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Flattener and Structuring Tool

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
So I was poking around Slidewright, and I saw a tool called a Flattener & Structuring tool. I'm wondering if anybody here has used this tool, and can give any input on it. I'm a fairly proficient tuner, but have always brought my skis to the shop to have them stone ground. If this will give a comparable structure to my bases, I may want to give it a try.
post #2 of 12
I would also be interested if anyone has any experince with this tool.
post #3 of 12
It won't give you a comparable result to a stone grind.  I've had one for a few years now, and don't use the structuring stones because they are warped and would cause either concave or convex effects on my bases. I bought mine second hand, and so I couldn't very well return the structure stones. I suppose if one happened to have perfectly true stones for it, then it would produce a functional linear structure, but I'd rather just rill my bases with the edge of a mill bastard file.

The steel flattening blade works exceptionally well for removing old wax, and will also remove P-tex fuzz, but my primary use for it is flattening out base repairs (after first taking the bulk of the P-tex repair down with a file or scraper).
post #4 of 12
Here's a previous thread regarding the

Ski visions Base Flattening Tool

post #5 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by volantaddict View Post

It won't give you a comparable result to a stone grind.  I've had one for a few years now, and don't use the structuring stones because they are warped and would cause either concave or convex effects on my bases. I bought mine second hand, and so I couldn't very well return the structure stones. I suppose if one happened to have perfectly true stones for it, then it would produce a functional linear structure, but I'd rather just rill my bases with the edge of a mill bastard file.

The steel flattening blade works exceptionally well for removing old wax, and will also remove P-tex fuzz, but my primary use for it is flattening out base repairs (after first taking the bulk of the P-tex repair down with a file or scraper).
 
I'd agree about flattening the repairs, or maybe flattening skis you really don't care too much about. Otherwise though, I think this tool could be a huge disaster, esp. if you don't have a lot of time using such things as wood planes. It's very easy to ruin a ski with this thing, and doing a base grind with the stones is ridiculous. I've had one in a closet for years now.

Sure, if you really don't want to get a stone grind I'd suggest Volant's method or some other sort or rilling device.
Note you only need about 1 grind a season anyway.
post #6 of 12
I'm not sure how you use it but----

I'm confused how you can "ruin" a ski with this device--when used even remotely correctly---other than continue to use the blade when it has a burr on it.  As long as the metal blade is not burred, I don't see how it could end up being a 'huge disatster"  The stone 'blades" unless warped like VA's don;t remove enough material quickly enough to be a hazard either----and they will also eventually ride on the metal edges if you get to that point and relative flatness.

If you have a severely convex base, you will work your tookus off getting it near flat and if you use it with a burr you will end up with gouges in the base---how is that the tools fault?

I'd not compare it to a plane either since the blade is much wider than the work,  a plane requires the MOST skill when planing something wider than the blade and trying to get the whole piece of work flat.

A plane requires skill to NOT plane off too much material---this tool will eventually ride on the edges once you have skivved enough base off---no real danger of going too deep---although once that close to flat, the issue of burrs becomes more of a problem. 

I'd agree it is not a sub for a base grind, but it does a damn fine job flattening a slightly out of flat base and scrapes wax off very well!

I have a stone but don;t use it much---when I do it seems to work just fine. 

I've never felt like i was in danger of ruining a ski using it --- although I did use it on an old pair the first time I tried it just for that reason---figured if it was going to destroy something it would NOT be my good skis!  Didn't happen.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Tog View Post



I'd agree about flattening the repairs, or maybe flattening skis you really don't care too much about. Otherwise though, I think this tool could be a huge disaster, esp. if you don't have a lot of time using such things as wood planes. It's very easy to ruin a ski with this thing, and doing a base grind with the stones is ridiculous. I've had one in a closet for years now.

Sure, if you really don't want to get a stone grind I'd suggest Volant's method or some other sort or rilling device.
Note you only need about 1 grind a season anyway.
 
post #7 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by skier_j View Post

I'm not sure how you use it but----<snip>


Good response skier_j.

If you are not paying attention (as with any tuning, waxing and repair task) you could damage your skis. With this tool, you'd almost have to try to damage them. It's easy enough to gauge base level with a true bar every few strokes until you realize it'll take a while and a lot of effort to take it down without noticing.

True it is a more advanced task and a base grind (IF CONVENIENT) will be a lot easier and quicker, but there are an array of other tasks like remove base repair material excess, wax scraping and lightly refreshing structure, etc that go faster and better using the planer correctly.

Personally, I can't see not having one around for variety of reasons.
post #8 of 12
For planing off slightly convex bases and ptex repairs, ok sure it works fine.
For attempting to flatten a concave ski, this tool will take down metal edges and that's more what I'm referring to. Doing that, it's difficult to keep a consistent depth of cut because afterall you're planing metal. If I recall I was doing a pair of elan psx short skis.
If you don't believe it'll plane the edges then go get a cheap pair and give it a shot. It's kind of fun.

It looks like the new stones are vastly improved to the old. I think mine is circa 2001. The old one gave just a terrible structure- nothing like what Alpinord showed in his review.
After y'all's review, I may have to pull this thing out of the closet this season and give it another try.
post #9 of 12
Tog, the stones have been refined and vastly improved according to to inventor and fabricator, Mark Sewell.

The review I provided was copied with permission from the SkiVisions web site. Please visit the site for more information and to ask questions directly if needed.

Again, I see this as a tool for more experience and confident DIY tuners and I contacted Mark regarding this thread since he is vastly more experienced than anyone using his tools and here is some of his response:

Quote:
First, every once in a while I go on EpicSki to see what they are saying about SkiVisions.  Unfortunately, I am always very disappointed.  Why?  Because someone asks a legitimate question.  Then someone pops on acting like a real expert and says the most untrue or ridiculous things.  And sounds official in the process.
 
SkiVisions, since I started it in the mid 80's (actually have now forgotten exactly when), has been very criticized in the ski industry.  So I said, ok, I know my stuff really works, so I will go quietly about my business, and I have.  And now, many years later, I am still standing, the tools are better than ever, and although the criticisms continue, there are hard core SkiVisions users who swear by them, would NEVER again let a stone grinder touch their skis because they know the risk of grinding.
 
Just like the guy on Epic that says the stone blades are "warped".  Well, they aren't, but more important, there are thorough instructions on the website showing customers how to check the flatness of the stone blades.  If I sent them out warped I certainly wouldn't show customers how to catch me.  In fact, all the criticisms that occur relate to subjects that are addressed on the site, checking methods for like bevels, flatness of blades, sharpness and burrs with the tuning stick.  Somehow that gets ignored, except by those who understand what I do.
Regarding videos:
Quote:
The website instructions are very thorough, but more important, I want to train real tuners more than I want to sell tools, and anyone who want to be a real tuner needs to know all the information in the instructions.  Videos just can't get that job done.
Quote:
.......not only do I make the tools, but I am the only guy who gives thorough methods and instructions where they can check their work.  Not only does this mean checking the accuracy of my tools, but giving them real guidelines and methods for tracking the quality of their work, whether they are using my tools or anyone else's.
Quote:

........for more than 20 years, people have said unbelievably wrong and ignorant statement about SkiVisions all that time.  Yet the tools become progressively more important.  Kind of a "sticks and stones" sort of thing to me........... I just keep my head down, making better and better products.  And why?  I don't make tools to sell, I make tools I need, selling them is just incidental.  And I test, test test.  Every weekend, endlessly.  Every day, my skis are either magic, or I go make them to be magic.  Magic.  That is my guidepost, not what anyone says.  And with skis, I can make magic.  And I have a blast doing it.
post #10 of 12
 Good for your Mark.  I have the tool and love it.
post #11 of 12

Well nice response Alpinord, and the maker of the tool to boot!
I took a look at the website. Things look to have improved with the Ruby stones.

I have a few issues with some of the things said though.
such as:
"The new Ruby stone blades give better performance than stone grinding...:"
http://skivisions.us/504.html
 

hmmm...is this really up for debate? Sure, a botched job maybe, and there's a good point made that a lot of shops can ruin your skis with grinding. The only structure pattern easily done with the tool though is a linear one. I suppose you could try and do a cross hatch pattern.

"Wax. Waxing is optional, we don't...we carefully pick the right structure..."
http://skivisions.us/7601.html
I suppose we could start a wax debate now. Let's not. Wait,how about a wax/helmet debate?

As an aside to the instructions. The recommendation is that one structures by pushing from tip to tail. I recall an article on Tognar's site I think written by the speed skier - what was his name, Hamilton? about how they tuned skis for going over 100mph. I remember them talking about sanding the base from tail to tip. The theory was that the little hairs raised on the base and not removed by polishing would then lay down flat when skiing forward. I wonder if one should do the same with this.

My biggest issue though is the discussion of flattening a new concave ski. I see there's a new technique of using the ruby stones first, then the hssteel blade and alternating. This seems a little safer. When I say it can be a disaster, the process of planing a new concave ski flat is what I'm talking about. This requires planing of the metal edge. Yes, it's doable. For someone with no experience of hand tools though I don't think it's a good idea. That's it. If you proceed carefully, I suppose it's fine. You need a well supported ski and a lot of time.

For planing down ptex patches it's fantastic.

So the upshot, bravo for Mark for making a tool people can use.

oh, and this is fun:


Quote:

First, every once in a while I go on EpicSki to see what they are saying about SkiVisions.  Unfortunately, I am always very disappointed.  Why?  Because someone asks a legitimate question.  Then someone pops on acting like a real expert and says the most untrue or ridiculous things.  And sounds official in the process.
 

welcome to the internet!
hey, should we talk about helmets?

 

post #12 of 12
If one were faced with base tuning this house o' skis, the SkiVisions flattener could come in handy:

Originally Posted by crgildart View Post

Here's my old skis.  Someone buikt a house out ot them.
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