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Tools for home tuning

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
Wondering what tools I need to tune my skis...

What I've got:

vise
wax
iron
plastic & metal scrapers
file
stiff metal brush for cleaning file
stone for deburring edges
scotchbrite pad

...that's about it. About all I do now is wax & deburr the small stuff; take the skis to a shop 1x per year to get a tune up. I'd like to be able to do real tune ups at home, but I'm not gonna mess with P-tex repairs; I'll leave that to the shop. Reading up at tognar's website, there's a lot of stuff out there. I figure I should get:

nylon brush
edge guide/ some sort of tool to put a 1-1.5* bevel
true bar

Any recommendations on what I should get for these 3 things ? and for anything else considered essential ?

Thanks !
post #2 of 25
I'll be so bold as to say you're on the right track.

The edge guide(s) should be on at the top of your list, if you're going to take a file or a stone to your skis. Most likely, you want a guide for the base edge and the side edge. As for the base, I suspect the most common recommendations would be the Beast or -- if you want to pay up considerably -- the SVST "Final Cut" guide. For the side, there are a number of choices, and it sort of depends on how much flexibility you want to do different bevels, and how comfortable you are with your ability to handle hand tools. The SVST side guide is pretty nice, and you can get shims to vary the bevel.

A nylon brush is another good idea. If you find yourself with the urge to buy, you could go for brass or bronze, horsehair, etc. You can always leave that for later.

Some kind of sidewall trimmer will come in handy, particularly if you ever increase the side-edge bevel.

You don't mention what sort of stone or stones you have ... of course, there are a variety of grits and types to consider.

I wouldn't be that hesitant about filling bases gouges. I guess it depends on how many you inflict on your skis. The smaller, not-to-the-core ones are actually quite easy to repair. The big ones are harder, and tend to fall out. Might as well leave those to the shop is my attitude as well.

Though Tognar has the most informative website (and catalog), another online supplier worth looking at is Artech.
post #3 of 25
I would get some diamond stones to go with the side file guide. I like Moonflex diamond stones for home tuning and DMT stones for on the hill maintenance.

A metal file will be overkill to do basic maintenance.

You do not need a base bevel guide unless you are setting or resetting the base bevel. Otherwise you can just freehand a small diamond stone up and down the base edge. I have an SVST Final Cut guide and very rarely use it.

Something to take the sidewall off is another good idea if you will do routine maintenance. You may not need to do it as often if you are only doing a 1-1.5 degree side bevel.

You can get away with a brass/nylon combo brush but I think it is good to have a brass, nylon, and horsehair.

Fiberlene also comes in handy.

I'm a gear whore so I like to have a ton of toys.
post #4 of 25
I use a Beast base guide and an adjustable side edge guide, with both a file and diamond stones. I never use the diamond stones without the guides. I use a coarse stone from the hardware store to take down burrs on the hill or before I file or tune (diamond stones are too expensive for that job). I mostly use some kind of universal wax, and a plastic scraper, and sometimes I brush it out with a nylon brush. I use ordinary epoxy to fill core shots, and mostly ignore minor base damage. None of that is good enough for racing, but it works fine for moguls and trees.
I don't have anyplace for a bench, so I throw a mover's pad over the kitchen counter and do the work there.
I also have a base flattener, but it can't be used unless I find a good bench or at least a helper to hold the ski down to the kitchen counter.

If I lived out West, I'd throw away everything except the epoxy for core shots, the stone to knock down burrs, the universal wax and a plactic scraper.

John
post #5 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by jdowling
If I lived out West, I'd throw away everything except the epoxy for core shots, the stone to knock down burrs, the universal wax and a plactic scraper.
Having grown up out west and skied over 200 days per year in Utah for 8 years (before moving to the East), I'd recommend getting the edge tuning stuff and keeping a good, sharp edge. You never know when a sharp edge will come in handy, even in the off-piste areas (e.g. in a chute where the main surface is windblown hardpack and you need to stick a jump turn or landing). Proper prep is crucial no matter where you let the boards run.

Lemme tell 'ya - developing good tuning skills when I was in the West has paid big dividends here in the East, where one trail can have powder, crud, slush and rock-hard glare ice.

Just my $0.02 - your mileage may vary.
post #6 of 25
Since you are lazy I did a search for ya, a pretty complete picture book you can find here....
post #7 of 25
These guys have the best deal on brushes (all 4). http://www.ski-racing.com/brush_sys.html I hardly use a nylon, more likely to grab a
longer (softer) bronze combo. With midfats and fats, oval (bigger) brushes are
the way to go.
post #8 of 25
Thread Starter 
Good info -- thanks all. I'll check out those links and see what I come up with.
post #9 of 25
What brand skis are you tuning?
post #10 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Atomicman
What brand skis are you tuning?
Salomon, Volant, K2 currently. Does it matter ? They should all be subject to the same kind of tuning / waxing equipment... I've read here several suggestions about different degree bevels for different brand skis, but not too sure why there should be a difference. (I can see the rationale for different bevels for different terrain though.)
post #11 of 25
I think where and what you ski does make a difference.
post #12 of 25
The reason I asked is that Atomics are known for cancavity in the tip and tail. The 2 most popular base bevel tools have a glide that sits down in those lower areas of the base in the tip and tail, consequently you don't get enough base bevel there.

If you had Atomics, I was going to suggest you use TOKO's full length Base beveler. It spans the low points by extending completely to the opposite side of the ski you are working on.
post #13 of 25
Wonder whether the new Volants will have the same concavity?
post #14 of 25
Don't know.
post #15 of 25
You'll want to check out Artech's web site http://www.artechski.com/ They are a small family operation that is doing this to support the racers in the family.

Hint the secret sauce is 50/50 water and denatured alcohal
post #16 of 25
Regarding P-tex, a friend of mine has found that the plastic used to hold six packs of beer and soda pop works just as well. Just in case you find yourself in need of a quick fix...
post #17 of 25
Hint #2, the 50/50 water/denatured alcohol mixture is a good suggestion for lubricating diamond stones and is actually what the manufacturer, Diaface, recommends but it's not Secret Sauce. It is certainly cheaper than Secret Sauce but it is not as good a "cutting solution".....food for thought.
post #18 of 25
I agree with SJJohnston and JDowling that if you're a normal guy/non-racer, base repairs can actually be some of the easiest things to do yourself. You can pull it off no problem, allowing major savings over shop charges while giving you the least chance of inflicting serious and/or irreparable damage, compared to learning how to file and bevel your edges, et al.

Now look, man, don't go out of your way to prove me wrong, okay?! Because I'm sure you could dig right the %$# through those bases and find yourself coming out the other side if you really set your mind to it...

But here's a couple of tips on the epoxy method I use for filling deep gouges and core shots (and don't bother with p-tex candles--they're beyond useless):

TOOLS/MATERIALS: Use a sturdy utility knife, some 30-min 2-part liquid epoxy, and a sharp metal scraper (or an old blade from the utility knife) for leveling after the epoxy has cured.

The crux of this method is that the new epoxy material be KEYED IN to the existing base--so it doesn't fall out over time. This is easy--you just make sure when you're cutting out the gouged base material that you make angled cuts, making the area where your patch will go get wider the deeper it goes in the ski.

So even if the gouge doesn't extend to the core, I still do all of the following, to ensure a stable patch:

1) CUT AN OUTLINE AROUND THE GOUGE. Score a regular outline around the torn base material, then proceed to cut down through the base 'til you hit the layer underneath. Don't try and get there in one pass--take your time and work slowly down through the plastic.

2) REMOVE ALL THE OLD MATERIAL WITHIN THE PATCH AREA. Remove everything in the patch area down to the layer under the plastic.

3) MAKE SURE YOUR CUTS ARE BEVELED TO KEY-IN THE PATCH. As described above, angle those perimeter cuts so that the patch area is wider toward the core than at the surface. It's IMPORTANT!!

4) MIX THE EPOXY AND (OVER)FILL THE PATCH. Don't overmix it or you'll get bubbles entrained, which might then show up as gaps in the surface of your patch. And work somewhat quickly, because even though the work time is claimed as 30 minutes, the epoxy won't flow well after six or eight minutes, I've found. (Slightly) overfill the patch area.

5) LET THE EPOXY CURE. Yes, it might imply on the label that it'll set in 30 minutes, but the epoxy definitely needs to cure for 24 hours before you should attempt to scrape and level the patch.

6) SCRAPE THE PATCH UNTIL LEVEL. You can use the utility knife to carefully cut away really high spots, but it's usually safer to just slowly pull down the overfilled top of the patch, layer after layer, with a sharp scraper or old utility blade held at 30-to-45 degrees. This usually takes three-to-five minutes of repeated scraping per patch, so it's a little tedious, but it works well and gives a clean, flat blend with the surface of the existing base--if you don't rush it and just let the scraper do the work.


That's it. By all means, there's a lot of qualified folks on this forum who may know a better cheap technique--or may point out flaws in this one that I may be unaware of. But it's really cheap, really simple, and I've never had any problems with it in years of use; here's hoping the forum crew will sound off if there's anything to worry about.

Cheers,
-Shawn
post #19 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by PowHog
Since you are lazy I did a search for ya, a pretty complete picture book you can find here....
Naturally, I endorse that guide. I also reccomend milling through this site: http://www.tognar.com/volkl.html
post #20 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Atomicman
If you had Atomics, I was going to suggest you use TOKO's full length Base beveler. It spans the low points by extending completely to the opposite side of the ski you are working on.
You mean this?

http://www.tokowax.com/katalog.asp?v...art=5&tid=2656
post #21 of 25
I was thinking he meant this:

http://www.reliableracing.com/winter...&category=2000

I could be wrong.
post #22 of 25
What about a side edge guide for skis like Atomics with some concavity - is the affect on side angles using the usual type of guide that doesn't span the full ski width much of a problem? Any recommendations for a good side edge guide?

I've been using a friend's fairly basic gear to keep my edges on my SX11s reasonably tuned and want to buy my own tuning gear in the next few weeks, so I'll appreciate any advice.
post #23 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by songfta
Having grown up out west and skied over 200 days per year in Utah for 8 years (before moving to the East), I'd recommend getting the edge tuning stuff and keeping a good, sharp edge.
<snobby easterner remark>
No one in Utah knows what a sharp edge is. 50 dollar tunes from Jans' don't have sharp edges.
</snob>

Carry on.
post #24 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by sjjohnston
I was thinking he meant this:

http://www.reliableracing.com/winter...&category=2000

I could be wrong.
You are correct!
post #25 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by closh
What about a side edge guide for skis like Atomics with some concavity - is the affect on side angles using the usual type of guide that doesn't span the full ski width much of a problem? Any recommendations for a good side edge guide?

I've been using a friend's fairly basic gear to keep my edges on my SX11s reasonably tuned and want to buy my own tuning gear in the next few weeks, so I'll appreciate any advice.
The side edge guides are not a problem, Most Atomics are flat at least 1 inch in form the edges so the glide seems to sit flat.
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