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Wax Iron Setting

Iron Temperature Calibration and Settings

Q: Is my iron dial setting accurate?
A: 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 behind your iron at a length of about 4 inches (10 cm), on optimum range of 3-5 inches, too long & you're too hot, too short & you're too cold. Using your judgment is always preferred to relying on the dial setting.

Q: Can I use an infrared thermometer (IR gun) to test my ski wax iron's accuracy?
A: No! Infrared thermometers will not read off shiny reflective surfaces. The IR beam is scattered off the shiny surface and the gun ends up reading reflections that will give very low temperature readings.

Q: What is the best method/device to test my ski wax iron's accuracy?
A: At RaceWax we use a contact thermometer called a Pro-Surface ThermaPen (slightly over $100) made by It comes with a NIST-traceable calibration certificate (that means its measurement readings are tied to the national standard maintained by the National Institute of Standards and Technology). Without traceability to a national standard, you have no idea if the number a device displays is an accurate assessment of the real temperature. With traceability, the value is certified.

Q: What is the difference between accuracy and precision?
A: Accuracy describes the difference between the measurement and the iron's actual value (which is often unknown), while precision describes the variation you see when you make the same measurement repeatedly.

Q: What is the advantage of a digital iron?
A: A wax iron with a digital display of temperature allows you to dial in any temperature in 1 deg C increments and allows you to view the iron's change in temperature as you adjust the setting up or down.

Q: Does the digital feature control the iron temperature or merely display it?
A: Common digital irons (RaceWax PA-6000, Toko T14, or Swix T73D) have an analog thermostat with a digital readout; it does not control or set the iron temperature - it is a readout of the temperature. For true microprocessor control of the base plate temperature choose an iron such as the Toko T18 or any high-end Swix digital iron.

Note: At 285 F / 140 C and higher use fiberlene between your base and the iron to reduce the risk of base damage. Keep iron moving!


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