Brushes: when to use what and why

by Ian Harvey

    • After skiing and before hot waxing: brush out well using the Toko Copper Brush;

    • After hot waxing and scraping, for all waxes: brush out well using the Toko Copper Brush;

    • If using Blue (cold) waxes: finish by brushing out well using the Toko Horsehair Brush;

    • If using Red or Yellow (medium and warmer) waxes: finish by brushing using the Toko Nylon Polishing Brush;

    • If using topcoats such as JetStream Powder or Bloc: have a separate Nylon Polishing Brush specifically dedicated for brushing out JetStream.


That’s it! Just 3 brushes for hot waxing and 1 brush for JetStream.


There are two more brushes in the program which are the Combi Brush and the Nylon Brush.

The Combi Brush is a brush that is 1/2 copper and 1/2 nylon. It is simply a money saving option with a definite performance compromise as well. The Nylon Brush is very popular but I don’t use it personally. I think it is OK but doesn’t do anything particularly well. I prefer to use the brushes mentioned above.

The Copper Brush does everything that you want a metal brush to do (open up and clean the base, remove wax) but none of the things that you don’t want a metal brush to do (create “hair”).

The Horsehair Brush has fine but stiff bristles which are perfect for brushing out cold waxes. The bristles are fine enough to remove wax from the microstructure and they are stiff enough to remove hard waxes such as Blue quickly and easily.

The Nylon Polishing Brush also has fine bristles but is very soft and flexible. This brush removes less wax than the Horsehair brush and is perfect for finishing the warmer hot waxes and topcoats such as JetStream.

New or Freshly Stoneground Skis Preparation

by Ian Harvey

Fast skis are something special. Most skiers are emotionally attached to their fastest pair of skis because they are really worth something. Fast skis make a person more “fit” (faster) and they certainly make skiing more fun as well. New skis or freshly stoneground skis have the potential to be your “fastest skis ever”. Following this advice will give new skis the best chance possible to reach their potential.


First off, check the skis for blemishes, waves on the base, top sheet cracks, rough spots on the edges, or sidewall dents. Then inspect the base more carefully. Usually new skis or freshly stoneground skis look great, but sometimes they do not. A pair of skis that has whitish and hairy bases or that has more structure on the base than what is desired will simply not run in anything except for really fast conditions or perhaps fairly wet corn snow. If the condition of the ptex is not good, a correction needs to be made or the skis will simply not run well. When it comes to base structure, it is far better to have a structure that is fine and then add more by hand as needed than to have a pair of skis that only runs when conditions are very wet.

Consider where you are going to do most of your skiing (or where you want to have your “best” skis) and compare the base structure to the conditions that you expect to be skiing in. If there is more structure than you want, that is a problem. In that case, I would have the skis stoneground with a finer structure. If the structure looks good, then you’re good. If it is too fine, that is OK too as you can add structure by hand.

Once we have established that the skis are in good shape overall and that the base structure and condition is good, we have three objectives: to get as much wax into the base as possible, to replace this soft wax with a hard glide wax, and to remove micro hairs. Toko, Swix, and some other companies sell “base prep” waxes. These waxes are fine for working on skis in general, but it is a simple truth that no single wax has the properties necessary to accomplish these objectives.

To get as much wax into the base as possible, a very soft glide wax (for warm conditions such as Toko NF Yellow or even better Toko Cleaning and Hot Box Wax) is needed. The softer a glide wax is, the better it will go into the base. The soft wax will penetrate both deeper and at a higher percentage than a harder wax. This is why we apply 5 layers of a very soft glide wax scraping and brushing between each layer. Brush out with a copper brush. The scraping and brushing cleans and “opens” the base allowing more wax to enter. Use a sharp Plexiglas scraper and allow the wax to cool completely before scraping and brushing. Scraping a ski while the wax is warm not only takes wax out of the superficial layer of the base, but it also eradicates structure (which we may have just paid to have had put in). The damage done by a small mistake such as uneven pressure on the scraper or too much pressure on the scraper or a bigger mistake such as having the scraper dig into the base will be magnified when the base is warm (and soft).

If your bases don’t seem to be taking in any wax, you might want to have them stoneground. Sometimes by the time you get your skis, those same skis have been hanging around for a long time in warehouses. The base material might be hardened from oxidation. Soon after a ski base as been stoneground is when it is able to accept the most wax, so consider stonegrinding your skis if you don’t think they are taking wax like they should be.

The ski bases have now been well-penetrated by a soft glide wax. This is only a half of the job though. Many of us are familiar with the experience of having glide waxed our new skis 15-20 times with a soft wax only to find that after 5 kilometers of skiing our bases already looked white and unwaxed. This happens because the bases only had very soft wax in them. For this reason, the base material itself became very soft and was not dry friction resistant. Dry friction is especially created by skiing on sharp cold new snow which is commonly found in the first half of a ski season. Before skiing, we still need to utilize the soft wax that is in the base “holding the base open” on a micro level. If we replace this soft wax with a hard glide wax such as Toko NF Blue, the base will be hardened and more resistant to abrasion. We do not simply start with the hard glide wax because, by itself, it will not penetrate as well. We need the layers of the soft wax to get in there and “hold” things open.

Apply 2 layers of the hard glide wax. After each application, allow the wax to cool completely before scraping and brushing. These two layers will harden the base. Scraping and copper brushing out the blue will remove any remaining micro base hairs. Follow these 2 layers the wax of the day. Your skis are now ready to show you what they’ve got.

At this point, you have just started. Just as important but far more rewarding is the rest of the process. I have found LF Red to be a superb wax for skiing and waxing and making skis faster. So, the next step is to ski a lot and wax with LF Red between each time you go out!


Twin Skins


Hello, I’ve ordered a pair of new Fischer Speedmax Twin Skins. Could you advise on best products to clean and de-ice the kick zone? So far I see that Swix, Fischer and Rex all offer such products, usually a cleaner and de-icer, but I don’t know if one is better than the others.


I also have a new pair of Twin Skins. I really like them for my personal training purposes in tricky conditions where finding good wax would take a lot of time. The prep I have done is to simply use the prep package that came with the skis and applied it to the skins and skied the rest of the season. I was satisfied.

I have not used the Twin Skins for races, just training. So, I have not done any testing of the various “skin” prep products yet. You can use any brand prep product on any ski brand’s skins. The different skins may be of slightly different materials, lengths or densities, but are all set up with the same theory of providing kick and glide. So, experiment yourself (or with your buddies as a group) with the different skin prep products and use the one you like best. (I would not be surprised to find out that there is not a huge difference and best choice may be the most convenient from both an application standpoint and from an availability at your local shop.)

Note, I had last year’s Twin Skin model and used it all spring without any new daily prep and I enjoyed my skiing, especially the low maintenance aspect in spring klister conditions. After passing my pair from last year down, I’ll probably do the same thing with my new pair.


Joe, thank you for the response. I’ve also decided the Twin Skins are terrific for training but would not
likely race on them. You answered my biggest question which is how often do you need to prep themcand apparently the answer is “not much”. Good to know. I ski almost daily here in Colorado so less prep will be a time saver.


I have always thought in normal conditions I can wax with kick wax that is far better than the skins, even if I have over waxed and have some drag.

If you do mess around some with different prep products, let me know your feedback. In CO, you may have some friends or acquaintances who back country with skins on the way up and take them off for the earned turns on the way down. May be ask them if they do anything to their skins and if so, how often. I’d be interested in feedback from a person not reping a wax company.

– answered by Joe Haggenmiller

Sealed Bases

Q: My skate skis have some white/grey splotches on the base. Not the whole base but parts of it. I don’t have a Nordic Shop anywhere close to me, I bought these from a shop that’s about 5 hours away.. I have 2 good downhill shops close by, if I need to have them stoneground, will the downhill grinders work on nordic skis? I assume they’re the same, but don’t know. And if the shop can do them, what kind of grind should I have them do?


A: From what I see it appears as if your skis need a base refreshener. An alpine shop grinder can do Nordic skis but they should not do your skis as their first Nordic race skis. Nordic skis need to be ground with much less pressure than alpine skis.

So you need to ask them if they have done many Nordic race skis in the past and ask for a cold universal grind? Or you can ship your skis to one of the Nordic grinding specialists if you wish. Or you can try to do some base refreshing on your own.

I would advise you start with the brass, copper, metal brush method. Get the most aggressive of these brushes you have and start brushing the base with moderate aggression from tip to tail. You want to get under the overheated/melted base and open it up, basically tearing it open. Follow this with an aggressive coarse fibertex pad and repeat numerous times. Do a gentle metal scraping to cut off any hairs you have exposed. Follow this with a hot wipe of your softest wax. Repeat all this numerous times and see if the bases look top be improving. if it was a minor burn you should see improvement fast. If it was a major burn you will need much more work, perhaps even sandpaper method or best yet stonegrinding.

– Andy @ SkiPost


Yes. I actually did it and it helped a lot. I got rid of almost all of spots. I will try to get them ground next Winter in Lake Placid if I make it up there, but this really helped.

Thanks! Dan

About SkiPost

Cross-Country skiing’s community lodge. Where knowledge and stories are shared. The goal of SkiPost is to make the sport of Cross-Country skiing easier and more enjoyable for all who choose to participate. If you have questions on Cross-Country Skiing email us and visit

Enjoy Winter,
Andrew Gerlach
Director/Editor- SkiPost

Which Swenor Rollerski Is Best For Me?


For Classic, the Swenor Fibreglass is the most popular model – its medium size wheels roll over most rough pavement with ease and its shafts flex to make it feel like skiing on snow.

It you want the light weight roller skis and are on smooth pavement, go with laminated Carbonfibre model with small wheels.

If you want the mostly stability and a big wheel that rolls over the roughest pavement and even some loose gravel, go with the Fintech.

Swenor also has less expensive aluminum shaft options and Swenor Junior models.



Skate Elite with its laminated shaft is the most popular model. It feels like you are skiing on snow and you can even carve it around corners.

On a budget do with the lightweight aluminum Skate Long for experienced skiers or Skate for beginners.

10-14 year old can use the Swenor Skate Junior.

– Andy at SkiPost

Iron Temperature

I have heard from a number of people that our irons are not running hot enough. Fortunately this is NOT the case. The issue is that people are using infrared thermometers to measure the temperature of the bases of the irons. Infrared thermometers are great for measuring temperatures of things that are not shiny, but when there is any reflection involved, generally a temperature reading that is far too cool is the result. Stainless steel is especially famous for this issue. What actually ends up happening is that the infrared beam reflects and you get a reading of something in the room as compared to the iron base. All of the irons in the test were set for 160c (320F) as the question at hand was if they got hot enough.

Here is an example of the contrast:

These two images were sent to me as evidence of the iron not getting hot enough.

Here are the actual temperatures of the iron bases (two different irons that were sent back).

Here is a T8 iron reading. We know the T8s run slightly cool, so this is very good for an $80 iron!

This is the proper equipment for measuring the temperature of a base of an iron. It is a thermocoupler which is basically a digital thermometer that has a direct interface with the iron base eliminating any reflection. This is a scientific instrument that is both expensive and accurate.

Anyway, this wasn’t a bad exercise to have gone through as it had been a while since I checked the actual temperatures versus readouts.

Ian Harvey, TOKO


Skin Skis – Opinion

There sure is a lot of hullabolu about the new skin skis and I am wondering are they an improvement over the old nowax pattern skis, and if they are, – why are they better. Or are they just another fad like the short skating skis, palm grips of poles etc. I sure would like to hear from other skiers, how they like them and why?


A: The skin ski makes a faster and quieter racing waxless ski than a cut pattern. But a waxed ski beats a skin ski most days. Skin skis are great for marathon classic races where the snow will change a lot throughout the day. Skin skis makes it easier to go out and classic in any condition without having to take any time to wax. For those of us who like waxing, – waxing rules.

Andy at SkiPost