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Base Up vs Edge Up tuning

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
In the past a lot of tuning was done with the base of the ski facing up. However now it seems that most vises and most coaches tune with the ski on its side with edge facing up.

My setup has an adjustable boot sole which goes in the bindings the same as a ski boot. I tune with the base up and this boot sole clamped firmly in a bench vise with supports approx 20-24 inches to the left and right of the vise to support the tip and tail of the ski. Ski is held very securely.

I have tuned skis this way for years and it has worked evry well. Additionally is great for inspecting/repairing the bases and if necessary filing the base edge as well.

It seems that more people now tune with the side edge up and only put the ski base up for base repair and wax. Also the side edge is tuned frequently and the base edge very rarely.

The question in my mind is why edge up? I have the Toko world cup vises as well and have tuned side edge up but find I cannot apply the files on the edges as easily or with as much pressure.

So - is this a result of the change to cap ski construction over sandwich a few years back that made it hard to use the old ski vises? Is it because a ski is easier to securely grip with a vise when the ski is on its side or is it because it is a better way to tune?

This has been nagging at the back of my mind for a couple of years and this seems the place to voice this question.

Mike
post #2 of 26
More factors for the mix:

The growing popularity of convenience tools that are not full-length files, the DMT and Kunzman being iconic of the breed. An easy mistake for a base-up tuner would be to put too much pressure on the bases with these.

The growing trend to 'tune' by working on the side edges only because base edge angles are difficult to establish accurately without a fair bit more investment than a pocket tuner owner is likely to make.
post #3 of 26
I have wonderedthat too. I use Toko I guess you call it a vise. It's yellow plastic and hold the ski either flat or at a 45. I have been using it for years and like it.

I'm not changing. Unless it breaks.
post #4 of 26
Since it is easier to bear down (just use your weight) than to push away (relies only on muscle) you get better control of pressure being applied to the edge. Additionally with the surface that you are working on facing up you can see what you are working on. If you are working on table that is not rigidly anchored (portable bench, improvised table) applying too much pressure away or towards you will mean the whole bench will move or fall over.

My skis are only top sheet down when working on the base and its edge.

I might add, having the file's weight directly over the surface you are working on also feels more comfortable and less likely to be accidentally dropped.
post #5 of 26
Are you suggesting tuning/setting your base bevel with your ski side edge up. : this doesn't even work. None of the base bevel tools are designed to work like this. Makes no sense to me whatsoever. i don't think anyone tunes their base edge this way.

you don't do anything to your base edge after intital bevel set because this only increase your base edge bevel and all sharpening can be accomplished by working on the side edge. trying to remove minor knicks in the edge by further diamond stoning the base edge does more harm then good.

Richie R you don't need and should not bear down or put weight on the file. let the file do the work. You will just over bevel your base edge.

And of course you should only pull a file towards you never push it. Pusing you just have no control of the cutting action and since you should be down overlaping strokes this is nearly if not impossible to do pusing or with your ski side up when working on the base edge.

The only thing you do to the base edge when side up is knock of any hanging burr!
post #6 of 26
I don't know if that part was directed at me, but FTR I was not suggesting to work on base bevel with the skis on edge.

I don't know about your files and edges, but mine wont do much if I don't put some pressure on them, even when using the Arkansas stone.

When I used to work for my dad manufacturing jewelry (platinum, gold, silver) file work was done always by pushing, lift, then push; the cutting action was done on the push stroke...I just carried that over, seems to be working, but I will experiment further. Then again maybe it works for me because I am used to working with files and metals, perhaps not for others who have not.
post #7 of 26
Meh, if you know how to use your tools, you know how to use your tools. I feel that side edge up is most ergonomic (for side edge work of course) but if you like it differently then so be it.

I like pulling ski tools and I also like Japanese saws I can pull. It has always seemed like I have more control that way, but like RR says pushing files can be good form as well and I know people that do it very well.
post #8 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Richie-Rich View Post
I don't know if that part was directed at me, but FTR I was not suggesting to work on base bevel with the skis on edge.

I don't know about your files and edges, but mine wont do much if I don't put some pressure on them, even when using the Arkansas stone.

When I used to work for my dad manufacturing jewelry (platinum, gold, silver) file work was done always by pushing, lift, then push; the cutting action was done on the push stroke...I just carried that over, seems to be working, but I will experiment further. Then again maybe it works for me because I am used to working with files and metals, perhaps not for others who have not.
Well his post is damn confusing then. what is he asking???? of course you do your side edges edge up isn't that a given? you can't do your side edge base facing up and you can't do your base edge side edge up so what the hell is he asking????

Now as far as you go you said "bear your weight on it". If your files are in good shape need any weight. slight pressure with your thumbs is preferred directly over the base edge.

Arkansas stones don't cut they polish so you certainly don't need a lot of weight or pressure there.

you should be pulling your files not pushing them. I am not open to other points of view on this issue, period!
post #9 of 26
I find it easier to pull the file when tuning skis. I find it easier to push the file when I'm sharping my lawn mower blades or when I trying to remove material.

Different strokes for different jobs.
post #10 of 26
I wish I had a vise.
post #11 of 26
Edges up for side edge work is very intuitive and as RR says, you are in a better leverage and more comfortable/natural position. Relax and let the tool do the cutting (as Atomicman says) is good practice with even & consistent pressure, IMO.

Additionally, you will get more life out of your files if you only use them in their cutting direction. If you tend to drag your file over the edges between cutting strokes I think I've heard it can almost halve the life of a file.

(If ya wanna see a wicked thumb slice from bearing down too hard and slipping, I could post that as another reason to let the tool do the work and don't get distracted.......
post #12 of 26
Edges up to work on the side edges.

Bases up to work on the base edges, or to work on, you know, like, the bases.

I don't know about what other people did in the old days (which, I suppose, depends on what you mean by "old"), but that's how I've always done it.

What's changed (in terms of edge work) is that in the old days (we're talking pretty old here), nobody beveled the base edge or really understood structure, so we did a lot of flat filing of the base all the way across to sharpen the edges, and didn't do a ton on the side edges (for one thing, we -- or at least I -- was doing the angle freehand). Nowadays, with wider, more torsionally stiff skis and better tools, we don't like to fool with the base edges any more than necessary, to avoid increasing the bevel every time we do.
post #13 of 26
Done it both ways, and I can't say it matters to me. Gravity doesn't come into play and I can put the same pressure on the edges either way. By clamping base up, I can do an entire tune without fiddling with the ski position, so that has some merit.
post #14 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Atomicman View Post
of course you do your side edges edge up isn't that a given? you can't do your side edge base facing up
I guess it's not a given and apparently you can do your side edges base facing facing up.
I've never done it that way but I can image that if your vise isn't suited for clamping edge up you'd have to find a way around it.
And if it works for you that way, why change it?

I do agree though that I think it's easier, safer and more intuitive to do side edges edge up. I believe you have way better control over your tools that way.
post #15 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Atomicman View Post
Well his post is damn confusing then. . I am not open to other points of view on this issue, period!
Thus sayeth A-Man

can we get an amen bruther??

pass the tater salad.
post #16 of 26
Thread Starter 
I should mention that when I tune I typically tune three or four pair at a time. I have a workshop bench and not a portable bench and I have one at the ski house and one at my home. They are incredibly sturdy. My kids use the portable bench and side edge method - but they are away a lot of the time and not in a workshop ....

I have found when I tune with side edge up the file slips more than with the base up - this when tuning side edge. Not sure why but I find that all edge tools I have seen or used use the ski base as the guide to judge the angle from and the file then maintains the side edge at that angle depending on which file guide or tool used. I simply find it easier to keep the base side of the edge tool lined up with the ski base up.

Is more difficult to see the side edge on the edge facing away from me but there is nothing stopping me from leaning over to look. Also the use of markers, etc.. on the side edges helps a lot.

I guess when I am tuning since these are not typically skis for racers I see a lot of base damage and base edge damage that requires attention. I really like seeing the base when I tune for this purpose. As a matter of fact I clamp the ski base up with tip to left and then diamond stone all four edges lightly to remove burrs, light tune base edge if required, tune side edge, diamond stone all four again, and then wax the ski - leave a while and scrape/brush. If base repair necessary I do that before the initial diamond stone of edges. All is done with ski clamped a single time - not as great a wax job as waiting an hour or more before scraping but I can tune a pair of ski in 20 minutes and move on to the next pair.

My bench vise cost $9.99 on sale and holds the ski more firmly than any other setup I have seen.

Interestingly SJJOHNSON above probably nailed the answer to my original question better than anybody else with ....

"we did a lot of flat filing of the base all the way across to sharpen the edges, and didn't do a ton on the side edges (for one thing, we -- or at least I -- was doing the angle freehand)."

I was actually shown at one time how to do the side edges freehand by an old timer who was the local expert. This was not a long time ago - only 20 years ago ...

Well now my question is answered. Also portable benches work horribly base up (I have tried and dont like it) and all new tuning equipment is designed for side edge up and moving the ski a bunch of times.

Thanks for the discussion

Mike
post #17 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikehoyt View Post
I have found when I tune with side edge up the file slips more than with the base up - this when tuning side edge. Not sure why but I find that all edge tools I have seen or used use the ski base as the guide to judge the angle from and the file then maintains the side edge at that angle depending on which file guide or tool used. I simply find it easier to keep the base side of the edge tool lined up with the ski base up.
Did you have the bases away or towards you when tuning edge up?

Also, with an 'old school' history of flat filing bases leaning against a bench or whatever, I occasionally do side edge work with bases up when I'm hurried and lazy about switching ski positions. One clear advantage is you can do base repair, waxing and both edges without swapping the ski to 3 different positions, times number of skis. I still prefer edges up for side edge work for the reasons stated and it seems like an easier and better workflow to achieve desired results.....though maybe worth experimenting and reevaluating. :
post #18 of 26

No Vice, no problem...

Ghost,

While clamping in the ski is good practice, once I have my bevels set, a light touch is really all you need.

I have a vice with supports that hold the ski flat and at 45. They have "grippy" rubber pads that hold the ski still nicely. It has a device that clamps into the binding and pins in ski in place (Holds brakes up too. Kinda neat.) But I never really use the pin device.

I usually just rest the ski on there for light filing touch ups and waxing.

Point is, you could EASILY fabricate a couple of supports. Screw or clamp to the work bench. Glue or staple on some of those rubber jar opener doo-dads you have in the kitchen on the working surface and you are in bidness.

As for the OPs question... how the heck DO you tackle the side edge on a base up ski?? Weirdo-rama.

Rich, I am a puller (aren't we all?) but whatever get's 'em sharp I guess.
post #19 of 26
Thread Starter 
base away

The doing all in one position has a lot to do with as well when tuning 6-8 pairs a week

Mike
post #20 of 26
Well I can think of one advantage of doing it the way Mike does; metal shavings will fall away from the ski rather than down the sides and possibly get impregnated in the bases. Last time I sharpened I had a good amount of metal get into my bases....I was not happy.
post #21 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Richie-Rich View Post
Well I can think of one advantage of doing it the way Mike does; metal shavings will fall away from the ski rather than down the sides and possibly get impregnated in the bases. Last time I sharpened I had a good amount of metal get into my bases....I was not happy.
Base tape!!! Yes, you should use base tape when doing your side edges.

I like the wider holmenkol. you only need to do 1 strip! No more metal shaving worries. Once you get good at applying it it takes no time!
post #22 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by skier_j View Post
Thus sayeth A-Man

can we get an amen bruther??

pass the tater salad.
On the other points of view, I was talking about pulling the file vs. pushing it, but come to think about you're right. Only one way to do it right!

Side, edge base away, base edge, base up!
post #23 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikehoyt View Post
base away

The doing all in one position has a lot to do with as well when tuning 6-8 pairs a week

Mike
How much time do you really save vs. the quality of the outcome????::
post #24 of 26
I've got the same plastic 'boot' vise as MikeHoyt, you can swing it on edge as well as base, but I diamond stone to remove burrs, file the edges, then diamond stone to polish with a couple of stones. I only have a couple of edge guides, so I would have to keep switching edges on the vise, or keep switching stones in the guide. Base up saves a lot of time.
post #25 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by c1er View Post
I've got the same plastic 'boot' vise as MikeHoyt, you can swing it on edge as well as base, but I diamond stone to remove burrs, file the edges, then diamond stone to polish with a couple of stones. I only have a couple of edge guides, so I would have to keep switching edges on the vise, or keep switching stones in the guide. Base up saves a lot of time.
to do one ski it takes 3 switches of positon.

Base up, 1 base edge tip to tail, switch to one base edge tail to tip. Switch to side edge base away tip to tail switch to other side edge base away tail to tip.

what does it take. (I'll sport you 1 minute per change, I am being really generous here) so the changes take an x-tra 3 minutes total!

It takes me more like 10 seconds to switch. MAX. What is much more time consuming and apparantly you guys are not doing it is taping your base when file your side edges.

Haste makes waste!:

If you don't have time to do it right the 1st time, how will you ever have time to do it over?
post #26 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Richie-Rich View Post
When I used to work for my dad manufacturing jewelry (platinum, gold, silver) file work was done always by pushing, lift, then push; the cutting action was done on the push stroke...I just carried that over, seems to be working, but I will experiment further. Then again maybe it works for me because I am used to working with files and metals, perhaps not for others who have not.
People who have metalworking experience will know about push filing and draw filing (pulling), how each method has its application, and how personal experience and preference can influence the chosen method. I know the kinds of things where I prefer push filing, which I think bear some similarity to a jeweller's work. I would encourage you to try draw filing for ski maintenance -- it might take a few sessions to get used to it, but I think you would find that it works noticeably better.
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