Powder and Binder Wax
In this column, we comment on application testing, multiple layers of powder and the importance of binder wax.
Testing of various glide-waxing products, such as underlayers, paraffins, powders and toppings, is a standard practice among waxers and teams. Less common, however, is the testing of different methods of applying those products, in particular for powders and toppings. Over the past year, we have seen the importance of considering different application methods continue to grow.
In general, the standard practice for fluoro treatments is to burn a powder and then apply either a liquid or solid topping as a cover. While this method is low in liability, there may be an opportunity to find advantages in speed. Options to consider include: • Applying powder, brushing and then topping with a block or liquid (standard practice) • Applying a liquid topping, then (without brushing) burning a powder directly over top. • After burning the powder, scrub up with a brush and iron again. • After burning the powder, scrub up with a brush and roto cork. • After burning the powder, scrub up with a brush and roto fleece (different fleeces may yield different results).
The methods above indicate that there are many ways to apply the final fluorocarbon layers to race skis. And similar to different products, these application methods have to be tested because on any given day, one or the other may be faster.
Multiple Layers of Powder
This is a situation where, in some circumstances, if one layer of powder is good, several layers of powder are better. In particular, in situations where the snow is wet and/or dirty or the race is long in duration (30 kilometres or longer), we find applying multiple layers of powder makes a significant difference in ski speed in the later stages of the race. The benefit seems to come from the ability of the powder to repel dirt and maintain durability. And in the longer races, speed at the end can be even more important than speed at the beginning!
After the initial powder application, scrub up with a brush, add a bit more powder and re-iron. From there, you might consider fully brushing and applying additional layers. For marathons or in other exceptional circumstances, three to five layers of powder are not out of the question. A final application could be made pending the outcome of the testing noted above.
Application of Base Binder
A method that we have employed with good success when a klister binder is too much and when a base binder doesn't hold up to the abrasion would be to use the new spray klisters and mix with a base binder, heating and corking smooth. Options to consider include: • Apply a thin, even application of sprayklister base binder. • Apply a thin layer of base binder on top of spray-klister base binder. • Cork smooth after heating lightly with iron or heat gun. • Apply one layer of hard wax while warm and cork smooth. • Let cool. • Then apply six to eight layers of the wax of the day. Enjoy the spring skiing!