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"Everyday Ski" Tunning Tips and Tricks I have Found Over the Years

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 
The Title should probably be something like: "How to Tune Your Everyday Skis With Excellent Results." But I am a forum "Newbie" and am looking for some nifty tricks just as much as I am trying to provide some.

I decided to document what I have learned about ski tuning from a practical standpoint in the last 9 years or so of doing it. Some of what I say goes against what the “Professionals” say about ski tuning, however everything that I say I have learned from experience. I have read the Swix Racing Manual and a lot of other stuff online, but it all seems to have a target audience that isn’t me. This isn’t really a how-to guide or anything, just some stuff that I have figured out over the years.

About Me

A little about myself just so you guys know where I am coming from: I am a North East skier who has had a season pass every year since I was three years old, I am not a good racer, although I raced during High School and was captain of the ski team. I am a recreational skier who thoroughly enjoys a sharp and fast ski. I have been trying to optimize the benefit/cost ratio of ski tuning for many years and I think I have more or less “figured it out.” I can probably save some of you guys some aggravation by sharing what I have learned. What I say applies to recreational skiing and recreational racing. My skis are fast and sharp enough to scare the crap out of me. I can’t see any point in trying any harder when tuning a ski.

My skis seem to go through about a two-year “tuning cycle” which has worked very well for me.

How to Treat New Skis

When skis are new they are usually pretty flat with some minor imperfections. It makes little sense to stone grind a new ski because new skis tend to “settle” and deform with the first month of use or so. By tuning your own skis you will notice when the skis are starting to “settle.” Once the skis have settled to the point you cant take it, its time for the skis to be stone ground by a shop. When getting them ground, tell the shop to not touch the edges. Say it like 50430 times, and hopefully they will listen. Tell them to grind them flat, put in their generic middle-of-the-road texture, throw a coat of wax on (optional) but tell them to NOT touch the edges in any way other than grinding them flat.

Edges

Before attempting anything beyond de-burring with edges, use one of those sidewall material removal tools semi-aggressively so that your sharpening job will go quickly with little hassle. Remove material along the entire length of the edge. The tool will likely dig in and abruptly stop at the tips and tails of the skis. Don’t worry about it, if the skis are new, someone will go right across them in the lift line the first time out and scratch the hell out of them. The little nicks you put at the ends of your skis wont mean as much after that. After the first time this is done, it will not have to be done again for a long time.

This is my general thought on edge tuning: the classic “bastard file” causes nothing but problems. The only way to sharpen a ski without going crazy is to use diamond stones. Not just diamond stones, but diamond stones with the use of WD-40 as cutting oil. The Swix 300 and 600 grit stones are too fine for a complete start to finish sharpening job. I got some BIG diamond stones that are approx 120, 220 and 320 grit from harbor freight for $10. These stones are great at replacing the bastard file. The non-directional cut of the diamond stone allows for sharp edges to be obtained very quickly. And no, WD-40 does not hurt the bases or negatively effect waxing. I also use Paper towels to wipe the WD-40 frequently during the sharpening process. The WD-40 tends to suspend the metal particles and smear them all over the base material, but it comes off with no real hassle. Also, and this is very important: only use non-adjustable file guides. Adjustable file guides will bend and flex and make tuning impossible.

The first thing to set up is the base bevel. This is something that I feel the tuning literature is completely wrong about. Don’t bother to completely set the base bevel as 1 degree or 0.5 degree or whatever right away. If you do this, you will get very frustrated when your edges can’t be sharpened properly and you have to keep getting your skis ground. The base bevel is the part of the tune that I let “evolve” over time. Personally, I only use 300 and/or 600 grit stones with a 1degree bevel guide and I use WD-40 liberally sprayed on the stones as a cutting oil, and I only make a few light passes with usually just the 300 grit stone every time I tune. This allows the initial stone grinding to last a very long time and for the bases to become very fast. Once the edges become high, the skis perform poorly and have to be ground, so don’t rush into a certain bevel right away. As long as the edge of the edge is a 1-degree, the skis will perform fine. After making a few passes with the 300 stone, wipe off the WD-40 with a paper towel, then sharpen the side of the edges, If using a 600 stone is desired, do the bases and then the sides with the 600 grit stones at the end of the edge-sharpening. Honestly, with cutting oil the edges are plenty smooth and sharp if the final passes with the 300 grit stone are done lightly with fresh WD-40. With the initial tune, only make as many passes as it takes to smooth out the high parts of the rough texture that are left in the edge from the stone grinding. Some little gouges of texture are OK to leave in the edge.

Ski bases become fast from being used a lot and from being covered in wax at all time. Stone grinding mucks up the smoothness of the p-tex and causes skis to be slow for some time; unless you feel like spending endless hours prepping your bases. This is why I drag out the base beveling process as long as possible. Old and healthy bases are fast bases.

For the side of the edge, using a 120 grit stone, a file guide, and WD-40 can cut in a 1,2 or 3 degree bevel rather quickly. Personally, I use a 3-degree side bevel. I think it might be a little too grabby, but I am used to it. Wipe the edge and the file often and re-apply cutting oil as soon as the diamond files start to stick in a choppy manner. Once the edge feels like the 120 grit has cut the bevel, move on to the big 300 grit stone and make some more passes to smooth out the rough cut. At this point the edges are likely fine for skiing. After the initial cut the side edge can be maintained by making a few passes with both the 120 grit and 300 grit stones each tune. As stated previously, for extreme sharpness, use the 600 grit stone on the base of the edge and then the side of the edge at the end of the sharpening process.

Base Cleaning and Prep

With the edges sharpened, the bases must be cleaned to get rid of the mess of oil and metal particles. I usually clean my bases pretty half-assed because the easiest way to clean bases is a day of skiing. I usually just wipe off the bases with some paper towels, make some front to back passes with the brass brush, and put paper towels under the brass brush and make some back and forth passes. Doing some back and forth brushing with the brass brush followed by passes with the metal scraper is a good way to get rid of “p-tex furr” and make the bases super smooth and fast. I recommend that when a grind is fresh, but the benefit of doing this wears with time.

I have NEVER used a base cleaner/wax remover. I have never seen a need too. Cleaning with wax definitely has its merits; however the only time I bother is if I am racing the next day. The best way I have found to clean with wax is to use some Swix CH8 or CH10 and scrape when warm. These waxes seem to lift dirt really well. I have also found that certain waxes such as Hertel Super Hot Sauce do not lift any dirt at all for some reason. By the way, Super Hot Sauce has to be put on at a temp even lower that the temp CH10 uses. The easiest way to clean a base after sharpening is to put on a coat of wax, ski for a day, and put on another coat of wax the next night.

I also don’t get the whole “put on 8 coats of wax before using a ski” thing. It’s a waste of time and energy. Wax a ski, use it, wax it, use it, yields the same results with less aggravation. The only reason for this sort of mentality is the case of preparing new skis to race at a competitive level in 24 hours. If that’s what you do, good for you, but there is no point in doing this for every day skis.

Also: any time you agitate the base of the ski with sandpaper or a new texture, the ski slows down for a bit. Don’t screw with the base any more than required. If it gets a gouge, fill it with p-tex. Little scratches can be helped by carefully following the scratch with a razor blade to remove any high spots. Beyond a brass brush and metal scraper, bases shouldn’t really be touched between stone grinds. Unmolested p-tex is fast and happy p-tex. Trying to match base texture to snow condition is not something that should be done for every day skiing.

Waxing

Now for the topic of waxes: Waxing fluorocarbon wax such as the Swix CH series and closely watching the weather is a total waste of time and energy for normal skiers. There are plenty of universal waxes out there that work just fine over the range of 5 F-55 F. This statement is partially made true by having a healthy and fast ski base in the first place. Hertel makes a very nice universal wax that works in all temps and is never slower than that damn CH stuff and is always faster than having the wrong CH for the snow conditions. If your using expensive LF and HF wax for everyday use, I don’t know what to tell you.

If you ski in VERY cold temps, in which case universal wax tends to slow down and you have a wax that is fast, let me know what it is. I have used CH4, but I feel it just isn’t worth the aggravation.

How I hot wax: drip on a universal wax, iron it on, let the skis sit HORIZONTAL and let them slowly cool. I then scrape with a plastic scraper and get texture with a Nylon brush. It is important to pay special attention to completely scraping the edges of wax. After brushing, I wipe the bases down with a cotton cloth such as an old bath towel. Some people get weird about wanting to use synthetic cloths because cotton can leave little particles in the wax. Skis go outside. Outside is dirty. Therefore using a cloth that doesn’t leave any particles is a pretty big waste $5.

I also always use ski straps so my bases wont slide against each other causing scratches. I highly recommend this to everyone.

After Skiing Care

Every time after I ski I store my skis somewhere warm and wipe them off twice about half an hour apart so that the are completely dry and I know that water wont cause rust on the edges. I also apply wax as soon as possible after skiing. Not before the next time I go out. By keeping the skis covered with wax at all times the bases don’t oxidize. Also, with universal wax, waxing after a day of skiing is totally acceptable even if you don’t ski again for a week.

If I don’t hot wax (which is pretty often), I use Swix F4 paste. I apply the paste, let it dry, cork it in using “Ray’s Way”, use a nylon brush, scrape the edges, and polish with a cloth. There are many paste waxes out there, and all I have tried seem about the same. I only mention Swix F4 because I bought it in bulk on e-bay. Paste wax works well at extending a hot wax when used in this manner.

So that’s some stuff I have learned. Comments, Suggestions, Other Ideas, Repost?

-Dana
post #2 of 32
Good stuff Dana-thanks!
post #3 of 32
Very interesting and useful perspective. I'm a newbie tuner so I'm looking forward to comments on your routine from the more experienced folks.


Are these -- http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...emnumber=36799 -- the stones you use?

That's a great price compared to prices for specialty ski-tuning stones. I've been using a multi-tool with 70mm stones but I bet the 6" stone clamped to a file guide would be faster.

Any other useful ski tuning equipment from generic tool sources, not the expensive ski shops?
post #4 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by 740weapon View Post
I also don’t get the whole “put on 8 coats of wax before using a ski” thing. It’s a waste of time and energy. Wax a ski, use it, wax it, use it, yields the same results with less aggravation. The only reason for this sort of mentality is the case of preparing new skis to race at a competitive level in 24 hours. If that’s what you do, good for you, but there is no point in doing this for every day skis.
There is another reason, opening up the ptex pores to accept more wax and penetrate deeper serves to protect the ptex from damage while giving you a reservoir of wax to ski on. This especially true for new skis that may not have any more than a superficial coating. One hot box treatment bypasses all the waxings.
post #5 of 32
Thanks for the infor...Good job
post #6 of 32
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ts01 View Post
Very interesting and useful perspective. I'm a newbie tuner so I'm looking forward to comments on your routine from the more experienced folks.


Are these -- http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...emnumber=36799 -- the stones you use?

That's a great price compared to prices for specialty ski-tuning stones. I've been using a multi-tool with 70mm stones but I bet the 6" stone clamped to a file guide would be faster.

Any other useful ski tuning equipment from generic tool sources, not the expensive ski shops?
those are the stones i use. best thing i ever got for $10.
post #7 of 32
Some good stuff, some "interesting" stuff, some stuff I find highly suspect.

If you've never read through the Holmenkol papers on ski tuning then you really should - highly recommended.

Here: http://www.holmenkol.us/tech.html?st...sstat=&ref=198

Or here: http://www.racestocksports.com/Text/
post #8 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Noodler View Post
some stuff I find highly suspect.
Noodler

Ya thnk?:
post #9 of 32
So much good advice in there. Thanks for taking the time to type it all out.

Some things I'd like to point out to generate further discussion:

Quote:
Originally Posted by 740weapon View Post
Now for the topic of waxes: Waxing fluorocarbon wax such as the Swix CH series and closely watching the weather is a total waste of time and energy for normal skiers. There are plenty of universal waxes out there that work just fine over the range of 5 F-55 F. This statement is partially made true by having a healthy and fast ski base in the first place. Hertel makes a very nice universal wax that works in all temps and is never slower than that damn CH stuff and is always faster than having the wrong CH for the snow conditions. If your using expensive LF and HF wax for everyday use, I don’t know what to tell you.
The Swix CH series is *hydrocarbon*. You won't get fluoro stuff until the LF series.



Quote:

After brushing, I wipe the bases down with a cotton cloth such as an old bath towel. Some people get weird about wanting to use synthetic cloths because cotton can leave little particles in the wax. Skis go outside. Outside is dirty. Therefore using a cloth that doesn’t leave any particles is a pretty big waste $5.
There are plenty of lint-free cloths found around the house that work just fine. (I use a simple synthetic dusting cloth.) Yes, outside is dirty, but the point of avoiding unnecessary lint/particles in the base is so that the skis are not abraded/ground any more than necessary, leading to base damage, loss of speed/control.

I agree with the idea that "clean room" standards are silly. But it makes sense to get your skis out there in the best condition before the "outside" has its way with them.

Doctor D already addressed the "eight coats of wax." I'd add that in a gravity-driven pursuit like alpine skiing, maybe we are not always sensitive to the finer points of glide. XC skiers will wax in as many as twenty coats into a new pair of race skis (or hot box a few times). Serious recreational XC skiers will wax in at least eight to ten coats into new skis. They know what they're doing. When you are the engine behind your own glide, you can feel the difference between good conditioning of a new ski and underperformance. And, it also helps long-term wax retention and durability against abrasion (from old snow/ice).


Quote:
I also always use ski straps so my bases wont slide against each other causing scratches. I highly recommend this to everyone.
Now you sound like an XC skier who babies his skis' bases . Great advice; I agree.


Quote:
If I don’t hot wax (which is pretty often), I use Swix F4 paste. I apply the paste, let it dry, cork it in using “Ray’s Way”, use a nylon brush, scrape the edges, and polish with a cloth. There are many paste waxes out there, and all I have tried seem about the same. I only mention Swix F4 because I bought it in bulk on e-bay. Paste wax works well at extending a hot wax when used in this manner.
I like "cheater wax": it serves a purpose and truly fills a niche, whether that is changing bad conditions (as opposed to consistent bad coditions) or my lack of time to properly tune/wax. F4 is my cheater wax of choice, but I do buy it in the little applicator bottles. I've never used it for alpine skiing, only for XC skis. I always keep the little bottle in my buttpack. If the snow gets weird, or scraping through my wax, I'll put it on. I find that I don't need to do anything to F4 other than smooth it out with the applicator, then let it dry (almost instantly), and ski. It will get me back through the rest of the day, but I don't want it to last more than that.

Thanks again for putting all your experience into one post. It surely will become a reference.

Cheers
post #10 of 32
Noodler / Atomicman - care to elaborate on the "suspect" parts?

Personally I'm going to leave the WD-40 on the shelf.
post #11 of 32
Some of the items that stuck out as "suspect"
  1. Ski Settling - personally I haven't experienced this with any of the major manufacturer modern shaped skis in the past 5 years. I do remember this being more of an issue in the '80s, but not lately.
  2. Use of WD-40 as a polishing lubricant - that's a new one to me. I've never heard of anyone using this stuff in this way. I can't say whether or not it would "hurt" the skis, but it certainly isn't the cleanest way to handle the job. I'll stick to what the professionals recommend (50/50 denatured alcohol and water OR SVST Secret Sauce).
  3. Setting of the base bevels - I don't really get the whole idea of letting the bevel "evolve" - that's just plain odd. There's reference to the height of the base material changing in relation to the edges, but once again something I've never experienced with modern skis.
post #12 of 32
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ts01 View Post
Personally I'm going to leave the WD-40 on the shelf.
the WD-40 is just one of many ways to keep the stones wet so they cut properly. Whats important is that the stones arent used dry. On "everyday skis" the WD-40 allows the stones to progress very quickly in sharpening the edge. Here is something to give some support to my WD-40 statement:

from "Side Edging – "Where the rubber meets the road"
By Dave Peszek " on the holmenkol website:

Next, polish the steel edge. "All you need are two stones to polish, 1 medium and 1 more fine" says Jonathon Weyant of the USST. Be sure to use these stones wet with either water or some time of cutting oil/solution.

i think the underlined "time" is a typo for the word "type".

for "Everyday Skis" WD-40 is a very effective cutting oil. I am sure there are other oils out there that are more appropriate. but WD-40 is pretty harmless by most peoples standards and works better than water at preventing the stones from caking up with metal particles.

also to faber: i meant hydrocarbon, damn typos. now if only I could figure out how to edit my posts.

edit: This is what i mean by a base bevel "Evolving" I hope this diagram makes sense.



pretend that the cut angles are the same for each part of the diagram.

step 3 is what a lot of people rush into, because the race literature all says to. and for racing, that is probably what should be done. but if the base bevel isnt cut all the way at first, the the skis can last a lot longer on a single grind. If skis start at step three, then step 5 where the skis feel like crap and have to be re-ground is reached a lot quicker.

Pretty much all I am saying is that if the base bevel is babied into being, then the skis feel good for a lot longer before needing to be re-ground. And if you hit something and leave some meat on the base of the edge, then you have a fighting chance of getting the damage out without needing a stone grind.




post #13 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by 740weapon View Post
those are the stones i use. best thing i ever got for $10.
The grit on these stones is listed as 180 for the blue, 260 for the yellow and 360 for the red. Is 180 coarse enough for badly burred and dinged up edges and is the 360 fine enough for polishing? The popular Moonflex stones come in 100, 200, 400 and 600 grit.
post #14 of 32
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prosper View Post
The grit on these stones is listed as 180 for the blue, 260 for the yellow and 360 for the red. Is 180 coarse enough for badly burred and dinged up edges and is the 360 fine enough for polishing? The popular Moonflex stones come in 100, 200, 400 and 600 grit.
with WD-40, 180 is course enough to relatively quickly cut a 3 degree bevel on a new ski. 180 grit can quickly smooth out a ding that technically ruined an edge, when using WD-40. I keep emphasizing WD-40 because without oil you have to use a more traditional approach of deburr with coarse stone>file> medium stone> fine stone. the stones just arent as efficient when using water.

you still need to source a 300 from a ski source so you can do the base bevel. the 2x6 stones cut too fast for base beveling and don't fit most base bevel tools.

you probably should still source a 600 from a ski tuning provider for putting the final touches on the skis in most "good" conditions.

on the plus: with the big inexpensive stones, the small expensive stones will last damn near forever.

when the conditions are 1) probably going to wreck my edges or 2) very warm, i often skip the 600 grit stone with good results.
post #15 of 32
740weapon, good on ya' for taking the time, effort and sharing your perspective on what works for you based on your experiences and trying different approaches. Good information and descriptions. It would be interesting to hear other alternative views on what works for others as well. (It's intimating to suggest anything other than absolute scripture from the EpicSki Pro Tuning Bible. Keep your flak jacket handy. ) Due to the larger numbers of tuners that are less than absolutely serious about it all and open minded, a separate Recreational Tuning forum might be worth considering. It may help to reduce the overall intimidation factor many feel and in turn may not even try to do anything to their gear out of fear. More like the 'Home Depot' approach to homeowners & DIYers??

I often use a light citrus and occasionally a harsher base cleaner and haven't noticed any ill effects or poor performance. I feel like I am assured old. loose wax, grime and dirt is removed and I'll get a better waxing job in a shorter time than not cleaning. Hot scraping takes longer, uses more material and creates more of a mess to deal with for comparative results, as far as I can tell, but is still good to do. Keeping things clean seems like a good basic practice during all maintenance tasks.

Are you saying that you've found WD-40 to be more efficient than a 50/50, denatured alcohol/water solution?

TIA
post #16 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by 740weapon View Post
for "Everyday Skis" WD-40 is a very effective cutting oil. I am sure there are other oils out there that are more appropriate. but WD-40 is pretty harmless by most peoples standards and works better than water at preventing the stones from caking up with metal particles.
I use only water as a lubricant. The water keeps the "caking up" to a minimum. I use a wet cloth to apply water to both the edge and the stone and THEN polish. After each edge, I wipe the stone and edge clean. By the time I'm done, there is almost NO caking to be found in the stone. If I do get some caking, I use a green scratch pad and ajax under water to scrub the cake out of my stones. Then, I eat the cake.
--
Marty
Who put cake in my skis?
post #17 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Noodler View Post
Some of the items that stuck out as "suspect"
  1. Ski Settling - personally I haven't experienced this with any of the major manufacturer modern shaped skis in the past 5 years. I do remember this being more of an issue in the '80s, but not lately.
  2. Use of WD-40 as a polishing lubricant - that's a new one to me. I've never heard of anyone using this stuff in this way. I can't say whether or not it would "hurt" the skis, but it certainly isn't the cleanest way to handle the job. I'll stick to what the professionals recommend (50/50 denatured alcohol and water OR SVST Secret Sauce).
  3. Setting of the base bevels - I don't really get the whole idea of letting the bevel "evolve" - that's just plain odd. There's reference to the height of the base material changing in relation to the edges, but once again something I've never experienced with modern skis.
I would agree with all Noodler has expressed adding an exclamation point on the "evolve" your base bevel and WD-40 part!

If my base bevel is not set perfectly from the get go, , I am not having any fun skiing.

I would add, stones are not meant to shape or bevel the base or side edge. They are meant to smooth and polish the striations caused by filing and polishing from the previously used rougher grit stone. This is why you use a progression of stones. Stones don't cut & shape the edge.

I would probalby use WD-40 too if i try to set my bevels with the stones, might even put it in the frezzer so I didn't cath my ski on fire with the amount of strokes it would take to bevel a 3 degree side edge.


Filing shapes the edge, stones smooth and polish.
post #18 of 32
Do you mean these harbor freight files?

http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...emnumber=36799
post #19 of 32
Nevermind; I read the rest of the topic. I wonder if Northern Tool has those files. (won't have to order them) *goes to Northern Tool website*
post #20 of 32
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Atomicman View Post
I would agree with all Noodler has expressed adding an exclamation point on the "evolve" your base bevel and WD-40 part!

If my base bevel is not set perfectly from the get go, , I am not having any fun skiing.
I am going to call you out on that. Particularly from the standpoint that this thread is about everyday skis and not race skis.

Hopefully this diagram will fully explain my base bevel statements:



Item number 1 is an all mountain ski with a average size edge and no bevel.

Item number 2 is an all mountain ski with a partially developed (in this case 10 degree, but imagine a 1 degree) base bevel.

Item number 3 is a ski with a thin edge such as a dedicated race ski.

Comparing items 2 and 3 show that both skis have the same effective base shape but that some of the flat of the base is steel edge in item 2 but the flat is completely p-tex in item 3. Both skis would feel identical under foot with the exception of item 2 being an almost unmeasureable amount slower because of the ever-so-thin flat metal strip in the flat of the base.

item number 4 is the same ski as in item number 2 except that the base was "fully developed" over a period of time via many hand tunings.

If the differance between items 2 though 4 causes you to not have fun, then I feel sorry for you. If your everyday skis fall under item number 3 in having a really thin edge, then thats the choice you make in your everyday gear. Have fun and avoid rocks.

and I think you are speaking beyond your experiance in saying it would take forever to set a edge with stones.

try it with a 180 grit 2"x6" stone and cutting oil. I have plenty of files that I have accumulated over the years and don't use because oil and stones is faster, easyer, and much harder to screw up...

If you wanna play race tech hero with your skis, then have at it. Personally, I would rather just have sharp skis quickly and spend my time and energy on the hill.
post #21 of 32
Thanks for taking the time to post. There is a lot of different tuning dogma and folks tend to swear by their own methods and preferred tools and waxes.

There is more than one means to an end. If your approach works well for you and saves time, it's great. I'll have to confess that WD-40 and partial edge bevels are news to me, but if it works for you-then it does. Thanks taking the time to post.
post #22 of 32
740Weapon - I totally understand what you're saying about the base bevel with your diagrams. One small problem with one of your assumptions though - race skis are definitely not the only skis that employ the thinner edges these days. Many, many recreational level skis have edges that are identical to those found on race skis (I have multiple examples if you want them).

Anyhow, heck - if it works for you then fine, but I've never seen any problems with just setting your base bevel and being done with it.
post #23 of 32
So I checked into the properties and uses of WD-40 to try to get some better information into this thread.

WD-40 leaves a residue behind - that's why it works so well to loosen up metal parts, etc. IMO continued use of WD-40 on a ski would continue to build up the residue on the bottom of the skis and sink into the pores of the base. Now this residue may be able to be removed with base cleaners, but the point is that there's no good reason to introduce this residue into the pores of the p-tex base if you don't have to. People (and pros) who polish things for a living have used cutting solutions which are primarily made up of denatured alcohol, water, and other substances which do not leave a residue behind after drying. It's not like WD-40 is any cheaper and I doubt that it's performing that much better than the accepted solutions that it's worth mucking up the base of the ski.

I would also question the effect of WD-40 residue on the ability for wax to be absorbed into the base and the ability of the wax coat to remain adhered in the presence of the WD-40 residue.

Sorry, but on this one I've got to "call you out" on using a common household substance in an "off label" manner. Using WD-40 as a cutting lubricant on skis is not good advice.
post #24 of 32
Ah, but does it slow you down? Or act like a wax? Maybe this is the secret weapon for those super cold snow days.
post #25 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by 740weapon View Post
I am going to call you out on that. Particularly from the standpoint that this thread is about everyday skis and not race skis.

Hopefully this diagram will fully explain my base bevel statements:



Item number 1 is an all mountain ski with a average size edge and no bevel.

Item number 2 is an all mountain ski with a partially developed (in this case 10 degree, but imagine a 1 degree) base bevel.

Item number 3 is a ski with a thin edge such as a dedicated race ski.

Comparing items 2 and 3 show that both skis have the same effective base shape but that some of the flat of the base is steel edge in item 2 but the flat is completely p-tex in item 3. Both skis would feel identical under foot with the exception of item 2 being an almost unmeasureable amount slower because of the ever-so-thin flat metal strip in the flat of the base.

item number 4 is the same ski as in item number 2 except that the base was "fully developed" over a period of time via many hand tunings.

If the differance between items 2 though 4 causes you to not have fun, then I feel sorry for you. If your everyday skis fall under item number 3 in having a really thin edge, then thats the choice you make in your everyday gear. Have fun and avoid rocks.

and I think you are speaking beyond your experiance in saying it would take forever to set a edge with stones.

try it with a 180 grit 2"x6" stone and cutting oil. I have plenty of files that I have accumulated over the years and don't use because oil and stones is faster, easyer, and much harder to screw up...

If you wanna play race tech hero with your skis, then have at it. Personally, I would rather just have sharp skis quickly and spend my time and energy on the hill.
From your original description none of your skis would resemble any in your diagrams!

But, what ever floats your boat! It's your thing, do what you wanna do!

Be assured so will I!

As far as screwing up with a file, yes it does take know how & skill.
post #26 of 32
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Noodler View Post
Using WD-40 as a cutting lubricant on skis is not good advice...(base health...)
So here is how I arrived at my current ski tuning mentality.

I spent years trying to do everything right. use colored waxes, follow the recomended ski tuning methods, worry about base cleanlyness and health, exc. exc.

and then I was like "this sucks, tuning takes forever and despite my neurotic best efforts my bases still burn up. Also, if I wax wrong my skis are god damn slow. And having a decent base bevel for an entire season on a single grind is friggen impossible. and stone grinding is stressful because shops screw it up all the time."

so then I just started just trying stuff to see what would happen.

first, I made the declaration to only use universal wax to avoid this whole wrong color thing. and when you use universal wax, base burn is a fact of life. also, when using colored wax, no matter how often you wax, base burn is still a fact of life. even if you wax only hard waxes and are slow because of it, you still get the burn. so then i decided to stop letting the sight of base burn upset me as long as my skis were still fast on the hill. (i still use a brass brush and steel scraper before waxing, but I dont let the gray upset me), and my skis were still fast and smooth to the touch.

By using universal wax which often has fluros, you go against the race literature in that the fluros are always on your base and "clogging the pores". So once you break one rule, why not keep going, Right?

so with my bases burning up no matter what I do, me using universal wax that is "clogging my pores", and my skis still fast. (to be dead honest, I cant remember a single incident of my skis being out perforned on the flats by another skiier. Including swarms of high school racers.) I decided to try some less-orthodox stuff with the edges.

Filing seemed to do more harm than good half the time because it left a splintered edge that took extensive stoning to remove. and when cutting an edge with a file it was hard to know when to stop because the edge is splintered by the file and you cant touch it without getting splinters. and 300 grit swix diamond stones with water took so long to get rid of the file roughness. (yes, I am that impatient sometimes)

So I got some coarser stones and tried some stuff. and although it was better, I still wasn't happy with the results. And then I was drilling a hole using cutting oil and was like "yes, god yes"

I busted out the WD-40 and cut a sharp, mentally stress-free edge in no time. and the WD-40 quickly turned to mud from the steel particles because the stones were cutting so fast. And my bases were covered in a WD-40 and steel particle mess. (very dirty messy sort of thing, I know)

I cleaned with a towel, brushed and scraped for a bit, put on some wax, and you know what, my skis were still fast. WD-40 and wax play fine together it seems. Most likely because WD-40 and wax are both petrolium products.

so in summary: my skis are dirty, have clogged pores from fluro and WD-40, have only universal wax, visible but smooth base burn, and are still plenty fast.

In my mind, the literature with using water with stones and files are there because race techs do not compromise on the quality of any aspect of a race ski. Race techs livelyhood depend on producing the best tune possible. This includes a perfectly clean, healthy, fast, base and sharp edges. Even if some things (like oil in the base) only marginally effect the performance of the ski, a race tech will not sacrifice that performance. Dont forget, race techs have hundreds of dollars in wax to ensure that the ski matches conditions perfectly. The wax thing doesn't make any sense for the average skiier to do. maybe the whole edge sharpening process has some adjusting that should take place as well when applied to everyday skiing.

yes, dirty oil gets on (and more than likely in) the base of my skis, and in my experiance, it really doesnt matter. the benifit/cost ratio is there for me. benifit: sharp skis with no stress. Cost: Base health that I honestly dont notice or care about.

I hope my responses present both sides of the discussion faily.
post #27 of 32
The weird thing is (or things are):

I don't get base burn, so long as I wax my skis occasionally.

I don't get a "splintered edge" from filing.

I use water/denatured alcohol with stones, and I cut a sharp, mentally stress-free edge in no time.

What am I doing wrong?

A few other thoughts:

With the exception of the Dominator Zoom products, I'm pretty sure that univeral wax is just "colored wax" without the color (probably somewhere in the red range). It's a tad cheaper. I suppose it's more "stress free" always to use universal, just as it would be always to use red. Then again, is it that big of a stress to throw in some blue or yellow from time to time depending on what you think the conditions might be like? It actually won't make a whole ton of difference if you're wrong; it won't be any slower than using universal wax unless your guesses are perversely always in the opposite direction from the way you want to go. On the other hand, I kind of like the Zoom waxes, particularly Race Zoom.

I'm not sure where the stress comes from in using stones with water instead of WD40. Frankly, I think I'd feel a bit stressed with WD40 all over the place -- not even so much on account of my skis, but my hands, bench, clothes, etc.
post #28 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by sjjohnston View Post
The weird thing is (or things are):

I don't get base burn, so long as I wax my skis.

I don't get a "splintered edge" from filing.

I use water/denatured alcohol with stones, and I cut a sharp, mentally stress-free edge in no time.

What am I doing wrong?

A few other thoughts:

With the exception of the Dominator Zoom products, I'm pretty sure that univeral wax is just "colored wax" without the color (probably somewhere in the red range). It's a tad cheaper. I suppose it's more "stress free" always to use universal, just as it would be always to use red. Then again, is it that big of a stress to throw in some blue or yellow from time to time depending on what you think the conditions might be like? It actually won't make a whole ton of difference if you're wrong; it won't be any slower than using universal wax unless your guesses are perversely always in the opposite direction from the way you want to go. On the other hand, I kind of like the Zoom waxes, particularly Race Zoom.

I'm not sure where the stress comes from in using stones with water instead of WD40. Frankly, I think I'd feel a bit stressed with WD40 all over the place -- not even so much on account of my skis, but my hands, bench, clothes, etc.
sj, I love you!
post #29 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by sjjohnston View Post
It actually won't make a whole ton of difference if you're wrong; it won't be any slower than using universal wax unless your guesses are perversely always in the opposite direction from the way you want to go. On the other hand, I kind of like the Zoom waxes, particularly Race Zoom.
Pretty weird he is really worried about how fast his wax is and that it's faster then anyone else on the mountain, but he gave me a ration for tuning my ski's like a race tech!

My experience exactly mirrors yours. I like Race Zoom all temp too! What a coincidence!

The world gets weirder everyday!:
post #30 of 32
Thread Starter 
i performed some experiments:

tried water on the stones, it sucked.

tried water AND alcahol on the stones and it actually worked pretty good, although it may have cut a bit slower than WD-40, it definately worked and was less messy. The stones did cake, but not that fast.

WD-40 and a rag takes the cake right off though.

its weird that the alcahol makes the water more lubricating. in my mind i always thought alcahol was thinner than water and would make it behave worse.

So this is what I am now thinking:

when tinting car windows, baby shampoo mixed with water is used to lubricate the tint.

i have a suspicion that baby shampoo and water might work better than alcahol and water.

experiment to be performed next week.
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