Advice for a waxing/tuning beginner

Discussion in 'Tuning Techniques and Tool Information' started by Hostilebynature, Jan 5, 2019.

  1. Hostilebynature

    Hostilebynature Booting up Skier

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    Hey guys, this is my first post as I just discovered this sweet forum.
    I'm Roger, currently living in Calgary, Canada. All of my skiing happens in either Banff or Lake Louise because of convenience.
    I'm a 2nd year skier (35 years old). I've taken a few lessons and have probably been out about 25 full days in between last season and this.

    I'm thinking about getting into waxing and tuning my own skis. Right off the bat I'm sorry if this has been covered a bunch already and if it has can you please point me to the relevant threads.

    Should I just wax my skiis and have my local shop tune them? Should I learn to tune them as well and give the edges a little pick me upper everytime I wax?

    Other than a set of vises, can you guys please point me in the direction of the exact scrapers, brushes, files, etc for where I ski? I've read a lot and kinda have an idea of what I need but wanted to get your opinions. I do 70/30 on/off piste.

    Thanks so much in advance
     
  2. Andy Mink

    Andy Mink I am a half fast skier. Moderator Pugski Ski Tester

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    Welcome to Pugski. You're certainly in the right forum for your question. You'll find, um, varied opinions on waxing especially. As a relative newby in waxing myself, don't overthink it to begin with. It's a very long rabbit hole! Learning to do the upkeep on your edges and bases in between full spa treatments is definitely worth it. I'll defer to others on brands but at the minimum a few good diamond stones in 2 or 3 grits, a good flat file, and edge bevels for base and sidewall to match what your tune is and you should be good to go.
     
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  3. Thread Starter
    TS
    Hostilebynature

    Hostilebynature Booting up Skier

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    Thanks!
    Are brushes one could use with a power drill a thing or overkill?
     
  4. scott43

    scott43 Making fresh tracks Skier

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    Rabbit hole.. :) I use generic wax (https://www.mec.ca/en/product/5008-976/Mach-Alpine-Speedwax). It's a giant block that lasts forever and is "good" for most conditions. You need a scraper (https://www.mec.ca/en/product/5013-883/Pro-Plexi-Scraper-(5mm)). I don't use a roto-brush..I do it the old fashioned way, by hand.
    (https://www.mec.ca/en/product/5044-125/Nylon-All-Purpose-Brush) That's just for waxing. Then you need the tuning tools if you want to go that route. File, base bevel file guide, edge file guide, binding straps etc.

    You don't really need to do the base bevel really. Have a shop do it "right" and just do waxing, deburring with a diamond stone as needed, edge file touch-up. If it gets to the point where you're looking at base bevel again, take it to the shop in the beginning. If you enjoy it and get good at it, start thinking about base bevel and base repair.
     
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  5. Thread Starter
    TS
    Hostilebynature

    Hostilebynature Booting up Skier

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    What's the best bang for buck vises? I see a wide range of prices...
     


  6. raytseng

    raytseng Out on the slopes Skier

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    For your edges, it depends on if you're really into carving and skiing hardpack/Ice and improving carvingtechnique. Or are you just interested in groomers for now to improve your skills so you can get into the next soft Big Mtn funky terrain stuffstuff (where sharp edges aren't that important).

    If you are just starting out, just start with the waxing and iron.
    You are correct, you don't need to jump into edge care, and you can just drop it off to do edge/wax once in awhile and/or a full tune every season. Typically near beginning of season you'll get a discount.

    I don't know your budget and your reasons for tuning (save time? save money? want to learn? and how meticulous you are?) and these reasons shape your decisions.
    (such as if you have another pair of skis to ski on, if they can't do an overnight tune for you).

    You don't necessarily need to spend a ton of money on tuning; and don't necessarily need a vice to start out. Heck, I've done about 40wax jobs, and still don't use a vice.
    As long If you can find some setup with 2 equal-heighted flat points, and a gap large enough for the bindings to drop into that is all you need for waxing. e.g. 2 sawhorses, or 2 towers of stacked storage containers. 2 chairs, a fullsized garbage can; I've done waxing on all of these. Use an old beach towel to give some extra grip, you will be fine.

    For mainly your side edges, you also don't necessarily need a vice. Just a table, you'd lay your ski on it's side.
    Base edges are beyond basic tuning so leave alone.

    For Wax:

    Start with iron, Wax, brake bands, scraper, and then if you like a really smooth glide, buy brushes.
    If you are not super picky, less you can get by with scotch-brite pads (for pots and pans).
    There are a lot of videos on racewax.com and all tools avail there..

    For Edge care:
    If you do want to dip your toes into edge care, you can get by with just the all-in-one edge tool available that comes with a stone and a file.
    Only if you know this is something you want to do often, then invest in the fixed-angle guides, stones/files.
     
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  7. Talisman

    Talisman Getting off the lift Team Gathermeister

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    The following assumes you are tuning for recreation and not racing. If you have a standard wood shop vise on a bench, you can make your own vise out of scrap lumber. Basically make a wooden facsimile of you ski boot outline on 3/4 in pine and attach to a short piece of 2 x 4 ~ the same length as your vise. Pop this into your ski binding (it ill also hold your ski brake up) and fit into your wood vise, you are good to go for short Loonies. Really cheap is putting skis over the backs of old wooden chairs. For store bought, there are some Swix vises that work pretty well.
     
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  8. cantunamunch

    cantunamunch Meh Skier

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    Wood blocks with sawn slits and rubberised grip surface + rubber bands for the brake arms.
     
  9. KingGrump

    KingGrump Most Interesting Man In The World Team Gathermeister

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    Couple small pieces of wood shingle to adjust the fit of the vertical slot.
     
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  10. Dwight

    Dwight Practitioner of skiing, solid and liquid Admin Moderator

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    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Rubber bands or zip ties.

    For a portable setup, I have this.

    [​IMG]
     
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  11. focker

    focker Getting on the lift Skier

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  12. trailtrimmer

    trailtrimmer Stuck in the Flatlands Skier

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    Tools absolutely needed for waxing:

    Bronze/brass brush - Large oval is nicest, but a medium rectangle one will be fine
    Poly brush - Medium size or large oval
    Scraper, plastic, 5mm
    Iron - Don't skimp! You want at least 800 watts of power and an 18mm or thicker plate. Thin plate irons are the tool of the devil

    A good all temp wax is fine to start with.

    Also, just a couple small wood scraps or something that's edge friendly for removing wax overflow from edges.

    I won't comment on bench setups, none of the homebrew setups I've tried can hold a candle to actual vices as soon as you go from waxing to edge work.
     
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  13. James

    James Skiing the powder Instructor

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    You could try this one. Holds the skis at an angle for side work. No clamp/vise. $80
    When you hot wax skis with a sheet of metal in the base it expands. It will usually take all the camber out. This can be a little scary the first time you see it.

    http://www.fktools-us.com/Product-Details.asp?Part-Number=3406
     
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  14. Wilhelmson

    Wilhelmson Out on the slopes Skier

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    When I first started I used WAY too much wax. I recently tried the method of using a shop towel or fiberlene to remove the excess wax and have to say it works great.
     
  15. Thread Starter
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    Hostilebynature

    Hostilebynature Booting up Skier

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    Thanks a lot for the advice guys. This is strictly for recreational purposes. Im willing to spend a little money on this... What do you guys think of my list;

    Swix economy vises
    Swix T73 digi iron
    5mm plexi scraper
    2 binding bands
    Large Oval Hard Brass Brush
    Large Oval Hard Nylon Brush
    MAPLUS UNIVERSAL RED GLIDE WAX -5 to -15 Celcius
    Maplus Yellow -5 to 0 Celcius

    Can someone recommend one of those 3 in 1 tools or should I just start with the waxing and see how it goes? Im willing to give it a go... Do they come with the files and stones needed?

    Thanks in advance again guys, really appreciate it.
     
  16. cantunamunch

    cantunamunch Meh Skier

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    Start with the waxing as soon as possible and get your hand and eye in. You will have plenty of time and chances to spend money on more tools.

    Oh and make sure you have at least one wax in the box that is harder than Maplus red.
     
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  17. Thread Starter
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    Hostilebynature

    Hostilebynature Booting up Skier

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    What wax do you recommend??
     
  18. James

    James Skiing the powder Instructor

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    What's a 3 in 1 tool for skis?
    Btw, any tool starting off with "3 in 1" is pretty questionable for just one of the uses. Eg, garbage. Though late night tv ads will usually sell you 3 for the price of 1.

    I don't like the Swix irons beyond the old style analog cheap one. (Doesn't have their "film element" heating element). They changed them like 10 yrs ago and they got worse. If you want to spend that I'd go with the Italian Star brand also sold under the Hohlmenkohl name.
    http://shop.caldwellsport.com/star-analog-110v-160c-iron/
    (They can vary with the dollar I guess. They were down at like 125-35)

    I'd probably go Toko T8 for < $100 over the Swix T73.
    The Toko T14 I would only get if people have some good reviews. Looks too much like the Briko-Maplus digital piece of garbage I had very bad experiences with.

    They used to make a non digital T12? That had switchable power 800/1200W.

    Looks like the Toko T18 is probably a Star made iron.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2019
  19. cantunamunch

    cantunamunch Meh Skier

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    if you're staying with Maplus, BP10 violet or (spendier) LP2 blue will give you a cold snap aggressive snow mix. Maplus Green (arctic) base wax is also very useful but it takes a bit extra work to use, and you would be using it mixed in with other waxes, not on its own.

    Otherwise, just about anything will work - Purl blue, Swix CH5, Toko NF Blue come to mind as appropriate for your price and usage point.
     
  20. Wilhelmson

    Wilhelmson Out on the slopes Skier

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    [QUOTE
    Can someone recommend one of those 3 in 1 tools or should I just start with the waxing and see how it goes? Im willing to give it a go... Do they come with the files and stones needed?
    [/QUOTE]

    You'll need a file/stone guide and medium and coarse diamond stones to start.

    Get an aluminum file guide for the side edge angle that you have or prefer. If you don't know your side edge angle, have them set at a shop for the angle that you decide upon, then use the diamond stones to maintain the edge. There are lots of edge sharpening contraptions but the stone held onto the guide with a small spring clamp is the basic setup.

    If you want to try setting the angle yourself you would need to use a metal file but I would suggest saving that for next season. If you're ok with tools it's not hard but for now just get the edge set and maintain it with the stones.

    As mentioned, the 3 in one tools are like one of those keychain multi tools that you never use and end up throwing away after getting it for Christmas (no pun intended :).
     

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