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Tune your own skis? - Page 2

post #31 of 51
I put in about $200 on the basic tools, and alot of that was the ski vise. I've got it down to about $70 per year on replacement file inserts and wax. There always seems to be a new wax to try out each year, or a new gizmo. With 4 skiers in the family, I think I've already broke even after 3 years. Playing with edge bevels the last couple of years, and it's fun to feel the difference a well-tuned ski makes.
post #32 of 51
Seems to me that the best way to "get into tuning" is to first get you skis tuned at a shop, and then just maintain them for a while to see if you like it. I think you could probably keep you skis in pretty good shape without a massive tool outlay if you had a side edge bevel guide, a couple of stones or diamond files (100, 200, 400), an iron, a scraper and a pair of nylon brushes.

If you use those tools to touch up a good store tuning every time or two you go skiing, you will be sliding on much better gear than you are used to all season long. You may even make it through a whole season without a second shop tune.

Of course, if you are into racing or some other super-high performance skiing, this will not keep you happy, but if that were the case you would not be asking the question anyway.
post #33 of 51
Yes, Foolsandkings, you are spot on. You can tune skis for not a large investment and you will get a much better tune than your local shop. I have hand tuned skis belonging to local shop employees who weren't satisfied with their skis and they were impressed with the difference. They have the tuning equipment there, but sometimes hot scraping and hand waxing makes a difference.
The big expense occurs when you start doing a large amount of skis and invest in drills, rotobrushes, all flavors of HC, LF and HF waxes depending on conditions.
If you keep it simple with an adjustable base/edge tuning tool and universal waxes, you can keep it pretty cheap.
post #34 of 51
Tune your own skis. It is pretty simple to do a basic tune and takes approx 1/2 hour per pair.

Tune skis no less than every 4 ski days and the tune will be easy and you will never have to ski on untuned skis again.

If you want to ski in the park on rails then never mind
If you ski in fresh snow regularly then is mostly just wax and tuning edges not so important.

If you are stuck in the East and ski hard pack and ice a lot then either keep your skis tuned or get a blanket and a movie and stay home.

The following tools are a nice start up kit.
- flat file 8 - 10 inch mill bastard. Toko World Cup is a nice file but approx $30 - there are just as good files a lot cheaper if you know good industrial suppliers - cheap files are just no good.
- edge tool. Decide ifyou like a 90 degree side edge or a little sharper and buy the appropriate tool
- diamond stone to remove burrs
- plastic scraper

Then devise some way to attach you ski to the bench. you can buy ski vises for $150 or you can search this forum and do it for as little as $10.

After waxing you can use a brush to texture your base or a nylon scouring pad/brush for starters.

You can use any old iron so long as you keep the temperatures low. hot enough to melt the wax but no hotter. You can spend $100 on a fancy ski wax iron or as little as $13 for an iron from the local hardware store.

I maintain a demo fleet in my area and the skis have to ski like new all the time or there is no point in sending them out. I also maintain a number of other skis for various other people. Typically I tune about 6 pair per week in the winter.

There are very few shops I trust with my skis. A good shop will do a wonderful job but it is very easy to do a bad job on the machines shops have. Skis should also only hav a base grind performed no more than once per year - which makes hand tuning the only alternative

Base grinding is nice when there are numerous scratches on the bottom and you want to see your skis looking in better shape. however after a base grind it usually requires a good hand tune to make the skis usable. I have known a lot of skiers who take a ski to get a base grind and then do not enjoy the ski. Usually change in base edge bevel angle is involved.

I am rambling here but most young racers tune their own skis for two reasons. 1. They need to be in tip top shape all the time and it would be expensive to have someone else do it. 2. they do a better job than the average shop.

I will close out with saying that high end shops do great jobs with tuning. However there are a lot of other shops that do not do such a good job. Tuning yourself you know what you get.

post #35 of 51
I have a hand held edge sharpener made by Swix; and a general purpose stone (for axes, crampons, chain saws, knives, etc) from a hunting and fishing store, and I use Swix paste wax, buffed with a cork block.
The improvement in ski performance is tremendous each time.
post #36 of 51
Some ski shops have tuning seminars which can really help to get you started. Tuning is easy, you just need to know how to do it properly because you can really screw up your skis if you don't know what you are doing.
post #37 of 51
Dreski8, They got your bases too hot with the waxing iron, and burned the substraight under the base material. Seen it happen many times. It's important to find a good experienced tech, and make sure he's the one that will do the work. I was a race tech for over fifteen years, and do most of my own work. I also have a travel case which includes everything I need except a stone grind base resurfacing.
post #38 of 51
I'd say it's not that hard to learn.  I'm fairly mechanical by nature and have some experience woodworking.  For me, I was able to learn what I needed from this site and the Tognar Toolworks site.

I tune four pairs of skis for the family.  I started with them new and, thus, had to flatten bases, plane sidewalls, set base and side edge angles, etc.  That was some chunk of work, but I feel I learned a lot and assured myself of the quality and nature of the job.

I follow the "cry once" theory of tool acquisition.  I don't expect to buy much in the future other than wax.

Now that the skis are set up and I've learned a bit, things are pretty quick.  I can clean up the edges and wax a pair of skis in about an hour.  To me it seems easier than schlepping them to a shop and I feel better about the whole thing.
post #39 of 51
 My normal maintenance takes much less then an hour per pair.  A quick deburring of the edges and waxing takes only a few minutes, plus the time to scrape and buff the wax off later, which is also just a few minutes.

When the skis need filing that takes a few more minutes.  Still an easy job once you learn how.  Edge guides make it really easy.
post #40 of 51
post #41 of 51
Here's my how to tune skis and snowboards guide:


post #42 of 51

For optimal balance on an edged ski it is critical that our edges be consistently and accurately sharpened. This makes "committing" to the ski with "confidence" much easier. It also makes the ski respond better. Regular waxing is necessary to maintain ski "health". If the base looks chalky or white, it is overdue of a waxing.  Therefore, regular ski maintenance will help accelerate skiing development and enhance skiing enjoyment.

Your base needs to be flat before anything. This can only be done by with a machine grid. Get this done at a quality shop. I even have brand new skis ground flat before I ever touch them.  I also have them ground flat and square - that would be a 0/0 bevel combination.  Then I use my own tools to set the angles.

You can purchase the basic hand tools for under $150.

I like my skis to be in optimal condition EVERY time I go skiing. This means they get waxed every few days, and the edges are touched up with a diamond file after EVERY day of skiing. If you follow this disciplined (basic) maintenance you won't need to take them to a shop very often, or even take a file to them.

Here is why you should do your own skis:

- To achieve results or maximize your enjoyment on the hill your skis need to be in perfect condition every time you ski. It is simply not practical to have a shop tune your skis every few days.
- It will save money in the long term
- Your tuning room (or garage, or shed) is a great place to "get away" by yourself, or "hang out" with friends
- You will get pleasure and satisfaction from tuning your own gear
- I have taught 12 year olds to tune their race skis - If they can do it, so can you
- Get good at it and charge your friends to do their skis

This is a list of SOME of the places to get tools and instructions on doing your own skis:






post #43 of 51
Well, I'm convinced.

I've been putzing around with waxing for a while now so I've just bitten the bullet and bought some kit from RaceWax (edge guide, base guide, brushes, file, diamond stones and scraper) to get into doing my edges properly.  I'm one of those guys who's happy to make the time and will enjoy mucking around with my skis - certainly more than I enjoy handing over $60 for every edge tune and wax job when I know I can do it myself.  Now, bring on the snow down here, I say.
post #44 of 51
Good for you sinbad7.  You won't regret it.
Hopefully NYCJIM (who started this thread) decides to join us, too.
post #45 of 51
Take a look at Ray's Way waxing system. Really the polishing cloth and tube. Absolutely the easiest way I have come across to keep them waxed while on you ski trip.
post #46 of 51
Thought I'd follow up from my above post and say that the guides, stones, file and brushes arrived in record time - nicely packaged too.  Thanks RaceWax.  I have an old pair of skis I can practise on.  Looking forward to it.
post #47 of 51


If you want to see how to wax your skis. I have a video I shoot and edited for a friend.


It is at YouTube.com user name skiwiz100

post #48 of 51

DIY tune definately. My best moment was when my cheap (ish) Atomic blackeye's (home tuned, 20 waxes at least before hitting snow) totally out accelerated and out glided a pair of shop tuned FIS race ski's by a large margin! I now tune that instructors/racers ski's for him


Very few shops do more than grind the base and edges and wipe some wax on. Tune em yourself and you can avoid base grinds making the ski's last longer, always have sharp, correctly angled edges and fully waxed, smooth fast bases. Its also pretty easy to repair most damage yourself and know its done properly


Having said that there are some shops/tuners that do do a good job and are worth paying. For some strange reason most seem to be members of this forum 8-)

post #49 of 51

The main reason I started tuning was frequent dissatisfaction with the machine edge and wax jobs from shops. This is especially true if you have specific edge sets for different skis - some base bevels are .5, others are 1; some side bevels 2 some 3. (My wife races). Also in the east for ice you need to do much more tuning than in the softer snow west. I have been tuning 3 or 4 pair a week for several years and find I kind of enjoy it. I have fallen victim to some excesses, I have a progression of 7 or 8 Holmenkol brushes (although non-race only get 3 or 4) as well as more specialty waxes than are really practical but they do make a difference if you encounter challenging climactic conditions (e.g., extreme cold and fresh snow or April hot weather and filthy snow). There is a value in knowing how you can keep going smoothly most are sticking that you can't get from a shop tune.

post #50 of 51

It's so easy, a caveman can do it 




post #51 of 51

^^^ Seems like I've just become a caveman myself.......

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