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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Tuning, Maintenance and Repairs › Ski won't hold an edge in ice. Base grind, or dead ski?
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Ski won't hold an edge in ice. Base grind, or dead ski?

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 

Hi guys, 

 

I've felt that my slalom skis don't grip on ice despite me tuning them every other day. (I'm sliding out on race courses on a freaking green!) I then tried some demo skis and was able to carve again on ice. I'm thinking there are four possibilities: 

  1. I suck at skiing and the demo skis covered it up through demo ski magic
  2. I suck at tuning and the demo skis with their mediocre high volume shop tune are better
  3. The slalom ski is dead or dying (I've had 100 days on them, and they're ~4 years old)
  4. The slalom ski needs a base grind (I haven't actually had a base grind since owning them, thinking that running my base flattening tool would be enough)

 

I put them in for a base grind last weekend and will try them again on Saturday... any other ideas on what the issue could be? Normally I tune to 4 degree side edge and don't touch the base except with a gummi stone on any rusty spots or burrs. I believe the base was set at 0.7 at one time.

post #2 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Metaphor_ View Post

Hi guys, 



[*] The slalom ski needs a base grind (I haven't actually had a base grind since owning them, thinking that running my base flattening tool would be enough)
[/LIST]

There's you problem, after 4 years of wear and damage your base probably has metal edge rounded over, the 0.7 base is probably like 5 now.
post #3 of 26
Why don't you ever tune your base edges? Might be good to walk us through your tuning process.
post #4 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jzmtl View Post


There's you problem, after 4 years of wear and damage your base probably has metal edge rounded over, the 0.7 base is probably like 5 now.

 

hmm, why would the edge round over? I try to avoid touching the base to avoid changing the angle... unless it's case hardened or rusty... 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by voghan View Post

Why don't you ever tune your base edges? Might be good to walk us through your tuning process.

 

  1. Run a base flattener if there are any ridges on the base (e.g. if I'd gouged the p-tex, which doesn't happen often)
  2. Remove any burrs or rust from base edge with a gummi stone (soft for rust; hard for case hardened)
  3. Remove any burrs from side edge with a coarse diamond stone
  4. File side edge, using a sidewall planer if necessary
  5. Run diamond stones, going from 200 -> 400 -> 600 grit
  6. Run an arkansas stone using light pressure and held nearly flat along the base edge, to remove the hanging burr
  7. Polish the side edge with the arkansas stone (just started doing this in the past season)
  8. Brush the base with a copper brush (or is it brass? It feels very soft) to try to open up the structure a bit
  9. Wax, using fibrelene sheets
  10. Scrape if I can be bothered (always if the wax is soft; generally when the wax is harder)
  11. Brush if I can be bothered
post #5 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Metaphor_ View Post

hmm, why would the edge round over? I try to avoid touching the base to avoid changing the angle... unless it's case hardened or rusty... 

Just wear from skiing. Also whenever you have a burr, from either a rock or edges banging into each other, metal on actual tip of the edge is displaced and if you tune the side only, you still have a void there. I bet if you go over the edge with a magnifying glass you can see the edge is no longer consistent.

Anyway it's just my observations on my own skis so YMMV.
post #6 of 26
Thread Starter 

OK, good points, thanks for the perspective. Saturday should be interesting then after the base grind :)

post #7 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Metaphor_ View Post

OK, good points, thanks for the perspective. Saturday should be interesting then after the base grind smile.gif

Let us know how it works, I'm curious to know if my theory is correct. biggrin.gif Going to be really icy too after the refreeze tomorrow, good test for both edge and ski.
post #8 of 26

What do you have for a base flattener ?

 

Before I wax, I always run both Skivisions flattening tools down the base a few times. The file and then the M ruby stone, the stone may be 10 times or so. Then I use my 1* steel base guide with a 100grit moonflex and or a good swiss file to just verify the base bevel is clean. I don't use much if any pressure on the guide as I'm just knocking off any high nicks that may scratch the iron. Then I set the edges at 3* with a 200 grit moomflex or Panzar file if I feel they need it, followed by the 200 grit on the steel edge guide at the same time. My Panzar files are about 1" pieces.  I clamp both to the guide, using the moonflex to steady the file piece.

 

I wax every 3-5 ski days depending on the snow.

post #9 of 26

You need a base grind. As has been said, snow is abrasive and that many years of friction has increased your base bevel to the point that even with sharpening you can no longer roll the ski high enough to engage the edge. 

 

You can go .5  .7 or a 1 degree...you're preference.   I would start at a .5 and see what you think. As I am sure you know, you can increase base bevel but you can't decrease it with out a base grind.  So if .5 is too quick to the edge, you can easily increase to .7 or 1  (but never over 1 degree) until you find what you like.


Edited by Atomicman - 1/28/16 at 9:15am
post #10 of 26

The possibility of the skis being worn out inside and being to flexy still may exist. 

 

BTW you need to 'bother' to scrape and brush well every time, not just when you 'bother'.

post #11 of 26

Your tuning steps seem fine for the most part. Not touching the base bevel with a file is a good tactic. As Atomicman says, the bevel increases with time due to abrasion from the snow and you need to have your ptex and bottom edge ground back to 0 and then apply the base edge bevel again. A stone grind and re-bevel does this. A lot of shops don't perform this correctly, so find one that handles race skis and they will do it right. I pay $95 to have this done, which is steep, but it is done right every time at the shop I use.

 

The only thing I do differently is not file my side edge, just diamond stone it, on a regular basis. I visually inspect it and if it looks nicked up enough, then I file it and diamond stone it. This is strictly to increase the life of the ski by not taking off more side edge than necessary to keep them skiing well.

 

A final note, this is obvious, but have you visually inspected your edges to see that you have a decent thickness of metal left, correct?  I have an old pair of rock skis that the next time I file them, I will go through the small amount of edge left. They don't grab so well on ice anymore. They are ready to be turned into ski furniture. 

post #12 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacques View Post
 

The possibility of the skis being worn out inside and being to flexy still may exist. 

 

BTW you need to 'bother' to scrape and brush well every time, not just when you 'bother'.

 

oh come now, you know how I feel about that :D 

 

I'll post back tomorrow after skiing with the new base grind and edge set (0.5 base). 

post #13 of 26

after 100 days....they are dead!

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

after 100 days....they are dead!


THIS!

post #15 of 26

I have skied 100 days on skis and they were not dead!

post #16 of 26
Thread Starter 

So after a base grind, they're skiing perfectly again on hard eastern hardpack. We'll see how it goes once we get some ice conditions, but I'm already more confident and got some of my mojo back in the race course. 

 

Regarding deadness: the skis are certainly a bit softer tip-to-tail than when I bought them, but definitely not deforming torsionally, likely owing to their WC slalom construction. Hopefully they keep skiing well for the rest of the season.

post #17 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Atomicman View Post
 

I have skied 100 days on skis and they were not dead!


big difference in 100 days on a "normal" ski and a slalom ski that is being used in the course


Edited by ScotsSkier - 1/31/16 at 5:24pm
post #18 of 26
Ray, did he say he is racing on them???
post #19 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Atomicman View Post

Ray, did he say he is racing on them???

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Metaphor_ View Post
 

Hi guys, 

 

I've felt that my slalom skis don't grip on ice despite me tuning them every other day. (I'm sliding out on race courses on a freaking green!) I then tried some demo skis and was able to carve again on ice. I'm thinking there are four possibilities: 

 

 

:popcorn

post #20 of 26
Well there it is. Still 4 years and no base bevel reset is damn suspect
post #21 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Metaphor_ View Post
 

So after a base grind, they're skiing perfectly again on hard eastern hardpack. We'll see how it goes once we get some ice conditions, but I'm already more confident and got some of my mojo back in the race course

 

Regarding deadness: the skis are certainly a bit softer tip-to-tail than when I bought them, but definitely not deforming torsionally, likely owing to their WC slalom construction. Hopefully they keep skiing well for the rest of the season.

 

I guess he hasn't skied on ice, yet, but I think we can close the book on this issue. I find grind and re-bevel cures most evils with my skis. Or to say it another way, I can tell when my side edges are dulling and I am gradually loosing grip on hardpack. Whenever a ski is hooking or has on/off grip or is wandering a lot, grind and re-bevel cures it. 

 

I skied one pair of wood core skis, Elan SL comprex about 15 times a year for 18 years = 270 days and they are not "dead" at least by my definition. I am sure some would say they aren't dead, they are "decomposed". They broke down some over the first 3 years, but then stayed the same for the rest of the time. I skied them once so far this year, and I will say I have gotten so used to modern skis, I had to make a real effort to adjust to them. I would roll them on edge and expect them to carve a small radius turn and they kept going pretty straight. I had to remember to add some pivot motion to my turn.

 

I also have a pair of K2 foam core skis, just a little older, and they are "dead" for sure. 

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

 

 

I skied one pair of wood core skis, Elan SL comprex about 15 times a year for 18 years = 270 days and they are not "dead" at least by my definition. I am sure some would say they aren't dead, they are "decomposed". They broke down some over the first 3 years, but then stayed the same for the rest of the time.

 

Mine got to where I couldn't keep a toepiece in them.     I switched away from Marker and Geze because of this.

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

Regarding deadness: the skis are certainly a bit softer tip-to-tail than when I bought them, but definitely not deforming torsionally, likely owing to their WC slalom construction. Hopefully they keep skiing well for the rest of the season.

 

IME the giveaways of 'dead' are when the tip and tails hold semi-OK on light loads but can't keep up with heavy loading or when there is a strong mismatch in edgehold as you get under the boot and away from the tips/tails.  

post #24 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Atomicman View Post

Well there it is. Still 4 years and no base bevel reset is damn suspect

 

Oops, I don't want to give you the wrong idea; our club runs fun races on a green slope. They're not U14 level races, and I'm spending at most 2h a week in gate training (or probably equal to about 10 minutes skiing through gates per week, once you subtract all the time on lifts, skiing to the course, waiting for a turn, then skiing back to the chair). This ski probably would be dead by now if it were actually raced on for 100 days.

 

That said, I actually ski them harder outside of gates (I'm working through a fear of gates, so I unintentionally block myself from loading the ski; this isn't an issue for me in stubbies). 

 

My first pair of foam core skis from ~7 years ago (x-wing 10) was dead within 50 days, so I'm fairly confident in feeling ski deadness. I'm also never buying a foam core ski again, but that's a different matter.

 

The 0.5 degree base bevel felt initially grabby, but that subsided after a few runs. After 2 ski days it feels absolutely great. I'm surprised more people don't ski on a 0.5 base.

post #25 of 26

I used to ski a 0 base on my straight skis (and they are still set that way), however on the shaped skis I am somewhat cautious on going to a zero, because of phantom foot and ACL injuries.  I agree that if you are balanced skier 0.5 is no issue.  Additionally a lot of skiers would actually be forced to skier better with a 0.5 base at it would quickly punish those that don't have good balance and edge feel.

 

The second part of the equation is side and I love a 4 side cut. Some say that such high angles are prone to excessive wear.  BS.  It is a total edge angle of 86.5 which is a lot bigger angle than most of my tooling for metal work.

 

If the edge wears excessively it is because of two reasons:

 

  • poor edge preparation (burrs left that break off) or
  • S*#TTY steel and at that point the ski is crap anyway and not worth the effort of getting it sharp.

 

Most cases I find are poor preparation and not understanding how to remove the burrs correctly (while it is easy to do, it is also easy to mess up) or not create them to start (not so easy).

post #26 of 26
I believe we all had 0 degree base angles before shaped skis; at least I don't remember setting a base edge back in the day.

I run 3 degree side on all of my skis with no ill effects.
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