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Efficient Hot Waxing, Scraping and Brushing

Following, are two videos, a few minutes long, showing various hot waxing techniques, along with minimal scraping and roto-brushing to bang out waxing tasks in little time and with little mess. Not including cooling and hardening time (20 minutes, minimum) the total time involved could be easily under 15 minutes and possibly 10 per pair or snowboard. Using liquid wax, the time could be 5 minutes:
(Note select the ‘HQ’ icon for Higher Quality video.)

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Soldering Iron Base Repair

While skiing or riding challenging terrain or sparse snow coverage, it’s inevitable that your bases will get dinged. Core shots need to be sealed and protected, Gouges need to be filled to keep your bases running smooth.

The days of burning ptex candles are over. A weld is a far superior repair option. The use of a soldering iron and base welding materials is a quick and effective option for the DIYer.

Base repair tools and supplies can be found here.

(Note select the ‘HQ’ icon for Higher Quality video.)

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Basic Ergo Razor Side Wall Planer Instructions

Side wall removal is necessary to allow the edge cutting tools to cut or polish the edges. If you are seeing plastic in your files or stones, it’s time for you to remove the side wall where the top of the side edge meets the side of your boards (see image upper left). The SkiMan Ergo Razor Side Wall Planer works basically the same as variations and it’s cousins branded under several ski and snowboard tuning tool companies.

If disassembled, simply put the post in the hole in the planer body and tighten with the knob or included hex wrench so it looks like this:

You can flip the direction of the blade for pulling on the left or right side. The knob also controls the in and out location of the blade to position it relative to where the edge meets the side wall. The two screws on top are for setting the height. The blade should just skim/plane the side wall in thin slices. Adjust deeper as needed and as you use repetitive strokes. If it skips, it’s cutting too much and you need to back off.

The blade post can accept either a round blade or a rounded square for optimal planing depending on side wall shape. The hex wrench can be used to replace or rotate the blade to a fresher and sharper cutting edge.

After planing you may wish to touch up the planed area with a fine file, sandpaper and/or tex pad.

For more side wall planing and cutting tips, see: Planing and Cutting Back SideWalls.

Updated: 4/7/13 for additional information.

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Hanging Burr


After performing base grinds, machined edge sharpening or hand side edge sharpening with a file, a hanging burr can be formed which may feel like a razor sharp corner. This can create hooking of the edge and unexpected edge action. Removing the burr is necessary and and easy final edge tuning step.

Burr detail

By placing a hard stone on the base edge, and run along it, the burr can be knocked off and the edge corner polished smooth. A rubber abrasive (dressing, grinding rubber or gummi stone can follow to smooth the sharp corner further.

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Edge Tuning-So Easy even an Adult Can Do It

The following ‘in process’ school video project may provide you and others with visual aids and another perspective on diamonds, files and edge tuning. The edge tools used in this video can be found here.

For those parents whose teenager knows more than you do for all things technical, here is:

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Planing and Cutting Back SideWalls


While sharpening and polishing side edges and in order to cut the metal side edge only, the sidewall material needs to be planed or back-filed. Otherwise the cutting tool will get clogged with the sidewall material and reduce the efficiency and possibly the accuracy of the desired bevel.

A Sidewall Planer with a round carbide blade or bit will remove a nice, clean fillet along the edge which can be further sanded to smooth out any irregularities and provide a smooth surface.

Here’s a clip from the SVST Tuning & Waxing DVD on SideWall Planing:

As a specialized tool, it can be a bit pricey for the casual tuner, however. A viable alternative is to use an adjustable multi-angle guide or a dedicated edge guide with a short panzer or coarse file to cut back the sidewall so the diamond, stone or file cutting tools are not obstructed.
The Tools4Boards Razor or Xact work very well as multi-angled tools when set from 5° to 6°. So do dedicated edge guides of 5°/85°/95° to 7°/83°/97°.

The T4B Razor is shown


1) Position of the panzer or coarse file in Razor to just get past the sidewall:

2) Side view of 5° peg position and tilted razor beyond the edge and contact with the sidewall.

3) Side view of file on sidewall.

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Base Structure


The objective of structuring is to impart grooves into the base material. This removes suction that a perfectly smooth base would produce, especially in wetter snows. The structure also channels water that is produced by the friction between the ski or snowboard base and the snow. A finer structure is desired in colder snows as it holds the smaller amount of water longer and helps the glide. Changing the structure frequently is not practical and should be done relative to major trends in the snow temperatures and time of year.

Shop base grinds with a precision machine and reliable operator can reestablish base flatness and level base edges in addition to imparting a uniform base structure. This may be your best option if your bases have had a lot of repairs, the base is out of true and numerous other reasons. The downside is that base grinds remove base material and will eventually wear down the bases. Any build up of an optimal glide from frequent waxing will also be removed and need to be recreated over time and numerous wax cycles.

Here’s a riller bar, used as a gauge, and a new ski’s factory base structure:
The home tuner can easily impart or abrade base structure with minimal base removal after base repairs, change of snow temps/season with a variety of structuring options. Coarse sandpaper, stiff metal/brass brush, Ski Visions Base Structuring tool, coarse file edge or rilling bar. Care needs to be taken to not trash the edges while structuring. Abrading the bases with coarse sandpaper, wire brushes, riller bar, saw teeth, files, etc definitely need to be cleaned up with finer sandpaper, fiber pads, scraper, etc to get rid of the ‘hairies’ and rough spots. This will reduce the initial structure depth and base impact.

After hot waxing and scraping or liquid wax applications, the structure needs to be ‘freed’ and polished to optimize the glide by brushing. Occasionally, rigorous brushing with a stiff metal brush is encouraged to freshen the structure and general cleaning.

Update: Monday, November 3, 2008 – 05:22 PM

A typical follow up question: for the cold mid-winter snow, what’s your advice for getting back a less aggressive/less coarse texture to handle the harder,dryer snow from the more aggressive/coarse spring texture I created??

Getting a base grind is the ‘correct’ method of getting your new structure and flattening your base, followed by any edge needed edge work and multiple wax cycles to resaturate the base. Perform any base repairs first.

If inclined to to do it yourself, simple DIY options (while using common sense) to reduce the structure include:
1) scraping with a sharp metal scraper or skiver
2) flat filing with a panzer/body, multicut or super coarse
3) sanding, followed by nylon fiber pad and freshening with a wire brush and/or a fine toothed rilling bar
4) using a Ski Visions base flattener and structuring tool with medium or fine structure

Preceding any of the above with a base cleaner/wax remover could be considered, but depending on how much base material removal really needed (possibly negligible), you might be better off not removing wax unless it becomes obvious. This way, you have fewer wax cycles to get your bases resaturated.

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Wax Application: Hot Waxing Basics

Cleaning and regularly waxing your bases is the most common and easiest ski and snowboard maintenance task. It will protect your boards and optimize the glide and turns.


Basic Hot Waxing Steps:
1) Bring the skis or snowboard to room temperature if possible.
2) Place the board(s) on a good work surface that can secure them for scraping.
3) Clean the bases with base cleaner or hot scraping.
4) Drip, crayon, hot touch & crayon or hot touch iron smear solid wax onto clean and dry base. Less wax requires less scraping, brushing & mess to clean up.
5) While keeping the iron moving, spread and melt the wax evenly over the entire base. A trail of liquid wax should just follow the iron.
6) Work the wax in again to assure coverage
7) Let the wax cool and harden for a minimum of 30 minutes.
8) Scrape wax down to base with a sharp plexi scraper to an even, thin film.
9) Free the base structure by brushing out the micro-grooves/structure of the bases and polish to a nice sheen with manual or roto brushes (or both).
10) Clean up the mess and then go glide fast and make smoother turns!

However you wax your boards, be sure to clean the bases very well and pay attention to structuring to reduce suction for better slide, especially in wetter conditions. The Maplus liquids and sprays will achieve a higher level of saturation and durability than hot waxing with solid waxes by simply applying and rubbing in with cork or felt. Saving lots of time and effort, they are easier to apply and control amounts, less or no scraping or brushing is necessary for high performance. For optimal performance, add heat by moving a iron down the ski or snowboard, over a saturation. After at least 10 minutes and the wax has hardened, polish the excess wax with horsehair or nylon brush to expose the structure. When waxing, realize that you are trying to get the wax into the base, not on the base. Scraping and brush polishing removes the excess and exposes the base structure.

-We recommend cleaning the ski or snowboard bases with Maplus detergents and then applying a hot Maplus Racing Base after each race or after preparing the ski or snowboard bases and edges.
-All traces of basic wax must be thoroughly removed before applying racing wax: scrape off the wax and then brush and polish thoroughly.
-If you clean the ski or snowboard bases with a detergent immediately before applying racing wax, we recommend heating the wax so the detergent can evaporate completely.

-We recommend the following iron temperatures to melt Maplus ski or snowboard waxes:

-120°C (248°F): Universal;
-130°C (266°F): (Soft – Soft Graphite)Racing Base, (P1-P2-P3) Hot;
-140°C (284°F): (P1-P2-P3) Med; Race Base Medium
-150°C (302°F): (P1-P2-P3) Cold;
-160°C (320°F): (Hard – Hard Graphite)Racing Base, P4.

If used improperly, the waxing iron can damage the ski or snowboard construction.

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Hot Touch Crayoning & Smearing Wax

To save time, wax and mess while hot waxing solids, Hot Touching is better than dripping and then ironing, especially with harder, cold waxes.

Hot Touching & Crayoning uses the least amount of solid wax, total effort, time and is the least messy. By briefly touching a bar of wax against the base of a hot waxing iron, the wax softens and is easier to apply to the base by crayoning a section of a ski or board at a time. When the crayoning becomes less effective, repeat the hot touch and crayoning until the base has a reasonably even and thin coat of wax. Then make several passes with the iron to liquify and evenly spread the wax over and into the base.

(If you are concerned with a hot iron and a very thin layer of wax on your base, using a sheet of teflon between will protect the base and make for smoother ironing.) Let cool & harden, scrape and brush. The scrapings will be minimal compared to drip/hot waxing and scraping.

Hot Touching and Smearing is similar to Crayoning. The difference is after touching the wax bar to the base, you smear the wax onto the base with the iron. This can be somewhere in between the dripand crayoning methods in both technique and amount of wax applied.

Following hot touching and smearing with a light hot scrape or fiberlene between base and iron can be comparable to crayoning requiring minimal scraping and brushing.

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Light Hot Scraping

A ‘cheat’ to include in your bag of tricks if you are in a hurry, got over zealous dripping wax while hot waxing or simply wish to reduce time, effort and mess while scraping after the wax cools and hardens, etc, is Light Hot Scraping.

After the wax cools for a minute or two, take a sharp plexi-scraper, held with even, light to moderate pressure at a 60° (+/-) angle towards you and pull down the full length of your ski or snowboard.

This should leave a relatively even, thin and smooth coat of wax.

You may also notice that the resultant semi-warm and moist scraping contains dirt, old wax or other deleterious materials, depending on prior steps.

Follow the scraping with a pass or two with your iron to re-liquify the wax and to assure that the scraping didn’t pull out the wax from the base. Let cool and harden, then scrape normally to remove the remainder and brush to free the structure. The scraping time and mess should be substantially reduced.

This is contrary to conventional wisdom and practices where hot scraping is typically a separate step with a soft wax than the application of the wax of the day. Basically, Light Hot Scraping combines the two techniques into one. It also can be additionally helpful when applying hard, cold temperature waxes, where the scraping and brushing requires much more time and effort.

Since the objective of hot waxing is to deliver wax into the base and NOT onto the base, it’s hard to imagine that this procedure would reduce the durability or performance of a given wax versus conventional practices, but it may take some experimenting to see if there is a noticeable difference or downsides, relative to ones personal goals or needs.

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