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How sharp is sharp enough?

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
So i'm a little concerned about my edges. I have a pair of retired Atomics and had them maintained at 3 on the side, and .5 on the base, like Atomic reccomends. I now have a pair of Rossi's and a pair of Head's. I just spent the night sharpening my rossis with a file, and various diamond stones, and they dont really feel sharper than before I started, and no where near as sharp as the Atomic's feel. I recently had the Head's stoneground due to some core shorts, and I had them reset the edge to 1,1. They dont feel as sharp as the Atomics either, and dont really feel sharp at all. Am I just being misled by the drastic angle on the Atomics?

When I scrape my fingernail on the edges, some shavings come off, but not alot. When I scrape my nail on the Atomics, a whole ton comes off. The rossi and head edges dont even really feel too sharp to the touch, and in some parts on the rossi's barely any shavings come off of my nail. I sharpened the side and bevel of my rossis and dont seem to notice too much difference. Are my edges ok? Is a ski edge considered sharp if any amount of fingernail shavings come off?

any other opinions?

Thanks guys,

post #2 of 23
The sharper the better.

I like mine sharp enough to shave with.
post #3 of 23

I don't think your fingernail is going to notice a 1-2 degree difference in your edge angle (unless you're really trying to hurt yourself). The more acute angle will likely only be noticed when you're trying to drive the edge into very hard snow/ice.

There could be a couple reasons your Rossis and Heads don't feel as sharp.

1) They're NOT as sharp as the Atomics. What kind of file are you using? You can work on your edges all day with a cheap file, and all you'll do is wear down the FILE with your edges.

Or you could have a decent file that's worn out. Sometimes this is very hard to tell, but a good sharp file should cut cleanly without a lot of pressure. So maybe you haven't really been sharpening your edges even though you've been at it for hours.

2) They're NOT as sharp because you're not matching the existing side edge angle. If you're using an edge guide with a more acute angle than you have on the ski, you'll have to file a lot longer before you actually contact the corner of the edges. You'll be sharpening, but only the part of the edge nearest the sidewalls.

3) OR, they ARE sharp, and you just don't know it. It sounds to me like this is what you've got. Maybe your fingernails are softer than mine (eat some Knox Gelatin) but when my skis are sharp, I don't get "a whole ton" of fingernail scraped off. If I do, it's usually because my edges are burred which usually makes them feel sharper. I deburr using a fine diamond stone after sharpening to remove this burr. Your Atomics could actually be burred, which can happen as described or even just by skiing on them.

When my skis are sharp, I am able to scrape fingernail "dust" off by dragging my nail consistently along the entire edge using light to medium pressure. If you're peeling off big hunks, then get to a walk in medical clinic.

Of course, now that I wrote all this, I went back and re-read your post and noticed that you said they're sharper in some spots than others. In that case, I think they are sharpening but in an inconsistent manner due to either #1 or #2 above, and that assumes that you are using a bevel guide. If you're not, then that's another factor - get one.

And yes, I know I'm a Loser sitting here typing this manifesto on Thanksgiving, but I'm at work and I'm getting paid double time to type this, eat leftovers, and watch the Miami game. And after I get paid, I think I'll buy some more new skis. [img]graemlins/evilgrin.gif[/img]

[ November 27, 2003, 03:49 PM: Message edited by: Carvemeister ]
post #4 of 23
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the info man. I have a swix bevel/side angle combo sharpener (Xactor maybe? : ) and I just use the file that came with it, which seems to be pretty decent, if I use moderate-heavy pressure I can easily take off edge material.

I think its maybe because I filed, then used a coarse diamond stone, then a fine diamond stone, and then a gummi stone. So they were deburred a LOT, maybe that is the case. Or maybe im just overthinking this because I havent been skiing in 8 months! : : :

thanks for the info
post #5 of 23
I use the tognar tuning stick here at
http://www.tognar.com/bevel.html#SVN-TS to check if i have a nice sharp edge when tuning. Much better than using you finger nail.
post #6 of 23
Originally posted by dipstik:
... I filed, then used a coarse diamond stone, then a fine diamond stone, and then a gummi stone. So they were deburred a LOT...
Yeah, that's another reason that I didn't consider. That sounds like it might be a little too much deburring to me. I just deburr using a fine diamond stone once or twice along the edge and then maybe a very light scotchbrite pad along the edge. I don't like using the gummi after filing because it tends to bend around the edge and dull it.

I also don't like any kind of combo tools. I'm sure there a a few good ones, but I much prefer the accuracy of the setup shown HERE in the picture under "side edge file guides." on the same page as dc9mm just pointed out.

I guess we can beat this to death, but the bottom line is, when you're skiing on hard FRGR, can you hold an edge? If you can, then I wouldn't change whatever you're doing.
post #7 of 23
Another good point to consider is that if your base edge is rounded from lots of use, then you may not even get a 90 degree angle on the edge even if you're using a sub 90 degree file guide. If so, you'll need a base grind and edge, it's well worth it cause if the base edge is rounded off, then sharpening the side edge really doesn't help dig into the snow/ice. When you're skiing and you try to edge you probably don't get any resistance for the first couple of degrees of edging the ski on the snow, so the ski will feel really out of tune, even though the side edge may be really good.

[ November 27, 2003, 09:24 PM: Message edited by: janus ]
post #8 of 23
I use the Beast brand bevel tools. To really get a sharp / honed edge, I will cut a piece of 320 grit silicon carbide sand paper and lay it on top of a diamond file clamped into the side-of-beast tool. Working this back and forth on the side bevel only makes for a dangerously sharp edge. When it loads up after a couple of strokes, just move it a little to expose fresh grit.
Also, when sharpening side bevels, the sidewalls just above the edge MUST be cut away. Use a sidewall skiver for this.
post #9 of 23
Thread Starter 
an update: I took the file and file guide I use now and I just filed a small location on one of my rossi's. I did it with enough pressure to take off a tiny bit of edge. The edges felt super sharp as soon as I was done with the file (I could take off chunks of fingernail(if I wanted to))but as soon as I took a red gummi deburring stone to it, they instantly lost their ability to take off a ton of fingernail, even with just a very light pass of the gummi stone. I think my edges are OK, its just that I finally spent a decent amount of $ this year on all kinds of new tuning stuff, mainly diamond stones and gummi stones, and before I got all this stuff I never really deburred my edges as much as I should have just b/c I didnt havethe right equipment. THUS, I had no idea that deburring equipment would make it seem like the edges were duller than they really are. Does this seem plausable?

[ November 28, 2003, 09:54 AM: Message edited by: dipstik ]
post #10 of 23
Due to their soft nature, I think gummi stones "wrap around" the edge and dull it. I guess they're OK for removing rust, but I never use them to sharpen.
post #11 of 23
Thread Starter 
Originally posted by Arby:
Due to their soft nature, I think gummi stones "wrap around" the edge and dull it. I guess they're OK for removing rust, but I never use them to sharpen.
It says it's for polishing :

[ November 28, 2003, 11:18 AM: Message edited by: dipstik ]
post #12 of 23
I have always felt that the gummi stone made the edges dull as well.

After deburring and sharpening, I use a very fine diamond stone first lightly on the base, then the on the side edge (polishing, not at any angle), followed by a very fine ceramic stone used in the same manner.
post #13 of 23
Thread Starter 
Originally posted by NE1:
I have always felt that the gummi stone made the edges dull as well.

After deburring and sharpening, I use a very fine diamond stone first lightly on the base, then the on the side edge (polishing, not at any angle), followed by a very fine ceramic stone used in the same manner.
I think I may ditch the gummi stone in that case. Would using a file, followed by a fine diamond stone be good enough? (for deburring and what not)
post #14 of 23

I believe would be a good combination, though I prefer not to use a file unless I'm doing a full tune (which I very rarely do, since I touch-up with the stones every time out).

Be sure and do the base edge (very lightly) as well as the side edge with the stone.

[ December 03, 2003, 09:21 AM: Message edited by: NE1 ]
post #15 of 23
I have been told by some one giviing a turning lesson to us race parents that the gummi stone removes the fine burr's left from the diamond stone. The small burr's are what you feel when you use your fingernail. So after the gummi they may not feel as sharp.

Personally I don't use the gummi that often. When I do it is one time down the edge.

I have been using a MoonFlex 200 grit diamond file this season so far. I'm realy impressed with the edge on my G3's. I don't think they have ever been this sharp. I have skied them 5 day's so far, and touch them up each night with two or three swips with the 200 grit at 2 degress. I have not used my 600 grit yet to polish them. As the snow gets better I'll follow up with the 600 grit.
post #16 of 23
The gummi stone has two uses; removing rust from the edge, and making the edge LESS sharp for softer conditions. By using it as a deburring tool, you are wearing it out quicker than needed and taking the fine edge off that you worked so hard to get. To achieve the sharpest edge, a progressive use of diamond stones from medium to extra fine is needed, making sure to use water to clean the stones.

A ski should be so sharp that you will cut your skin with very little pressure on the edge. I've cut my gloves and fingers by not taking care while carrying my skis to the lift.
post #17 of 23
The MoonFlex directions say to you 50/50 denatured alcohol and water. I use it with a old tooth brush.
post #18 of 23
So when you guys touch up your base edge because of a good gash or nic, do you use a guide or freehand?

I know that it is easy to overbevel even with a guide so you go lightly but doing it freehand can also mess up the edge.

I know most people say to leave the base alone but sometimes you have to fix it from a rock or something while sideslipping.
post #19 of 23
Never touch your skis free hand. I am getting a really good base bevel guide from reliable this year. I just ordered it. I have forgotten which one it was, but it wasnt cheap. It should be well worth the money though. Also, i dont know if anyone has suggested it yet, but im trying out the Swix Second Cut files this year. They arent as aggressive as the other files, and are designed to remove less material. I have always had better luck using a fine file, versus an aggressive file. I was also intrigued by the pattern on the new Swix Diamond stones, but i think ill stick with the DMT ones for this year because of the price of the swix ones. I'm pretty excited to get the second cut file though. I think it will do a very good job on the side edge, and an even better job if i have to attack the base edge with it midseason.
post #20 of 23
Thanks Hel

I have heard both sides of the argument but since most of you guys use a guide i will too.

I picked up a SVST base guide, Moonflex stones, and a few other things.

The Moonflex stones look scary so I might only use those on the sides.
post #21 of 23
YES, always use a guide. NEVER NEVER NEVER free hand.

I'm using a DTM on the base just to knock off any high spots not to tune the base. Base bevel is set by a shop. Use the Moonflex or Swix diamond stones on the edges. With 50/50 mix. don't waste money on the secret sauce in the catalogs.

Next year I'll use this years moonflex to knock the high spots off the base edge, and get a new moonflex for the edges.

[ December 04, 2003, 11:26 AM: Message edited by: Max Capacity ]
post #22 of 23
Freehand is fine, as long as you are competent and confident in your own abilities. It is easier to match existing bevels freehand, which is important if you need to put a hum on a ski which you don't normally look after, and if you are onhill and don't have your guides with you. I'm not going to pack my whole tuning kit up to the start just in case I need something. I'll bring the condensed version with the criticalstuff in a pack which is still at a weight which is comfortable to ski with, with 3 pairs of skis over my shoulder on water injected slopes.
post #23 of 23
3 pairs of skis on your shoulder, sounds like you need to get a house on Whistler/Blackcomb. Yea, I know what you mean I have brought two pairs with me from time to time.
A edge guide, diamond stone and clamp can't take up that much room.

I work in a industry that works in .0000 dimensions, I can eyeball a couple of thousands, I still would not touch my edges without a guide.

Remember we are trying to help skiers that are getting into tuning there own equipment.

Enjoy your weekend, to bad the storm here in the east will not be heading to VT.
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