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Ski Tuning Machines - Ceramic Edge Finish

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
After doing lots of smaller manual re-tunes for a couple years, it's now time to do a full machine tune on my skis, two questions:

1. My understanding is that the best machine tune is a "Ceramic Edge Finish" where the machine uses ceramic discs to sharpen the edges. Is it true that this is the best?

2. Does anyone know where this is done in the Tahoe/Reno area?

post #2 of 13
Thats the best way to tune your bases, but i find that nothing beats a good hand tune for the side edge. I just had one pair of my SLX's tuned up and had a different base structure put on them. The guy that did them said that he had trouble getting the edges as sharp as i had them. Granted they are still quite sharp and perfectly smooth, but not as sharp as the hand tune. the new structure in them is great though.
post #3 of 13
I'll agree with HS. The new machines are the best for setting structures in the base, but not for sharpening edges.

Think about it- a round wheel/disc, along a straight~ edge. How can it come out smooth? Look at most skis sharpened on a machine, and you'll find the edge is "scalloped" slightly. And even worse- if the pressure setting of the machine is off by even a half pound, it can really screw up a ski for good, or at least several tunes.

Once the bases are flat, and the structure set, handtuning to a fantastic finish shouldn't take more than about 45 minutes to an hour, for the pair.

Should have been there for my tuning seminar...

post #4 of 13
Another drawback to grinding(improperly) is the heat generated..especially at the base/edge interface.This has destroyed skis..the edges having been now heated..way too high have lost their temper..short life to follow.Ditto for bases overheated.Pretty much impossible to do with the old belt sander.Another thing I really like about the old belt is that it enables the tech to "touch up" spots..the grinder you pretty much have to take another pass..taking off more the whole length of the ski.
post #5 of 13
Just to clarify something to previous posters is a Stone Grind is for smoothening and leveling the base and putting structure in. A Ceramic Edge Finisher is for setting angles and polishing to rid the edge of longitudinal striations left by sanding, filing and stone grinding. A sharp polishing disc leaves a perfect edge that takes great skill and time to duplicate by hand. The quality is determined by operator skill though. I would say go for the machine finish, and if the sharpness is not enough, then run a file and diamond on the side after a day on the slopes. The operator can set angles to what you want up to 4deg side and 2deg base.
post #6 of 13

I was there for probably half of your presentation (but had to leave to meet some people for dinner). I certainly appreciate your skill, knowledge, and craftsmanship in terms of what you typically do to tune your skis. (I also like what you do with them out on the slopes!) My impression, however, was that in just 5 or 10 minutes of sharpening I could get 90% (??) of the same results using a multi-tuner using a blue diamond stone to deburr, a file to sharpen, and then back to the blue diamond stone to polish. On an average day I just use the diamond stone to deburr and polish.

So, some questions:

1) Don't you think that this is adequate for even a very serious recreational skier and as a corollary, is a ceramic stone polish really worthwhile for a non-racer?

2) If a ceramic stone finish is desired it seems to me I could do it in a couple of extra minutes with a multituner (if they make a ceramic stone that fits in the multituner) - am I missing something?

3) If I do some ptex filling and scrape with a metal scraper, at what point do I need to start thinking about getting a grind?

4) Before doing ptext repair is it necessary to de-wax?

Thanks for any answers you can provide.
post #7 of 13
As is said here stones are used to impart a structure or polish an edge. The two types of stones used and the placement are different.

The SNOWELL machine is by far the best around. It used stones to polish the edges and put in a structure, again they are different stones. The guy who runs ours is top notch in the hand tune department too.

I had my skis done on the SNOWELL in December just to see how it came out. The structure is fantastic. This maybe because the Snowell rep was there fine tuning the rig. I didn't see any scalloping. As said this is a probelem with un-caring techs and/ or out of alignment machines. Belt tuning seems to always put on a scallop.

AC, you are in luck there is a Snowell at North-Star. It is a booth creek resort. We have one here at Loon. Snowell Locations

I hope this helps.

Just trying to help a great guy get a great tune,

post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks guys, extremely helpful! vail snopro, I did catch most of your presentation (had to leave for the same dinner conflict as Si), and it was extremely informative. I just have some deep edge wear that I want to remove so I can get back into the minor tuning/sharpening myself -- though I'll admit 45 minutes for every 2 days on skis is beyond my level of commitment .

And thanks for the link Jim!

So SNOWELL machines are "ceramic", right? And it sounds like a little blue diamond stone work AFTER the Snowell machine tune would be a good thing.
post #9 of 13
Diamond "stones". Highly recommend Maplus "Moonflex" diamond "stones". You can really feel them cutting. Use them wet. Maybe a 200 or 400 would be most versatile. They are costly. Only spot (catalog or online) is SVST.
post #10 of 13
We have several of the SNOWELL machines here in Vail, and Markus and Louis are top notch operators. But the hassles to get them to reset the machine to accomodate more radical edge angles is more than most shops want to tangle with. Therefore, they get a 1/1 tune, or sometimes a 1/2 tune.

The Austrian and several other National Teams will use these machines for resetting the structures, but none use them to tune the race skis. Handtuning is still the standard for high performance skis.

The machines do a great job for the average ski/ skier, but not at the elite level.

post #11 of 13
I only get a ceramic disk tune to set my base and side edge angles like Beta said.

I also retune my edges after every outing. I use the Black, Blue, and Red diamond stones and sometimes the race combi with carbide and strawberry stone combo on the sides.

I'm a little obsessive.

post #12 of 13
i think (i know this is a bit late) that there's a slight misconception about the ceramic edge finisher (if it's in reference to the ceramic cup grinder).

it's basically ceramic that's polishing the edge, but .... how should i describe it ... take a styrofoam cup ... and take the circle top of it (the very top of the cup) and place it on ... a pencil. now imagine the pencil being the edge and the cup being the machine. spin the cup around and notice that there's 2 points of contact with the edge...that's how the ceramic cup grinder works. so you can't just get a ceramic blade or whatever and emulate that finish.

as for making edges smooth/sharp...i find that using a base beveler and side edge beveler with a file, followed by a ceramic polishing stone 600 grit, ceramic polishing stone 900 grit, diamond stone, abraisive gummi stone (usually gray), red gummi stone, and finishing off with a tan gummi stone gives a VERY smooth finish and a VERY shiny finish to the edges. takes some time, but when i do that for a customer, they usually notice right away in the quality of the edge finish [img]smile.gif[/img] (i think i typed the order correctly)

post #13 of 13
Gotta agree, wouldn’t have a machine near my edges. I use the Toko world cup edge guide and combinations of files and diamond stones depending on how much metal I need to remove. I can’t see any advantages in using a machine, other than time saving, but many possible disadvantages. Can only echo that good techs hand tune for races.

AC can’t you just use a file to remove the metal fro the damaged areas?


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