Updated: Dec 16, 2021
We offer teams, clubs and occasional individuals "Team Service" bulk grinding where the skis are ground, polished and hotboxed without final base hardening wax applied. Below instructions only apply to this level of service and are not relevant for full service stone grinds.
What was done in your Team Service grind:
Skis were flattened, P-texed, restructured, waxed and hot boxed with very soft, low melt point wax. The skis are returned unscraped with the soft wax still on the bases and you need to perform further service before skiing.
What you need to do before skiing:
Scrape and brush the hot box wax, apply blue base hardening wax, scrape and brush again and either ski or apply wax of the day (then ski!!)
Scrape and brush the hot box wax:
This wax is very soft, almost greasy, and takes a little effort to remove. I like using minimal pressure with a very sharp plastic scraper to shave wax off the base. The ski base is somewhat soft at this point and it's best to be extremely gentle while scraping.
Brushing can be a bit of a pain as the hot box wax tends to smear and stick to base rather than flake off in fine dust. In the shop we make fairly aggressive passes with a nylon roto brush followed by a light pass with plastic scraper. The plastic scraper will usually accumulate a layer of wax-sludge that was displaced from the structure grooves by brushing. At home you can do this with elbow grease and a hand brush. You want to get as much of the soft wax off the base as possible but don't kill yourself as you are just going to rewax.
Iron in hardening wax:
The soft hot box wax saturates pores in the polyethylene ski base and then serves as a conduit for further waxing. Ironing in hardening wax (blue in almost all brands) does two things, hardens the base to better match snow crystal hardness, and second, the higher melt/freeze point of blue waxes will raise and trap fine micro hairs when the wax hardens. Don't be skimpy with the blue wax, apply a generous volume of wax to help shield the ski from high iron temperature.
High iron temperatures needed for waxing with blue can damage skis. As a club or team. member we assume you know how to properly iron, but if you want a quick primer read this post:
MADSHUS OWNERS READ THIS!!!
Foam core Madshus skis are particularly sensitive to high iron temperatures and we regularly see them with severe heat damage. Use extra caution when ironing high melt point waxes on Madshus skis!
Scraping the Blue Wax:
Last step is to carefully shave the blue wax from you bases. Allow the wax ample time to fully cool and harden. A flat, sharp plastic blade is a must. This post is not a primer on scraping technique, but use long, low pressure passes to peel wax off the base letting the sharp edge do the work. If you need to use higher pressure on the scraper your blade is dull. (Check that your blade is flat by holding it against a straight edge metal ruler - many commercial sharpeners will eventually create a concave blade). In a perfect world the wax should come off in long strands as you push the scraper down length of the ski.
You may or may not see black micro hair material imbedded in the wax shavings (pictured below). These micro hairs are artifacts from grinding that the polishing process did not fully remove and they only appear in about 30% of skis we service. Generally micro hair is brand/base material dependent but also more prevalent in finer, cold grinds than warmer coarse grinds.
Blue waxes need to be fully brushed with a fine, soft copper or brass brush. Bristles on an appropriate brush should be soft enough to comfortably rub on your skin. I like to push brush in direction of tip to tail but start my strokes at tail working back up length of ski. This will leave piles of "wax dandruff" as you progress to tip of the ski. Wipe them away before making another pass. When you stop seeing the dandruff, you're done.
Now it's time go ski or if you're really feel like it, put on one more coat of wax appropriate for current conditions. New grinds (all skis, actually...) always benefit from frequent rewaxing so don't be lazy your first few outings. Feel free to reach out if you have questions.