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KISS my tuning

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
In the spirit of the KISS threads in the instruction forum, I thought I should start this one

I've decided to use the summer to learn how to tune my own skis properly and I have no idea where to even start. I read some of the threds around here, but it's hard to put it all together, i think i need a tuning for dummies course first. HELP :

post #2 of 20

I thought you'd never ask...

...go to the Rocky Mountain Masters website:

Go to the SnowNews and Articles Page. Page down past all the SnowNews issues, and you'll see Ski Tuning for Dummies - Redux...enjoy...
post #3 of 20
You could also get a start here
post #4 of 20
Applying the KISS rule to tuning:

1. Flat structured bottom: take it to a shop you trust and ONLY have a stone grind done - no edge work. This costs me $10 per pair.
2. Edge bevels set to 1/3: use dedicated base and side bevel guides - 1 degree for the base and 3 degree for the sides
(don't mess with any cheap multi-guides or trying other angles - trust the experts on this).
3. Pansar file for setting the side edge bevel.
4. Highest quality "fine" file you can afford to set the base bevel.
5. Moonflex polishing stones to finish your edge work - at least a 200 & 400 grit.
6. Wax, Iron (that spans your widest skis), plastic scraper, and a fine steel brush.

The only thing I skipped was some base repair stuff. You could do that yourself or let the shop take care of it with the base grind.
post #5 of 20
Wax on.
Wax off.
post #6 of 20
The sticky at the top of this forum has two good posts, one by ssh and one by yours truly. Check them out.

Also the tognar catalog has a lot of good information as does their website g_repair_tools.html

Finally I really like the VHS Video "Fast Tuning" I just searched the web and found it here, only $9.95 Tuning is of those things that watching someone do really helps understand the motions.
post #7 of 20
This worked for me this year:

1. Base grind at shop. Had them set bevels at 1/2.

2. Waxing: Every other day or so. Melt wax onto ski with iron. No scraping. Never once felt slow on the snow.

3. Maintaining edges: Every few days or so, made a few passes with a couple of Moonflex diamond stones in my Side of Beast edge guide to hone side bevel. Never touched base bevel.

Note: Definitely invest in a good vise!
post #8 of 20
If you are looking for online videos, Kuu has one on their web site.

If you are looking for written - in addition to the ones listed so far- this web site's sticky, tognar's tips, there are some other good sites with articles- ing+Articles&sstat=&ref=198
post #9 of 20
Who makes the best file guides?If i want the right ones from the start, which?
The beast system looks good .Are they , the good ones., similar so it doesn't matter?
post #10 of 20
when your edges burr and it's time to file -- the rough edges are actually harder (metal) than the file because it's heated up and then cooled off.

- use your diamond stones first to take off the majority of the burr
- then file
- then diamond stone to sharpen
- then ceramic to complete the sharpening
- then wax, etc.

(you can use your guide for the stones and files)

for a recreational skier -- bases do not have to be prepped very often
post #11 of 20
I can recommend 'The Beast' tuning video from
post #12 of 20

I think the SKS Swing Cut Combi 3000...

Originally Posted by GarryZ
Who makes the best file guides?If i want the right ones from the start, which?
The beast system looks good .Are they , the good ones., similar so it doesn't matter? the best. See my article on tuning, talks about tools also:
post #13 of 20
Originally Posted by GarryZ
Who makes the best file guides?If i want the right ones from the start, which?
The beast system looks good .Are they , the good ones., similar so it doesn't matter?
SVSt side edge bevelers are all i use. those all in one tools with rollers are hoky. I would not trust any of them.

The SVST final cut Base bevelers are far superior to the cheap plastic beast stuff. (I know Scott holmer personally, great guy & very knowledgeable) but the plastic beveler and even the SVST final cut have their drawbacks.

i use TOKO's aluminum base beveler because it spans the entire width of the ski. if you have any concavity in your base (which almost all skis do nowadays) in the tip & tail, the spots where accurate base bevel is most critical, the TOKO is far superior. the other base beveler's feet sit down in the concave area of the base causing too little base bevel in those areas which can make your skis very unpredicatable & "Hooky"

I also use all Homenkol short files for side edge (eliminates laddering of your side edge) and their 18 tooth per inch fine file for baseedge bevel. It fits perfectly in the TOKO base beveler

the best tuning articles by far, are at

Go to the Tech Section then tuning and waxing articles. these articles are really good! Prepping new skis and any about base and side edge uning. Top Notch!

for files and tuning go to Racing Alpine then edge

Dave Peszek is the Holmenkol Race brand manager and UVEX race rep for the Us. i have used his articles for the last few years. I happen to ride the chair with him in Sun Valley by sheer luck in March!

PM me with any questions on tuning I have dne a ton of it and would be glad to help!
post #14 of 20
here is a link explaining and with pics
post #15 of 20

A KISS from Mom

Or "Mom's Idiot Proof Ski Tuning Guide".

Now all the race geeks and racers will hate this and cringe and gasp. So if you're one of them, keep your blood pressure down and don't read this.

Here's how I tune our skis. It's very basic and works just fine for our recreational needs. I do some form of this every 2nd or 3rd day on skis depending on if it's dry or wet, natural or man made snow or rocky and icy. You'll soon get the feel of it.
  • As the season begins, go to your trusted ski shop and have them do a full tune and check your bindings. Find out from them, if you do not already know, what your side and base bevels are.
  • I use one of those denigrated multi-tune devices. They are truly idiot proof. Mine is the SkiVIsions by Tognar. You can buy it on line. It comes with files, but you will want to buy two or three grades of polishing stones too. I have three pairs that go from rough to very smooth. I like it because it does the side and base at the same time which saves time. you can buy an instruction video, but you don't need it.
  • I don't even use a ski vise : I put the skis on a work bench and use a regular vise and rest the tips on an adjacent tool bench. but some people I know use two saw horses or two chairs. double: :
  • I use duct tape to keep the brakes down. another : Take a pretty good length of duct tape wrap it (once) over one brake, hold it down as far as it will go with one hand, while you drape the tape over the binding and around the other brake. leave enough of a 'tail' of tape on each end to make it easier to untape them when you're done. Some people use thick rubber bands, but I find they are a pain and snap at my fingers. others use wooden plugs in the shape of boots, but that's not KISS to me.
  • Sharpening edges: wet the stones (not the file!) in a bowl of water. Use the rough stones first. Put them in the guide and adjust the bevels to whatever the shop said. Run the guide back and forth, without pressing too hard or else you will wear a groove in the stone. This 'softens' up the edges in case they were hardened beyond the file's ability to file. (you don't really need to know why, but do it anyhow. listen to your mom.
  • Every 3 or so times I tune I file the side and base edges. (i know, you'll grind away the whole edge in an instant - not! anyone using the KISS method is not skiing enough to warrant worry on this score.) Make sure the file 'teeth" point in the same direction when you insert them into the bevel. Slide the guide only in the direction of the teeth. One side will be front to back, the other, back to front. (you don't have to do this much. you will feel when the file doesn't have resistance from burs and dings. If you are concerned you can mark the edges with a magic marker and when the mark is gone, you've filed enough.)
  • Then go back and use the rough (only if you filed), medium and then smooth stones. Your edges will be sharp and silky smooth.
  • Then wax: when the bases appear dirty, you need to wax and then scrape while the wax is hot. This pulls the dirt out of the base material and cleans it. (good ventilation is important here)
  • Use a ski wax iron. you can find good, cheap ones and they are smaller and easier to take with you when you travel. I use super hot sauce, it's an inexpensive all temperature, all purpose wax and I've never ever had a problem not going fast enough. don't even mess with all those different kinds of waxes. all purpose, all temp. several brands make 'em.
  • take the wax bar and hold one end of it to the hot iron over the skis so the wax drips in a relatively fine line or series of dots all along the ski length. (if the wax smokes excessively, the iron's too hot, if it doesn't melt the wax easily... you get the picture) then iron it in just like ironing clothing. move the iron all the time so you don't burn the bases and make sure the wax is distributed all over the ski bases. (Then scrape it off right away with a plastic scraper if you're doing the cleaning thing. If not skip this step.) don't worry that it gets on the edges or that it is perfectly even as long as it's well covered and doesn't leave huge globs.
Then, take off the duct tape and ... Yikes: go ski. That's right. no scraping, brushing, scotchbrighting or anything. The first run will do the scraping for you. If you insist on scraping the wax off, then wait until it cools first, at least 15 minutes. But honestly, I've never had a problem with just waxing and skiing.

There you go. Many will think it is heresy to do it this way. Is it the best way? no. will it keep your skis in better shape than only taking them to the shop when you want to pay the big bucks? you bet. You can go geek and get into all the waxes and such, but then you won't be KISSin' anymore. I do recommend, however, once every 15 -20 days of skiing, like half way through the season or so, that you take them back to that nice shop and have them ground and sharpened and the bevels checked and any p-tex repairs and such done.

Have fun! This will be a good time of year to buy tuning gear on sale.
post #16 of 20
Thread Starter 
thanks! this was all very interesting. now to go on the hunt for tuning gear... where? online probably, i can't think of where else to go in ontario (except MEC, but they packed all the ski stuff up until fall).

post #17 of 20
I should probably qualify my post as more ski maintenance than actual tuning. really getting into tuning is beyond the KISS method. But this will keep your skis in good shape in between shop visits - which i do twice a season and I'd say we ski 40 days a year.
post #18 of 20
Thread Starter 
stupid question..
bevel 1, 2 etc is the quivalent of what in degrees (the tools mention 90, 89 degrees etc).
i'd guess bevel 1 is 89 degrees, 2 is 88 etc?
post #19 of 20
You've got it! 3 is 87 or 93 depends on the company

SVST is 90,91,92,93 for side edge bevelers

some are 90,89,88,87
post #20 of 20
Originally Posted by Atomicman
You've got it! 3 is 87 or 93 depends on the company

SVST is 90,91,92,93 for side edge bevelers

some are 90,89,88,87
While it's true that some comanies measure the angle from different directions, a 1/3 bevel would be an 88 degree edge. A 1/1 bevel would be a 90 degree edge, and a 1/0 would be a 91 degree edge. This is as a measurement of the true angle of the edge itself.

the first number is the amount of bevel angle on the base edge, as measured from flat=0. The second number is the side edge bevel, as measured from perpendicular to a flat base, not as compared to the bevel of the base edge.

So start with 0/0 = a flat base edge and a 90 degree edge. A 1/1 and a 2/2 would both also result in a 90 degree edge.

Usually a 1 degree base edge is preferred by most, but I keep mine flat.
Then, on the side, a 2 or 3 degree edge angle is going to create an 88 or 87 degree edge if you have a 1 degree base bevel.

I use 0/2.5. Why 2.5? Dunno. I originally couldn't decide between 2 or 3, so I split the difference, and am happy with it.

You should find out how your skis get beveled from the factory. These days, they come with pre-beveled edges in many cases. Otherwise known as the "factory tune". This is especially important for brand new skis and setting them up the first time. I ski on Dynastars, which come 0/0, but with a base edge that's recessed below the base by .4mm. This is basically not re-producable when you tune them, so I don't touch the base edges on my new skis. When my skis are a year old, I'll have a shop stone grind them flat. When I get my new skis, I immediately put the side edge bevel on. One thing I recently learned, is that it's a lot easier to get a sidewall planer to remove the sidewall material before you go at it with the file/edge guide to get your desired bevel, because it gunks up the file pretty good by trying to file the sidewall material down with the edge.

When doing a first side edge bevel, the idea of running a sharpie down the side edge is a good one. That way, it's easy to see how fast you are filing away the edge as the marker disappears from the top (top being the bottom when the ski is upside down) of the edge toward the base. You can also tell by looking for the file markings on ths side edge if you don't use a marker, but it's harder to see, especially if you don't have good lighting.

if you have old skis laying around, practice on those before you start hacking away at your brand new sleds!
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