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What the difference between these waxes? (liars, lawyers, and snake oil)

27 Feb 2012 9:29 PM | John Ellis (Administrator)
UPDATE 1/04/13:
I have been weighing skis for a few months now, and I can only conclude those claiming large amounts (150-200 grams) of wax absorption are NOT measuring actual weigh gain. My data and those claims are off by a factor of 1 or 2 orders of magnitude. However, I will also say that I have found extensively waxed skis are faster, smoother, and more fun to ski. Keep waxing, but don't believe extreme claims.



  I am having a little fun at the expense of my Lawyer friends (and family). Since I read everything I can find on this subject, I come across some crazy stuff pretending to be truth. And sometimes, there is a lot of truth (or truthiness) that gets nearly spoiled by some stupid stuff. I will provide pictures and examples. This post may save you some money- if you believe me more than the Snake Oil guys...

  3/31/12: Ok, I am back from waxing around 100 pairs of skis at the J3 Junior Olympics. I worked with some great techs/coaches there.  So what am I talking about in regards to "Snake Oil" guys? Just this: there are more wax companies out there than there is truly good information. Some of the wax companies have been "borrowing" claims from other companies, even going so far as lifting entire paragraphs from each others websites.

My BS test (at this moment): Claims of absorption FAR exceeding what the P-Tex manufacture says is possible. Nobody seems to be calling BS on these claims- EXCEPT ME RIGHT NOW! If you read something like "...we have secrets that allow us to get 150 to 200 grams absorbed into a pair of skis..." know that your leg is being pulled. IF someone wants to run a controlled test with a pair of skis weighing them BEFORE starting their waxing process and then AFTER waxing using a scale accurate to 1 or 2 grams and publish their results showing extreme waxing weight gain, then I will retract my statement above.

Here is the math for wax absorption: 20 (make it 25 to be generous) milligrams of wax per square centimeter of base- MAX- according to Intermontana, the P-Tex manufacturer. So the formula is this .025gram * cm2.  Ski CM2 is this formula: length * width. I will calculate using a 210 DH ski and a 165 Slalom ski. DH ski calculated base area is 1600 cm2. Slalom 1500 cm2.
.025 * 1600 = 40 grams/ski for DH; .025 * 1500 = 37.5 grams/ski for slalom. So there are wax companies claiming 2 to 4 times more wax absorption than the manufacturers say is possible. VERY unlikely, thinks me.

BTW: I do USE 250- 500 grams of wax PREPARING new skis, but I know it isn't all being absorbed. Most of it ends up as large bags of wax scrapings. Then I use those scrapings (along with kindling) in our fireplace to get the wood nice and hot!

Here is a LONG discussion of wax absorption from an engineer I really respect: http://www.alpineskituning.com/hotwax_myth.pdf

Before I prep skis for next season I will purchase a scale and do my own study. Look for the results here.


Comments

  • 02 Dec 2012 9:25 PM | John Ellis (Administrator)
    Update (December 1st 2012):
    I am weighing skis before and after EACH waxing now. The preliminary results tell me that the the claims by some wax companies are wrong by a factor of 4 at least. I will post a little more on this subject as the season progresses.
    Link  •  Reply

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