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Race ski edge tuning

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 

This year I have been battling with getting the edges of my skis sharp. No matter how much I file I cant seem to get the edges sharp enough and they wear out in a blink I feels. I've run into this problem before I remember and back then the fix was a new file. However, files wear out as well....

 

So lets get real basic about this. How many files and what gauges do you use? How often do you buy new files? How do you know a file is worn out?  What about diamond-stones? How many different gauges do you use and do you have them in a guide or do you go free hand? From the base side, what kind of diamond do you use? What about stones and rubber blocks?

 

How about the side walls. Do you use only one blade on a stripper or do you use different? How about the tail and the tip, do you use a normal file to file off the top sheet of the ski from the side for better edge tuning access?

post #2 of 26

I use a carbide panzer followed by an extra fine Swix file cut into pieces to fit my Multi Tuner.

Then Moonflex diaface stones in 100, 200,400,800 and 1500 grit.

For sharpness I file the side edges at 3.5 degrees then use the honing stones at 3 degrees so they concentrate on the edge.

Swix base guides for base bevel and Swix sidewall planer with a round carbide blade.

I set the base bevel with an extra fine file then hone.

Alternating honing on side and base edges with 800 and 1500 produces an edge you can cut yourself on.

 

Look at your files under 10x magnification and you can see when the cutting edges start to break down.

Ski edges are somewhat hard and files don't last very long.

Cleaning files and stones between passes is important.

Honing fluid helps keep your stones clean.

I always tape the bottoms for serious edge work.

 

This is all standard stuff and the only thing I do that is not in any good tuning manual is to file side edges steeper than you hone them.

This comes from my knife sharpening background where you steepen the cutting angle as you finish the edge.

 

Many tuners break the knife edge of skis with one pass with a gummi block.

This will dull them a bit but will also make them last longer.

 

Don't forget to drink some bourbon while you are doing this or your results may vary.

post #3 of 26

Good answer, Dakine.

 

I would suggest don't over complicate it. 

 

You need a couple bastard mill cut files.  I would not buy the expensive chromes files unless you are tuning high level race skis or tuning the whole family.  I WOULD suggest buying 2-3 at a time or a box of 12.  Personally I do not find hard chrome that cost effective. 

 

I life a 8" file for rough work and bevel setting and a 6" for fine cuts and general maintenance.   Make sure you CLEAN the file with a file card or metal brush frequently.  

 

A sidewall trimmer is a great tool and really helps get a good cut.

 

Yes get a set of stones.  200 / 400 / 600 and maybe an Arkansas stone for a final polish.  If budget is a concern, just pick ONE grit - like a 600.  

 

The gummi stone is for knocking off any hanging burr you might have. (look it up).  A burr can make the ski GRIPPY but also GRABBY (or "squirrelly").  Depending on conditions, I sometimes leave a burr so the kids can really hook up when training.  SL training in icy conditions for example.  Just a LIGHT pass with the stone with very little pressure.

Some info here on Teton.

http://www.tetongravity.com/forums/showthread.php/184805-Help-what-happened-to-my-skis

 

I usually get my bases set at the shop at .5 and sides at 3 degree at the start of the year.  I don't recall seeing a 3.5 file guide but I am thinking of picking up a 4.  

 

Files are cooked when they are not making nice clean curls of edge material or the teeth look all banged up to the naked eye.  

 

One thing that REALLY improves edge maint is lubricating the file.  There are plenty of commercial products avail but I just fill a spray bottle with a 50/50 mix of rubbing alcohol and water.  

 

Good Luck.  Stay sharp.

post #4 of 26
My FKS multi tuner has .5 increments. I don't like multi tools, but it was the only was for me to creep into bevel changes slowly.
http://www.tognar.com/fk-multi-edge-tuner/
post #5 of 26
Make sure you get rid of enough sidewall. Had some issues with my daughters skis, didn't seem to get that real sharpness. Turned out that the sidewall was the problem. Or rather me, not shaving 'em close enough.
Edited by Karlsson - 4/2/14 at 12:17pm
post #6 of 26

check out this video clip, it will show you how to use the entire file, for the longest life and best performance.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-Ja2KLS6_M

 

jim

post #7 of 26
Thread Starter 

Thanks guys for all the great information.

 

dakine - so I could use a 86deg angle for my file and a 87deg for my diamond?

 

Karlsson - thanks for the side wall reminder.

 

Starthous - that was a very good video, thanks.

post #8 of 26

How many files a year/month goes is pretty much impossible to answer, as some come out good, and others don't, even if they are from same producer. It happend already that I throw away brand new one, as it just didn't cut. So normally I go through 2 or 3 files a season nowadays (before it was from 10 to 30 depending on luck), and one, or max two diamonds. Other then that, personally I prefer Viala (they make them for Toko and Snoli, most likely for some other companies too), as in average you get much higher percentage of good ones, then with any other company (considering you are in Finland, you shouldn't have much problem getting them:)). My normal file is 16tpi (or whatever is right English marking for this), and have another 14tpi in case of something bad happens to my skis (bastard file is for friends skis only :)). From diamonds I'm using only Swix (actually DMT) 400 and that's all. For files, I have a bit changed Swix 86deg guide, for diamond I never used guide, and I'm still staying with this.

But nowadays, even if they are race skis (on loan through season from one of WC racers), they are not intended for racing, so I bother much less with them then I did years ago. But basically tools and procedures are same. Just that it's done a bit faster, and instead of 10 or 20 pairs a day, I do 5 pairs a week, so there also goes much less material. :D

As "I can't get them sharp enough" there are normally two things... bad file or too much sidewall... or both of these :) How to see if file is bad... you can actually feel it. It just doesn't cut. You need to press hard and still doesn't cut. But then again, you get almost exactly same feeling when there's too much sidewall left.

post #9 of 26

One thing that can really help is using a 10x loupe to look at your edges. You'll see right away if you are getting into the metal and where.

post #10 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MastersRacer View Post
 

One thing that can really help is using a 10x loupe to look at your edges. You'll see right away if you are getting into the metal and where.

 

Ok, gotta go and get a loop. Can I get one at a hardware store?

post #11 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by primoz View Post
 

How many files a year/month goes is pretty much impossible to answer, as some come out good, and others don't, even if they are from same producer. It happend already that I throw away brand new one, as it just didn't cut. So normally I go through 2 or 3 files a season nowadays (before it was from 10 to 30 depending on luck), and one, or max two diamonds. Other then that, personally I prefer Viala (they make them for Toko and Snoli, most likely for some other companies too), as in average you get much higher percentage of good ones, then with any other company (considering you are in Finland, you shouldn't have much problem getting them:)). My normal file is 16tpi (or whatever is right English marking for this), and have another 14tpi in case of something bad happens to my skis (bastard file is for friends skis only :)). From diamonds I'm using only Swix (actually DMT) 400 and that's all. For files, I have a bit changed Swix 86deg guide, for diamond I never used guide, and I'm still staying with this.

But nowadays, even if they are race skis (on loan through season from one of WC racers), they are not intended for racing, so I bother much less with them then I did years ago. But basically tools and procedures are same. Just that it's done a bit faster, and instead of 10 or 20 pairs a day, I do 5 pairs a week, so there also goes much less material. :D

As "I can't get them sharp enough" there are normally two things... bad file or too much sidewall... or both of these :) How to see if file is bad... you can actually feel it. It just doesn't cut. You need to press hard and still doesn't cut. But then again, you get almost exactly same feeling when there's too much sidewall left.

 

Thanks primoz. Yes, the files are easy to find here but one racer had a file that was far better than any other file I have ever used. It was much smaller and thinner. It had the rating 16 I think.

post #12 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by tdk6 View Post
 

 

dakine - so I could use a 86deg angle for my file and a 87deg for my diamond?

 

 

 

Never tried it with hard guides instead of a multituner.

With that wobbly tool, I use a half degree difference between my hones and my fine file.

I bet that if you try it you will find the stones cut across the entire edge width with concentrated pressure right at the edge even with a full degree of difference in the cut angle.

Our hand tools are just not that precise.

That doesn't mean hand tuning is bad, it just means it takes technique.

post #13 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by dakine View Post
 

Never tried it with hard guides instead of a multituner.

With that wobbly tool, I use a half degree difference between my hones and my fine file.

I bet that if you try it you will find the stones cut across the entire edge width with concentrated pressure right at the edge even with a full degree of difference in the cut angle.

Our hand tools are just not that precise.

That doesn't mean hand tuning is bad, it just means it takes technique.

No!

 

What you should be doing is backfiling the side edges when first setting the side edge angle. 

 

If you want to end up with a 3 degree, I make a couple of passes with a degree guide with a short (100mm) Panzer file. after 1st planing some sidewall with a side wall planer. My preference is the FK/SKS Pro. 

 

Then I file until sharp with a 4 degree guide with the Panzer. 

 

then I use a 15 TPC Holmenkol 100MM file at 3 degrees until sharp. 

 

Next a progression of stones usually 200, 400 and then a final hone with a surgical or true hardstone  all with a 3 degree guide. 

 

Next... Arkansas stone or Surgical stone flat against the base edge to knock of hanging burr with medium pressure ski in vise base away, side edge up. Last step is Blue hard gummi stone at a 45 degree angle to edge point absolutely no pressure! 

 

Between diamond stones I wipe all residue off of edge from previous stone. I keep a  paint brush handy on the bench to brush off any metal debris from edge filing. I always use base tape on base adjacent to each edge before side edge filing. 

 

Base edges.........Finest file you can get 18 TPC is good.

 

File to desired .5,.7 or 1 degree (nevermore) Polish breilfy with 400 diamond... you are good to go unless tech got structure into to base edge metal, then you must polish all of that out!. I NEVER TOUCH THE BASE EDGE AGAIN!!!!  ALL ADDITIONAL MAINTENANCE, POLISHING OR  SHARPENING IS DONE ON SIDE EDGE ONLY!  Generally only diamond stones are needed unless some significant damage.

 

I prefer SVST Final Cut Base Beveler and SVST aluminum w/stainless plate side edge beveler used with a spring clamp.  

post #14 of 26
post #15 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Atomicman View Post
 

No!

 

What you should be doing is backfiling the side edges when first setting the side edge angle. 

 

If you want to end up with a 3 degree, I make a couple of passes with a degree guide with a short (100mm) Panzer file. after 1st planing some sidewall with a side wall planer. My preference is the FK/SKS Pro. 

 

Then I file until sharp with a 4 degree guide with the Panzer. 

 

then I use a 15 TPC Holmenkol 100MM file at 3 degrees until sharp. 

 

Next a progression of stones usually 200, 400 and then a final hone with a surgical or true hardstone  all with a 3 degree guide. 

 

Next... Arkansas stone or Surgical stone flat against the base edge to knock of hanging burr with medium pressure ski in vise base away, side edge up. Last step is Blue hard gummi stone at a 45 degree angle to edge point absolutely no pressure! 

 

Between diamond stones I wipe all residue off of edge from previous stone. I keep a  paint brush handy on the bench to brush off any metal debris from edge filing. I always use base tape on base adjacent to each edge before side edge filing. 

 

Base edges.........Finest file you can get 18 TPC is good.

 

File to desired .5,.7 or 1 degree (nevermore) Polish breilfy with 400 diamond... you are good to go unless tech got structure into to base edge metal, then you must polish all of that out!. I NEVER TOUCH THE BASE EDGE AGAIN!!!!  ALL ADDITIONAL MAINTENANCE, POLISHING OR  SHARPENING IS DONE ON SIDE EDGE ONLY!  Generally only diamond stones are needed unless some significant damage.

 

I prefer SVST Final Cut Base Beveler and SVST aluminum w/stainless plate side edge beveler used with a spring clamp.  

Well we agree that filing at a steeper angle than honing is a good way to get a sharp edge.

I don't like to use ceramic stones on skis because they don't stay flat and get grooves in them when used in guides.

Every time I ski I go over the side edges with a 800 or1500 grit diaface stone to remove nicks.

I'm not as fanatical as you about not touching the base edge, I will polish it with a 1500 grit diaface stone using a guide when I wax.

This does not remove any material but will clean up micro nicks that stand proud of the edge.

Trying to sharpen a knife by only honing one side of the blade doesn't work.

The is no one right way to do this stuff.

I have always hated angle guides with spring clamps, they wobble.

You have heard me say that exact angles don't matter as much as edge quality but I think we disagree on that too

 

It is usually the Indian and not the arrow.

post #16 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by tdk6 View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MastersRacer View Post
 

One thing that can really help is using a 10x loupe to look at your edges. You'll see right away if you are getting into the metal and where.

 

Ok, gotta go and get a loop. Can I get one at a hardware store?

It's loupe. The classic is the Bausch and Lomb Triplet. Many different types though.

 

Hardware - maybe it it's a good one. Watchmaker's supply definitely. Also outdoor supply as they're used for looking at rocks or bird feathers etc.

Radio Shack used to sell lighted ones for looking at circuit boards.

There's bigger ones too for looking at slides on a light table. Of course that's rare these days.

post #17 of 26

Everybody's got a different set of tools. For me, it's these:

 

- sidewall tool:

 

http://www.tognar.com/fk-sidewall-planer-blades/

 

- This, with the Arkansas stone/tungsten carbide blade set

 

http://www.fktools-us.com/Product-Details.asp?Part-Number=3000
 

- Another Swing Cut tuner with two ceramic stones for polishing...

post #18 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by dakine View Post
 

Well we agree that filing at a steeper angle than honing is a good way to get a sharp edge. :beercheer:

I don't like to use ceramic stones on skis because they don't stay flat and get grooves in them when used in guides. I don't use ceramic stones generally, but some like them, I have not exeprienced these problems when I have used them

Every time I ski I go over the side edges with a 800 or1500 grit diaface stone to remove nicks.  (And Diaface doesn't make an 800) I submit this is too fine a grit for sharpening, polishing side edge!

I'm not as fanatical as you about not touching the base edge, I will polish it with a 1500 grit diaface stone using a guide when I wax. Total waste of time IMHO!

This does not remove any material but will clean up micro nicks that stand proud of the edge. This is pretty much taken care of when you remove the hanging burr with a arkansas stone. MICRO NICKS DON"T MATTER!

Trying to sharpen a knife by only honing one side of the blade doesn't work. Oh contrare! this is not a knife. My skis are prefectly sharp this way.  No need to touch the base edge. We will just have to agree to disagree!

The is no one right way to do this stuff.

I have always hated angle guides with spring clamps, they wobble. No wobbling at all here..............NONE!

You have heard me say that exact angles don't matter as much as edge quality but I think we disagree on that too. Yep, they both matter! 

 

It is usually the Indian and not the arrow.

post #19 of 26

Single bevel Japanese Chef's knife. Ajikiri Deba Hocho . Right handed. Common for Japanese knives to have single bevel.

You would have to hone the burr off the non beveled side when honing the bevel though. (what dakine is referring to?) Esp since the backside is hollowed and eventually you'd loose the flat.

http://epicureanedge.com/shopexd.asp?id=87107&photo=2&size=b

post #20 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tog View Post
 

Single bevel Japanese Chef's knife. Ajikiri Deba Hocho . Right handed. Common for Japanese knives to have single bevel.

You would have to hone the burr off the non beveled side when honing the bevel though. (what dakine is referring to?) Esp since the backside is hollowed and eventually you'd loose the flat.

http://epicureanedge.com/shopexd.asp?id=87107&photo=2&size=b

burr does not matter on the side edge of the ski from polishing the base edge , it immediatley breaks often when in contact with hard snow, but the burr e pointing straight down into the snow from working the side edge is problematic

post #21 of 26

"(And Diaface doesn't make an 800)"

 

You are wrong about at least one thing......:beercheer:

post #22 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by MastersRacer View Post
 

One thing that can really help is using a 10x loupe to look at your edges. You'll see right away if you are getting into the metal and where.

 

Interesting. Great idea. Obvious when I hear it, but never thought of it all those times when I was squinting and trying to get things under better light and taking pairs of glasses on and off. Doh.

post #23 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by dakine View Post
 

"(And Diaface doesn't make an 800)"

 

You are wrong about at least one thing......:beercheer:

Never seen one before Only 200,400,600 1000 & 1500, How old is that thing. Show me where you can buy one now?

post #24 of 26

I don't think they make the 800 anymore. Nor the 1,000. Can't find them.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Atomicman View Post
 

burr does not matter on the side edge of the ski from polishing the base edge , it immediatley breaks often when in contact with hard snow, but the burr e pointing straight down into the snow from working the side edge is problematic

 

Here's a device to create a burr on purpose:

 

Quote:

icecatcher.jpg

For 2007, Tooltonic now sells an attachment called the Ice Catcher IC10. It's a side-edge device that consists of two hard tungsten carbide rods that you slide down the side edge. Pressure from the rods adds an edge burr to the metal edge. Normally, this edge burr is naturally created after filing and polishing the side edge, and you normally want to get rid of it by lightly polishing the base edge with a diamond stone.
 
If you use the Ice Catcher, use it only between the bindings; if you use it at the tip and tail, it's the opposite of de-tuning, and you will never be able to release from a turn.
 
From this site, a good one, it's for snowboard:

 

This is the burr the tool makes:

 

Here's the Swiss company that makes the tools:

http://tooltonic.com/    Supposedly it has English, but I can't get it to work.
 
Here's a video of most of their tools. They have an interesting dual wheel diamond stone that fits in the edger. Pretty expensive though and they're small.
 

 

 

post #25 of 26

Now that is some interesting stuff.

I have intentionally burred side edges by pulling a carbide rod down the edge after sharpening.

Very similar to how Ski visions tells you to burr their cutting tool for base planning.

A burred edge grips ice incredibly well but doesn't last long.

These kind of tricks are what separate course specific race tunes from tunes for general skiing.

I just try for a very well polished edge because the better the polish the longer the life.

Micro nicks in the edge serve as initiation sites for fractures that ruin edge sharpness.

 

I think you can still get the 800 grit stones from tool and die suppliers.

I got mine in 2009 as I remember to replace some DMT stones that are very clog prone.

Diamond stones are made of diamond bonded into nickel metal.

Turns out molten nickel wets diamond so it makes a very strong substrate.

post #26 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by MastersRacer View Post
 

One thing that can really help is using a 10x loupe to look at your edges. You'll see right away if you are getting into the metal and where.

 

 

You are spot on with this suggestion. I use a visor that flips up and down with dual 4X lenses whenever I am sharpening my skis. It lets me see exactly what I am doing as I do it. When I am using the files, I flip it up and when I want to inspect my work and get close to the skis, I flip it down. It is also great when using the true bar. You have to get your face close to the ski for it to focus, but I can eye ball the base bevel pretty well with it down. It really lets you see base flatness variations as well.

 

I have been thinking I need a higher power magnifier for really close inspection, such as sharpness of the point on the ski's edge. The 10X sounds like the ticket.

 

Here is the visor I use:

 

http://www.amazon.com/Donegan-OptiVISOR-Binocular-Magnifier-Lensplate-Magnifies/dp/B000BPWPRK/ref=pd_sim_sbs_indust_3?ie=UTF8&refRID=06XK45SS6G1HXFKVABH0

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