Hot-waxing: Faster, cheaper

By Kevin and Brian Delaney

What you’ll need: Base Cleaner Wax Iron Plastic Scraper Nylon Brush It’s thattime of the month again. Your board sticks, squeaks, and stalls. There’s more snow stuck to the base thanthe average snowgun can produce in an hour-with ideal temperature and humidity. It’s time for a wax. Thereare two common ways to wax your board’s base. One is to simply rub a wax on, then maybe buff it out. Thesecond is to hot-wax, actually melting the wax into your base. Rub-ons work well as a quick fix, but for topperformance and general care of the P-tex base, hot-waxing is the call. Many people think hot-waxing ismore complicated than it is. We drop our boards off at the shop, and the next day-magically-they go faster.

It must take years of specialized training and hours of hard work, right? Not really-anyone can wax their ownboard in twenty minutes or so. Start with a clean base. If your board hasn’t been waxed in a while, or is dirtyfrom old, springtime snow, clean it with a rub-on citrus base cleaner. Waxes vary according to thetemperature and moisture content of the snow you’ll be riding in. If you’re not sure of the snow temp, go witha universal wax that works well in most conditions. With your board at room temperature, melt the wax ontoits base with an iron on low heat (between the silk and polyester settings if you’re borrowing your mom’s).Be warned: if you use an iron to wax, don’t use it again on clothes. Wax will also totally ruin carpet, so do itin the garage. Hold the bar of wax against the iron, allowing it to drip onto the base. If the iron smokes, it’stoo hot.

It’s hard to judge the right amount of wax to use without experience. Move the iron around, leavingdrops of wax about three-quarters of an inch apart over the entire base. Put more along the edges, where thebase gets greater use. You want just enough wax to cover the base with a thin layer when it’s ironed out.Once the wax is dripped on, spread it by running the iron flat on the base, as if ironing your Wranglers orGitanos. Move the iron slowly in circles. Think Jiffy Pop popcorn-if you stop moving, it’ll get too hot andblister or burn the P-tex (base material). Keep it moving! The base of your board is like skin; it’s porous andcan absorb wax like moisturizer. Iron until the base is completely covered and the underside (in this case, thetopsheet) of the board feels warm.

This ensures absorption. Let the board cool for a while, back to roomtemperature or so, then scrape the excess wax from the base with a plastic scraper. Remember, it’s the waxthat’s been absorbed into the base that counts. Remove the wax by running the scraper down the board’slength, keeping it angled in the direction it’s going, not digging into the base. With the bulk of the wax gone,give the base a going-over with a nylon brush to expose the texture of your board’s base, then you’re done.

Like everything else, waxing can get much more complicated. But by routinely throwing on a basic hot wax,you’ll not only save some money, but you’ll also prolong the life and performance of your board. -Kurt Hoy captions lower left Drip wax over the entire base of the board, applying more near the edges. (Right) Ironthe wax into the board’s base until it’s spread evenly and absorbed into the P-tex. Keep the iron moving toavoid blistering or burning the base material. upper right Remove excess wax by running a plastic scraperalong the length of the board. Don’t push so hard that you damage the base. middle right Use a nylon brushto get wax out of the base’s structure (patterned grooves in the P-tex).