Hot Boxing Bases?
It's all about FASTER skis!
Hot boxing is the best method to prep ski bases. Wax deeply penetrates into the base in just a few cycles vs. the hot iron method, which can take up to 20+ cycles for initial set-up. Hot boxing is better for protection and results in faster skis.
Bases are made of extruded polyethylene on inexpensive skis or sintered on performance skis. Extruded is a sheet of plastic that has little ability to absorb wax. Sintered bases are a powder that's pressed together under pressure and heat to bond grains of polyethylene together leaving microscopic spaces. The spaces have the ability to absorb wax which is necessary to protect the base from damage due to the high friction created while skiing.
Hot ironing allows only a small amount of wax to be absorbed before the base overheats. Therefore, it takes many repetitions to reach maximum wax penetration. Putting skis in a hot box set at 50°-55°C for 2-4 hours will let the base safely absorb enough wax to fill the base providing the wax is replenished as it's being absorbed.
Many ski shops have used a 2' x 2' x 8' plywood “coffin” outfitted with floodlights for heat. The lights tended to concentrate the heat in several spots resulting in uneven penetration. A better solution has been to use a 'gutter heat cable' for more even heat distribution. This solution was a lot better, but still didn't have a thermostat or timer to regulate temperature and time of exposure. Neither of these devices were portable.
The new generation of hot boxes are quite sophisticated and are used extensively by most National Teams.