Birkie wax - all set!

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bmullin
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Re: Birkie wax - all set!

Postby bmullin » Wed Feb 20, 2013 9:40 am

Jay,

Do you have a reference article to point me towards that discusses why you would want particular things? What does Moly or Graphite do? Why do you want it sometimes and not others?

I'm slowly trying to learn the finer points. Ok, maybe what I need to learn aren't the fine points yet, but you gotta start somewhere.

Thanks,

Ben

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Re: Birkie wax - all set!

Postby kuan » Wed Feb 20, 2013 10:26 am

MN Hoser wrote:I'm considering skipping the graphite sublayer. I used a black pure fluoro top coat the last TWO years assuming it would just wear off in 15km. Two years ago, I had REALLY fast skis for maybe 3-5 km around the high point, and kind of slow skis after OO. Last year I'd say my skis were just kind of slow. After Zach said the black sublayers were slow, I thinking about skipping any graphite/moly all together. My thought is graphite/moly is good for older snow and maybe in lower humidities. You agree Kuan?

Jay


Was that the one where it was real cold and it started snowing halfway into the race?

In general the moly is for durability in dry and old snow, the graphite restores your bases and is used as base prep. I'll give you updates on some testing.
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Re: Birkie wax - all set!

Postby MN Hoser » Wed Feb 20, 2013 10:36 am

bmullin wrote:Jay,

Do you have a reference article to point me towards that discusses why you would want particular things? What does Moly or Graphite do? Why do you want it sometimes and not others?


No. Bascially, very, very few people test. Most people go out with one pair of skis and think "these are fast" or "these are not fast." That really doesn't tell you much. Information comes from comparison where you change just one thing. E.g. a left/right ski comparison (with a different wax).

So the wax information comes down from people at a national and international level who DO test. Waxing is a craft (like fine woodwork) where the craftsman is unwilling to give up secrets. So all I can say is attend the wax clinics (by Frankie and others), poke around the internet, talk with folks, and you'll pick it up. At a wax clinic you're hoping to pick up one or two new ideas. The best thing you could probably do is tests like:

-Wax all your skis the same and go ski one ski from a pair on one foot, and a ski from another pair on another foot. Ideally you'd want to ski a ways and do some harder efforts. Ideally, you'd like to do this in a number of different snows so you get some knowledge about the skis. (I've only done this a couple times.)
-To compare waxes, I think you should do L/R comparisons on the same pair.

My bet is this weekend that lots of testing will be going on, but probably the only results you'll hear about are from BNS. This is really a race that is among just a few people in the top 10 or so. For the rest of the folks, it's different deal...anything from a Midwest Ranking to a tour. Much of what makes a fast ski is already determined by the ski type, fit and prep (grind and waxing history), and the final waxing makes a difference, but not compared to the fit and prep. (In general.) Obiviously, you can blow it and do weird things like a moly pure fluoro top coat, but the average Birkie skier freaks about wax when picking a ski might be a bigger deal. (Me too unfortunately.) Years ago I did some testing before Mora and found that the ski I was planning to use in cold hard pack was not very good. The manufacturer openly stated that the ski is a "cold, hard pack" ski. So sometimes what you think is the best may not be.

Even with new snow, this weekend could still be a hard track course for the top 300-400 or so. I could easily see a high moisture snow coming in, being groomed, and the track setting up quite hard with little snow on Sat. Obviously, we could get 3" of snow during the race too.

Fever...

Jay

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Re: Birkie wax - all set!

Postby MN Hoser » Wed Feb 20, 2013 10:38 am

kuan wrote:Was that the one where it was real cold and it started snowing halfway into the race?


Don't confuse this issue with some ugly facts. (So yes, it was. I forgot about the light snow.)

Jay

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Re: Birkie wax - all set!

Postby jt10000 » Wed Feb 20, 2013 12:46 pm

MN Hoser wrote:prep (grind and waxing history)

Yes.

I think too many people clean their skis with soft or middling waxes, and then don't harden their bases enough for colder racing, so putting some kind of hard sub-layer is helpful. That's what BNS is doing with their "LF graphite always" recommendation. It's almost always better than something softer. Is it better than a hard LF blue or green wax? Maybe sometimes, but it's certainly riskier if there is new snow.

So it seems to me that without testing, this is the message about sub-layers in general: if new snow is possible, use a hard LF w/o graphite or moly, then the race waxes plus topcoats. If old snow for sure, and especially if old dirty snow, then a hard LF graphite or moly is the way to go before the race waxes and topcoats.

In general. Though testing would be better.
Last edited by jt10000 on Wed Feb 20, 2013 1:09 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Birkie wax - all set!

Postby jt10000 » Wed Feb 20, 2013 12:53 pm

MN Hoser wrote:average Birkie skier freaks about wax when picking a ski might be a bigger deal.

And also, I think BNS has said and also Zach Caldwell has said that if you're going to freak about waxes, it's better to pay more attention to the topcoats (fluoros) and less to the waxes. If you test the waxes alone, what does that tell you about how they work under something else? Maybe not so much. So maybe if you can only test a little, just pick a wax from experience and weather or online recommendations (maybe even from just one company's line that you're familiar with), then test your fluoros on top of that decent wax.

This is all academic for me though - I just don't have the time to do it and am not sure it matters that much more than a couple hours extra sleep in the days before a race for someone at my low level.
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Re: Birkie wax - all set!

Postby jt10000 » Wed Feb 20, 2013 12:59 pm

I'll add that you should all just ski with Solda HP05. It's great in cold old snow that's warming, cold new snow that might warm up a little, and dirty old new snow that's warm and cold. Or cold and warm clean new snow mixed with cold dirty new snow. Or fresh falling old snow and high humidity. It's great under Solda S-30 in cold conditions, or on top of S-30 when it's cold and warming up, or warming and cooling off. Even when humidity is low.

Solda HP05. Best thing since sliced bread.
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Re: Birkie wax - all set!

Postby Mike » Wed Feb 20, 2013 3:40 pm

jt10000 wrote:
MN Hoser wrote:prep (grind and waxing history)

I think too many people clean their skis with soft or middling waxes, and then don't harden their bases enough for colder racing, so putting some kind of hard sub-layer is helpful.


Mind if I join in? So if I've just hot scraped my really dirty skis with a soft yellow wax, I should put down a harder wax before doing my Birkie waxing? Or, if Swix is recommending 2 layers of LF6 is that hard enough?

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Re: Birkie wax - all set!

Postby jt10000 » Wed Feb 20, 2013 3:53 pm

Mike wrote:
jt10000 wrote:
MN Hoser wrote:prep (grind and waxing history)

I think too many people clean their skis with soft or middling waxes, and then don't harden their bases enough for colder racing, so putting some kind of hard sub-layer is helpful.


Mind if I join in? So if I've just hot scraped my really dirty skis with a soft yellow wax, I should put down a harder wax before doing my Birkie waxing? Or, if Swix is recommending 2 layers of LF6 is that hard enough?

As a general approach - yes - a layer or two of something at the Swix 6 hardness in general. If a very cold race is coming up, maybe more layers. I'm not knowledgeble enough to give more specifics than that, or to say whether LF is very important here but I'd guess it cannot hurt and might help. As a rule, I put on a layer or two of Swix CH6 or Fastwax Teal (similar but a little harder) after hotcleaning with a soft wax. Might switch to LF waxes for that in the future.

But I'm very curious what the guys here who wax a lot think about this recommendation.
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Re: Birkie wax - all set!

Postby kuan » Wed Feb 20, 2013 4:04 pm

I like to go all the way into cold powder. So clean using the warm scrape method, then go with a few layers of base prep, then red, then blue with cold powder. After that I'll base prep twice, then go with wax of the day, two layers.
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Re: Birkie wax - all set!

Postby jt10000 » Wed Feb 20, 2013 4:12 pm

kuan wrote:I like to go all the way into cold powder. So clean using the warm scrape method, then go with a few layers of base prep, then red, then blue with cold powder. After that I'll base prep twice, then go with wax of the day, two layers.

Kuan - sounds like you're talking about Fast Wax purple base prep, which cools medium, not super-soft right? Like Swix CH7 perhaps in terms of hardness.
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Re: Birkie wax - all set!

Postby kuan » Wed Feb 20, 2013 4:15 pm

jt10000 wrote:
kuan wrote:I like to go all the way into cold powder. So clean using the warm scrape method, then go with a few layers of base prep, then red, then blue with cold powder. After that I'll base prep twice, then go with wax of the day, two layers.

Kuan - sounds like you're talking about Fast Wax purple base prep, which cools medium, not super-soft right? Like Swix CH7 perhaps in terms of hardness.


Yes that's what I use as a general wax. I also like using the DH brands base prep like Dominator.

But I can't tell you why it works, or if it works, just my own voodoo.
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Re: Birkie wax - all set!

Postby MN Hoser » Wed Feb 20, 2013 9:07 pm

Mike wrote:
Mind if I join in? So if I've just hot scraped my really dirty skis with a soft yellow wax, I should put down a harder wax before doing my Birkie waxing? Or, if Swix is recommending 2 layers of LF6 is that hard enough?


The more wax the merry. I believe Swix is assuming you have good fast skis to start with and not that the layers they recommend will do the cleaning and base prep. But all this depends on what you're expecting from your skis, or in other words is 99% close enough.

Jay


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