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Questions and Answers
Common QuestionsTopics: Waxing ::: Fluoro Powders ::: Base Structure ::: Irons ::: Base Oxidation/Burnout ::: Salt & Ice ::: How to Clean Brushes ::: Riller Bars
Waxing Skis & Snowboards
Q: Can I clean my board with chemical or citrus cleaners?
- NEVER, use cleaners - use the hot-wax-scrape method to clean. Cleaners are not recommended by ski & board manufacturers. They dry the base out and it would take lots of waxings to get it right again. They dissolve the wax but inevitably leave residue as they evaporate. Use the hot wax scrape method to cleanse the base. Basically you start with a warm rated (red/yellow) wax, melting it and scraping while the wax is still liquid. It cleans and conditions in one step. Using this method and keeping the base waxed will make it faster with time. If you already own cleaners, don't throw them away, you can use it to clean scrapers, files and other tools.
- Our unique speed additives make the wax pasty when melted. Rub the wax on as if it was a crayon (fairly thick, two passes should work), then iron; if the wax is hard, soften it by touching it to the iron, then rub it on. By crayoning, you save wax (and money) over the wasteful drip-on method
- My Hybrid Series is my best quality and best seller. It is very compatible with the Swix line and matches up in this way: My 5 = Their 10; 4=8; 3=7; 2=6; 1=4. The T-Series is a fast wax and a very good value, it just doesn't have the same mixture of speed additives as the Hybrid and the wax isn't as sophisticated. F-Max is more of a base or first coat/layer wax. The 1 level may come in handy under your conditions as it is outstanding in the cold; it is a lot like a CH4, it is hard & hardens fast, but as a racing wax it is much faster. The Microfiber overlay is better in the cold than any of the CERA powders.
- About 10, maybe as much as 15 waxings. The crayon method instead of dripping conserves wax.
- Hot boxing skis and boards enables the wax to penetrate deeper into the the bases and can play a role in making bases faster. Also, for new skis it will accelerate the preparation process; it can take the place of 10 waxings.
- Hot-wax scrape your ski/board (yes, even new ones) until the wax is clean (for new skis/boards this is important to building a foundation for the hot box treatment). Cool, scrape and brush out all excess wax.
- Generously wax your base with a warm temperature rated wax (typically a red or yellow) and do not scrape or brush.
- Place base up in a heated hot box at 140 F (60 C). For anywhere between 6 and 9 hours. Use the advice of the shop tech to decide this (if in doubt be conservative).
- When done allow the skis/boards to cool (overnight is preferred).
- This can be repeated several times.
- In my World Cup tuning class Willie said that he uses a hot box to save time sometimes. He suggested 60 C for 6-9 hours and said that was equivalent to 10 wax cycles. You should double-check this with the ski manufacturer.
- Get advice before hot boxing cap skis.
- Follow-up hot boxing by hand-waxing with racewax.com's fluoro waxes and keep them waxed to prevent drying out.
- Don't use fluoro waxes in the hot box.
- When in doubt wax with the colder one.
- Wax cold if you can only do it once for the day; racewax.com waxes have enough fluoro to perform well as it warms. But if you have time, you can brush off dirt, rub on a warmer wax, cork it in well, brush wax out of the structure, polish, and add an overlay if you desire.
- On average the fluoro content is 25% fluoro, but the content is adjusted according to the temperature range of the wax. It has far more than other high fluoro waxes, and the fluoro compounds are a blend of new technology fluoros, fluoro microfibers, that don't carry some of the problems that other fluoro waxes do. So you don't need high & low fluoro waxes.
- The fluoro speed additives used by racewax.com do not dry out the base.
- Most fluoro speed additives used by racewax.com will not burn out (but we also don't recommend that you run the iron hot and make the waxes smoke). Except for the Hybrid wax, all my fluoro waxes are made by blending fluoros like microfibers into the wax. This eliminates any risk from fumes, because the fluoros are unable to be melted. The hybrid uses a chemical type fluoro (with the microfiber) that, like other fluoros, can be made airborne if it were to be overheated, but it is in low concentration and it isn't a concern.
- There is dirt/sludge in the wet snow in warm weather and the dirt floats to the surface. Use a Moly or Graphite wax to repel the dirt.
Q: I was reading about some of the precautions on your site for working with Fluoro Powder and Waxes. I use wicked wax quite frequently over the winter and was wondering if you know where I can find out more information on Health Risks when working with such chemicals. I enjoy your product and it is the fastest I have found. I would like to continue using it for the years to come.
- Try to work in a ventilated area and follow my other safety tips.
- I can tell you that my powders and fibers are 100% pure. If the others claim 100% purity then chemically they must be the same. However, I will contend that the physical modifications or form of our fluoros (nano and fiber versions) make them superior to other products.
Q: I rubbed in the paste wax, waited 5 minutes and then polished with your polishing cloth. Is that all I have to do?
- That's all good, but you should brush paste out of the structure with a horsehair brush as well.
- This is a suction effect of water under the base. If the water doesn't move out from under the base, the ski slows from suction. You need a deeper structure (and to make sure that you brush excess wax out) to channel the water like treads on tires. For these conditions, brushing is critical; brush with nylon and horsehair until all the wax is removed from the base structure.
Q: How reliable are the temp markings on the iron? I know not to let it smoke, but would like to get as close as possible.
- If your iron isn't calibrated, what you dial in may not be the exact temperature of the iron. Use these numbers as a guide and adjust down to the lowest temperature that will maintain the wax in a liquid state at a length of 4-6 inches (10-15 cm) behind your iron. Using your judgment is always preferred to relying on the dial setting.
- Although a domestic clothes iron (new or used) may be a less expensive option, but the damage it can cause due to wide temperature swings can end up costing you. A good wax iron only fluctuates about 4-8 degrees Celsius when waxing. A clothing or small travel iron can fluctuate up to 30 degrees Celsius. The wild swing can easily generate scorching temperatures that burn bases or damage your gear. Choose an iron with a minimum wattage of 800 and a thick (one-third to one-half inch) sole plate with no holes.
- This is hard to describe, so let's say spend about 3 minutes waxing each ski.
Base Oxidation and Burnout
Q: What are the white/gray patches and streaks on my bases?
- It could be simply a dry base that need to be waxed. However, if the spots do not go away with waxing and the wax does not appear to be penetrating this area, it may be oxidation, also known as base burn.
- Oxidation is appears as white spots/streaks that will not absorb wax. The best defense against oxidation is regular maintenance. If it does occur, and it is isolated to the very surface of the base, the best fix is to carefully sand or scrape off the oxidized polyethylene layer as soon as possible, then wax immediately.
- Wax will also protect your base from oxidation. Unprotected bases that go unwaxed for prolonged periods or bases exposed to the immense friction resulting from skis tracking mega-force turns at high speeds on hard/dry snow will result in base burn.
Salt, Snow, and Ice
Q: The race course salted to freeze it, how does that work?
- When salt is added to the snow a little bit of snow melts, the liquid is immediately faced with the immense chore of dissolving the salt, and robs itself and other liquid around it of heat to do so. This drops the temperature of the salted snow and without that heat, the liquid (or wet snow) refreezes. A salt-water-ice mixture has a lower freezing point than water-ice.
- The salt lowers the freezing point, so if the air temperature is higher than the new freezing point, the ice is now a liquid.
How to Clean Brushes
Q: What is the best way to clean hand brushes?
There is no one way to do it so I will list several methods that people have used:
- Citrus base cleaners will certainly do the job, some let the brushes sit bristles down in a tub of shallow cleaner. NOTE: Some nylon may absorb the cleaner and sometimes the cleaner fumes can affect a glue or printed labels on the brush. So use the cleaner briefly multiple times rather than allowing it to sit for long periods.
- Bristles down on a couple of layers of paper towels in an oven at the lowest setting will melt and pull the wax out.
- Boiling hot water will melt wax, but rinsing over tap water may lead to wax buildup in your drain.
Using Riller Bars
Q: What are riller bars?
For dollar-saving do-it-yourself structuring (mostly for people who ski for fun but want performance)...
- Adding structure with a Riller Bar: When you can't (or don't want to) stone grind (because you may have to repeat the process above) you may wish to "freshen up" or renew the structure. If you are a serious racer, do not attempt this unless you have experimented on non-racing skis and are confident that you know what you are doing.
- Check base flatness with a true bar.
- If you must eliminate high spots, use a 100 grit silicon carbide paper wrapped around a file to remove them by sanding from tip to tail.
- Follow up by buffing with a fine pad.
- There are four working edges to the bar - two each for the coarse (warm/wet snow) and fine (cold/dry snow) structure patterns. Try to keep track of what edge and section of the bar you used last to ensure even wear on the riller bar.
- Hold the riller bar across the base of the ski starting at the ski tip. Angle (or tip) the bar forward 45 degrees and push the bar away from you towards the tail as you press the bar into the base of the ski. Try not stop through the entire length of the ski - just walk forward and continue with even pressure during the entire pass.
- Pressure distribution on the bar is the real challenge in getting a consistent pattern. Use two passes - one pass with thumbs in the middle of the bar concentrating on the center of the base and one pass with thumbs at the sides of the bar concentrating on the sides of the base. This ensures good even coverage across the entire base of the ski.
- Keep in mind that an irregular pattern is not a bad thing, so don't be overly concerned with the uniformity of the pattern.
- A linear pattern down the length of the ski is not optimum for skiing. It should be broken up significantly to move the water out and away in warm/wet snow, but less so with the fine structure pattern for cold/dry snow because you want the water created by friction to reside there longer (you ride on this thin film of water to go fast).
- Use the fine pad once or twice to reduce any rough edges the riller may have produced.
- NOTE 1: The brass metal of the riller bar is much softer than your metal ski edges and will not damage them.
- NOTE 2: You are not "cutting" structure into the base; you are "pressing" it into the base.
- NOTE 3: Use the rilling bar procedure after base repair.
- NOTE 4: You can also create cross structures by overlapping alternating 60 degree rillings, left and right (tip to tail) down the length of the ski. You may wish to practice this on non-racing skis before you attempt it for the big race.
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