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When to start tuning your own skis?

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

I'm getting tired of paying $50-60 a pop for a tune when I think ("think" being the operative word here) that I could do it myself whenever I wanted to.

 

I've read several threads here about tuning, watched some YT videos and it doesn't look like nuclear fission, although there is definitely an art to it.

 

What's the sign that a guy like me (east coast) should invest in tuning tools?

 

Right now, my edges are burred to hell, not too sharp, bases need P-texing, but I'm sickened to spend another $60 on a tune at the shop considering I just had them tuned a couple of weeks ago.

post #2 of 25

Clearly, when you feel this way is when to start. 

 

Or if you ski more than 8 days a year is another time.

 

Or as soon as you own your own equipment.

 

Or if you're married to someone who wants you to do this for them.

 

 

A myriad of reasons to START, not one I can think of to STOP...

 

 

 

post #3 of 25

I just started learning how to tune myself and can tell you that most of it seems pretty easy so far. I spent a couple hundred dollars on getting a basic tuning set together. Dealing with the sidewalls on non-cap skis has been my biggest struggle so far and I think I'm going to need some one-on-one guidance to learn that one, but there is a lot of guidance here and in various Youtube videos that have been helpful.

post #4 of 25

Sibhusky is spot on. 

 

Given the frequency of the shop tuning you're using, you can pay for the complete setup in one season. My kit (partially pictured below) includes:

 

Swix snowboard vise (I prefer these to the ski vise for the extra room)

Dakine hot wax iron

Purl wax (I like the one pound bars, $20 each, nontoxic)

Plastic scraper

Swix wax brush

Coarse and fine wax polish pads

Ptex stick

"Mill bastard" file (the double cut file is preferable)

One degree side edge tool

One degree base edge tool (you can get other "degrees" if you wish)

Swix diamond burr tool (far superior to a stone)

 

A gym bag or tool box to hold all these items is nice as well.

 

My opinion: a hand wax is superior to the machine hot wax at a ski shop (the techs at the local ski shop agree), as the iron opens the pores of the base material to the point where the skis seem to "stay waxed" for a couple of days. Plus you can "tune the wax" to ambient temperature and humidity by using a blend. Further, you can deburr and sharpen after every ski. There's nothing like sharp edges.

 

 

 

 

IMG_2446.jpg

post #5 of 25
Thread Starter 

Do you guys find that tuning your skis becomes a burden in terms of time?

 

I mean, I can clean my gutters, but I'd rather pay a guy $75 to do it so I don't have to.

 

Also, how messy is the tuning operation? I don't have a lot of space, so I'd be doing it in the living room or dining room. That, in and of itself, is not wife friendly. cool.gif

post #6 of 25

I don't find it too be to burdensome.  Takes about an hour or so to sharpen and wax a pair of skis.  I have an iPod dock and fridge full of beer in the basement to keep me entertained while I'm workingbeercheer.gif  

 

I actually find it therapeutic to tune and wax my own stuff!  It also makes me feel good the next time I ski on a nicely tuned set knowing I did it myself and didn't have to pay anyone to do it.

 

It is a bit messy though.  You will need to put down a drop cloth or large piece of plastic to catch the mess.  Having a shop vac handy keeps the mess to a minimum if you clean up as you go.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by GregDi View Post

Do you guys find that tuning your skis becomes a burden in terms of time?

 

I mean, I can clean my gutters, but I'd rather pay a guy $75 to do it so I don't have to.

 

Also, how messy is the tuning operation? I don't have a lot of space, so I'd be doing it in the living room or dining room. That, in and of itself, is not wife friendly. cool.gif

post #7 of 25

I use a collapsible tuning bench that I don't collapse, but my daughter has the same bench and used to set it up and take it down from the stairwell landing in her dorm, so you don't NEED a permanent room.  It's just nice to have. I have one wall of our work room in the basement with pegboard and various baskets and drawers on the pegboard with all my stuff at hand. 

post #8 of 25

I own a ski rental/repair I have all the tools.... Here's how I maintain my skis, my personal ones I mean.

1 Don't hit rocks

2 don't hit rocks

3 DON'T.... you get the picture.

4 Deburr any burrs that occur from the above with a diamond stone, a file will NOT do it.

5 Wax, pretty much every day. But I do the lazy mans method. I iron in the thinnest layer possible of the hardest grade of wax and.... that's that....I don't even bother to scrape.

If your bases need more repair i.e. p-tex then don't even think about repair with home methods, that's where the professional shop with a high temp extrusion gun are the ones to see.

I rarely grind my bases, I don't need to, you shouldn't either. I rarely file my edges, avoiding rocks and regular deburring should be all you need. 

post #9 of 25

When you start to feel the way you are now.  Go for it you will not regret it, and unless you have been getting race tunes, your skis tuned by your hands will probably be better than from any shop.

 

As far as burden, its the same as anything sometimes you just don't feel like doing it even though you need to or should.   But once you get started, as with anything, it gets done.   Now if you have a large quiver and if you are fanatically particular about your skis, like me, then things get a little nutty....hot box, waxes for every condition known to nature, brushes of every flavor, guides for every bevel, etc, etc.

 

If you are really really lazy you can always take them back to the shop, which you will eventually have to to get a base grind.  I had my bases ground last season and told them to not wax or sharpen the skis....they looked at me like I had 3 heads.

post #10 of 25

Of course, if you are racing you need all the above plus some black cat bones and fuzzy dice.

post #11 of 25
Thread Starter 

I'm looking at a couple of kits to get started.

 

Either this Racewax one:

 

http://www.racewax.com/product/RD-3684/RaceWax-Everything-Kit-Deluxe-Ski-Kit--Vise--Iron--Nylon-Brush--300-g-Wax---RD-3684.html

 

or this SlideWright one:

 

http://www.slidewright.com/proddetail.php?prod=T4BTK004%2BT4BSMS2020

 

Do you guys have a preference? Is one better than the other? Or, should I just piece meal it?

post #12 of 25

If the only reason you're thinking about tuning your own skis is because of the expense then the  then the answer might just be, NEVER.  I only ski about 8 days a year but really enjoy the tuning side of skiing as much as I do the actual skiing.  Just as I maintain all my bikes because I like the mechanical side of that sport also.

 

I justify the cost of the equipment as entertainment, I love collecting tools, and by volunteering to tune all my friends skis if they provide the wax. 

 

Cleaning gutters I'd leave up to some other guy also, but I won't find myself wishing I knew something about maintaining them when I'm trying to have a little fun on a mountain either.  I know that if something bad happened to my skis on a ski trip I'd be able to repair my sticks, because I have the tools I needed with me.  That piece of mind is worth every penny to me.

 

Hey this was my first post so now watch out for the storm.

post #13 of 25

Either of those kits will work but you can piecemeal up your equipment and end up with a more complete set for a similar price.  One thing I would not use is the multi angle edging tool.  It's much easier to get a precise base and side edge angle with dedicated base and side edge file guides.  You will also need additional wax as the kits don't have much included.  I just buy wax in bulk and typically just use either universal hot or cold or a mix of both depending on the snow conditions.  I use Maplus, but there are lots of good waxes out there.

 

Mike
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by GregDi View Post

I'm looking at a couple of kits to get started.

 

Either this Racewax one:

 

http://www.racewax.com/product/RD-3684/RaceWax-Everything-Kit-Deluxe-Ski-Kit--Vise--Iron--Nylon-Brush--300-g-Wax---RD-3684.html

 

or this SlideWright one:

 

http://www.slidewright.com/proddetail.php?prod=T4BTK004%2BT4BSMS2020

 

Do you guys have a preference? Is one better than the other? Or, should I just piece meal it?

post #14 of 25

i ski about 30 days a year, with my wife's, son's and my ski's tuning 4 to 5 times a year gets expensive in a hurry. it is not hard to do, and if you do it often enough it doesn't take very long.

post #15 of 25
Thread Starter 

OK. I'm convinced.

 

Here's what I picked out at Racewax.com. Is there anything I'm overtly missing? Also, I went with the 70mm DMT stone set. Do I need all five stones, or is that overkill? What stones do I REALLY need?:

 

 

Nylon Ski Snowboard Brush - White
sku: RB-1105
 
X $12.99 =
$12.99
remove item
 
SKS Ski Snowboard Wax Iron
SKS Ski Snowboard Wax Iron
sku: RA-4825
 
X $36.99 =
$36.99
remove item
 
Gumi or Gummi Gumy Gummy Stone Coarse Grey Gray
Gumi (or Gummi, Gumy, Gummy) Stone, Coarse, Grey/Gray
sku: RB-3555
 
X $6.49 =
$6.49
remove item
 
Gumi Gummi Stone Fine Red
Gumi (Gummi) Stone, Fine, Red
sku: RB-3566
 
X $9.99 =
$9.99
remove item
 
Base Side Bevel File Guide SKS Multi Tool 5 DMT diamond stones with file
Base-Side Bevel File Guide SKS Multi Tool + 5 DMT diamond stones with file
sku: RB-3534
 
X $73.99 =
$73.99
remove item
 
Ski Snowboard Wax Waxing Iron by Wintersteiger
Ski Snowboard Wax Waxing Iron by Wintersteiger
sku: PA-4500
 
X $36.99 =
$36.99
remove item
 
Ski Vise Ski Man Sport Model
Ski Vise, Ski Man Sport Model
sku: PA-4300
 
X $79.99 =
$79.99
remove item
 
RaceWax Universal Ski Wax All Temperature Hydrocarbon 150 g
RaceWax Universal Ski Wax, All Temperature Hydrocarbon, 150 g
sku: PB-1030
 
X $10.99 =
$10.99
remove item
post #16 of 25

I'd piece meal it, mostly because I don't personally like the vices in either set.  I prefer the Ski Man Pro.  It lists as only handling up to 90 mm width, but I use it to grip the binding plate and that pretty much nullifies any issues.  I'd shop around for it.  Or, become a supporter, I THINK there is a discount. 

 

I also like this side bevel guide a lot.  I have the multi-angle sister to it, but it doesn't hold all the stones I have as well, and I don't feel comfortable that every time I polish, I'm betting PRECISELY the same bevel.  I rarely use the multi-angle.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by GregDi View Post

I'm looking at a couple of kits to get started.

 

Either this Racewax one:

 

http://www.racewax.com/product/RD-3684/RaceWax-Everything-Kit-Deluxe-Ski-Kit--Vise--Iron--Nylon-Brush--300-g-Wax---RD-3684.html

 

or this SlideWright one:

 

http://www.slidewright.com/proddetail.php?prod=T4BTK004%2BT4BSMS2020

 

Do you guys have a preference? Is one better than the other? Or, should I just piece meal it?

post #17 of 25

Two irons?  I'm also not certain you need TWO Gummis. 

post #18 of 25
Thread Starter 
The two irons was a mistake. Obviously I'd just get one.

The stones have me concerned because there are so many different grits, to choose from.
post #19 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by GregDi View Post

The two irons was a mistake. Obviously I'd just get one.

The stones have me concerned because there are so many different grits, to choose from.


I also would suggest the single angle bevel guides. I just got all the gear this year for self tuning and have used it 6 or so times so far. I use a 3* svst side bevel guide(~$30), a .75* beast base bevel guide(~$25), 200 and 400 grit moonflex diamond stones(~$20 each). I would say you don't need more that 2 or three stones. Also its easier to maintain a tune by doing it everytime, so you might want to have a good tune done, then keep it up, your call. Good luck.

 

-Joe-

post #20 of 25

I only have 2 diamonds, a 200 and a 600.  You only need one gummi.  

 

Skip the multitool and get a dedicated base edge guide and a side edge guide.  

 

You'll also need a small brass brush to clean your files and diamonds.  

 

I have and use two brushes, one nylon and one brass.  Brass one is for cleaning out your base structure prior to waxing and nylon is for brushing after waxing.

 

Mike

post #21 of 25
Thread Starter 

OK....dumb question

 

All of the single edge guides seem to have preset bevels/angles on them.

 

How do I know which one to get?

 

post #22 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by GregDi View Post

OK....dumb question

 

All of the single edge guides seem to have preset bevels/angles on them.

 

How do I know which one to get?

 

Check with the shop where you've been getting your tunes done and see what their standard angles are, probably 1:2, it might even say on the write up from your last tune.  That would be the place to start and then you can add additional guides as you decide you want the skis to perform differently, want sharper edges, etc.  I use a different bevels for my skis than for my wife's and daughter's skis so have a collection of SVST edge guides and a couple of Final Cut base guides.
 

post #23 of 25

If your skis are in that rough shape, I'd recommend you spend that $60 one last time and get them fully tuned before you begin the tuning process yourself....it's MUCH easier to maintain a good tune for a very long time then to try to fix a messed-up pair of skis, especially if you're just starting out.

 

I'd also recommend picking up a $5 pair at Goodwill or similar to experiment with/practice on until you're comfortable with the process and your technique.

post #24 of 25

Another benefit of doing your own tunig is you know what you get each time.  I've been tuning my own skis for the past 5-6 years.  The few times I took them to a shop, the edges felt grabby.  I'm sure the shop did a good job, it was just different than my personal tune.  I like the confidence of knowing how the skis will respond each time I go out.

 

I'm currently living in an apartment in Stuttgart, GE.  I do my tuning in the basement storage area.  Made a bench out of the air shipment crate.  Will work great for the next two years. 

post #25 of 25

I just began tuning my skis for the first time earlier this month after reading many of the threads on this forum and other sites.  I spent probably $150 on my initial tuning gear - best $150 I've spent on skiing since I bought my gear!  My skis were machine tuned earlier this year, but after my first hand sharpening my skis had better ice grip than I can remember.  They also seemed to go where I pointed them more reliably, with less wandering tips.  I feel like I just moved up a level.  Now I'm deburring/lightly sharpening after each ski day, and waxing every 3-4 days.  I'm still learning, but I can already tell a little goes a long way when it comes to ski tuning.

 

The kit you have there looks pretty good.  I agree about not going with the pre-built kits, they have a lot of stuff you might not need and often omit things you do need.  I went with the Tools4Boards Razor, which is a multitool, but a pretty good one because you can use any length of stone or file.  It's still not as good as a fixed guide probably would be, but it does the job well.  I also just use a 200 and 600 diamond stone...and a gummi stone.  I'm also just using a nylon brush right now - it does the job post-wax.  I don't have a ski vice, and am using duct tape to hold my brakes back.  I live in an apartment and do my ski waxing in a back stairwell with concrete floors - easy cleanup.  Luckily the Toko Universal wax I've been using has no smell.  Anyway, it's a low-budget setup, but it's working well so far.

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