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Tuning Tips Overview

Video

  • Video is dispersed throughout the Tuning Tips Section based on topic.
  • View a complete compilation of our video archive in the Video Archive link above.
  • The video below represents an advanced demonstration of ski waxing; we have included shorter, simpler videos throughout for the recreational skier.

Safety Tips

  • Ensure that your work area has exhaust fans or a fresh air supply.
  • Do not expose waxes to open flames such as torches, heat guns, space heaters, or fireplaces.
  • Do not smoke while waxing with fluoro waxes.
  • There is a chemical danger associated with fluoro waxes when overheated. If fluoro is exposed to a heat source having a temperature higher than ~570 F or 300 C the fluoro forms a poisonous gas. Never use these temperatures on any RaceWax.com product.
  • DO NOT ATTEMPT TO MELT THE FLUORO POWDERS SOLD HERE.
  • Normal temperatures see Iron Temperature chart will not pose this risk.
  • Safety glasses are recommended.
  • If you find you are sensitive to wax vapors, use a respirator with a cartridge for organic vapors.
  • Use a mask or respirator rated for particulates (see product RX-1254) when working with powders or rotobrushing.

Tuning Basics

Before you sharpen edges or wax...
  • Terms that need greater explanation (e.g., structure ) are defined or explained in greater detail at the bottom of this page.
  • The word "skis" will be used throughout, but much of the preparation applies to snowboards. The information on structure and edge tuning is universal to both.
  • Get expert advice on selecting skis.
  • Match the flex of the ski to the skier's size, weight and aggressiveness.
  • Skis have a flex number; the higher the number, the softer the flex.
  • Have the base flatness checked before you buy. Some bases are thin and it may not be possible to get the base completely flat.
  • Never remove wax from your base with natural or synthetic cleaners. They are not recommended by ski manufacturers. Chemical cleaners will dry out the base and this is counter-productive to making your skis faster. Hot-wax scraping (see below) will enable your skis to run faster as the season goes on by keeping the base saturated with wax. You can use these wax cleaners to clean tools and scrapers.
  • Keep all tools clean. There are wire brushes for files and diamond stones clean well with a sink cleanser like "Ajax" and water.
  • Iron temperatures: Unless an iron is calibrated (i.e., the iron temperature setting accurately matches the actual iron temperature set point) you don't really know if the temperature you set is the temperature you get. Since this is hard to do, make observations and take notes, and use this information in setting your temperature dial.
  • Use the temperature chart as a starting point.

Tuning Concepts

  • If new or starting a new race season, structure your base.
  • Clean your base (brush out old wax and hot wax scrape - no chemical cleaners!)
  • Sharpen edges see Edge Tuning
  • The basic idea for waxing is to work your wax in (your base is like a sponge that you want to have soak up wax to act as a reservoir while racing);
  • Wax often to avoid oxidation (base burn). These are white areas on the base; wax will not be absorbed by oxidized (white) spots.
  • Remember that most RaceWax.com waxes don't drip on because of the fluoro loading; read on to learn application techniques.

Terms

Stone grinding This is achieved with a large machine found in ski shops. It is similar to wet belt sanding. But unlike a belt sander that "plows" through a base, the stone slices off microscopic pieces to produce a precise, clean and smooth finish. A stone grinder will flatten the base and impart structure.

Structure Structure is a pattern in the base material that reduces the slowing effects of drag or surface tension upon the base caused by friction, suction or both. As temperatures get colder, snow crystals become better defined and sharper. These multi-sided crystals become more abrasive and can cause considerable drag. In warmer temperatures (>32 F) snow crystals are less defined from the freeze/thaw process. The water that is present is the main cause of drag and the surface tension is from suction. Friction is always present in some form, but suction is only present at warm temperatures. Structure and wax reduce these slowing forces. While the correct wax is important at any temperature, structure is more important at higher temperatures.

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