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What bevel when tuning straight skis?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Hi all,

What bevel when tuning straight skis? Yes I still like my old straight / pencil skis. I still have fun on them once in a while even though I most often ski my shape skis.

So, the old straight skis need a good tune and I am not sure what bevel to put on the bottom and the side. I think I should use an 89/1 degree bevel on the bottom and an 89/1 on the side. What do you think?
I do remember that I should dull the tip and tail, but how much of the tip and tail should be dulled?

If I can’t ski, I’ll tune
Thanks all
post #2 of 6
I've just gone through the same dilemma.

I would recommend you put a 2 degree side bevel on them. 3 might work a little better, but 2 is enough imho, and it will wear better.

You certainly don't need any more than 1 degree base bevel. If the ski's are really old, they are likely flat. Putting a 0.5 degree base bevel on them will make them easier to skid and pivot, if that's what you like to do. You could always try them flat first, and then go to 0.5 if you find they rail too much for your liking, and then go to 1 degree if needs be. You will be wasting more metal if you try to get them back down to a lower angle having gone too far.

As to "detuning", let me tell you my experience. I had never heard of this until this year. I bought an old pair of slalom race skis (190 cm Fischer RC4 Vacuum technique SLS) at a yard sale for next to nothing, and brought them into my local ski shop for a tune up. I had been skiing exclusively on my SG racing skis for the longest time, and had been itching to get a ski with a shorter turning radius, but somehow could never quite justify the expense.

I only got the $30 dollar tune, not the $50 race tune. I wanted to try them out before springing for new bindings or investing a lot of money.

At the first opportunity I tried them out. It was a very icy day, and I was very disappointed with the skis performance. I had expected slalom skis to be better at making short turns. In fact I found that they were fairly good at making skidded turns, but in order to carve I had to be going fast, and even then they would only carve medium-long turns. When I got home I closely inspected them, and was furious at the ski shop. They had only sharpened the mid section of the ski, leaving two thirds of the ski dull! With other shops and my other skis (the SG racing skis), I had always been very specific in my tuning instructions "razor sharp tip-to-tail". Later I found out it was common practice among many shops to keep the tip and tail dull. It seems that the majority of skiers do the twist to point their skis where they want to go, and prefer to skid turns instead of carve them. This was news to me, as I learned to ski by imitating DH racers who always tried to get as little skidding as possible in order to maximize their speed. To me, the skis in this "detuned" condition were rubbish.

I bought a couple of files, and a two degree edge guide. I spent hours filing them the night before I tried them again; a lot of sidewall had to come off from the tips, and I didn't have a sidewall planer.

With a two degree side bevel along the entire edge, the skis performed like what I expected from racing slalom skis. They were able to carve short turns, but being very stiff, it took a lot of effort. The amount of effort needed to initiate a short turn was high, and the difference in input required for a sharp turn and a very sharp turn was minimal (to be expected I suppose since centripetal acceleration and hence force varies as 1/radius I must have been on the steep asymtotic part of the curve). They still skidded long radius turns unless speed was very high, but that's allowed. ONe thing I definately noticed, skiing these back to back with an equipe SC10 an SX11 and a B1, was that I could relax and watch the scenery on the other skis, but on these skis I had to be alert as any slight pressuring of the edges caused an immediate tracking of the ski in which ever direction the edge dictated. It was also more difficult to put usefull force on the inside ski without having it want to turn sharper than the outside ski.

A gentleman sharing a lift with me mentioned that he detuned the tip and tail and pointed to a spot only a few (3-5) cm behind where the ski contacted the snow, saying from that point forward they should be dull. This leaves significantly more sharp edge than the shop had left. I am currently wondering if I were to detune only that tiny bit of the ski, would they still carve as well when pressed into it without being so demanding at other times. Unfortunately I'm donating these skis to the Cancer fundraiser garage sale, having bought a new pair of RC4 SCs, so I guess I won't find out soon.
post #3 of 6
I tuned most straight skis flat and square, with a little dulling at the tip and tail with a medium gummi stone.

post #4 of 6
Fischer was 1 base and 3 side even with straight skis. Detune a slight to moderate amount 4-6 inches from tip and about three inches from tail. You could also go .5 base.
post #5 of 6
File them square tip to tail, no detune. Beveling is like sidecut, only necessary if you want to ski at a higher performance level. Old school skis need no nonsense tune. Beveling is much more important on the deep side cut edges, anyway.

How can you have 89/1 on both side and base edge? If you bevel both 1 degree, you are back at 90? I think 89/1 means base is one degree from flat with base, the side edge is two degrees from vertical, so edge is 89 or one degree less than right angle. This is probably a good choice for any ski or 89.5/1 or 89/.5 which gives you advantages of base edge bevel and acute angle on the edge while removing the least material. They will last longer than more acute angle because they will survive dings a little better also. More acute 88/1 seems the most popular around this forum, carves and holds ice better. That's 1 base, 3 side if I'm right about the way it's measured. I never detuned, can't intentionally dull any part of my edges.
post #6 of 6
Bevel is more important on straight (or traditional) skis, usually 1-2 percent side, 1-1.5 base. Dulling the tips is crucial, unless you want to hook your skis. It was hard to carve on traditional skis, you had to be hauling ass, and a hard pole plant was needed (not at the speed I'm talking about). Shaped skis can carve more, if you tip them on edge. I make sure that the shop follows my directions when tuning shaped skis. I like my ski edges to be really sharp (not racer sharp) from contact point to contact point on both sides (snow contact). I gave them hell after some dumbskull didn't read my directions - since then, I had no complaints. But I prefer to do my own waxing, because almost every ski shop sprays wax remover on the bases, and then they wax one pass, when I prefer to do as many passes as possible, scraping the excess wax per pass.

Shaped or parabolic skis don't need any dulling - that is so old-school. If possible, maybe more bevel at the tip would do the trick, to help to ski from hooking. It boggles the mind to see people on shaped skis on every groomer not carve, they usually skid their turns.

But when skiing steep big bumps and the steeps, I sometimes skid on my shaped skis. It helps control my speed, and set up my next turn.
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