Introducing the Toko Stars and Stripes Glove Collection
First Look – Toko T18 Digital Wax Iron
Toko has a new digital T-18 wax iron that they’re rolling out, with commercial availability scheduled for mid-2015.
I got my hands on one a bit early, and have been using it here in the shop at Ultratune, for evaluation, and thought I’d share some information and my impressions.
The new T-18 is a step up in performance and price from the Toko T-14 digital iron that has been very popular the past few years. The new T-18 is clearly a different design and fabrication entirely. In fact, it shares a lot of the design with the translucent blue Star digital iron, but is updated.
The T-18 has a pretty stout aluminum base plate, smooth, with no grooves. It’s beveled along the rear edge for ramping up on wax (or powders) without “plowing”, but the beveling is on the back edge only — no bevels on the sides or front edge.
The T-18 is an 800W iron. With the big base plate and a very good thermostat, I find it to be very well regulated and accurate, and in fact I feel that this is the biggest improvement in performance over the T-14.
In addition, the power cord exits from the side instead of the back. If your wax bench is set up so that the ski tip is on the right side, and you drive the iron right-to-left (using the beveled edge), then the cord hangs out the front, nicely out of the way. I really like this little feature. Not a huge deal, but if you’re using an iron a lot, then little details like this make a difference.
Another feature that I like is that the T-18 remembers the temperature setting you’re using.
With the less expensive T-14 iron, every time you power-up the iron you need to adjust the temp setting. This can be good or bad. If you were cooking some high temperature top-coats into the skis (at, say, 160 C) and then shut down the iron, and then re-start it tomorrow to do a simple cleaning wax, then the T-14 will re-boot at the regular 130C setting, and you won’t smoke your yellow hydrocarbon wax. On the other hand, if you’re commonly running the iron at 120C, then it gets a bit annoying to have to turn down the iron every single time you power it up.
With the T-18, the iron remembers the thermostat setting you were using when it was turned off, and re-starts at the same temperature. For me, that’s a very minor little detail, but here in the shop where I’m laying down a base layer of soft thermo-box wax on lots and lots of skis, it’s handy that the T-18 remembers my basic setting.
What do I not like? I think the front and side edges are abrupt, and could have a little bit of a bevel to make it easier to use the iron in a variety of orientations. As it is, straight from the box, the T-18 really needs to be driven down the ski in one orientation only. For myself, I will likely bevel the front and side edges myself with a bit of careful hand-tool work. This is really minor, and I definitely plan to continue using the T-18 as my primary iron here at Ultratune at my wax bench.
The T-18 is not an inexpensive iron. It will sell for roughly two-and-a-half times as much money as the T-14 iron (yes, somewhere over $300 but exact pricing is TBD). Is it a better iron than the T-14? Yes it is. Will it inherently make your skis faster than another iron? No it won’t.
For me, the Toko T-18 digital wax iron is a very nice professional-level tool that I’ll be using in the shop here at Ultratune, and I’ll have a few on hand in the shop for sale, too. But I expect that the T-14 will still hit the sweet spot on price and performance for most skiers.
This was an unsolicited 3rd party review from Nordic Ultratune in Winthrop, Washington
To read it on their website, click here
Getting to know the Toko All Stars: Noah Hoffman
1. Who was your skiing role model when you were growing up and why?
My skiing role model when I was a junior was U.S. Ski Team athlete Kris Freeman. Kris was the best distance skier in the U.S. and his success showed me that it was possible for an American, who lived and trained in the U.S., to be in the top-5 in the world. When I got older I had the privilege of training with Kris, and he taught me how to train at an international level.
2. What skier inspires you currently and why?
I am inspired by my teammates, beginning with the U.S. Cross Country Team and extending to all of my teammates and friends who compete at the international level throughout the USSA disciplines. The success of the U.S. Women’s Cross Country Team at the World Championships and on the World Cup is incredibly motivating.
3. Favorite race course and why?
My favorite race course is Val di Fiemme, Italy because it suits my strengths, it’s fun to ski and it’s often sunny in Val di Fiemme.
4. Favorite workout and why?
I enjoy going for very long trail runs. I like picking a route that I think will take me five or six hours and setting out for an adventure.
5. Favorite place to train and why?
I love training at the Snow Farm in Wanaka, New Zealand. You can’t be the incredible food, the comfortable living, the gentle rolling trails and the mid-winter conditions in July.
6. Favorite movie line and why?
Don’t have one. I don’t watch many movies.
7. Favorite Toko glove model (and/or color) and why?
I like the Toko Profi in red because they are the perfect race weight and match my signature red hat.