FAQs and General Info
For training USA mountain troops in 1941. In this segment, we learn how to choose the proper ski length, how to choose and take care of boots, how to adjust bindings, how to care for ski edges and ski bottoms. Alan Ladd is one of the recruits.
This clip from the Classic Film: The Basic Principles of SkiingContinue Reading »
There is a school of thought that base cleaners/wax removers should never be used on the ski bases and hot scraping is the only method to employ for cleaning ski and snowboard bases. The thinking is cleaners will dry out the bases and destroy the wax saturation level and optimal glide achieved through repetitive wax cycles.
There seems to be some old wives tales at work when it comes to the debate over using cleaners vs. hot scraping with a soft wax. From a technical standpoint sintered bases are basically inert and do not bond well with anything. The surface of the base in contact with the snow is amorphous and random in nature. Structuring the base creates lines in the base material and establishes a pattern, but the underlying material is still amorphous and random.
Wax (or base cleaner for that matter) only penetrates a very small amount into the base, about 15 microns and only where random voids exist. 15 microns is a very small measurement (1% or so of base thickness~15 to 20 microns is about 0.0006 to 0.0008 inch). How can base cleaner possibly “dry out” the base if it only penetrates 15 microns? The answer quite simply is it doesn’t. Base cleaner, or at least Maplus base cleaner is basically detergent dissolved in a solvent. The solvent almost entirely evaporates and the detergent works to properly clean the base. When you take your dirty car to a car wash do you wax it first or clean it with detergent and then wax it? I’ve tried both and the later definitely seems to work better.
A distinction should be made between paraffin and perfluorinated waxes. A specific base cleaner called Fluorclean should be used to remove perfluorinated waxes as it is designed to remove all traces of fluorine from the base. Hot scraping at best blends new wax with a combination of old wax and contaminants in the old wax. I admit you will notice some contaminants being drawn out of the base when hot scraping if the base is dirty, but the iron is not a magnet and does not magically remove all contaminants using wax as a conduit. Residual wax left on the base after hot scraping will still have undesirable stuff in it.
Additionally, duration and type of cleaners can be employed judiciously to expedite and provide clean bases, ready for the next coat of wax. The longer a wax remover or solvent sits on the base, the more it can cut into the wax and any contaminates. Also, a more aggressive cleaner can also be used to remove the surface contaminants in little time and use of materials while eliminating the hot scraping steps and mess. Diluted (1:5) household cleaners like Simple Green can provide adequate cleaning. Biodegradable citrus based cleaners can be great options for cleaning the base and removing wax when harsher solvent based cleaners are not needed or desired. For base repairs, base cleaners are necessary, coupled with some sanding and cutting of the base material.
So, back to the original question. The best way to clean the bases is the method that is best for you, your preferences, time available, costs or beliefs: either hot scraping, base cleaner or a combination. If you are concerned about base cleaner remnants on the base, you can also hot scrape afterwards or simply wipe off with water.
A caveat to keep in mind is that skis and snowboards tend to run better and faster after more wax cycles and time on the snow. So, more aggressive cleaning would require more wax cycles to optimize the glide than a less aggressive, more topical cleaning.Continue Reading »
Like any cutting tool, you need to keep sharp for quicker, easier & better results. Why waste the material and just toss them when they can be used for years. Having a few sharpened scrapers around is also nice when you have a lot of scraping.
A plexi-scraper works best when it’s edge is straight and smooth and the corners are sharp without burrs or jagged areas. Very much like wood, plastic can be cut and formed with a variety of methods and tools to achieve desired results:
1) A dedicated scraper sharpening guide with a file, ceramic cutters or a carbide blade.
2) Setting up a 90° dedicated or multi-angled side edge guide with a panzer or very coarse file.
3) A large, flat or panzer file secured to a bench or in a bench vise
4) Power tools: belt sander, jointer, router table, etc
5) Coarse sandpaper or drywall screen on flat surface
6) Securing a plexi-scraper in a bench vise and quickly scraping edge with sharp metal scraper
7) Or: Ski (also Snowboard) Scraper Sharpener with carbide bit for long life and fast reliable edges for production scraping and convenience.
Edited: 9/1/11Continue Reading »
For those who grew fond of the Maplus Universal (Green) and Universal Hot (White) solid waxes in the past can rest assured that the formula, glide and durability is the same, but the colors changed over the past season.
Maplus Universal (Green) is now Briko-Maplus Universal (Red)
Maplus Universal Hot (White) is now Briko-Maplus Universal Hot (Yellow)
This is also true for the Universal Fluoro and Universal Fluoro Hot series.
Economical Universal wax. -15 to 0 degrees C (5 to 32 degrees F) and above.
Universal (red) hard, high melt paraffin snow temperature -15 to -5 degrees C. Ideal as initial base prep wax when snow temperature is cold or snow is abrasive ie. man-made snow.
Universal Hot (yellow) soft, medium melt-point paraffin glide wax for saturation and protection of ski and snowboard bases. Ideal as an initial base prep wax when snow temperature is warm, as a first wax after stone grinding base and hot scraping. Snow temperature -5 to 0 degrees C.Continue Reading »
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:Continue Reading »
Measuring and cutting climbing skins can be easily facilitated and more convenient by securing the ski to a vise. With the ski secure, attach the tail as directed by the manufacturer and pull towards the tip to measure the bend at the tip bale in place. Cut the excess and peel back and cut off 12″ (30cm) or so of the backing with the trimming tool. Lay the tip section on the ski base to assist the tracing of your tip template.
Pull back the tip section, leaving an inch or so to keep the skin attached to the ski to help trimming the tip. Once the tip is trimmed, peel off the remaining backing and pull from tip to tail and lay the skin down, centered on the ski, and secure the tail clasp.
If trimming to fit a shaped ski, apply reasonable pressure to the side of the cutting tool against the ski edge with a finger while slowly and continually running down the length of the ski, trimming the skin to match the ski profile. Disengage the tail clasp & pull upward with the skin tip secure, and lay it back down on the ski, with the trimmed edge 1/4″ (6.4 mm) from the edge onto the base. Repeat the trimming process on the untrimmed edge. After it is trimmed, reposition the skin on ski. You should see equal edge exposed on either side of the skin.
Rub on bar wax to increase glide and reduce ice build-up. Paste wax or spray-on may also be used if you are at room temperature, but bar wax may be more practical when out and needing to reapply. The paste wax or spray may cover more of the skin fibers than a rub on will providing a little more waterproofing and coverage and might be worth some experimenting.Continue Reading »