Originally Posted by ShopGimp
Garage tunes..... I dig the enthusiasm, but nothing trumps a $60,000 machine.
This is a very gentle, and generous, way of stating what must be the case, in may places, all things being optimal in the ski tune shop. Many or most Epic folk may have long since pinned down some nearby shop(s) to flatten and give at least initial structure to their ski bases with skill and dependability, no worries.
I have a lot of admiration for these shops and people, without going into personal detail. Racers, pros and the industry itself depend on these guys, and on tuning equipment developed over many years of experience. This is a good part of skiing, after all!
On the other hand, hand-tuning is also essential, even at the highest level of skiing. Especially there. And it's not as if a good but not elite skier can't tell the difference, between a standard shop tune and a good hand tune, for instance. It is really obvious, to many. Just as obvious as an edge with a noticeable burr and one without. (Microscopic burrs develop in the last stages of finishing, but burrs you can feel occur all along the way: you can feel them with your finger, don't need a picture. And the same with various degrees of hanging burrs from either hand or shop tuning, as near as I can tell.)
Also, there are only so many shops and $ machines within easy reach of me, and over the years I've had operators of such machines in 2-3 shops mess up my then favorite skis real good. So, yeah, I've moved on each time, gradually doing more myself. But to me, this is a pretty expensive and high risk process, base flattening and structuring--one I seem to learn about the hard way, just enough times to have finally switched.
At the high end, perhaps the shop operators--and racers--are used to skilled race techs taking care of whatever problems $ machine operations cause or contribute to, not sure: including, minimally, smoothing out the sharpness in the structure through fine tuning endless hours, and wax layer after wax layer, run after run, to get the skis to speed.
See, for example, these "new ski" 11 step prep directions: http://pezwinter.blogspot.ca/2011/11/ten-step-new-ski-prep-step-by-step-ski.html
This came from Chenzo on a recent Epic wax prep thread, posts 3 through 8 especially: http://www.epicski.com/t/126402/what-wax-to-use-on-new-bases#post_1699564
I can't help noticing that this 11 step new ski prep process has a lot in common with so-called "garage" style technique: what Atomicman would do after his bases are ground, even what Jacques describes doing to his bases to level them and elsewhere, or what I've done (with steel scraper, sandpaper(s), fibertex grades, brushes, etc, or with SkiVisions tools. In my case, it was at first me trying to correct botched $ machine base grinds!
I don't want any more skis messed up, even though it was such an event that finally got me going--and into fun learning--in my basement. (My garage is too small, cold and damp!)