarse Brush is an
all-purpose brush for soft and medium waxes for brushing wax out of the structures (base patterns) in ski bases and snowboards after you have used the acrylic scraper to remove the bulk of applied wax and buffed with Scotch Brite or Fibertex . The brush should be used in one direction only: from tip to tail.

After brushing the base with a nylon brush, then a final brush with a horsehair brush to polish the base.   Brush just enough until the amount of wax particulate coming from the base is greatly reduced and most importantly that there is no wax visibly left clinging to the base. Do not over brush as you will actually strip the wax off the base leaving the p-tex exposed.

Final cleaning of the base with a fine fiber pad (ex. Fibertex) removes excess wax and polishes base for max glide. A polishing sweep of the fine fiber pad from tip to tail removes any excess wax removed by the nylon and horse hair brushing and gives a slick finish to the base.

To assure yourself that you have done a proper wax job and left a micro-thin layer of polished wax just spray the base with water from a spray bottle and watch the water bead up on the surface of the base.

 Quick sequence review: Hot scrape, copper brush, omni-pad, wax on, let cool, wax off, Scotch Brite or Fibertex, Nylon brush, finish with long horse hair brush, polish base with a fine fiber pad.

 

Add to list: Nylon brush, a Horsehair brush and a fine fiber pad

 

2. Adding Overlay Contact Wax

If a second wax coat of a temp specific or fluorinated is desired, wait until you scrape off excess from first wax (ďStep 4Ē), then apply 2nd wax coat.

We recommend using a All-Temp or universal wax as the primary wax due to it's wide range of temperature applications. It will work in cold to warm snow.

A second overlay wax can be added on top of the first coat of wax that is more specific to snow condition such as spring wax for moist sticky snow or if faster glide wax is required for racing.

Spring wax:  apply right on top of first coat has been buffed and follow steps 2 to 5.

Fluorinated Waxes for faster glide: Highly fluorinated (negatively charged fluorine atoms) waxes as the second coat help with swing and speed, but wear down faster than All-Temp or universal wax.

Most Fluorocarbon procedures follows:

Step 1. Apply the fluorocarbon rub on wax on over newly waxed ski with application pad and rub.

Step 2. Using a Synthetic Cork or specifically designed fluoro pad rub the Fluorocarbon wax, block or powder. The heat generated by the cork rubbing melts the wax into the base

Step 3. Brush with a horse hair brush or a fine nylon brush (save brushes for fluorocarbon use only)

Step 4. Scrape off any wax on the edges.

 Caution:  Hand wax using synthetic cork or material made for rubbing in Fluorowax.  Avoid using IRON or Flame to melt Fluorowax.  If you burn the wax (cause it to smoke) it will release very toxic fumes that will permanently damage lungs.  Also to melt fluorocarbon waxes and especially 100% fluoro blocks or powders the temperature required is close to that of damaging the polyethylene (p-tex) base.

Fluorocarbon waxes come in different concentrations:  Low-flurocarbon waxes (1.5 to 3%) is used for low humidity snow (when its difficult to pack a snowball), Med-fluorocarbon waxes (3-5%) for med-humidity snow (easier to pack a snowball) and High -fluorocarbon waxes (5-15%) for high humidity snow (real easy to pack a snowball).  The real expensive fluorocarbon waxes can have anywhere from 16% to 100% fluoro. 

Rubbing with synthetic cork generates greater heat than natural cork resulting in a more uniform distribution of the fluoro on the base.  Rubbing on Fluorocarbon wax, powders, and/or blocks with a synthetic cork or specific fluoro pad will generate enough heat to distribute it onto the base without the danger of creating harmful fumes.

For best result when adding med or high fluorocarbons overlay, add first over your base wax a low-fluorocarbon, then overlay with med-fluorocarbon and finally a overlay of high fluorocarbon wax.  This is because fluoro's bond best to fluoro.

100% fluoro come in powders, blocks, liquids and paste forms.

100% fluoro powders and blocks need to be heated such as rubbed with a synthetic cork.  The liquid and paste forms can be wiped on. 

100% fluoro liquid and paste forms are usually layered or the fluorocarbon wax and/or powder or block application.  They are used for ensuring overall base coverage as well as for very wet snow conditions.

Fluorine which is the fluoro is also the key component in Teflonģ, a brand of plastics made by DuPont. Teflon fluoropolymers have names like FEP, PFA, PTFE, etc., in each case the "F" represents the fluorine segment of the compound.

 

For a more detailed wax technique method see bottom section of Tune-up

 

 

Emergency Waxing

When you realize that the equipment under your feet are not moving well, a bit grabby, fighting your turns or just making you work too hard it just maybe there isnít enough wax there. For times like this rub a small bar of wax on the bases every few runs. It's not as good as hot waxing but it's a good temporary fix for a good run or two. The type of wax you can use is either the All temperature wax or the Spring Wax; both are good all-purpose waxes.

When back at the vacation lodge If you can and have the tools and time do this quick fast wax job.  First clean the bottom of the skis with a lint free cloth. then brush the base with a copper brush to remove the remaining old dirty wax.  Now rub the wax on the base as even as possible, then cork the base vigorously, scrape off the wax with an acrylic plastic scrapper.  Then nylon brush it. if you have a horsehair brush then use it as final brush. Now youíre ready to keep on moving for the next day.

If you find a hair dryer then after you copper brush the base, warm up the base with the hair dryer then rub on the wax, then heat the wax with the dryer then cork the base vigorously, scrape off the wax and nylon brush it. if you have a horsehair brush then use it as final brush. Now youíre ready to feel a better longer lasting glide.

 

Final Note

Good waxing is an art and the more you do it the better you will become at creating and having equipment that performs to its upmost.  You will have a much greater time on skis or boards that glide and swing smoothly.  The last thing you want is to fight your equipment to make it do what you want it to.

For more on Waxing, Repair, Tune-up and maintenance see Ski/Snowboard Tune up

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