Originally Posted by dumpy
ha ha moonstones in a shop?? the shops I go to are lucky to have ONE DMT stone, let alone multiple Moonflex stones, we get mostly low end tuning gear, not high end...
The Moonflex stones sell like hotcakes to the racer-dads because they are much more idiotproof and pleasant to use than most of the other stuff. They are ferociously expensive for what they are, but I have a set because they are so nice to use. I personally use a cheap Swix sidewall tool when I'm on the road. When I'm at work, I can use a nice SVST sidewall tool, or (personal favorite) an old belt on an old edge machine set to a deep, deep bevel. On straight sidewall skis I use a combo of both if I'm looking to do pretty work.
I think one of the problems for getting people involved in tuning their own gear is the large activation energy, both cost and time. Diamond stone and can of F4 provides a lot of ROI for the typical skier, but if you want to actually tune
skis you are really doing yourself a huge disservice not to invest two or three hundred bucks in good gear up front. Most people don't, and then go through a bunch of frustration with buying the file and guide one week, coming back for the sidewall tool in a couple more weeks, deciding they really do want a decent vise, deciding the wax iron is worth it...etc...all the time spending a lot of time asking questions and being indecisive. I don't blame them, the questions are appropriate and good...it just makes it that much harder to justify the tuning gear.
Then there is the fact that if the skier is lucky enough to live near someplace with good shop service, it may not be worthwhile to tune themselves. I don't know if you've skied on a modern ceramic finished edge thats been done well, but it can stay reasonably sharp for the average skier a lot longer than a typical home tune, and a bit longer than a good home tune. I know how to tune skis by hand, but I usually only do it these days when requested or I'm away from home and need a tune. I put finishing hand touches on ceramic disc finishes for my own gear.
As to the rilling bar...yes they can put a structure in a base. But they really do it in a way that isn't of interest to alpine skiers these days. A good stone grind today will be faster and a lot more consistent. If the structure is disappearing from use, you need more wax or a better grind to begin with. I realize that this isn't useful advice in some snow conditions...I can only suggest cold powders like CH3 along the edges and more frequent grinds. If the structure is disappearing from tuning, you need a better finish to begin with on the base edge. I touch up my base edge with a ceramic/diamond stone treatment as needed. Files usually only touch my edges at the tip and tail to make up for limitations of the machines; which generally leave the ski flat a couple cm past each contact point. If the base edge is bad enough to need to be cut down, I grind the ski back to flat again and reapply my base bevel with my machine/hand combo. This is the only way to have a consistent base bevel.
Most of the struggle in tuning is consistency and repeatability. If it sounds like I'm anti-hand tuning...I'm not. I'm just lucky enough to have access to good equipment. If I can't find someone who really knows what they are doing out here in NM (just moved here) I'll tune all my skis when I go home for xmas and then maintain them by hand for the rest of the season.
|Are consumers to blame or are shops trying to push the wrong products/services??
Probably a bit of both. I've had multiple people buy new equipment directly after I've told them their old gear is perfectly adequate and serviceable (because they asked, not because I don't want to sell new gear) and I can't blame them because I buy new things I don't need every so often.
And then there is the issue of apathy that you bring up. The majority of shops don't have well maintained modern tuning gear. Those that do often don't have the staff to skillfully operate it. Its really hard to justify spending tens of thousands of dollars on good shop equipment every year when the majority of consumers either can't tell the difference between a good and bad tune or actually prefer
a bad tune. You have no idea how frustrating it is to hear someone make a complaint about a tune, and know exactly how to "fix" it...the "fix" being something completely wrong and inappropriate for the ski.
Actually, particularly at the western places, its Standard Procedure to produce "standard" tunes that are nowhere near good. They are very consistent, pretty, but not correct or good from a performance standpoint. The Colorodans/Texans/whatever like it that way. Every shop has to do this to some extent, but that extent is often ridiculous out in the west.
I think most people just don't understand the concept of consumer goods needing service...in general...not just skis. Its unbelievable how many times I've gotten in someone's car that has obviously blown dampers and they claim to have not even noticed. I think the appearance of performance is vastly more important to most skiers/people than the real deal.