Review: Toko Liquid Paraffin

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For many, waxing and tuning skis surpasses basic maintenance; it is more of a religion. I do not proclaim myself a wax geek as some of our readers are. SkiTalk has dozens of skis in its test fleet, and maintaining them takes a tremendous amount of time and effort; for someone who enjoys a glass of brown liquid when waxing skis, my liver just cannot take that kind of abuse. We have found efficient ways for waxing our skis so we can show them in their best light. We have been using the crayoning and fiberlene method; it is quicker than dripping and scraping, and we haven’t noticed any discernible differences in speed and longevity. Unil now: enter the new world of ecofriendly non-fluoro liquid paraffins.

When we agreed that Toko would come aboard as a sponsor, I was thinking along my traditional lines for what products they would supply. I compiled the usual list: scrapers; 120g blocks of yellow, red, and blue high-performance waxes; and various other tuning supplies. Immediately after my initial order, I received a email asking why I didn’t include any liquid paraffins. In my ignorance, I thought they couldn’t perform to the level of a drip/crayon method. Man, was I wrong.

Ian Hunter, Toko’s national product manager, removed the vast majority of the hard wax blocks from our order switched to the liquid paraffin with a mixture of colors (yellow, red, and blue) and both performance levels, (base and high performance). Over the years, we have tried numerous wax options offered by various startups, latest-and-greatest snake oils, and even new formulas from major brands. I honestly could not tell any differences in A-B testing (different waxes on each ski), so though I was a bit skeptical, I was interested in seeing if these new waxes lived up to Toko’s claims.

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Coming into the initial comparison, I really didn’t expect to feel any difference, let alone a significant one. I started with a pair of skis that I was familiar with, the Fischer RC One GT 86, and followed Ian’s suggestion to clean the bases with a brass roto brush and then wax both skis. On the first ski, I started with my tried-and-true method: crayon on the Toko red wax, iron it in, let cool, fiberlene it off, and brush with nylon and then horse hair. The other ski, I did the same brass roto, applied a thin coat of the base liquid paraffin, let dry for 20 to 30 min, then hand brushed the ski with the provided soft nylon brush. Ian later suggested that I let the liquid paraffin sit overnight for even better results, which I will start doing from now on if time allows.

Again, I didn’t expect the results I got. When I got to Mt Rose, it was in the mid-20s. I dropped the skis on the old snow and tried not to look down to see which ski was on which foot. I clicked in and started gliding to the lift, and immediately I felt one ski slide better. I looked down to see which ski was which, and sure enough the one treated with the liquid paraffin was gliding faster and smoother than the other. Interesting. As the day warmed up, the old snow got coarser and coarser, conditions that can rip wax off of the base and turn it white, especially near the edges. Both skis skied pretty much the same as the day went on. My final concern was how the liquid paraffin would hold up to a day of coarse snow. Well, after about 4 hr of skiing, both bases looked the same; neither looked drier than the other. The Base Performance Liquid Paraffin held its own. I will chalk this initial test up as a win for the liquid paraffin.

Waxing the night before then buffing the next morning might take longer overall than my old method, but it is a lot less actual time -- and a helluva lot less work and mess. Yes, as @Andy Mink says, you do want to do this in a well-ventilated area, so make sure you have proper ventilation and do not do it in, say, a condo at a Gathering (again).

The 100ml canister of Base Performance Liquid Paraffin retails for about $30 and will do 13 pairs of skis. The 125ml High Performance Liquid Paraffin costs significantly more at $140, but it is directed at the racers' market where cost is not as important as a higher finish. I will be letting @ScotsSkier test and report back on the race spray.
About author
Philpug
I started skiing in the mid-70s in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania; from then on, I found myself entrenched in the industry. I have worked in various ski shops from suburban to ski town to resort, giving me a well-rounded perspective on what skiers want from their gear. That experience was parlayed into my time as a Gear Review Editor and also consulting with manufacturers as a product tester. Along with being a Masterfit-trained bootfitter I am a fully certified self proclaimed Gear Guru. Not only do I keep up with the cutting edge of ski gear technology, but I am an avid gear collector and have an extensive array of bindings as well as many vintage skis.

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Super, I have been using it also and works great. I am concerned about the toxicity of the spray. I notice the preparer wears a painters ventilator mask in the video demo. Any thoughts?
 
I would expect this product to have a low order of toxicity. I was unable to get a material safety data sheet (MSDS) which lists the ingredients but they are likely to be paraffin wax, a petroleum distillate (like napha or paint thinner) and butane or propane as a propellant. All of those ingredients have very low toxicity. My biggest concern (aside from the flammability of all of the above) would be inhaling the aerosol (particles) so using a particle mask such as a properly fit-sealed N95 would be a good practice.

If you can get me a list of ingredients, I could be more definitive.
 
I would expect this product to have a low order of toxicity. I was unable to get a material safety data sheet (MSDS) which lists the ingredients but they are likely to be paraffin wax, a petroleum distillate (like napha or paint thinner) and butane or propane as a propellant. All of those ingredients have very low toxicity. My biggest concern (aside from the flammability of all of the above) would be inhaling the aerosol (particles) so using a particle mask such as a properly fit-sealed N95 would be a good practice.

If you can get me a list of ingredients, I could be more definitive.
Thank you. I am wearing a mask, spraying in a well ventilated area and running away quickly.
 
I'm essentially a cave-dweller wax person who waxes to protect the base's performance longevity as my 1st priority, with glide ("please don't drag in really cold conditions or get sticky in the spring snow") as the 2nd priority.

(My wife is a former collegiate Division 1 nordic competitor and Junior Olympics nordic coach....she performs the most bizzaro wax voodoo on the planet on those ribbon-like XC classical and skate skis...but we won't get into that topic....it borders on religion....and frankly the rituals are a bit scary for mortal alpine skiers...don't even go there... It's a standing argument in our household about which discipline [alpine or nordic] is "real" skiiing...but again...don't even go there...)

To the horror of some ski buddies, I have been known to ski an un-scraped ski drip-waxed the previous night on eastern boilerplate to wear the wax down (It's not that bad...you actually get to see the pressure zones on different parts of the base really well after a run or two...then the ski runs normally... yeah, yeah... I know...it's just wrong...but I digress...)...so don't take any waxing advice from me other than yes, a proper waxing job is a joy to experience and all skis deserve to be well prepared for a day's outing...it allows them to perform their best and let's the skier get the most enjoyment out of them.

The Toko spray-on paraffin film of wax is undoubtedly effective and conserves wax material....but the eco-sensitive side of me feels guilty throwing away empty aerosol cans which represent a major packaging lifecycle side-effect of the product. In our neck of the woods, we cannot recycle used aerosol cans...so I'm stuck dumping them into the landfill trash. I feel bad enough looking at all the wax scrapings on the bench and floor with traditional drip or crayon techniques...and the spray-wax eliminates those (yay!)....but I have an aversion to tossing aerosol cans away just to support my ski wax urges. Now if you could buy the liquid in reusable, pump-spray or user-pressurized dispensers...

With all the eco-sensitive ski building materials, adhesives and non-petroleum, non-paraffin (petroleum hydrocarbon) wax options cropping up all over the marketplace....it would be cool if Toko could bring a non-petroleum based, non-aerosol liquid wax film option to market! Thanks for the A/B ski comparison between the spray paraffin and traditional waxing!
 
I am sold on the Liquid Paraffins. Don't get me wrong, I still hard wax....but not as much...not nearly as much. When I get a fresh ski in, the first thing I do is to crayon wax the wax, iron in, fiberline and buff. Then the next four waxings will be Liquid Paraffins. I waill spray on after a day on snow, let sit over night then buff just before I get them back on snow. It is not the process that the LP's are...they are but they are also faster on the snow.
 
I'm curious whether the use of Toko liquid parafinns has changed your selection of the underlying iron-in hard wax?

I've been using the Toko LF for the past three months in Breck and I have been impressed with the glide characteristics and the durability of this "top layer". I'm definitely doing fewer and fewer hard wax sessions. Wondering whether I should be generally tending to a somewhat harder base wax than I might normally apply?
 
I'm curious whether the use of Toko liquid parafinns has changed your selection of the underlying iron-in hard wax?

I've been using the Toko LF for the past three months in Breck and I have been impressed with the glide characteristics and the durability of this "top layer". I'm definitely doing fewer and fewer hard wax sessions. Wondering whether I should be generally tending to a somewhat harder base wax than I might normally apply?
Not really. I still use Toko red for 90% of my base waxing. Yellow & Blue for the rest.
 
Today, I mistakenly grabbed a ski that was waxed with yellow and the temps were in the teens...well if this was a typical hard wax, it would have been able to basicly skin up the hill..w/o skins but the yellow liquid paraffin felt just as fast and smooth as if I had on red or blue today. Amazing. Next time it warms up, I am going to take out some skis with blue and see how it does. If it runs smooth (as I really expect), I will come to the conclusion...just stock the shelves with red. Stay tuned.
 
The Toko spray-on paraffin film of wax is undoubtedly effective and conserves wax material....but the eco-sensitive side of me feels guilty throwing away empty aerosol cans which represent a major packaging lifecycle side-effect of the product. In our neck of the woods, we cannot recycle used aerosol cans...so I'm stuck dumping them into the landfill trash. I feel bad enough looking at all the wax scrapings on the bench and floor with traditional drip or crayon techniques...and the spray-wax eliminates those (yay!)....but I have an aversion to tossing aerosol cans away just to support my ski wax urges. Now if you could buy the liquid in reusable, pump-spray or user-pressurized dispensers...
Pump spray would be fantastic. I actually don't understand why it's not just a liquid that can be dripped on and spread with a sponge or fiberlene. Maybe there would be a lot of waste?
 
Today, I mistakenly grabbed a ski that was waxed with yellow and the temps were in the teens...well if this was a typical hard wax, it would have been able to basicly skin up the hill..w/o skins but the yellow liquid paraffin felt just as fast and smooth as if I had on red or blue today. Amazing. Next time it warms up, I am going to take out some skis with blue and see how it does. If it runs smooth (as I really expect), I will come to the conclusion...just stock the shelves with red. Stay tuned.
Did you try the experiment with blue yet? I'm really interested in trying this product but especially in spring conditions. I'm debating between the yellow and the red. We do tend to get out there early in the A.M.
 
Did you try the experiment with blue yet? I'm really interested in trying this product but especially in spring conditions. I'm debating between the yellow and the red. We do tend to get out there early in the A.M.
I skied with the blue in average temps and it skied well and the same with the red when it was cold...the range is much broader than I would have expected.
 
Has anyone tried the Toko Irox spray on wax? It is similar to what Phil reviewed in form and application, but comes in a larger package at a lower price. Wondering if I could do a base coat with that and a tooo PK coat with a temperature specific wax.
 
We have been using the yellow paraffin this Spring and it has performed, IMHO better than expected. @Andy Mink and I took out two pair of Siderals, one pair ironed in yellow and the other was prepped with the yellow paraffin. We skied from 9-3 at Squaw in Spring slush. the yellow paraffin lasted almost as long as the iron in. Almost, means a difference was felt at the end when the spray wore off a bout a run less. In complete transparency, the ironed on was was also brass brushed prior...that could have been the difference too.
 
@Philpug have you tried ironing in the liquid paraffin? My understanding is that you can do that for better wax absorption, so would be curious how that compares to a regular hotwax.
 
Has anyone tried the Toko Irox spray on wax? It is similar to what Phil reviewed in form and application, but comes in a larger package at a lower price.

Yes. It is the one thing from Toko I never could get to go on right. Two cans' worth of gummy messes, some of which eventually required a base grind to get rid of.

 
I have been using the Blue and It hasn't mattered so far the temps, warm or cold.
 
Has anyone ever found a way to "mix" liquid waxes as has historically been done for the solids? I.e. iron on red and yellow. This approach is probably more applicable to Swix with the narrower temp ranges, but I'm asking generally for liquids. I fear spraying one and then the other would just result in layers, but maybe not if its still wet?
 

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