Never tuned a ski and I'm thinking of starting

Discussion in 'Tuning Techniques and Tool Information' started by TheArchitect, Oct 22, 2018.

  1. TheArchitect

    TheArchitect Expert...only in my mind Skier

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    As I was dropping off 3 pairs of skis at the local shop for tuning and binding adjustment Saturday I thought to myself "it sure would be nice to be able to sharpen and wax these things myself". Then I remembered reading about good tunes and bad tunes affecting performance and wondered whether I should just keep paying the shop to do it. So....

    1. Assuming using the right tools is this something that takes a long time to get the hang of?
    2. What are the right tools for home tuning (edges and base)? Price isn't much of a consideration if there are tools out there that make it easy to get the right bevel, etc.
    3. Any good resources on YouTube, etc. that you'd point me towards to see what's involved?

    I have zero interest in adjusting bindings so this is only for edges and base work.

    The wildcard here is that my local shop's tuning center is run by Mike DeSantis, who used to tune Volkl's on the world cup, so I do have access to a great tune

    http://www.skimd.com/our-team.html

    Thoughts?
     
  2. Jacques

    Jacques Workin' It on Skis Best I Can Skier

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    Start doing your own work. You will need a space and invest quite a bit in tools. Use fixed bevel guides. Don't use adjustable "all in one" etc, guides.
    You gonna' spend some money, but it will pay back over time. You will also need the time to do the work!
    Check this series out plus many more at my channel. You will need to search "tuning" "waxing" etc. at the channel search bar.
     
  3. KingGrump

    KingGrump Most Interesting Man In The World Team Gathermeister

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    Waxing.
    Side Edges.
    Base Edges.

    Try waxing your skis first. You may or may not like the process. If not send them out.
    If you like working with your hands. Try the side edges next. Then you can take on the base edges when you are proficient with the sides.

    At the start of every season, I generally sent most of my skis out for a base grind and set the base edges. Gets everything back to zero of sort. Zero as in a new beginning and not zero base edge angle.

    I do all my own base repair, side edge sharpening and waxing through out the season. Usually I can get about 40 days between base grinds on a pair of rec ski. The race skis gets sloppy much quicker.

    Start with manual tools first. Hand brushes instead of roto-brush. File and guides instead of grinders. Enjoy the journey.
     
    TPJ, oldschoolskier, PisteOff and 2 others like this.
  4. Philpug

    Philpug Enjoying being back on two skis. Admin Pugski Ski Tester

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    Start Haus has a great series on Ski tuning, here. It will make you laugh, it will make you cry and has a heart warming ending ;). I will say, if you are going to do your own tuning, you will be doing it for the love of the sport and to learn...not to save money...because you WILL spend more on the right tools than you will ever save. I would suggest starting small, let the shop do the heavy lifting, the major tuning, setting the bevels and base grinds, and you start by doign the clean up, some stones for cleaning up the edges and waxing.
     
  5. Sibhusky

    Sibhusky Out on the slopes Skier

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    I like tuning because I learn what I like and how the tune impacts your impression of the ski. Plus I'm lazy and it would require planning and driving out of my way to drop the skis off at a place I trust (none, actually, at this point, but even less so on the mountain).

    I started out small with just waxing and got comfortable with that before I added maintaining edges, changing edges, structuring, etc. Once I got comfortable with something I'd just stick with that a full season, then add the next item for the next season. That way there wasn't as much to learn (or to screw up). I now use a checklist for every ski so my mind doesn't wander about the order of events or where I am on a particular ski because I got interrupted. I'm usually doing multiple pairs at the beginning of the season and I have a more prolonged process compared to during the season, and I'm working on and off ever several weeks as the spirit moves me, so the checklists become important. (I have to refresh my mind just to which grit each stone is every year!).
     
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  6. Jacques

    Jacques Workin' It on Skis Best I Can Skier

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    I gotta' second the above. Jim from Start Haus has great tuning videos.
     
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  7. Wilhelmson

    Wilhelmson Getting off the lift Skier

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    Do it ! You will save money if you don't go crazy on tools. Have the shop file your edges and do whatever base work you might need. Start with vises, iron, plexi scraper, swix universal diamond stone, aluminium side bevel guide, gummi stone, brush and universal wax. That'll get you started. Black ptex candles are cheap and are good for the northeast rocky season which usually lasts from November to April.
     
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  8. cantunamunch

    cantunamunch Meh Skier

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    Get a full wax kit and you can improve even on Mike's work - he can only wax to the average, and not to specific conditions on any given day.

    This is particularly true early season (base building manmade snow), during mid-season polar blasts, and for late season slushboating with occasional freshies.
     
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  9. fullStack

    fullStack Rad. Skier

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    Didn't watch the videos to see if this was mentioned already, but getting up to speed on a pair of garbage skis is a good idea. If you can't find 'actual' garbage skis by asking at a shop, or finding them in a dumpster, you can probably find something on Craigslist etc. for $20 or so.
     
    skix and TheArchitect like this.
  10. UGASkiDawg

    UGASkiDawg AKA David Pugski Ski Tester

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    If I can do it anybody can do it.
     
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  11. jzmtl

    jzmtl Intermidiot Skier

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    Fiberlene waxing! So much less pain compare to scraping, and result is perfectly fine for average skiers. You don't even need fiberlene, brown paper towel will do too.

    Here's me doing it in 30 seconds (video length, not actual time spent lol), sorry for the vertical video, was meant for sharing on phones.
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2018
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  12. Dwight

    Dwight Practitioner of skiing, solid and liquid Admin Moderator

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    It's well worth it. Unlike others with deep pockets, it can be done very affordable. Especially if you just focus on waxing. If you like it, you may just enjoy the quiet time of waxing before your next outing. :)
     
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  13. Burton

    Burton Putting on skis Skier

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    I'm in the same happy boat. Every new pair of skis goes to Mike to be properly flattened and structured. But his full race tune, while worth it, is mighty spendy. So my job is to maintain that tune as long as possible. The shop tune lasts me at least a season, and then I tune my skis myself at least once a week (I race and coach). Make note of the edge angle Mike sets (which you may have requested), and buy a fixed edge guide with that bevel and a moonflex 100 and 200 grit diamond stone. Get some vices, a couple of brushes (start with stiff nylon and horsehair), and a good iron or even a SkiMD wax tool--they'll have it at Mike's. Also a plexi scraper and some easy all temp wax like Dominator Zoom. That's really all you'll need to start, aside from something sturdy to attach the vices to, and I like a radio. That's a $200-300 investment if you shop carefully.

    From there, well, it's like anything else, and within a couple of seasons you may have a roto brush, all manor of files, stones, cutters, a ceramic edging machine, piles of fibertex and fiberlene, and a fair bit less time and money on your hands.
     
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  14. Ken_R

    Ken_R Living the Dream Skier

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    I would have the initial tune made by Mike and then do they maintenance stuff yourself (Hot Wax, deburring / sharpening, etc).
     
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  15. Thread Starter
    TS
    TheArchitect

    TheArchitect Expert...only in my mind Skier

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    Thanks to everyone for the great replies! I'll read through and check out the videos. I'm sure I'll be back with more questions.
     
  16. Andy Mink

    Andy Mink I am a half fast skier. Moderator

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    @Philpug introduced me to this. Soooo much cleaner than scraping and a lot less waste.
     
  17. Thread Starter
    TS
    TheArchitect

    TheArchitect Expert...only in my mind Skier

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    I just finished watching the first suggested videos from Jacques and will move on to Start Haus and the others. I think the general comments above about starting small with waxing and edge maintenance is really good advice. Those videos scared me a bit, but not enough to keep me from trying it. I also like the idea of picking up a pair of junk skis to practice on is a good idea. I'll be less nervous than if I was working on my Kastles.
     
    Jacques likes this.
  18. Andy Mink

    Andy Mink I am a half fast skier. Moderator

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    Junk skis abound at thrift stores.
     
  19. Mendieta

    Mendieta Master of Snowplow Moderator

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    I started last year with side edge maintenance. The improvements in your skiing are phenomenal, and the effort rather minimal. Even my son, who doesn't care about these things, was fascinated by how much his control over his skis changed once I started touching his edges after each day at the slopes.
     
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  20. KingGrump

    KingGrump Most Interesting Man In The World Team Gathermeister

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    If you are in the Boston area. Invite a few Pugs with tuning experience to your man cave to share a few adult beverages. It'll become second nature after the first beer. :beercheer:
     

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