Post Course Discussion : The HOT BOX!
Started by Pavelski in Ski Tuning Course 08-Nov-2007
Pavelski posted Nov-2007
What you ask does cooking have to do with ski tuning? A great deal as you will discover soon!
All of you chefs ( and lesser chefs) know that there are many opinions on how to cook food. The Asiatic fast fry method using a wok appears to some to "trap in" all the food nutrients!The food is cooked but stays crisp!
Being of Russian descent I favor the slow pot roast approach in which all the ingredients "melt" into a stew-like consistency over a 3-4 hour period!
Each approach has its disciplines!
If you cook you will understand the following presentation very well!
I expected the bright students in the class, you know the ones with a twinkle in their eyes whose minds race ahead to ask me about "the hot box"!
Since we are near the end of the class and we are all getting our materials together so that we can get ready for skiing, I thought I would at least talk about this subject since it was never brought up!
Skiers are always looking for a better way to do things. A better way to go faster!
In the cross-country ski world everyone looks at how to make skis faster! How to make waxing more efficient!
Remember how in the early part of the class we talked about the base very much like a "sponge" with microscopic spaces withing the base! It is in these spaces and NOT ON TOP that we lay way the wax!
By heating a ski base,,we expand these spaces thus allowing more wax into the ski base!
I think you now remember the class! I see the eyes opening up! "oh yes"!
Now you will see the relation with cooking and ski waxing!
You realize that by placing an iron on a ski base is very much like heating up a wok and placing food on a very hot wok! Quick and sharp!
Some bright soul thought, "hummmmm what if I do not fast fry my ski base,, but let it "stew" for a slow easy melt down"?
This slow stew will allow the wax to penetrate more into the microscopic spaces thus I would get more wax retention!
So the hot box was invented! If you want to see what it looks like go to Flickr site where all other ski tuning pictures are!
I see all your hands waving!!! I know what you are going to ask. Is it worth it? Does it work?
First how does it work in practical terms.
In the hot box approach you do all the same wax procedures as before and once you have finished, you place skis in a box that has internal heating! You close box and allow skis to "cook" slowly, in order to allow wax to flow into the ski base!
In theory this approach provides superior wax penetration! The cross-country competition wax technicians have been using this approach for several years now. The alpine World Cup people also are using this approach!
Now some ski shops have set up hot box services at $25 for 2 hour soak!
Some fanatic tuners are also setting up their hot boxes just beside their saunas!
There are kits you can buy. See Solda Hot box!
Now to answer your questions!
The procedure can not do harm (if you keep temperature low) and if you have money to spend go ahead and use it!
I have experimented with a hot box wax application using two skis ( one without hot box, the other with hot box)! There is no doubt that the wax last longer on the hot box application! However I feel it does not justify the expense!
If you wax your skis regularly for recreational use there is no need to set up a hot box! Now if you want to create a "buzz" in the ski chalet bar,,then go ahead and set up your hot box! When they all ask you how come you are so fast and so good as a skier, you can casually say,,,"I owe it all to my hot box"! You will see skiers gravitate to you.........as you explain the mysteries of the hot box!
Oh.... a second great use of the hot box, I have discovered is you can place your bread in the box about 45 minutes before supper! Wonderful soft hot bread comes out! Impressive!