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Edge Sharpening

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
What do you think about edge sharpening?
This upcoming season will be my second, and I'm your average poor high school student. Last season I skied rental stuff and got hooked really fast. This year I bought my own stuff and I'm wondering. I'm gonna be skiing probably 2-3 days a week for my season (3 months). I know it's terrible. I ski groomed trails and bumps. I'm wondering: do I buy a couple of files, or do I get them sharpened once and forget it? One of my friends says he gets his bases ground and his edges done and forgets them for the season, but then again, he's also a big 4:20er.
Thanks
post #2 of 22
Hey Zacman, welcome to the forum! I too was a broke highschool kid skiing until this year when i became a broke college student skiing.

I would definatly advise against sharpening and forgetting them. You wont notice the difference (because you will gradually lose edge hold as your edges gradually become more dull) until you have them sharpened again when you'll wonder how you skiied them before.

Generally every ten days on snow is a good time to get them resharpened, though opinions vary with the type of skiing you do, and the condition of the snow, and your weight, etc,... every ten days is pretty good.

Another good idea is to keep a gummy stone or a small pocket knife sharpening stone in your pocket and at lunch, check the edges for burrs. You can do that by running the tip of your thumb nail along the edge from tip to tail and if it catches, there is a burr. These can develop mostly from skiing over nasty stuff in the snow and can be quickly dispatched with a few light passes with the gummy stone over the area with the burr.

As for the sharpening, there are a vast myriad of expensive and exotic ski files made from strong and abrasion-resistent metals, but all you REALLY need is an 8 inch mill bastard file from the hardware store. It'll run you 5 bux. I also suggest a peice of 2X4 cut that is 4 inches long so you have a square piece of wood. This will act as a guide to keep your file at precisely 90 degrees, though you can spend $15+ if you want to buy an edge bevel guide to experiment with different angles; but for simplicity, nothing beats 90 degrees. [img]smile.gif[/img]

=====================================
/XXX||-------|
|XXX||-------|
|XXX||-------|
|XXX|
|XXX|
|XXX|
\XXX|

*the ='s are the file, the X's are the ski amd the -'s are the 2X4.

This is a pretty crappy illustration, but i hope it shows how you are supposed to hold the file against the side of the 2X4, with the face of the 2X4 running along the bottom to keep the file at 90 degrees to the base of the ski. Using light, even strokes, you move the file down the ski (from tip to tail) using the guide (in our case a 2X4) to keep it all even and consistent. Unless your skis are badly dulled, you wont need much pressure to sharpen them. after they are sharpened, inspect for burrs, and you are good to go! Remeber though, only sharpened the edge that will touch the snow, dont sharpened it where the ski comes up in the front ( and back also if you have twin-tips).

Also, keep the file away from moisture because the micro-filings of steel ski edge oxidize at an accelerated rate and if the file is exposed to moisture after you used it, very quickly the filings in its grooves will rust and htere is nothing worse than a rusty file. You might as well throw it away, it will contaminate the clean steel in your edges (metalurgy experience talking here)

Hope I didn't overload you with information, I am just trying to pass on the lessons I learned while sharpening my first pair of skis (which I nearly ruined until I got it right )

Happy turns,
Karsten
post #3 of 22
Thread Starter 
Sweet!
Thanx guys. Happy early season to all you lucky yanks! Good ole' Tennessee/North Carolina won't be up for at least another 1- 1 1/2 months.
post #4 of 22
Order the Tognar Toolworks catalog. It has a lot of info on how to sharpen your skis. I guess 2x4 will work but start looking for a file guide. Forget about sharpening the base edge right now - just do the sides till you learn a lot more.
also: RacePlace (makes the "Beast" tool)in Oregon- get that catalog. Reliable Racing in NY state ditto. search for other tuning tips threads here and on the web. Tognar's cat. is probably the best single source that's easiest to get.
cheers...
post #5 of 22
Quote:
Originally posted by Zacman1987:
What do you think about edge sharpening?...
Definitely a good thing.

For now, I would forget about a file and just get a diamond stone (a 4-inch would work, either fine or medium--usually blue or red), perhaps a gummy stone, and some kind of fluorinated paste wax for skis/boards. You can hold the stone to the side edge by hand without a guide just fine, once you develop "the touch." A bench/vise makes it easier, but it's not essential. Use a bungee or a few large rubber bands to hold the brake out of the way. Run the stone up and down the side of the edge, perpendicular to the base, until it feels smooth. You can also go up and down flat against the base a couple of times, if you want. Then run the gummy stone --lightly-- at 45-degrees to knock off any burr you might've created. Finally put some of the wax on, let it sit for a few minutes, and buff it up.

You can do this quick-and-dirty light tune every couple of days, then take them into a shop for a real tune when you've messed things up enough over time--a couple of times a season for your 2-3 days/week, maybe more if you ski a lot of ice & rocks.

A file takes too much edge off to use it any more than you absolutely must. I think Karsten Hain's idea of a do-it-yourself guide is pretty good, but I'd hesitate to recommend something as imprecise as a 2x4. I've found I can feel the difference between zero, 1-degree, and 2-degree side-edge bevels, so I'd suggest either to buy a guide, machine something more precise than a 2x4 in your shop class, or leave that to the ski shop techs.

Have fun and..
post #6 of 22
Once you set your edge bevels with a 8" Mill Bastard file.(You use a base bevel guide for the base edge and a side bevel guide for the side edge with your file) Personnly I like SVST's stuff but it is not cheap. I have alos used The Beast, from Raceplace extensivley, but recently switched to SVST & like it much better!
I prefer diamond files, and not DMT's diamond stones. Reliable Racing has pretty good diamond files and so does SVST (sun valley ski tools) sold through RACEWERKS. You probably want a 1 degree base bevel and a 2 degree side edge, depending on what ski your on.
You should not use a regular file again until your skis need to be stone ground flat again by a shop who preferably uses a Wintersteiger machine. You should use your diamond files in your bevel guides to keep your edges sharp and clean and a Gummi stone after the Diamond files to deburr the edges. You should grind your skis at the shop only when thwey absolutely need it. The less you grind them the better. Only once a season if you can. The grind removes all the wax in your base but if your edges are hammered or your bases are really gouged, you may not have a choice.

The guy who said to use a 90 degree edge, I assume he meant 0 base bevel & 0 side edge bevel needs his head examined or is skiing on old straight skis from the 60's 0r 70's. The following is a few manufacturers and their recommedations:

Rossignol 1 base & 1 Side
Atomic 1 & 3
K2 1& 1
Volkl 1 & 3
Fischer 1& 3

Don't do a 0 degree base & 0 Degree side. Trust me, you will be sorry. Your skis will not roll on edge like they should. Again a 1 base & 2 side is a pretty good bet. Any other questions, don' t hesitate to ask.

ski with the wind MF
post #7 of 22
I have a few thing for tuning in my basement..the main being a Montana Wet Belt Sander w/ feeder. Belts and files galore. Jigs and vises. Most things to make a shop efficient.
post #8 of 22
Zacman you said your a poor highschool student, if your in a ski club from your school alot of times they have a class put on by the more experinced people in the club were they show you how to tune your ski's and tney usaully ask you to bring in your own stuff and show you how by tuning your own ski's. IF you are in a ski club and IF they do have a class that will get you at least one free tune and some good info too.
post #9 of 22
Atomic, your info regarding the Volkl skis is not correct. I contacted them regarding the P50s and had two replies from different representatives. Both suggested 1/88, although one suggested 0/89 also "works fine".

This season I saw the US ski team had 5 degree bevels, which was rather "interesting" to say the least, however most mere mortals would probably find anything over 88 degrees too aggressive.

Cheers,

Pete
post #10 of 22
Lots of good ideas here. Why not start slowly and somewhat "inexpensively," by getting your skis properly tuned and sharpened. Then buy a "gummy" stone, the shorter medium grit diamond stone, and you will need some type of wipe on wax to protect your bases and enhance your turns. I suggest Swix F4 in the small tin with the applicator sponge. I beleive you can get all three items for less than $45.00, and you can carry them with you while you ski.

Move in to the sharpening and tuning aspect of the sport slowly, and you will be more likely to embarce it as a regular habit.
post #11 of 22
Quote:
Originally posted by Zacman1987:
What do you think about edge sharpening?
Edges?!?

We dont need no stinkin edges..............
post #12 of 22
There's some good ideas posted here for getting started. I would advize against the 2x4 idea though. With the vast majority of new skis comming from the factory with base and side bevels a 2x4 @ 90 degrees would screw things up. Please don't take this personally Karsten. It's not a bad idea if you know for certain that the edges of your skis are 90.

From experience, files from the hardware store will work. However, they will not last as longe as files purchased from a cataloge or ski shop. The steel on skis is increadibly hard. Most hardware files are actually softer than the edges on a ski. They will work for a while, but when silver streakes start showing up on the file it's time to get a new one.

I would recommend starting by getting a little instruction first. Wether that be by a shop tech, book, or here in the forum. A little knowledge about it is better than going at it cold. As for equipment to start with, a cheap ajustable file guild, 8" file from a ski shop, and a medium diamond.

Ski vises are not cheap but become a nessesity. The more you tune the more you will need them.

The last thing I'll say is to make sure your file is going the right way. So many times have I seen kids screw up the skis by sending the file down the ski the wrong way. An easy way to remember which way the file goes is "THE TAIL ALWAYS TRAILS."
Meaning the handle of the file is always following in the direction you are moving.

Good luck and have a great winter rippn up the slopes.

CERAF
post #13 of 22
Go to the Salvation Army thrift store and buy a used clothes iron, buy some wax and a plastic wax scraper at the ski shop. Turn the heat up just enought to melt the wax but not so high that the wax smokes. Hold the iron point side down over the skis and melt wax on it, dripping the wax in blobs onto the skis. Then iron the wax so it spreads out in a film over the entire ski bottom surface, moving the iron somewhat quickly so you don't overheat the ski. Use the scraper to scrape the wax off the bottom. The hot, melted wax will have penetrated into the ski bottoms and you are in for a nice ride when you get on the slopes. Cheap, quick, effective. Next step up, buy a brush at the ski shop and brush after scraping.
post #14 of 22
Everyone else has weighed in with his or her 00.2 cents, so here is mine:

1.Have your skis professionally tuned at the beginning of each year (bases, edges, binding adjustments). The rule is every 20 – 30 times or as necessary, you ski 30 times per year.
2.Wax your skis every day you ski. Mr PotatoeHead has the essential elements down (don’t worry about the brushing until you have more $$$). For now use a good all condition petroleum based wax, don’t use the flouro based waxes until you understand them and what they are good for. Ask around for old irons for waxing. My first iron (yes, I still use it) was free from a neighbor who had just purchased a new fancy iron. Free is a very good price.
3.Buy (and learn how to use) a good edge filing system, which includes the file and guide, diamond stone and gummy stone. Make sure your edges are clean and sharp every day (this does not mean you need to file them daily, but check and do what is necessary).
4.Your local library has good books on ski tuning/waxing. Check one out and study up on the subject.
5.Ask your local ski shop if they have odd jobs you can do in exchange for free tuning and free education in the tuning arts. Hell, they will probably let you sit in the backroom and watch (them and the girly posters) as often as you like if you help out on occasion. At least that is how it was for me during the ‘70’s.

If you need cheap files, diamond stones and gummy stones check out harborfreight.com they have good prices on most tools. They have diamond hone blocks (sets of 3) for $7.99 and diamond files for $9.99.

Mark
post #15 of 22
Quote:
Originally posted by Pete:
Atomic, your info regarding the Volkl skis is not correct. I contacted them regarding the P50s and had two replies from different representatives. Both suggested 1/88, although one suggested 0/89 also "works fine".

This season I saw the US ski team had 5 degree bevels, which was rather "interesting" to say the least, however most mere mortals would probably find anything over 88 degrees too aggressive.

Cheers,

Pete
World cup class racers ski water injected courses, hence the extreme side edge bevel of US ski team members. Keep in mind they have Reps with them and probably have their skis reworkrd between runs, since a 5 or 6 degree side edge bevel probably lasts one run on water injected ice.

I skied on volkl for 25 years and my sons raced on them until a couple of years ago. We switched to Atomic. Too many broken & bent Volkls in the race course. I have spoken directly to their race dept and to the race techs at Mt. Hood over the summer. A 1/88 is a 1 degree base bevel & 2 degree side edge. This would probably ski just great. But a three degree side edge would probably be more appropriate for technically capable racers. A flat base on a shape ski is not a good idea. No one I know skis their skis with a flat base edge. They would be very difficult roll on edge smoothly.

Over & out!
post #16 of 22
Atomic, I was responding directly to your comment, "The following is a few manufacturers and their recommendations ... Volkl 1&3" which is in fact not their recommendation, well certainly not from the factory regarding the P50 slalom anyway. This is one of the emails.
Quote:
Hy Pete!
Thanks for your mail!
The recommended base bevel is 1 degree and the side bevel is 88 degrees.
This is the preparation for high performance carving. It also works very
fine when the base bevel is 0 degrees and the side bevel is 89 degrees.

Best wishes from Straubing!
You are quite right about the longevity of a 5 degree bevel, and yes they do have that support. I was quite surprised at how much different this was to even the good racers I know.

In addition to the email from Volkl, I shared a tuning room with a Japanese team this (southern) winter while they were on the NZ FIS tour. For slalom they were all using 0 degree base bevel. I’m not sure what their side bevel was, but from memory I think I saw orange file guides, which would make it 87 degrees. While I use 1 degree base myself, they seemed surprised I should even ask. I have been recommended to go to ½ degree base bevel by a very good tuner I know.

Cheers,

Pete
post #17 of 22
Book: Ski Maintenance and Repair. By Seth Masia. Tognar Toolworks for the basics. Learning to maintain your equip is cheaper in the long run and you always have sharp edges and fast bases.
post #18 of 22
The book by Seth Masia is getting a little dated in terms of the bevels appropriate for recent skis and the advice on flat filing the skis. A forum such as this one has more current information. Still that book and "From Tip to Tail" are good starters.
post #19 of 22
I picked up a small booklet, by Swix as I recall, while in a shop. Of course I lent it to somebody who promptly lost it, but it was very good and up to date. Unfortunately I have never seen it elsewhere again. As with all of these companies, Swix, Toko, etc., they all try to peddle their own wares but hey, a small price to pay.

Cheers,

Pete
post #20 of 22
Quote:
Originally posted by Pete:
Atomic, I was responding directly to your comment, "The following is a few manufacturers and their recommendations ... Volkl 1&3" which is in fact not their recommendation, well certainly not from the factory regarding the P50 slalom anyway. This is one of the emails.
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Hy Pete!
Thanks for your mail!
The recommended base bevel is 1 degree and the side bevel is 88 degrees.
This is the preparation for high performance carving. It also works very
fine when the base bevel is 0 degrees and the side bevel is 89 degrees.

Best wishes from Straubing!
You are quite right about the longevity of a 5 degree bevel, and yes they do have that support. I was quite surprised at how much different this was to even the good racers I know.

In addition to the email from Volkl, I shared a tuning room with a Japanese team this (southern) winter while they were on the NZ FIS tour. For slalom they were all using 0 degree base bevel. I’m not sure what their side bevel was, but from memory I think I saw orange file guides, which would make it 87 degrees. While I use 1 degree base myself, they seemed surprised I should even ask. I have been recommended to go to ½ degree base bevel by a very good tuner I know.

Cheers,

Pete
</font>[/quote]The japanese would be a 0 & 3. But,I would be leery of what the Japanese team is doing. When did they lastwin or even palce in a race? I would be more interested in Mario Matt or Bode Miller or the young gal from Slovenia. Her name escapes me at the moment. We use a 1 degree on all of our Race stock Atomic's, which is what Atomic recommends, but I recently bought a .7 from SVST with the thought that once you set your base edge with a file at .7 and then diamond stone to polish you may end up between a .7 and 1. Also after skiing your base bevel probably increases as time goes on. Anyway, I think a "Lite 1" works fine. Also, the rep said a 1 base & 2 side edge is the specs for high performance carving, not necessarily racing. Volkl was always a 1 & 3 in the past. I would almost bet that their GS and SG boards are a 1 & 3. I know of a couple racers using a 1/2 on their slaloms only.
Thanks for the spirited discussion!
Over & out!

Cliff

Ski with the wind MF!

[ November 01, 2002, 07:00 PM: Message edited by: Atomicman ]
post #21 of 22
After reading this thread, I guess there is still alot of confusion about how a tune affects a skis performance.

I suppose that one hot topic will be this aspect of developing on-hill performance at the upcoming academy. If anyone is interested, I would be happy to provide a tuning workshop early in the Academy.

Much of it boils down to "what are the skills of the skier", "what are the conditions being skied", and "what level of performance do you want from your equipment".

Personally, I won't ski a pair of skis that haven't been tuned within the past 2-3 uses. (And they'll get waxed even more often.) And even then, I will have touched them up during those days. My fellow instructors sometimes accuse me of sleeping in the locker room, because they find me in there working on my equipment, late into the night.

Once you have skied on exceptionally well prepared equipment, you will never be satisfied with mediocrity again! It makes skiing so much easier and more enjoyable.

Back to the original question-. Have a reputable shop do the initial tune, and ask a good technician to show you how to touch them up. There are a lot of good tools available, but in inexperienced hands, they can do more damage than good.

If you want to learn the craft yourself, find an old junk ski, and practice on it, rather than your pride and joy's. When you have developed the "feel", then it's time to deal with your good skis!

:
post #22 of 22
Vail, here here. My thoughts exactly.

Atomic, I would like to make two points. The email I received from the representative at the Volkl factory was the manufacturer’s recommendation, something you quoted (incorrectly) earlier and prompted my reply. What you or some team may choose to use is another matter. From my understanding Zacman is not skiing FIS races, or ANY races for that matter. With more experience we all find our own tuning preferences that may be different from the manufacturer’s.

Quote:
The japanese would be a 0 & 3. But,I would be leery of what the Japanese team is doing. When did they lastwin or even palce in a race? I would be more interested in Mario Matt or Bode Miller or the young gal from Slovenia. Her name escapes me at the moment.
The "young gal" who’s name escapes you is, presumably, Tina Maze. I must now say, Atomic, that I found your racist comment quite out of line, indeed insulting. My experience with the Japanese is that they are dedicated young athletes, who’s devotion to the sport I admired greatly, and they don’t exactly “snow plough” down the courses. I found the Japanese guys tuned their skis to the point of obsession. To imply that the Japanese don’t get international placings because they don’t know what they’re doing can only be described as an extraordinary attitude. There can be myriad reasons why one country is better than another overall, not the least, I would like to point out, is money. Following your logic, I could presumably conclude that since Bode Miller was the only American to win a medal in Alpine skiing in the last Olympic games, the USA ski team also don’t know how to tune skis!

Unfortunately since you’ve chosen to enter a racial debate I’m afraid I will opt out of any further conversation on this matter with you.

Zacman, I’m deeply sorry the thread you began got so side tracked. While our discussion may lead you believe that tuning skis is some complicated process, nothing could be further from the truth. To do it properly does take a little practice, but it doesn’t take long to acquire the skill. One tip is to run a felt tip marker along the edges before you file. Although it does tend to clog up a diamond file, it will give you an indication of how you’re going. With time you will be able to see the difference in the edges between that which has been filed/polished and that which has not, and the marker will become unnecessary. Good luck with it, I think you will find it quite a satisfying part of your skiing.

Cheers,

Pete
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