Wax Iron vs Clothes Iron


The clothes iron has always been used as a low cost method for melting and applying wax to ski & snowboard bases. An amusing irony regarding tools versus gear, is that many skiers will go to great lengths and expense to purchase performance ‘tools’ for their feet, and great lengths to spend very little for 2nd and 3rd rate tools for their hands to take care of their expensive gear, trashed day in and day out. I’ve been no different, but once you use a nice tool, irons a case in point, and realize it’ll do a better job, in less time, it’s hard to go back.

-If it’s only about cost, a conventional iron will work OK, but requires extra time, steps and attention to making sure the holes don’t retain old wax. While still warm, use a lint free towel to draw out wax and do it a again when you fire up for the next waxing.
-Wrapping with tin foil or filling the holes with JB Weld and smoothing is an option for some.
-If it doesn’t have an accurate thermostat, you’ll be guessing. If it’s smoking, it’s too hot.
-Likely end game going cheap is it’ll end up in the land fill and you’ll buy a better one later.
-Fiber pads work great for cleaning iron bases

-Better is a conventionally shaped iron without the holes, with an accurate thermostat, but still has an edge that scrapes the wax.

-Best is an iron with an “Arc” shaped iron plate which allows wax to flow to the center of the iron reducing waste and overflow with an accurate thermostat and a thick sole plate to retain consistent heat and evenly distribute wax.

Different waxes have different temperature requirements and work best when applied with recommended temperature settings.
.Many feel using a clothes iron is a Really Bad Idea, whether it’s a new or old iron. Basically, you really have no idea what temperature you’re getting, so you risk either burning the bases or not getting enough heat to get the desired wax saturation. Additionally, a clothes iron has a much broader temperature swing whereas a dedicated wax iron as much tighter temperature tolerances. You’re paying hundreds of $$$ for skis…why subject them to a cheap iron?

It can also be not hot enough and be as effective if you are too conservative guessing the temperature. Defeats the purpose somewhat if not getting complete liquefaction and flow.

Can you accurately (or care enough) to set the temperatures in this range for instance:
-We recommend the following iron temperatures to melt Maplus ski or snowboard waxes:
-120°C: Universal;
-130°C: (Soft – Soft Graphite)Racing Base, (P1-P2-P3) Hot;
-140°C: (P1-P2-P3) Med; Race Base Medium
-150°C: (P1-P2-P3) Cold;
-160°C: (Hard – Hard Graphite)Racing Base, P4.
If used improperly, the waxing iron can damage the ski or snowboard construction.

One method gauge iron temperature is whether or not the wax smokes when touched to the iron. Generally, if it’s smoking, it’s too hot for the wax and possibly the base. Never let the iron sit for any length of time on the base and keep it moving. Using a teflon sheet between iron and base helps to protect the base. Using a lint free fiber towel between base and iron can also provide some protection and draw off excess was to reduce scraping.