To wax at resort or not to wax at resort
Each year I leave my skis at ski chalet for a couple of weeks for a wax and edge sharpening.
The results are great, but I wondered if anyone had opinions on the ski wax services you can usually purchase for $5 at the resorts. It seems like a good deal, is there a particular reason why I shouldn't do this? Thanks.
the $5 waxing is usally a quick wax, as opposed to a hot wax wiht an iron. Quick wax is not scraped or corked in. It doesn't really absorb into bases, its sorta a quick and dirty way to do it if you need wax. A hot ironed wax is better as the wax penetrates the base and is scraped off after it cools. This costs slightly more at local resorts. It also takes longer (at least 45 minutes).
Also - i've heard many sporadic complaints about the "quickie" tune jobs. Most of the complaints have to do with either the edges being too sharp (tip & tail), or the skiis being edge high (concave). Either of these 2 lead to a pair of skiis which don't turn nicely.
But - on the other hand - I have heard plenty of good things about those quicky tunes from the same locations.
My point is - buyer beware. If you do this - I'd be sure to keep a pocket diamond file on you to de-tune your tips & tails if necessary.
[This message has been edited by jimmer (edited 01-06-2004).]
I thought current ski sidecut design, i.e. shaped skis, didn't need to be detuned tip and tail?
Well, I think what I'm most concerned about is that they will do some sort of damage to my skis.
How often would be reasonable for one of these tunes? I have only been skiing a few times this year, but the last time I got a few scrapes on the bottom from thin cover. I am going on a trip to NH in Feb and figured the next time I go skiing in this area I would have them done so they would be ready for NH.
jeeden - You might try to learn how to wax yourself! It's really not hard at all, you just need an iron (like a travel iron with no holes in the bottom for steam) or you could buy one from the ski shop. I like to wax actually it makes for a nice meditative activity. What I do is every season I get a full tune, and then wax and touch it up every two or three uses.
While it is possible to do a true carved turn without ANY skidding on skiis that are razor sharp tip to tail - that's only good for the 1% or so of the time we ski like that (when we toss all Rotary motion out the door & only tip the skiis from one side to the other). Most of the time - we are still actually skidding the tips & tails while carving the mid's.
I don't know of anything you could do to test this theory except to have your edges sharpened razor sharp tip to tail & take them for a spin. You'll notice this more in the softer snow than on the harder "packed powder" found on other days...
Also - I have to agree with Crush... learn to do it yourself. If you don't sharpen the edges & only do a wax job, it can be very quick. I can knock out 2 pairs of skiis in 30 minutes from getting the tools/vices out to turning off the lights.
Then - you get to be more picky on your wax choices instead of the cheap stuff used by the shops.
Ok, coming in way late to the discussion.. But this is a topic near and dear to my heart -- tunning & waxing. I'm hardly a tune-freak or anything, but what I want is something close to the out-of-box tune I had from the factory (K2). This turns out, in my estimation, to be hard to get. I even emailed K2 customer service to ask for a shop recommendation for the DC area and they kindly said "we don't do that sort of thing..." (more or less) I was pretty dissappointed really. The only thing I did learn is my skis come with a 1x1 bevel from the factory and that's their recommendation for tuning. Recently I took my K2s to Ski Chalet mainly because I had gift certificate to use up. Although they were VERY nice and helpful, they initially told me they had no idea what bevel their machine was set to, and didn't know what K2 recommended. After a bit of prodding, they finally said they *definitely* do a 1x1 bevel for me and re-do the bottoms. The bottoms were in fact redone nicely (they even gave me a tour of the equipement which was cool) EXCEPT that some deep cuts in the "ptex" below the top layer didn't get filled in and they are still visible throught the top glossy/clear plastic layer. This should have NO effect on anything and is of cosmetic importantance only -- and that's not that important really considering this is the bottom of the ski. The edges were 1x1, I measured this with a tool I have. However, they told me they were only able to sharpen one of the two sides of edge so in fact, they didn't sharpen the skis as much as I wanted. Nonetheless they WERE sharper than when I brought them in. I felt they did as good as job as they could considering their set up, so this is NOT a complaint. BUT if you are going to be a bit nitpicky, then perhaps you would want to consider another shop that is set up for more than just a general tune-up. 2 yrs ago or so I took a completely different pair of skis to Washingon Ski Center and they did a very nice job cleaning them up, fixing the bottom ptex and sharpening them. But I bent those skis, and in between that time and now have only taken my K2s to a local place near where I live. This shop is small but the owner has been nice and answered all my questions and did one quick tune ONCE. He did keep the 1x1 bevel and they were ultra sharp but I felt he knocked the tips and tails down too much for my tastes. Once again, I feel that I must emphasize that in no way do I feel that this makes one hoot of difference in my skiing in general. Although I will say that DULL edges are VERY NOTICEABLE on icy-hard pack conditions overall... but I am not refering to that, simply the amount of knock-back on the tips/tails. Ok, so somewhat frustrated I purchased my OWN tune-up kit from swix which seemed to be a complete waste with only the vaguest of instructions included. Then I bought a bevel tool from reliableracing (www.reliableracing.com). It takes 3 inch diamond files and one can set the bevel in .5 degree increments. This again does not seem to work as well as I had invisioned. The PROBLEM seems to be the plastic that slightly overlaps the top of the side edge and the ptex next to the bottom edge. In essence when I use it, I rub too plastic and the metal to diamond file contact is not so good. Although it does SHARPEN a bit, it doesn't seem to do it enough for my tastes. FINALLY after talking about this to my local ski shop guy again, he said, "Well [idiot], bring all that stuff in and I'll show you how to use it..." Which I thought was nice, although I have not taken him up on it yet.
AS FOR WAXING -- I wax my own skis. I use the generic temp block wax (also from reliable racing), and melt the stuff onto a hot iron (kmart) and drip it onto my bases. I then rub the wax spots down in a circular motion with just enough heat to melt the stuff good without smoking or burning. This work fine as far as I can tell, then I let it dry and use a plastic straightedge to clear away the excess. Then I BUFF it a bit...
FOR MOST snow conditions this produces a noticable gliddy effect. However if it is QUITE cold and if the snow is dry my skis squeak when moving in say the lift line. I have been told this is a sure sign the wax is the "wrong" temp... Also I'm suspicious in wet & sloppy snow I could have a better 'wet' rated wax on there too. For me, I live too far, and I am simply too lazy to do this slope side early AM. It's not worth it to me. BUT it might be worth it to try a rub on wax overtop my base "general temp" wax slopeside to better match the conditions. I may try this next year. Other than that for the non-racer that's not after a second here and there, it seems that a good general temp wax every couple of times you go is both easy to do, convenient time wise, and more or less produces slidier skis. Ok, well, thanks for reading this rather longwinded post!
KevR - What you need for your edges are 1 deg. bevel guides for both the side & bottom which you can clamp a file to. I have the plastic adjustable thing w/ the diamond stone and it doesn't work worth a damn (for me).
I have also been told that you shouldn't do the bottoms as often as the sides.
Does your iron have steam holes in it?
I've skied locally here about 12 times this year and all but the CV day at -3 degrees was acceptable to me using Swix LF6 (blue). I really squeaked that day. I use this as my general purpose wax. I also iron with a $7 WalMart iron with steam holes (unfortunetly). I used a thermometer to try to calibrate. The iron edges were also filed to round them and keep them from catching on the dripped wax.
Found an old can of liquid wax made in europe in my garage the other day.It has a sponge head.Does anybody know anything about the stuff?As far as edging we rec skiers do this far to often.Usually all we need is a hot wax.If you are a racer or an extremly aggresive skier of course you should keep your edges done all the time.All us others are just prematurely wearing our skis out.snowy luau at Timberline this weekend!
Nothing except they sell it at www.reliableracing.com...
I'd imagine it is wax suspended in some sortof solvent that then air dries at room temperature, the leaving the wax residue. From there, scrap & buff... ???
Yeah, I could go that route with the file bevels. BUT files take an AWFUL lot of metal off. I have also fantasized about creating my own electric edger using an electric grinder and some sort of home brew mounting systems -- but due to the side cut, I think this might be trickier than it seems.
Anyway, as for wax, I was thinking of trying that NOTWAX teflon stuff which should not care about temp much at all Id think. Claims you can put it right over wax, so I'd probably put down my base wax as a protector and then apply the not-wax. The not-wax folks say its good for 15 applications... so maybe i'll get 2 cans and give it a try. As for my iron, yes, it's a regular household iron. It has steam holes. I bought it at Kmart for ... I dunno, it was the cheapest one. I only use it for waxing. The wax doesn't seem to get into the holes though and I keep the setting such that the wax doesn't smoke which seems enough to liquify and cover well using a circular motion to spread it out. I have used a regular ski wax iron too, seemed ok also. After it cools I removed the excess but scraping a plastic straight edge down the length of the skis.
Now that it is squishy try using Zardoz not-wax .. teflon-based and it screams on wet snow ! And I am not saying that b/c I use to race for team Zardoz but b/c it works!!!!!!!
KeVR- If you're getting plastic problems, then the tool is either set to the wrong angle, or you need an edge skyver tool, also available from Reliable and other suppliers like Tognar.
The diamond stones take material off _very_ fast, so I generally only make 10 passes with each stone in the series. One of the tricks to make them work is to use a cutting fluid on the stone. The stone mfgs recommend water; I've used blue Windex and isopropanol with more success, specifically to avoid edge rusting. Spread it onto the stone with a toothbrush, cleaning it once every 3-4 strokes. You will be _amazed_ at how much material actually comes off.
The Zardoz stuff _is_ temp dependent, but much more humidity dependent. LF6 is GREAT for fresh snow around here; I use LFG6 for graphite bases- do, however, keep in mind that a fluorinated base will not accept regular wax as readily! It is good to have the Zardoz cleaner along with the Zardoz puck, for example.
Andy, I would find some way to dispose of that old stuff- the solvents are extremely volatile, and the wax really isn't that good, among other things because the coat it leaves is porous from the organic carrier escaping. You can do much better just by rubbing on a solid stick of wax and corking it in.
I have 4 tubes and a handheld plastic container of c.a. 1980 Toko sponge wax, and I can't wait for one of the county's hazmat collection days.
rmcva, LF6 is actually slower than CH6 in super-low humidity situations, such as old cold snow in Colorado. Of course, you only run your skis flat on the cattracks, so it doesn't matter, huh?
Forgot to say:
One advantage of stones to files is that they do not leave burrs- no need to Arkansas or gummi stone the edge before waxing.
As to rec skiers sharpening too much- well, if you rely on hard edge sets to control speed then it is likely you will dull your edges faster too.
jimmer- don't forget it is possible to finesse the tip pressure and change the radius of a carved turn thereby.
EVERYONE WHO IS DETUNING THE TIPS AND TAILS OF THEIR SIDECUT SKIS, try this instead:
Using -light- pressure, set your Arkansas stone (oiled, remember?) or gummi against the edge and parallel to it. Using -light- pressure, run it along the entire edge, holding the stone parallel to the edge. Make 2 passes on the base and 2 on the side for each edge.
The idea behind this is to knock down or remove the burr created by filing or high-speed grinding. You are not trying to actually sharpen the edge, merely remove a flexible bit of metal hanging off of it like a hangnail. Detuning the tips and tails only removes the front and rear sections of the burr, leaving that "quickie tune" feeling squirelly.
Ahhh, one vote for a Skyver tool. I was thinking the same thing but then got frustrated with whole affair. Plus, to name what is essentially a PLANE tool, a "skyver" kinda tweaked me the wrong way. It's just A PLANE. In fact, I toyed with the idea of getting one of my planes out and trying it, except I don't have any but I know people that do! :-)
Good idea on the lubricants I think, although I'd never of thought of anything except either water or maybe a light cutting oil perhaps...
It's a plane of sorts, yes. The depth of cut is adjustable to just miss the steel edge, the cutting angle is just right to peel off plastic, the blades are replaceable, and the running surface is shaped to fit into ski sidecut.
I don't know of any wood planes that meet the above criteria, but if you want to experiment . ..
Drop me a line sometimes next season if you haven't solved that pesky edge prob. Drop me a line sooner if you have friends with Lie-Nielsen #6 or larger scrub planes also willing to let you borrow them . ..
USING OIL ON DMT AND SIMILAR STONES WILL BUILD UP A GLAZE AND RENDER THEM USELESS.
Forgot to ask, KevR, in all the typing fury: which side of the edge are you having trouble with hitting plastic? If it is on the base side, then it is quite possible that your bases are not flat but base-high.
A skyver tool is not indicated for this, more a stonegrind (or a pansar file, if you're adventurous).
You sir ARE CORRECT. My bases are "base high" a bit I think. I realized this when I got the edger tool. The side bevel has a little excess perhaps that I tried to knock down with a rouch panzer "cutting file"... it wasn't clear that I'd done enough but it's the bottom that gives the real problem. Well I found the FK-SKS website and they have some cool tools. the NEW SKS edge sharpner looks really cool and better than that little thing I bought. The planers are out at Reliable Racing. Still I think this a bit tricky really. the skis should be mounted such that whatever is going to plane them flat should not follow the pre-existing contours of bottom. A hand planer will follow any contours of the ski and Iam not so sure get the bottoms "flat" in relation to the top of the ski properly ...http://www.fktools-us.com/
This happens quite a bit, especially with miniskis. Don't waste your money buying more edging tools- you need those bases flat (unless you're skiing some Atomics which are slightly different). The tool shown here, by Skivisions: Tognar base tool
is the one I would prefer to use to get this correct. (Absent a good stonegrind, that is). What this will do is knock the bases down to a median between the edges.
Cheapskate solution #1:
Buy a 10" long pansar file and a piece of steel threaded pipe of the same length. Duct tape the pipe to one side of the file, and use the opposite side to file the base down, keeping both hands on the pipe.
Cheapskate solution #2:
Wrap 120-grit silicon carbide paper around rigid pipe, tape edges. Sand away, keeping both hands on pipe with even pressure. This will take longer than #1.
Unless you're getting a lot of edge burn, you shouldn't need to do this more than once a season.
Polish with Scotchbrite after either treatment. Proceed to set edge angle.
Thanks for the heads up. The skivisions looks like a promising tool. It's a plane essentially for flatting the bottom of your ski. BUT I still think doing it by hand is going to make it tough to get the bottom flat in relation to the top where you stand (the binding area) which is what you want right? Although in truth, the small variations are likely not noticable when skiing. It's just the principle of the thing...
TO BE honest, thinking of planes, I have wondered if anyone had thought of using an electric PLANER type tool... remember these things from wood shop?
Here's a spiffy picture of one: http://www.mytoolstore.com/makita/mak03-06.html
Anyway, obviously it would not work out of the box, but that's the BASIC idea of what you *really* want I suppose (i think) ?
Interesting thinking KevR, but something like that is very much likely to be overkill, not to say somewhat of a white elephant.
Problems I foresee, in increasing order of importance:
- It is a -thickness- planer. Skis generally aren't of uniform thickness, never mind the problem of negotiating bindings.
- The blades on these things are notoriously sensitive to hardened objects, as the folks who make and sell little magnetic probes to be used to find random nails and things in lumber know and rely on for a living. I believe your proposal would involve some edge contouring at least, and the moment a wood-chipping blade hits an edge. . .
- I do not believe the standard plane of reference should be at the topsheet of the ski at all. If you look at the Dynastar website, for example, at the Exclusive 8, you will see that the company intentionally offsets the topsheet with respect to the bases. (Internal ramp angle).
Let us consider the BOTTOM of the core as a standard plane of reference, though. Ideally, the base should be of a given thickness relative to this. The edges are fastened directly to this plane. They are the hardest thing on the ski. They therefore provide the best guide short of sonar, magnetic resonance or other non-destructive probing of where exactly the core is under all that black plastic.
So, short of all those probing methods, a median height between the edges is assumed to be reasonably parallel to the core. We then set the edges relative to that median.
Could this be substantially off? I suppose it could, if one edge was -substantially- and -consistently- (tip to tail). higher than the other.
What, then, is the prime mechanism making sure neither we nor the shop unwittingly build in 1-3 degrees of cant (tilt in the roll plane), wreaking havoc on our knees and hips?
I don't know- haven't thought about it, or the similar problem of misaligned binding bridges for stone grinding.
I suspect that the answer is in the "consistently" part. Since all our tools deal with only a little section of ski length at a time, we are more likely to notice mistakes as apparent "twist" in the result.
I think we basically agree... to summarize.
Imagine the place the foot/boot connects to the ski as a surface, let us call this the "foot plane"...
Now imagine the ski on a perfectly flat surface under load -- let's call the contact area (the bottom of the ski), the "bottom plane"...
Imagine these are idealized planes stretching out in all directions.
Now for the relationship between them:
Suppose then further that the ski forms a bearing marker relative to the planes. Let's call the ski pointing straight ahead as 0 degrees, and the invisible line perpendicular to this 90 degrees. And let's put that line in the middle of the binding area.
NOW in our model we DO allow the foot plane to rotate about the 90 degree line. This is OK, the two planes may not be parallel then along this line only. This would be the case if there were a heal wedge incorporated into the binding somehow, so that the foot plane would be rotated slightly "forward" about the 90 degree line.
On the other hand, we DO NOT ALLOW (or want) a rotation in any other line, except the 90 degree line.
This relationship is easiest to imagine if the two planes are in fact parallel and there's no heal lifting mechanism tilting one plane... if there is no rotation about that 90 degree line, we'd say the surfaces are parallel.
SO regardless of the rotation about the 90 degree line, ***We want the planes to maintain their position relative to each other ***
SO when tuning or flattening the bottom, if there is a discrepency in this we want to remove it, and if there isn't one, we don't want to put it in...
Phew... I think that says it?
I think possibly that might've been the silliest post i've ever made!
Ok, the bottoms should be flat, without any twisting, rolling, canting or anything (not counting the built-in camber)...
And the ski should be consistent across its various dimensions and a relative to each other...
I think we're well on our way to agreeing on a coordinate system at least.
Because ski mfgs, binding mfgs, and bootfitters all might have their own say about this, I hesitate to say word one about a desirable relationship of the foot surface to the bases, at least from a tuning standpoint.
If you transpose your statements down to the plane of the bottom of the core, ideally the bottom-most non-PTEX part of the ski, I am more than happy to agree.