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Best Way To Measure the Sharpness of an Edge

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

Wondering what methods other fanatical tuners have come up with for measuring the sharpness of an edge. All of my fingernails are nearly worn through already and its only January!  For me its mainly about deciding weather the edge needs a file or if I can get by with just some diamond stones and save the edge.  


I have starting using a piece of PVC pipe - pulling it across the edge. A sharp edge will shave off the PVC just like it will my fingernail. I don't think I'll ever get quite the feel I can with a fingernail, but I can get a good judgement.


.Searching the internet I have found instruments that will measure metal edge sharpness but they start around $2K. Any ideas out there?





post #2 of 5
Sharpen with diamond files after ever day and they will stay sharp. I haven't taken metal file to my edges in a long long time. I don't even use my finger nail to test sharpness, cause I know they are.
post #3 of 5

By running my finger across the edge to feel a consistently smooth and sharp corner.


A SkiVisions Tuning stick provides three forms of feedback:




Hold the Tuning Stick at 45 degrees to the edge and push down on the stick (don’t pull it up) with moderate pressure, something more than just light pressure, and shave plastic.  The Tuning Stick will give you three sensory  observations (see below) which allows you to be very precise with your edge tuning.  If you only use light pressure on the stick you will only be reading the burr, heavier pressure really shows you how the ski will bite, especially in hard snow.

When the Tuning Stick is scraped on the edge, it gives you a great deal of feed-back such as:

1.  If the edge is sharp and polished, the edge will shave plastic off the stick in a smooth and consistent manner, its sound will be smooth and consistent, and it will vibrate a little.

2.  The amount of shaved plastic will demonstrate the level of sharpness and is easy to observe.

3.  If the edge is dull, it will not shave plastic, and the dullness will be very apparent.

4.  If the edge is burred it will shave plastic very aggressively, and the Tuning Stick will also vibrate and make a squealing sound.

5.  The Tuning Stick gives you three sensory observations, visual (observe shavings), feel (vibration), and sound (range of smooth scraping to squealing).  There is no comparable method for analyzing your edges.


post #4 of 5

I had the impression that the famous fingernail test was actually identifying more burr than real edge sharpness. If I have a big race, or have to travel and won't have the opportunity for tuning for a few days, I sometimes go the extra mile on my edges by sharpening with diamond file progression and then polishing with a SVST set of stones, 4 stones increasing fineness. The result is a mirror finish edge that lasts quite well and has no burr at all. It is a very sharp edge examined with a photo loupe and in actual performance on injected race courses but it can seem less sharp than an edge with a hanging burr when doing the fingernail test. I get a much better impression of sharpness as Terry said with the fleshy part of the finger, but be careful, a really sharp edge can cut your finger so light pressure when testing and gloves when lifting the skis.


I find sound a great indicator of edge roughness and actually kind of liked the tool posted.   Hard to tell from the picture but is that stick essentially a plastic tube of some kind? I see it is not expensive.

post #5 of 5

The tuning sticks are solid plastic and not tubes. The sound and feel provide great feedback, as does the visual of the scrapings.

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