tips for tuning ski equipment

New skies and snowboard's are generally not ready for use when you buy then off the shelf.

You should at the least wax the equipment and check the tune of the edges and re-sharpen as needed. It is only by hand tuning that you can obtain maximum performance from your equipment and by turning your own equipment it will bring your skill level up another notch because you will state to understand better the relationship between equipment and performance.

It seems that once a machine is created to reduce the work required to do a task, before you know it someone is selling us on the idea that the machines work is all you need. Example is ski shop equipment, ski tuning machines can make the base flat, square your edges or put a bevel on then, add structure to a the base, and now even do complete base repair, but these machines were designed to do a bulk amount of work and then for a skilled tech to complete the process by hand. Many times you are not getting the best tune for shops that only use machines.

Hand tuning is required to obtain optimum performance from your snowboard. Hand tuning can be economical and convenient. Knowing the information below will also help you choose an professional shop to get your work done at.

The following is a guide to basic tuning and repair tips for maintain the investment in your equipment and allowing you to better and increase your enjoyment on the slopes. Experienced skiers, boarders will tell you it is not any fun being on the slopes with equipment that is not prepared, waxed, and sharpened.

Waxing and tuning of the bases and the edges can really be technical and quite an art form. However, this information will give you the basic skills and information to obtain greater performance and longevity from your equipment.

(Note: I worked and ran a ski shop for 10 plus years, when I first started working I was "taught" the basic's by an old Italian guy who had been doing ski repair for 15 years. The only problem was he had never been skiing so we had a few different ideas on what made a good tune. He was using the ski machines and doing what the factory rep for the machine said to do but that was it, he did not take into account the style skier the conditions of the week, nor the quality level of the equipment. After two years of working together I finally convinced him to come skiing with me and. Just teaching him the basics of on the first day showed him the difference is ski performance based on a tune, his ski work went to a new level and he started seeing the customers of the shop different.

GETTING STARTED

There are only three general steps to a solid beginner maintenance program:

Edge Sharpening

Base Repair

Hot Waxing

NOTE : Always remember to do your repairs and waxing in a well-ventilated area. If at any time during the tuning process you are unsure of any situation, please Consult a qualified professional at your local shop.

Pre-Tuning Inspection :

Before you begin preparing your board, you should inspect the contour ·of the base of your board. Your goal is to achieve a FLAT base with the edges.

Why : The base should not be concave and the edges should not be higher than the base or the rails. A concave base or railed edges encourages the board to run straight and impairs the turning ability of the board. Conversely, the bases should not also no be convex. Convex bases (base is higher than the edges) will cause your board to wander and make it difficult to put them on edge or grip the snow.

How : To determine if your bases are either concave or convex, run a straight edge at a 90° to the base. If you see light between the straight edge and the center area of the base, your base is concave. If you see light on the sides of the base, then your base is convex. If either of the two cases exists, then take your equipment to your loci shop to have the bases flattened. Then continue on with the following steps.

EDGE SHARPENING :

Edges allow you to stop, carve a turn and hold a line on steeper and icier conditions. Well tuned (filed) edges greatly enhance ski performance, which will allow you to better enjoy your time on the snow.

When regularly done, filing your edges is simple and quick procedure.

There are two sides to the edge to sharpen, flat filing for he base edge and side filing for the side edge.

Flat Filing :

The base edge needs to be filed only once for every 7-10 times you •• side file or when it is damaged by rocks or rust.

Why : A filed base edge allows the board to glide and turn easier. •

How : Lay the Pro File on the base of the board at a 45° angle to the edge. For filing the tip and tail sections that curve up on you equipment, place the file at a 90° angle to the edge, to prevent the file from rocking and which enables you to flatten the edges to the base. Press the file on the edge you are sharpening with your thumb. Use long smooth strokes with the Pro File (approximately 1/3 rd of the length of the board), overlapping each section to maintain a uniform edge from tip to tail. If you are unsure as to how much edge to remove, mark the edge with a black magic marker and then file the edge until the marker is gone.

Side Edge Polishing :

If you are having difficulty turning or holding an edge on the ice or hard ·packed snow, or you know your edges have not been sharpened the last few times out on the slopes.

Why : Sharpening the side edge will give you control, the ability to stop and "turn on icy or hard packed conditions.

How : The Ice Buster edge sharpener allows an amateur to achieve professional results, easily and quickly. Use long, smooth strokes (approximately 1/3 rd of the length of the board) with the 88° or 90° , overlapping each section to maintain a uniform edge from tip to tail. If you are unsure as to how much edge to remove, mark the edge with a black magic marker and then file the edge until the marker is gone.

Also : Wipe the edge filings off the base after every two or three strokes to "prevent grinding the edge filings into the base. Periodically use the File Cleaner Brush to remove the edge filings that accumulate in the file and Ice Buster.

Edge Polishing :

Once you have sharpened the edge, use a diamond stone, hard stone, "or gum stone to polish the edge and remove the burrs created while filing.

Why : A clean, polished edge is sharper and will last longer than a burred "edge.

How : Using the same techniques as when filing the edge, rub a stone along "the base length and the side edge length of the edge. One to two passes over the entire edge will be adequate.

Detuning Tip and Tail Edges :

After each time you sharpen your edges.

Why : De tuning the tip and tail reduces over turning and grabbing of the tip and tail.

How : use the hard or gum stone to detune the edges at the tip and tail. To detune you hold the stone at a 45° angle to your edge and rub it back and forth two to three time lengthwise to remove the sharpness of the edge at the tip and tail ends. Round the curved section of tip and tail and approximately 30 to 10 centimeters beyond the point where the board make final contact with the snow. If you are unsure where those two points are, place your snowboard on a flat surface and mark the points where the edges make contact. Then detune from the tip and tail to 30 to 10 centimeters past those points towards the center.

You may want to experiment to find your preference, start with 3 centimeters and you can always do more on the slopes with your pocket stone.

BASE REPAIR :

If you have scratches and small gouges in your base. For large gouges, take your equipment to your local shop.

Why : Scratches in your base impede the gliding ability of the base. You will want to remove all scratches in your base to obtain optimum turning and gliding performance. Large scratches can act like rudders.

How : Scrape the base with a Plexiglas wax-scraper to remove excess wax.

"Then spray the base with Bio Citron Base Cleaner (will not damage your base) and wipe clean with a rag to ensure good bonding of repair material to base. You are now ready to begin filling in the scratches in your base.

Use the PRO FIX KIT, STAINLESS STEEL SCRAPER, and SLICK REPAIR STICKS. The Pro Fix Kit allows you to repair the scratches with a harder material that will last much longer and bond better to modern bases.

Heat up the repair iron, press the material into the damaged scratch, cool, and scrape level with the Steel Scraper. For a professional finish use KUU base sanding paper (220 - 320 grit). Wrap the sanding paper around a file and sand over the repaired area.

HOT WAXING THE BASE :

Ideally you could wax your base before each time you go on the slopes. But since most of use are not PRO racers we only need to wax the board every third or fourth snow day. If you are riding on artificial snow you might need to wax more often due to the quicker break down of the wax.

NOTE: If you are taking your board to a shop and they are belt waxing you will need to wax each time out.

Why : The bases are made with a porous plastic material that will dry out if not regularly hot waxed. If your base dries out, it will not perform well and will tend to stick to the snow.

How : the first step to waxing your base is to clean your base from residue of old wax, the edge filings, and other debris created from the base repair and sharpening. To do this, use the Citron Base Cleaner. Spray the base liberally with the Bio Citron base Cleaner. Leave the base cleaner on for about one minute (wipe base clean before it dries). Use a clean cloth to remove the excess base cleaner and dirt from the base and you are ready to begin hot waxing. Once your base is clean, the next step is to choose which wax to use. Once you have chosen a wax, plug in your Hot Wax Iron and wait for it to rise to the temperature to where the wax melts easily, without smoking. If the wax is smoking, the iron is too hot. Use an iron without steam holes, as they can be damaging to your equipment. When the iron is sufficiently hot, hold the iron over the base with the tip pointing down to where you want to drip the wax. Put the bar of wax to the bottom of the iron and drip the wax onto the base. Run a bead of wax on one side of the base and then the other side. Once done dripping the wax on the base, just spread the wax out so that you cover the entire base. Wax from tip to tail and allow approximately three inches of wet wax to trail the iron during the spreading of the wax.

After the wax has hardened use a sharp Plexiglas wax scraper and remove the excess wax from the base and edges. The base material is porous and has retained all the wax you need, so scrape off all you can. The base needs to be level so that proper gliding and turning ability is achieved with your equipment. It is a combination of your base and wax that will give your the optimum gliding properties.

With experience, you will get a feel for how much wax too apply and you will get quicker.

Conclusions & Tips :

There are a couple of things you can do after each time out on the slopes that will greatly reduce the amount of time you spend repairing your equipment. First is to wipe the base and edges dry when the day is over and store your board base up against a wall or on the floor. Take a dry cloth and wipe off all excess snow and water to prevent rusting.

Drying and storing base up prevents the melting snow from dripping on to the edges and creating rust, which translates into more work for you.

Second, take your dry board and quickly sharpen them after or before each time out. This will take only 5 - 10 minutes if you do it each time, as opposed to 20 ­30 minutes, if left for a prolonged time. For those that snowboard in central or eastern parts of North America, sharp edges are a must and filing everyday is required (unless your get a powder day). For those of you that snowboard in the western mountains, using a file everyday may not be necessary, but using a stone everyday to remove burrs from the stone nicks and to keep the edges sharp is recommended. Waxing everyday is also recommended and every three or four days is the minimum to maintain base performance and prevent the base material from drying and possibly separating from the edges.

I hope this information will help you maintain your snowboard and increase your enjoyment on the slopes. This may all sound a bit involved, but once you have done it a few times it is really quite simple, and can be quite fun to do with your friends while telling lies ... uhh ... stories after a day on the slopes. You are now ready to roll, rip, tear, fly, smoke, whatever word you use, it is all about having fun and making friends with gravity. With a bit of experience tuning and waxing your board, you will understand how others were able to do what they did and you will also understand why you weren't getting along with gravity as well as you are now.

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