Originally Posted by bwana
ok, label me NOOB. All is clear now. I demoed a pair of experience 83 and a pair of Stocklilaser AR last week. The Rossis were really sloppy by comparison. I thought the ski sucked because i really had to get me knees over to engage the edge. Only when i took them back the fellow behind the counter say 'oh boy these need a tune'. That got me thinking about my skis and and figuring out where their edges are at. I tried a protractor and a ruler (stupid NOOB again) but couldn't get a reliable reading. A real edge meter is $260!
Checking whether bevels are right is actually not hard. Just mark the edges with a sharpie and run a fine stone over the marks. If the stone takes the whole mark off at once the bevels are right; if it only removes the mark at one side or another of the edge, they're different from the guide you're using. There are ways to measure the exact angle without the $260 guide, but I'm too impatient to use them.
There are a few dings in the edges of my skis from rocks and such so I am thinking of getting myself a 200 grit stone. But the more I read, the more I want to spend money and buy stuff. I don't want to ruin the base bevel. I was at a race and saw someone using a file freehand on the bottom of his skis. Thinking back on that now, his base angle must have been zero if he was just dragging the file across the ski base. That would make the ski really 'hooky' - tendency to hook up even when you do not want it too.
Ah, grasshopper, there is so much to learn! And so much to buy!
IME it's completely worth it, and you'll be pleased with how much better your skis perform than they do with what many shops give you. Some places are great and turn out consistently good work, but some really bad tunes last year drove me to set myself up to do it myself. Yesterday I took out some new skis that came back from a base grind with all kinds of problems, but after I reset the bevels and waxed them down they not only glided fast and seemingly forever, but the tune transformed them from a complete out of control mess last Monday to do-anything go-anywhere "can we go fast? pretty please?" beasts yesterday.
That's a very good and thorough thread. One suggestion: spring for high quality tools from the start. in shopping for files I found that Artechski.com is running a 20% off sale on tuning gear with coupon code 'SPRING.' Race-werks.com has 15% off with coupon code CONFIRM15 (no expiration date, can be shared) and generally good prices and special offer of free shipping.
NovaLoafah's right though; if you like toys--err, tools--and tuning, you'll be tempted to go nuts. Don't be like me and cheap out just to save a few dollars on gear, because it doesn't cost that much more to start with solid and easy to use tools, and then you won't feel dumb when you go out and spend more replacing the cheap stuff and have to wait until next December to list the cheaper stuff on eBay.