Wax + Tune Guide

Buying Guide > Wax + Tune


To optimize your board/ski's performance, you have to take care of it. A good tune & wax can make your ride smoother, faster, and increase your gear's longevity. For alpine & Nordic skis and snowboards, glide wax is designed to improve how your equipment travels over the snow by balancing wet & dry drag. Wet drag is the suction created from wet conditions & dry drag is the friction resulting from drier snow. How often you tune & wax is up to you--at the very least, it should be done at the start of each season, but if you're all about speed you'll want to wax more often. Boards with extruded bases also need to be waxed more often since they absorb less wax than other types of bases.

Tuning:


Rusty edges and shallow gouges can be taken care of with a few simple tools. (If gouges are deep enough to damage the base, edges have started to separate from the board, or you've got cracked sidewalls, take your board/skis to a technician to see if they can be repaired.)

Supplies: Vice
Edge tool or Flat File
Gummy stone
Diamond stone
P-tex
Lighter or matches
Plastic or Plexiglas scraper

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1. Lay your board/ski base facing up & run the gummy stone over the edges to remove rust until they look clean.

2. Rub the stone over the entire base to level any small scrapes or gouges. Fill in any remaining gouges with the P-tex. Light it & catch the first few drips on the wax scraper. Hold the P-tex about 1/2 - 1 inch over the gouge & let the wax melt into it. Wait until the P-tex dries completely, then hold the scraper at a 45-degree angle & sweep it over the area until it's smooth & level with the rest of the base.

3. Once edges look clean & all the P-tex has completely dried, re-position your board/ski in the vice edges facing up.

4. Remove rust, burrs (nicks in the edges) and sharpen side edges with a tool or flat file. If using a file, make sure it's held on a 90-degree angle (don't worry about edge tools; they're already beveled), perpendicular to the base. File from tip to tail, always running the file in the same direction.

5. Go over the side edges with the diamond stone to finish sharpening, and then mellow it all out with the gummy stone.

6. Sharp edges in the tip & tail of a board/ski will catch easily, so it's best to de-tune them. Dull the edges with your file to the desired amount, then smooth & polish them with the gummy stone.



Waxing:


Now that you've fixed up all the minor effects of your gear's hibernation, you're ready to wax. Wax comes in many formulas, the most common include fluorinated paraffin, hydrocarbon, nitrous, soy, and graphite.

Choose your wax depending on the temperature & type of snow.

Warm-softer wax, applied with a low-heat iron for mild conditions

Cold-harder wax, applied with a hotter iron for use in cold conditions

All-temp - universal wax designed to perform decently in warm or cold conditions

Rub On/Paste - convenient, ready-to-use wax applied directly to the base for a quick fix. Just spread on, let dry, then buff away with a cork or cloth.

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One you've chosen your wax, just a few more tools are all you need to wax your board/skis at home;

Screwdriver (if you snowboard)
Brake retainers or a strong rubber band (if you ski)
Rubbing alcohol
2 Microfiber cloths
Iron with a heat setting that suits your wax. (We don't recommend using a household iron for waxing-the temperature settings tend to be inconsistent & even if you try to clean the iron afterwards, it can't be used on clothing again)
Plastic or Plexiglas scraper (the sharper, the better- and no metal!)
Edge file
Hard bristle brush

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1. To wax your board/ski, lay it down with the base facing up. Work on a level surface (preferably one that accommodates bindings so you won't have to remove them) and if possible, put it on top of a rubber mat so it won't slide around while you're working.

2. Skiers should use a brake retainer or strong rubber band to secure snow brakes out of the way. Snowboarders should loosen binding bolts a bit (the metal attracts heat & can create dimples).

3. Pour some rubbing alcohol on a cloth& wipe away any dirt/residue. Really use some elbow grease; anything left behind will block the base's pores and prevent the new wax from settling in. Once it's clean, let the base dry for about 10-20 min.

4. Warm up your iron, set according to the type of wax you're using. If you're brave & choose to use an old household iron, make sure it's rust-free and setbetween the wool & cotton settings. When it's ready to go, your iron should just be hot enough to melt your wax-- never at the point where it's starting to smoke! Hold a chunk of wax against the heated surface of the iron & drip all over the base: edges, middle, & all contact points.

5. Apply the iron directly to the board/ski's surface to continuously spread the wax into a thin, even layer. Make sure to always keep the iron moving- otherwise you'll ruin your base. Let the board/ski sit for 30-45 minutes while it absorbs the wax & cools down to room temperature.

6. Using your scraper, remove excess wax by sweeping it from tip to tail several times until there's barely any wax visible.Smooth, long strokes give the best results; go over any problem areas with a few short strokes only when necessary.

7. Remove any leftover wax from your edges by going over them with the edge file.

8. Buff the base with the other microfiber cloth, applying moderate pressure. Don't worry about reversing your hard work. The base's pores take in all the wax they need while they're hot; you're just buffing away the rest.

9. Lastly, run the hard-bristle brush over the length of the board/ski to remove any remaining excess wax. Once you can easily see the structure of your base, you're good to go.


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