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Heating and Molding Intuition Ski Boot Liners

put foot in heated liner before placing in bootUPDATE: We are pleased to announce Intuition Boot Liners are now available from SlideWright.com.

True to DIYer form, trial and error (sometimes lots of errors) lead to a better understanding of ‘do’s and don’ts’. Molding Intuition Boot Liners was not excepted. After reading and viewing Intuition, Scarpa, SVST and DIY techniques and ideas, we set out to experiment with new Intuition Pro Tour liners from Scarpa Maestrale AT boots to discover and illustrate the pitfalls of home oven backing vs heat gun hot air approaches. A ‘modified conventional oven boot liner baking’ approach appears to be a reliable and safe for good boot to foot fitting. Especially for ovens without enough height to stand the liners on their bottoms.

scaled liner vs sound linerConventional Oven Baking: The first attempt was to place a liner on it’s side, in a 240° non-convection oven on wood supports instead of directly on the oven racks. After 5 minutes the oven, which was on, scorched and wrinkled the side of the liner where it was in contact with the wood. Big mistake and bummer! Though unsightly, functionally the liner is fine. Time will tell how long this remains true. The wood conducted high heat too readily from the concentrated heat from the lower baking element. With this older oven, the temperature of the elements probably need to far exceed the target oven temperature to generate enough heat for the whole oven to reach and maintain the 240°. A reasonable assumption is that a convention oven would be superior to conventional ovens.

240 heat gun for 12 minutesHot Air Gun: The second test was to keep the liners in the shell and utilize a digital heat gun with high output and reliable temperature control for 12 minutes to assimilate an Intuition blower heater. Care was made to make sure the nozzle did not touch the interior of the liner while driving heat to the toe area. It is desirable option since it reduces steps, time and needed care and effort to place a floppy, hot liner into difficult boot shells. This straight forward approach achieved an OK fit, but the exterior of the boot remained cold and did not mold to the shell. For many, this technique may be more than acceptable for basic boot fitting. It also could be utilized for minor spot heating and tweaks. For instance, if the toes fit well, but there is a small issue around the instep, the toe area could be stuffed with a sock or other insulating area, to focus the heat only on the problem area. Additionally, a longer heat application may provide better results.

left backed right heat gunThe liner on the left was baked in an oven, while the one on the right was heated with a heat gun. Note that the heat gun approach had no effect on the liner’s exterior.

Hot Rice: Similar to the heat gun approach with liners in boots, placing rice in an old sock and microwaving to achieve desired heat is an option (though not tested) that may be more desirable and convenient. Make sure to get the rice all the way into the toe area in the liner.

Hot Water: Boiling water in a collapsible water bottle can also provide lower temperature heat for minor adjustments, but probably is not the best option for fully heating the liner’s interior for proper molding.

added mass keeps oven at 240° after 12 minutesModified Conventional oven boot liner baking: As noted previously, it appears that a conventional oven’s heating element produces higher heat than which is desirable and practical to avoid liner damage and even heating inside and out. By adding mass to the equation, a more controllable and even temperature can be maintain for the time frame needed. Four, 6 x 6x 3/8″ ceramic tiles provided sufficient mass to keep the oven temperature 240° for 12 minutes in our tests after the oven was turned off to avoid high heat issues. (Rubber ‘pads’ where placed on the tiles to avoid direct contact with the liners as a precaution.) Though the 12 minutes was a little arbitrary of a time frame, it did appear to be sufficient for our molding purposes. Longer or shorter may be fine for others.

footbedBasic Liner Molding Steps:  While the liners were heated, 1/8″, adhesive backed boot fitting pads were cut to allow more room at known pressure points. This was coupled with toe caps and a thin sock.

footbed ready for sockIf a foot bed was desired, it could also be placed on the foot before putting on the sock. In the interest of gram counting, the foot bed was omitted for this round to also see how well the Intuition bottoms support the foot on their own. Silicone spray was used to lubricated the shell interiors.

place sock over toe caps pads and footbedAfter the timer for the baking liner chimed, placing the sock with pad(s), foot bed and toe cap was placed in the liner, before being placed in the shell, while pulling upward on the liner multiple times. (See 1st image.)

lightly buckle boot and place toe on board for 10 minutesAfter lightly buckling the boot, knocking the boot heel helps to set the heel into the liner. Place the toe on a board and stand on the boot in a neutral position for ten minutes.

Afterwards, remove the foot from the boot. Take out the pad, caps and foot bed (if used) from the sock. Again, if used, place the foot bed in the liner after it is placed in the shell. Test the fit of boot and tweak as needed.

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SkiVisions Base Flattener & Structuring Plane

(Updated 11/2/12: Revised instruction and NEW instruction videos at the bottom of the page)

A ski base must be flat for optimum ski performance.  The SkiVisions Base Flattener is a powerful planing tool designed to quickly flatten and structure a ski base with a minimum of expertise, effort and potential for error.  (Patent # 4,884,343)

Is base flattening and structuring with the SkiVisions Base Flattener expensive?  NO!  It is true that you have to make the initial capital investment in the tool and inserts, but thereafter all inserts are re-sharpenable an infinite number of times and RARELY need replacement.  We show you how.

What is unique about the SkiVisions Base Flattener?  It is the only effective hand tool ever produced that provides a superior alternative to stone grinding or flat filing.

Why is this uniqueness important?

  • Flat bases are a critical element for properly tuned skis
  • Convex (base high) bases are rounded and the edges will act dull
  • Concave (edge high) bases will make the edges grabby

How is the uniqueness accomplished?

The Base Flattener is a large and powerful planing tool that can eat either plastic alone or plastic and edge metal, depending on the blade used.

The Ruby Stone Blades (see description below) are 6 inches long and come in  medium and coarse grits for different structures cut into the base plastic while you are flattening it.  The Ruby Stone Blades require no skill to use.  Since they cannot cut metal to any significant degree, you cannot cause problems that aren’t easily corrected.

The steel blade requires some skill and care when using it, but it is a powerful blade that can slice through steel and plastic on ski bases simultaneously and can be re-sharpened an infinite number of times (see “Stone/Steel Inserts Maintenance).  However, we now prefer using the File Base Flattener on metal edges and just use the steel blade for final finish on the p-tex.

How to use the Base Flattener

The Base Flattener is a push tool which means you push it down the ski base from behind the tool.

The Base Flattener is pushed in the tip to tail direction only. Use only light pressure with the steel blade, moderate pressure with the Ruby Stone Blades. Use overlapping strokes and pull the tool back between strokes.  The primary pressure is applied with your back hand on the large hump. The front hand on the small hump is primarily there to guide and control the tool.

Look at the picture to the right closely and you will notice that the stone blade is lifted off the ski base, yet the front black glide bar is still on the ski.  We recommend that when you are pulling the Base Flattener back in the backstroke that you leave the front of the tool on the ski base, but that you pick up the back of the tool slightly so that the blade does not touch the ski base at all during the backstroke phase.

You will not make hairs on your base if you make sure that the blade is not touching the base on the backstroke.  You will make base hairs if you pressure the tool on the backstroke.  DON’T PRESSURE THE BACKSTROKE!

The Ruby Stone Blades only cut base plastic when the grit is exposed, the grit  gets quickly clogged with base plastic and the stone needs to be cleaned frequently by brushing with the brass brush which comes with the Base Flattener.  Always clean the wax from your base with wax remover before using the Ruby Stone Blade as wax will clog the grit more readily than will polyethylene.

The 6 Inch Ruby Stone Blades

The Ruby Stone Blades are completely different from the old stone blades. They are sharper, more powerful, easier to use, produce far better results, leave an incredibly clean and hair free base, and can be re-sharpened numerous times, which re-sharpening returns them to near new performance.  If they are sharpened so many times they no longer fit in the tool, folded paper shims can be made so they can still be used.  They have a very long usable life.

The Ruby Stone Blades come in medium and coarse.  The tool comes standard with the medium grit blade, the coarse blades are accessories.  Which blade is best for you?  See Base Structuring Decisions below, which also describes varying the amount of structure each blade imparts on the ski base based on the amount of pressure applied to the Base Flattener.  Also, note the lines at each side of the stone. They are critical to how the blade is positioned in the Base Flattener and how it is re-sharpened according to the instructions below.  (See Stone/Steel Inserts Maintenance)

The coarse blade is primarily used for efficiently removing plastic from a convex (base high) base.  It is a very aggressive blade and should be followed with the steel blade to de-structure the base.

The new Ruby Stone Blades are aluminum oxide stones, the highest quality aluminum oxide grit there is, and they have two unique characteristics that make them particularly effective.  First the grit is much sharper than standard aluminum oxide so they cut more rapidly.  Second, the grit fractures to new sharp points, much like the diamond grit on a fine diamond file, so that when the Ruby Stones are re-sharpened, their performance remains consistent with (although not quite as sharp) as a brand new stone, the sharp new points being replenished every time it is sharpened. They take only minutes to re-sharpen, which also re-flattens them,  so doing it frequently really pays. They are, quite frankly, the best of all worlds.

The Ruby Stone Blades give skis better performance than stone grinding.  Why? One of the important aspects of sintered polyethylene bases is that they are porous. The porosity naturally allows the base to absorb more ski wax, and it helps reduce surface tension thereby increasing glide.  Because a Ruby Stone cuts the polyethylene so cleanly, the pores are left open.  Stone grinding, on the other hand, causes the polyethylene to move laterally (smear or creep) on the base due to the speed and pressure of the stone, resulting in the pores getting partially covered up with plastic “creep”.

Using the Ruby Stones is a “no-brainer” approach to base flattening and structuring.  Just keep them off the metal edges, which cause them to wear excessively.  You can feel when the stone is on the metal edge, use the steel blade or the SkiVisions Ski Sharp to bevel the edge before continuing with the Ruby Stone, or better yet, use the File Base Flattener to bring the steel edge flush to the base.

Also, when the ski is convex (base high), always flatten it with the Ruby Stones, never the steel blade, the steel blade is for concave skis when you want to take down metal, or the File Base Flattener.  The coarse stone blade is the most efficient and effective insert when taking down a  base high convex base.

Always clean the wax off your base with wax remover before using the Ruby Stones, wax will clog the grit.

Base Structuring Decisions

What is structure on a ski base?  It is the process of roughening it to reduce surface tension.  If your base is very smooth, surface tension, simply put, is suction from a lack of air between the base and the snow, which slows its glide.  Very smooth bases tend to be very slow bases.

As a general rule, you want to use the coarsest structure to minimize surface tension because rougher surfaces have less surface tension.  However, it isn’t that simple.  New snow crystals are sharp and will dig into a coarse structure causing considerable drag.  The rules need to be followed:

1.  In new, cold snow the structure needs to be fine. The newer and colder the snow, the finer the structure.

2.  As snow gets older, the crystal points start breaking down,  so you can then go to a medium structure.

3.  As snow goes through multiple freeze and thaw cycles the crystals lose their sharpness and so a coarse structure works best.

A simple rule to follow is to use medium stones in early and mid-winter, medium and coarse structures in late winter and early spring.  If the medium structure is too coarse for very cold fresh snow, just de-structure with the steel blade.  (See Tuning Routines)

Using your true bar

A true bar is a critical, must have ski tuning tool, it is used to inspect ski base flatness.  They are easy to use but you must have a strong background light to “read” the base.  We like inexpensive drafting lamps where the light can be focused at the tip.  Tip the true bar up on edge as seen in the picture when reading base flatness.

As long as you have a decent true bar and a strong background light, reading your base is very simple and obvious.

If a ski is flat, there will be a solid, unwavering light band across the width of the base. It will be very obvious that is it flat.

If the ski is concave, there will be a greater amount of light coming through at the center of the base than at the ski edges (“edge high”).  This will be very obvious.

If the ski is convex so that the base in the center of the ski is higher than the edges (“base high”), the light band will be more narrow at the center of the base, wider over the edges. The Ruby Stone Blade is used to correct the convexity.

Keep in mind that you can also observe your base flatness just by the structure pattern.  If it is consistent the entire base, it is flat.  Inconsistencies disclose high or low spots and are generally easy to see.

Advanced Techniques:

BASE WAVES:

It is common for ski bases to have waves on them, and stone grinding will not remove them because the stone rides up and down with the waves. The waves have to be cut off from an angle.  Also, they cannot be seen.  If you use the Base Flattener at an angle as shown in the picture, you will find there is more drag in certain spots than others. Those spots with extra drag are base waves.  As you continue to make additional passes on the base you will find the drag at that point becomes progressively less and that finally it disappears, the wave is removed.
SKIP MARKS:

Skip marks can ONLY be put in the base with the steel blades, NEVER the Ruby Stone Blades. Skip marks are caused by

  • pushing the tool down the base with too much speed
  • pushing on the tool with excessive pressure
  • using a blade that is too dull, it needs sharpening
  • The base is too smooth and slick, roughen it with the Ruby Stone
  • Trying to do too much work too quickly
  • you have a rock hardened/damaged edge section next to the mark

You won’t put in skip marks if you keep the blade nice and sharp and use the tool with a lighter touch, letting the tool do the job rather than over-muscling it. If you have a rock hardened/damaged section it needs to be polished out with the Ski Sharp Stones before flattening with the steel blade.

If you do put in skip marks, they won’t damage the performance of your skis. They just don’t look very good.  To remove, angle the Base Flattener and use the Ruby Stones, the angle used coming from the opposite angle as the skip marks in the base, they have to be cut off from a cross-angle.

Due to the curvature of the ski at tip and sometimes at tail (flip tail skis) using the Ruby Stone Blade by hand can sometime work better than in the Base Flattener.  Just keep the blade up on edge and follow the contour of the base to get a uniform structure across the width.

If your ski is very concave it is best to use the File Base Flattener, the steel blade is best kept for fine detail work rather than using it for heavy work.

It is VERY IMPORTANT to polish off the burr that is left whenever you work on metal ski edges, a burr makes the skis over-sharp and dangerous. We recommend the SkiVisions Ski Sharp for such purpose, or you can polish the edges by hand with a stone.

The steel blade falls from the tool when the retaining screws are loosened. It is sharp and heavy and should be done over your bench carefully.

Maintain a firm grip on the tool when running it off the tail of the ski so you don’t drop it.

Keep your fingers on the tool and out of the way of the sharp metal ski edges.  Your ski must be held in a ski vise when using the Base Flattener.

(Note: reprinted from SkiVisions with permission.)

The following videos relate to using the Base Flattener and maintaining the cutting inserts:

SkiVisions Flattening bases with the Base Flattener Part 1

SkiVisions Flattening bases with the Base Flattener Part 2

SkiVisions Maintaining Cutting Inserts, Base Flattener Stones, HS Steel Bar & Files

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Prepping for Sweet Corn & Crust

One of life’s simple pleasures is getting out for skate skiing, touring or making turns on a warming bluebird day, with an inch or so of wet sweet corn on firm crust or solid base. Spring & summer predawn hikes on crust to harvest morning corn is right up there.

The best corn comes after a freeze of transformed, wet snow from the day before. The snow is no longer flakes or crystals, but saturated ice ‘kernels’ known as frozen corn. Depending on timing, aspect and other factors, this can start out like a coral reef, a very abrasive crust, sun-cupped, or ‘icy’, among other consistencies. As it melts and transforms again to wet corn, how do you prepare your boards to perform well all day in these variable conditions?

If you wax with a warmer & softer wax for the warmer, wet conditions, you can easily wear off the wax on highly abrasive, colder snows, while you wait for conditions to moisten and soften (or not). If you wax with cold wax, you may miss out on the best glide and enjoyment when it becomes prime time.

One option is to simply wait until conditions soften and you hit it when the conditions are best and wax accordingly. This may be easier said than done for some and as the unreliable weather can change, this plan may backfire.

We’ve found the best balance between ideal wax temperatures for glide and abrasive snows is to start with an aggressive base structure, wax with a very durable mid and broad temperature base liquid or solid wax like Briko-Maplus BP1 Violet or Colder and harder BP1 Blue or Green, and top it with a warm temp Low Fluoros like Briko-Maplus Universal Hot or LP2.

The base structure doesn’t seem to matter relative to the coarse, frozen snow, but makes a huge difference when the snow becomes saturated by channeling water and reducing suction. The durable base wax provides a longer and better protection for the bases and runs very well in a wide range of condition if the softer wax wears off. Depending on how the day goes, the LF wax may be perfect for the entire day and will provide an extra bump in glide.

Additionally, since it is a softer wax, it can easily be reapplied if desired or necessary by crayoning/rubbing on solids, wiping on cream/paste or liquids, or spraying (most convenient and durable option) high-melt waxes and then corking and polishing with a brush.

If you are concerned about an aggressive base structure and temperatures and snow type reverting towards colder, the harder waxes can be still utilized, but not brushed out of the structure as much as when you need the structure for water channeling. This will effectively ‘moderate’ the base structure to closer match the colder snows.

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Summer Storage Waxing after Pond Skimming

pond_skimmingNow that you skimmed the pond due to proper waxing and technique (and hopefully not your good gear) 😉 , it’s usually a sign for most that it’s time to put your boards in storage.

Following is a recent bulletin from Toko:

TECH BULLETIN
Source: Toko Brand Management Office, Heber City, UT info@TokoUS.com 866-TOKO-USA

Here are Toko’s recommendations for storage waxing of skis. First clean the
skis well. This can be done with wax remover or by simply brushing the bases
out well with a copper brush depending on how dirty they are. Then drip on a
generous amount of NF or LF Red. Iron it in making sure that there is enough
wax to provide a thick layer on the base and that the iron is hot enough to ensure
a good bond between the wax and the base. This ironing procedure is normal,
but sometimes a person rushes through storage waxing and the wax is not really
heated outside of that it becomes liquid. The ski bases often times don’t even
become warm. This will result in air between the base and the ski and less
protection.
Red is our choice for storage waxing as Blue is so hard that it is more difficult to
make sure that there is no air between the ski and base and Yellow is so soft that
it gets “eaten away” quicker. NF or LF Red is perfect because their consistency
is perfect.
If waxing Alpine skis, slop the wax over the edges and cover them too.
A SUMMARY:
1. Brush skis out well with Copper Brush
2. Iron in System3 Red or LF Red making sure adequate wax is used and
that the wax is heated in well.

See the Toko Information Center for more tips and helpful hints.

In addition to the aforementioned rationale for using a medium temperature wax versus soft/warm temperature wax for storage, it is more likely that it will be appropriate for the initial snow temps you’ll encounter next fall than the soft. In the fall/early winter, for those wishing to minimize extra steps, time and expense, you might be good to go by simply scraping, brushing.

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Base Cleaning Hot Scrape or Cleaner??

(FAQ)
There is a school of thought that base cleaners/wax removers should never be used on the ski bases and hot scraping is the only method to employ for cleaning ski and snowboard bases. The thinking is cleaners will absolutely dry out the bases and destroy the wax saturation level and optimal glide achieved through repetitive wax cycles. How much wax is removed is highly variable from zero to a fair amount depending on duration, how aggressive is the cleaner and how much brushing and elbow grease is applied.

This is an ‘old wives tale’ or hearsay at work (that endlessly gets perpetuated on the internet and via word of mouth) when it comes to the debate over using cleaners vs. hot scraping with a soft wax. From a technical standpoint sintered bases are basically inert and do not bond well with anything. The surface of the base in contact with the snow is amorphous and random in nature. Structuring the base creates lines in the base material and establishes a pattern, but the underlying material is still amorphous and random.

Wax (or base cleaner for that matter) only penetrates a very small amount into the base, about 15 microns and only where random voids exist. 15 microns is a very small measurement (1% or so of base thickness~15 to 20 microns is about 0.0006 to 0.0008 inch). How can base cleaner possibly “dry out” the base if it only penetrates 15 microns? The answer quite simply is it doesn’t. Base cleaner, or at least Briko-Maplus base cleaner is basically detergent dissolved in a solvent. The solvent almost entirely evaporates and the detergent works to properly clean the base. When you take your dirty car to a car wash do you wax it first or clean it with detergent and then wax it? I’ve tried both and the later definitely seems to work better.

A distinction should be made between paraffin and perfluorinated waxes. A specific base cleaner called Fluorclean should be used to remove perfluorinated waxes as it is designed to remove all traces of fluorine from the base. Hot scraping at best blends new wax with a combination of old wax and contaminants in the old wax. I admit you will notice some contaminants being drawn out of the base when hot scraping if the base is dirty, but the iron is not a magnet and does not magically remove all contaminants using wax as a conduit. Residual wax left on the base after hot scraping will still have undesirable stuff in it.

Additionally, duration and type of cleaners can be employed judiciously to expedite and provide clean bases, ready for the next coat of wax. The longer a wax remover or solvent sits on the base, the more it can cut into the wax and any contaminates. Also, a more aggressive cleaner can also be used to remove the surface contaminants in little time and use of materials while eliminating the hot scraping steps and mess. Diluted (1:5) household cleaners like Simple Green can provide adequate cleaning. Biodegradable citrus based cleaners can be great options for cleaning the base and removing wax when harsher solvent based cleaners are not needed or desired. For base repairs, base cleaners are necessary, coupled with some sanding and cutting of the base material.

So, back to the original question. The best way to clean the bases is the method that is best for you, your preferences, time available, costs or beliefs: either hot scraping, base cleaner or a combination. If you are concerned about base cleaner remnants on the base, you can also hot scrape afterwards or simply wipe off with water.

A caveat to keep in mind is that skis and snowboards tend to run better and faster after more wax cycles and time on the snow. So, more aggressive cleaning would require more wax cycles to optimize the glide than a less aggressive, more topical cleaning.

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Not much has really changed since 1941

The more things change, the more things remain the same…..but get more complicated and expensive.

For training USA mountain troops in 1941. In this segment, we learn how to choose the proper ski length, how to choose and take care of boots, how to adjust bindings, how to care for ski edges and ski bottoms. Alan Ladd is one of the recruits.

 This clip from the Classic Film: The Basic Principles of Skiing

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SlideWright Supports CAIC to Help Colorado Avalanche Forecasting

caic-2013CAIC, the Colorado Avalanche Information Center is funded by donations and is an important avalanche forecasting resource for backcountry skiers and snowboarders, along with other snow season backcountry users.

The purpose of the CAIC is to minimize the
economic and human impact of snow avalanches on recreation, tourism, commerce, industry and the citizens of Colorado. Since 1950 avalanches have killed more people in Colorado than any other natural hazard, and in the United States, Colorado accounts for one-third of all avalanche death.

Every year there is a Friends of CAIC benefit bash where
participants can support the CAIC by purchasing tickets, beers and place bids on auction items provided from many outdoor gear companies. SlideWright Ski & Snowboard Tools & Wares  is one company that believes in supporting the organization that all rely on to provide the best available weather and avalanche risk information for Colorado’s backcountry.

So step up and support the CAIC! Bid often on these items from SlideWright and others to help raise the funds needed for this important organization!

The Friends of CAIC are proud to announce the

8th Annual CAIC Benefit Bash

November 14, 2015
5 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Breckenridge Riverwalk Center
Tickets: http://www.breckcreate.org/event/caicbenefitbash/
Discount hotel rooms can be found at Beaver Run Resort
Please call 1-800-525-2253 and reference the CAIC Benefit Bash

caic_bb_poster

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JigaRex™ Universal Ski Binding Mount Jig System

UPDATE: Dynafit Radical 2.0 & Marker Kingpin Mount Plates are now available.

universal-ski-jigThe Pliny Equipment JigaRex Binding Jig System clamps to the side of skis and helps you quickly align the boot sole center on the ski mount point. JigaRex interchangeable binding plates are purchased separately for specific binding types and are easily seated on the Universal Jig for your favorite alpine, backcountry and telemark bindings.

Click here for the currently available binding plates.

Following are a few videos to show the basic function and operation of the JigaRex Universal Binding Mount Jig:

JigaRex™ Videos

Quick Overview

JigaRex™ Self-Centering Clamps Operation and Demonstration

Proper Usage of JigaRex Mounting Plates

Guardian Bindings with the JigaRex™

Dynafit Bindings with the JigaRex™

If you use the JigaRex™, as with any tool, it is your responsibility to ensure the quality and safety of work you do, as well as the safety of the bindings. It is highly recommended that a certified binding technician performs a binding check to verify proper release and function of ski bindings.

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Efficient Hot Waxing, Scraping and Brushing

Following, are two videos, a few minutes long, showing various hot waxing techniques, along with minimal scraping and roto-brushing to bang out waxing tasks in little time and with little mess. Not including cooling and hardening time (20 minutes, minimum) the total time involved could be easily under 15 minutes and possibly 10 per pair or snowboard. Using liquid wax, the time could be 5 minutes:
(Note select the ‘HQ’ icon for Higher Quality video.)

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Cool! New boards! Now what????

You just got some new skis or a snowboard. Now what?

Unwrap & drool, then inspect them to ‘get to know’ them

  • Check bases for flatness with a true bar and backlighting
  • Look for consistent base structure and for any gouges
  • Eyeball torsional squareness and general structure evenness
  • Measure the side and base bevels and record info
  • Check general consistent sharpness of the edges and for burrs or nicks. Also, check for rust
  • Detune the tips and tails around the shovel until they are no longer sharp and catch objects
  • Make any necessary (hopefully none or minor) fixes and tweaks
  • Clean, wax, scrape and brush a few cycle
  • Ski or ride ’em, repeat above and make any edge bevel tweaks deemed appropriate and test again

Periodically repeat above

willi

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Soldering Iron Base Repair

While skiing or riding challenging terrain or sparse snow coverage, it’s inevitable that your bases will get dinged. Core shots need to be sealed and protected, Gouges need to be filled to keep your bases running smooth.

The days of burning ptex candles are over. A weld is a far superior repair option. The use of a soldering iron and base welding materials is a quick and effective option for the DIYer.

Base repair tools and supplies can be found here.

(Note select the ‘HQ’ icon for Higher Quality video.)

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Drilling Skis to Mount Ski Bindings

Drilling ski with stepped alpine drill bit

Drilling skis to mount ski bindings is very straight forward and similar to drilling a multitude of materials like woods, plastics and composites. Practice on wood scraps helps to relieve stress before drilling your precious skis for the firs time.

Take your time, measure thrice and drill once. You’ll soon learn how easy and undaunted you will become.

 

If you haven’t done so, please also check out the following topics before proceeding:

-Finding Your Ski’s Centerline
-Paper Ski Binding Templates
-Drill and Tap Guides for Hand Drilling

 After locating your binding template relative to the ski center line and boot sole center mark on the skis:
  1. Secure template with masking tape
  2. Mark small holes with a very sharp awl by hand at the hole locations
  3. Double check that hole marks are equidistant from centerline
  4. Measure with ruler, tape or calipers to assure they match the template
  5. Place the binding piece and visually make sure the marks align properly

 

 

 

 

If you find minor errors in your marks, you can use the awl tip to slightly ‘move’ the mark.

 

Once you are certain your hole layout is accurate, use a punch and hammer to enlarge the mark to provide a better guide for the drill bit tip.

Relative to your experience level, confidence, required tolerances, drill and drill bit type, and other factors, the following hand drilling steps may be variable. Stainless steel inserts require a higher level of accuracy for location and vertical drilling than an alpine screw.  If you have a drill press with a stop, you certainly don’t need a drill guide, but may consider using a drill bit stop collar on the bit. A stepped alpine drill bit ‘s shoulder may suffice for some as a reasonable ‘stop’ for drilling, but not others. A straight jobber, brad tipped or even stepped 1/4″ bits absolutely need a drill bit stop collar or certainty with a drill press stop.

The moment of truth, drilling the skis with a hand drill with various methods:

Drill Guide & Drill Bit Stop Collar:

  1. Set the depth of the drill bit stop collar to proper depth
  2. Locate the guide in the punched drill hole mark with the drill bit tip
  3. Clamp if desired or secure with a firm hand
  4. Turn on hand drill and to drill to the stop
  5. Turn off and pull out bit
  6. Repeat on the remaining holes

Drill Bit Stop Collar:

  1. Set the depth of the drill bit stop collar to proper depth
  2. Locate the drill bit in the punched drill hole mark
  3. Turn on hand drill and to drill to the stop
  4. Turn off and pull out bit
  5. Repeat on the remaining holes

Freehand Drilling with Stepped Drill Bit:

  1. Locate the drill bit in the punched drill hole mark
  2. Turn on hand drill and to drill to the shoulder (BE CAREFUL)
  3. Turn off and pull out bit
  4. Repeat on the remaining holes

Final Steps:

Tap holes as necessary for top sheet type or stainless steel inserts:

Check drilled holes and vacuum drill dust:

Add binding sealant/glue or epoxy as desired or recommended. Remove bubbles with toothpick and make sure perimeter and base of holes are coated:

 

 

Mount binding parts with proper screws and driver:

 

Make sure bindings are mounted flat to the ski surface with no gaps:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Visually inspect mounting of all binding parts and alignment:

 

Have boot fit, correct forward pressure and proper DIN set by authorized ski technician:

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Tools4Bikes Velovise Portable Bike Repair and Maintenance Stand

velovise_mtnIntroducing Velovise, the incredibly portable bike workstand for all avid cyclists from beginner to experienced professional shop mechanic. Velovise is revolutionizing bike maintenance and repair by making cumbersome, difficult to transport and space-consuming traditional bike repair stands obsolete.

Weighing only 4 lbs. (1.8 kg) and with box dimensions of 29 x 11 x 11cm, Velovise is small enough to fit in your luggage, carry-on or a small cupboard for storage. Velovise easily fastens to any tabletop with a thickness up to 2 1/2″ (6 cm) and is fully adjustable and compatible with the vast majority of road and mountain bikes right out of the box with the following features:

  • Includes 100mm quick release, 15mm & 20mm thru axle adapters.
  • 130mm & 135mm quick release, Lefty®, 25mm Specialized®, 24mm Maverick®, 12mm x 135, 12mm x 142, & 12mm x 150 axle adapters are also available but sold separately.
  • Clamp-integrated cleat firmly tensions shock cord to secure frame against bottom bracket cradle.
  • Bottom bracket support is positioned high enough above tabletop to allow pedals to spin freely.
  • Makes any table a bike repair stand.

For instructions, click here

A Brief video on the new Tools4Bikes Velovise:

Velovise has been awarded Finalist at ISPO BrandNew, the world’s largest start-up competition in the sports business and has been pre-ordered by a large, high profile Canadian retailer for the upcoming 2014 season.

Tools4bikes is Innovation Incorporated’s new bike brand. Innovation Incorporated has been active producing ski and snowboard tuning products for more than 25 years and has extensive experience in the design and manufacture of vises across multiple sports. We have applied this technology and know-how to the bike market to come up with the revolutionary Velovise.

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Stainless Steel Screws for Threaded Inserts

BFsmall_headThe common question regarding the screws needed for stainless steel inserts (Binding Freedom & Quiver Killers have the same threads) and particular bindings
hopefully can be answered here. It is impossible for us to remain on top of every screw for every binding and there are variables that can be at play depending on your particular set of circumstances (ie, insert installation depth, shims, binding thickness, etc).

Measuring your binding thickness and adding that to your insert depth is your best guide.

Ordering more screws than you think you’ll need is always a good idea. BFlow_headAlso, you can always reduce the length of screws that are a little long. If in doubt, erring towards longer screws with the possibility of minor modifications by grinding or filing allows some flexibility.

Using a threadlocker like Vibra-Tite or Loctite is highly recommended.

Binding Freedom has a Screw Length Chart that will be updated from time to time, along with the following screw measuring tips and images.

Tips on Measuring your bindings for screw lengths
Flathead and Smallhead screws are measured as the total length of the screw, while Buttonhead screws are measured as the length of just the threads
Fasteners should protrude 4mm MIN and 6mm MAX into a threaded insert.  To determine the idea fastener length, press an existing screw into the binding hole. Make sure it has bottomed out in its hole. Measure how far it protrudes below the base of the binding.
Measure the screw itself as well. Subtract the protrusion length from the length of the screw. Add 5mm to that length. Find the closest size fastener that is within 1mm of that number. In this example, 13mm – 9mm + 5mm = 9mm. Either an 8mm or 10mm flathead would be appropriate for this binding.

 

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Pretty Faces – Female Ski and Snowboard Film Trailer

Screen Shot 2014-09-03 at 10.19.46 AMSlideWright.com, as one of the sponsors, is happy to announce that “Pretty Faces is a film celebrating women who thrive in the snow. The concept for the film was originated by professional big mountain skier and SheJumps co-founder, Lynsey Dyer with the objective of giving women and girls, young and old, a source of inspiration through a unique look at what is possible when boundaries are broken, dreams captured and friendships cultivated. In Lynsey’s words “I wanted to give young girls something positive to look up to…I wanted to give them their Blizzard of Ahhs, Ski Movie or High Life, but done in a way that also shows the elegance, grace, community and style that is unique to women in the mountains.”

Current Tour Schedule:
September 30, Boulder Theater, Boulder, CO
October 3, Roxy Theatre, Revelstoke, BC
October 4, Sturtevant’s, Sun Valley, ID
October 8, Tower Theatre in Salt Lake City, UT
October 15, Volcanic Theatre Pub, Bend OR
October 15, Roxy Theatre, Missoula, MT
October 16, The Mountaineers , SEATTLE, WA
October 17, Pink Garter Theatre, Jackson, WY
October 19, Don Thomas Sporthaus, Birmingham, MI
October 22, Portland, Oregon with EVO Gear
October 23, Outdoor Gear Exchange, Burlington, VT
October 25, Brava Theatre, San Francisco, CA
October 29, Egyptian Theatre, Boise, ID
October 30, Backcountry Essentials, Bellingham, WA
November 13th, Hadley Farms Meeting House, Hadley, MA
November 14, with WomensMovement.com, Durango, CO
November 15, Center for Contemporary Arts, Santa Fe, NM
November 16, Marriott Park City, Park City, UT
November 26, The Sitzmark at Alyeska, Girdwood, AK
December 12, South Lake Tahoe, NV
December 13, Taos Ski Valley, Taos, NM

Time will tell if our suggestion: “I hope the movie also includes the long view from ladies who are still ‘getting after it’ after many decades and not just the ‘young and pretty’ ” will come to pass, but we are looking forward to our first venture into supporting small film projects.

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New 2014 World Speed Ski Record Set on Briko-Maplus Wax

Tamtam Photo - Simone Origone recordman de la piste_1000_72dpiOn March 31st 2014, Simone Origone broke his 2006 World Speed Ski Record by skiing almost 100mph faster than a car traveling down the highway at 60mph! He reached 252.45kmh/157.87mph in the Italian Alps on Briko-Maplus race wax and super aerodynamic gear. Congratulations to Simone and Briko-Maplus waxes and technicians.

The waxes on his skis:

Briko-Maplus Racing Base: SM 40.60 World Cup Reserved
Briko-Maplus Fluoro Paraffin: HP3 Yellow2 (Race Choice) 80% + LP2 Green (Hardener) 20%
Briko-Maplus Perfluorinated Overlay: FP4 Hot-S Spray (Accelerator)

For a video of the World Speed Record:

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Ski-Mender RP105 Base Repair Gun

Update: To avoid a ‘cold weld’ that has the potential to tear out while finishing the repair or while sliding on snow, it is very important to make sure the Ski (and Snowboard) Mender RP105 has enough time to achieve proper temperature and to carefully heat the area around a repair before injecting the welding material. LDPE has a very low adhesive property, so we need the heating of both base and repair materials to form a proper weld.

You need about 430 degrees F/220 degrees C to get a proper weld, so it is important to let the smaller Ski and Snowboard Mender RP105 heat up for 20-25 minutes and then use the front or waxing iron on teflon sheet to preheat the base before injecting the material. DO NOT FORCE the trigger and the material. Wait until it is molten and easier to extrude.

The larger, professional grade ski and snowboard base repair gun (Base Mender RP 360) does run at a higher temp and heats the base of the ski or snowboard much faster.

Originally posted 1/30/08 (edited): We just received a few guns and performed some low tech initial testing of this new consumer level ski & snowboard base repair gun by Power Adhesives from the UK.

Talk about a nice size, lightweight, brainless and low tech. After less than ten minutes of heating up the 11mm/7/16″ welding rod/stick, it was smearing the material with it’s 440°F temperature. The directions say 10-15 minutes (which probably is wise to wait) and implied there was a switch, which there is not. I just tested it on the packaging plastic for better contrast for pictures. Without a damaged ski at the moment, I’ll try that out when the time comes and give the bases some mileage to see how long the repair lasts. It certainly isn’t a bomber/industrial grade tool, but like a decent glue gun that if taken care (ie, don’t drop on trigger) of seems adequately built for the home tuner and ought to last a while. No telling about the heating element though.

After initial extrusion and smearing of the provided proprietary welding material, I tried using the tip as a soldering/welding iron on metal grip, welding wire, ribbon & typical rod/stick (did not think to try it on ptex candle material). The tip is not as hot as soldering irons I’ve used and definitely did not smoke as much…very little in fact which was nice.

Regardless, it did seem to melt the material fine but not quite as fluid as the hotter irons have, though looks promising, especially for applying metal grip into the bottom gouges. I’m pretty sure the metal grip has a lower melting point than the other materials anyway.

Welding gun with metal stand. Fifteen minutes to heat up and melt 11 mm welding rod/sticks. Clean tip showing recessed fan shaped flow area. Linear smear of melted welding rod from gun & droplet/pool in background. Using heated tip as soldering/welding iron. Left to right: metal grip, welding wire, ribbon & rod/stick and smear through heated tip.

Below is a video on using the New RP360 and RP100 (now RP105):

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Ski & Snowboard Side Edge Filling Using Various Tools4Boards File Technologies

Screen Shot 2013-11-29 at 10.49.08 AMRick Weissenborn of Tools4Boards demonstrates edge filing with various Tools4Boards Metal file technologies along with some good tips on basic edge tuning.

Note that metal files remove more material than stones or diamonds and are used to set initial edge geometry or re-establishing very dull or roughed edges. Follow with a progression of stones or diamond files and remove the hanging burr on the base edge formed after filing the side edges. Don’t forget to plane or cut side walls that may interfere with the stone or file’s ability to cut the side edge. Also note that work hardened edge sections formed when hitting rocks or other hard objects, require using a stone before the files. Otherwise, your files will be dulled by these hardened edge sections.

 

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Fat Ski Straps for All-Mountain, Powder and Freeride Skis

sw_strap_elkAvoid splayed fat skis while schlepping your fat boards around or storing with our new fat ski straps. These straps will work for skis ranging from 100mm to over 160mm wide. If your shovels are wider, simply slide these straps down the ski until they do. These are great to carry in your pocket for those hike-to-terrain missions.

While strapping ski tips together Voile15-ski_thon your backcountry ski pack, these 2″ wide, durable straps will do the job just fine, but our 15″ Voile straps are the better option. The tried and true Voile straps are useful for any number of purposes including securing your bike to a rack, fix a busted ski pole strap, cinch a tent cord, you name it. Don’t head out without your ski straps, tie-downs or boat straps.

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Versatile Big Gator Tools Hand Drill and Tap Guides

Ski_drilling-guide3Any DIYer will find years of usefulness for an array of gear and home projects, repairs and maintenance out of Big Gator Hand Drill & Tap Guides. They can be used on flat surfaces (like skis & snowboards), corners and round items (like ski poles and bike frames). With or without clamping, these handy guides should be in every DIYers toolbox.

Big Gator Tools was established in 2005 and is now marketing the most universal patented drill Land tap guides ever sold. Guides are made from a special nickel alloyed steel that is heat-treated and ground along bottom surface to assure stability and accurate perpendicular alignment on flat surfaces. All guides have a 90 degree V-groove along the bottom that allows perpendicular alignment on round parts as well as corners.

TAP GUIDES: Holes are sized for ANSI Standard and Metric Ground Thread Taps.

Standard V-TapGuides can handle tap sizes: ( 0-80, 1-64, 1-72, 2-56, 2-64, 3-48, 3-56, 4-36, 4-40, 4-48, 5-40, 5-44, 6-32, 6-36, 6-40, 8-32, 8-36, 8-40, 10-24, 10-32, ¼-20, ¼-28, 5/16-18, 5/16-24, 3/8-16, 3/8-24, 7/16-14, 7/16-20, ½-13, ½-20, 5/8-11, 5/8-18)

Metric V-TapGuides can handle tap sizes: ( 1.6mm, 2mm, 2.5mm, 3mm, 3.5mm, 4mm, 5mm, 6mm, 8mm, 10mm, 12mm, 14mm, 16mm)

STI TAP GUIDES: (Screw Thread Inserts)

STI-UNC V-TapGuides can handle standard ground STI hand tap sizes: (Unified Coarse Threads: 9/16-12, 1/2-13, 7/16-14, 3/8-16, 5/16-18, 1/4-20, 12-24, 10-24, 8-32, 6-32)

STI-UNF V-TapGuides can handle standard ground STI hand tap sizes: (United Fine Threads: 5/8-18, 9/16-18, 1/2-20, 7/16-20, 3/8-24, 5/16-24, 1/4-28, 10-32, 8-36)

DRILL GUIDES:

Standard V-DrillGuides are made for 17 standard drill sizes: (1/8 to 3/8 in 1/64 increments) Covers all the drill sizes in a standard 3/8 drill index except drill sizes smaller than 1/8”. Heat treated for durability like drill bushings. It’s like having a portable drill press anywhere! Straight perpendicular alignment wherever you go.

Metric V-DrillGuides can handle drill sizes: 3, 3.3, 3.5, 4, 4.2, 4.5, 5, 5.5, 6, 6.5, 6.8, 7, 7.5, 8.0, 8.5, 9, 9.5mm

Here is a video from Tom Hintz, owner/publisher of NewMetalworker.com made this video as part of an independent review of the Big Gator Drill and Tap Guides. (Please note that the tap guides do not need to be clamped in place like in the video to hand tap.)

For additional information also see: Drill and Tap Guides for Hand Drilling

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Basic Ergo Razor Side Wall Planer Instructions

Side wall removal is necessary to allow the edge cutting tools to cut or polish the edges. If you are seeing plastic in your files or stones, it’s time for you to remove the side wall where the top of the side edge meets the side of your boards (see image upper left). The SkiMan Ergo Razor Side Wall Planer works basically the same as variations and it’s cousins branded under several ski and snowboard tuning tool companies.

If disassembled, simply put the post in the hole in the planer body and tighten with the knob or included hex wrench so it looks like this:

You can flip the direction of the blade for pulling on the left or right side. The knob also controls the in and out location of the blade to position it relative to where the edge meets the side wall. The two screws on top are for setting the height. The blade should just skim/plane the side wall in thin slices. Adjust deeper as needed and as you use repetitive strokes. If it skips, it’s cutting too much and you need to back off.

The blade post can accept either a round blade or a rounded square for optimal planing depending on side wall shape. The hex wrench can be used to replace or rotate the blade to a fresher and sharper cutting edge.

After planing you may wish to touch up the planed area with a fine file, sandpaper and/or tex pad.

For more side wall planing and cutting tips, see: Planing and Cutting Back SideWalls.

Updated: 4/7/13 for additional information.

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Toko Ski & Snowboard Vise Options

As a general guide there are three main Toko options for Alpine Ski Vises to choose from (and one for Snowboard and Skis).  Here they are with a brief explanation:

Toko Ski Vise World Cup
This is our most popular vise.  It can hold the skis base up for waxing, scraping, and base edge bevel tuning.  It can also hold the skis between 90 degrees (and anywhere down to 60 degrees) for tuning the side edge.  The clamping surface is 70mm long providing a very sold hold on bindings or binding plates and narrower ski side walls.  The jaws open up to 95mm.
Toko Ski Vise Freeride-155mm
For those with very wide skis and who don’t want to clamp the Ski Vise WC to the binding plates, this is a great option.  We have changed the end pieces on this vise to bring the cost down.  The jaws open to a massive 155mm giving the option of fixing skis from the binding plates or the sidewalls.  Also gives the option of 60 and 90 degrees for working on side edges.

 

Toko Ski Vise Express

This vise doesn’t “fix” the skis down per say, but still allows for a decent surface for waxing, scraping, and tuning skis.  If the vises are placed far enough apart and the top sheets are dry, friction from the high-grip rubber pads keeps the ski still and stable enough for some decent work.  This vise is perfect for anyone who wants a basic set up for hot waxing and tuning but doesn’t want to spring for a Ski Vise WC or Freeride.

 

Toko Board Grip
Friction from high-grip rubber pads against the snowboard or ski top sheet hold the snowboard or a pair of skis fast when working on the base.  The snowboard or ski can be fixed vertically when working on side edges.  Adjustable widths.

 

 

 

(Reprinted and edited from Toko eBlast.)

Updated links 8/29/13

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Boot Sole Center Gauge

The old adage “Measure Thrice, drill once” is applied to measuring, drilling and mounting bindings. A necessary part of the process is to double check ski mounting lines on both skis to verify accuracy. This step is typically overlooked when considering Boot Sole Centers.

Manufacturing errors, wear and tear and other factors may create an inaccuracy in the actual length and center of the boot.

As a simple tool to quickly verify the accuracy of your boot soles and there centers, here is a Ski Boot Sole Center Gauge that can be downloaded, printed and spliced at the Boot Center Line (after verifying scale) to set your boots on to check length and center mark accuracy.

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Paper or Clear Plastic Ski Binding Templates

A very useful resource for DIY binding mounting and comparisons is paper (or clear plastic) binding templates. Not only are they great aids for accurately laying out binding holes for drilling new holes, but you can also use them to compare existing hole clearances relative to new bindings, binding combinations and discovering unknown original bindings by the hole patterns on used skis.

Template Sources: Binding manufacturers often include templates in the box with new bindings (middle in image below).

Binding Freedom , the maker of stainless steel binding inserts has created a growing library of alpine and AT templates. (Bottom) Another insert manufacturer, Quiver Killer also is creating a template library (which may be edited versions of the Binding Freedom templates) along with other fastener downloads.

You can also draw your own (top). like we did with our CAD software, from a scan of the FKS/Pivot template provided by Look. It can be reprinted for multiple mounts and customized for different Boot Sole Lengths before printing.

Printing & Scaling: Accuracy is very important and the first step to verify printed templates is to check their relative scale and see how the actual bindings sit on the template to visually see if the holes align.

Check to see if the template has any scale or a dimension you can check with a ruler. Often the output from a printer can be slightly off for a variety of reasons. Scaling and reprinting may be necessary multiple times until you get it just right. If you cannot adjust the printing scale with your operating system or printing software, you may need to incorporate the use of graphics software that allows you to resize images and PDFs as needed before printing.

In the example above, the original print was off (too big) by 1mm in 200mm, or 0.5%. Since we needed to decrease the size of the print, we scaled the image 99.5% (199mm/200mm) to get the accurate result. If we needed to increase the output the same 0.5%, then we would need to set the printing scale at 100.5% (200mm/199mm).

For many the 0.5% discrepancy may be just fine, but if there are several layout, drilling and mounting steps off by 0.5% each, it’s possible to be off by a couple millimeters. On the other hand, sometimes minute errors cancel each other out and you can end up with dead on results despite the relative inaccuracies and many bindings do have built in adjustability. Regardless, it is best to be as accurate (especially for AT tech bindings) as you can with each step while also realizing this is not heart surgery and that these tolerances may actually be tighter than some shops and their binding mount jigs.

Splicing & Assembly: Because most bindings require variable Toe versus Heel piece locations due to variable foot and Boot Sole Length (BSL) AND the common printing length of 11 inches, usually two sheets are required per binding. As long as you locate each binding piece relative to the ski centerline and recommended or desired ski mount point and midsole boot mark, they can be utilized individually.

If you prefer to create one paper template per binding, you will need to print on a larger format printer or splice typical letter size sheets. Due to physical printer limitations, printing cannot occur to the paper edges. When two pieces need to be spliced, one piece will ideally need to be cut at the joint to assure accuracy during splicing (clear output does not need to be cut, unless desired).

Once one side is accurately cut, place it over the bottom sheet and a straight edge located along the center line. Align one edge and tape near the joint with masking tape to hold it close and still act as a hinge. Then align the other edge and the centerline of both sheets along the straight edge. Once this is correct, tape the other edge outside the center of the template. 

Double check the joint and the straightness of the centerline. If you can measure any components between the two halves, do so to verify accuracy. One thing we add on our templates is dimensions that we can measure to double and triple check physical and relative dimensions. After you feel certain the two halves are where they need to be, run a strip of clear tape over the joint on the front and then the backside.

Repeat on another pair if desired for one template per ski and cut off excess paper on the sides and ends. The masking tape will be removed in the process. The template(s) are now ready to be taped onto the ski centerline and mounting point at the boot mark.

Ski Centerline and Boot Sole Length and Mid Sole: As alluded to above, the binding mounting templates are relative to the centerline of the bindings and ski edges. The longer the centerline and straight edge, the more accurate the whole process will turn out. If you do not have a long straight edge, a piece of string secured on it’s ends works well. Typically, the two paper template sheets can slide along each other with a guide to align at the BSL. The BSL should be marked on the boot sole along with mid sole/mounting mark. If not, then measure the sole at the bottom from the tip of the toe to the heel. It’s probably a good idea to measure even if there is a a Boot Sole Center mark in the event there was a manufacturing error or general wear and tear of the soles. If unsure, further research may be required before attempting any of these steps and mounting your bindings.

The “|A” is the center boot mark and the “MM 298” is the BSL for the boot n the example below.

The boot center mark is placed over the green mounting line for the 298 MM BSL on the template.

Using a hole punch at the BSL line helps you to align the template at your mounting line:

Other Binding Template Uses: Also as mentioned, comparing existing bindings to new ones and screw hole offsets can be performed. Here is a download that compares the midsole of a 328mm boot sole (not by SlideWright) to see an excellent example of how can be facilitated. You can turn off and on the PDF layers to isolate various binding combinations.

And a video blasting through the steps putting a template together:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is a high speed video on cutting, splicing and taping paper or plastic templates. Pause as needed to see the steps as needed.

(Use the Space bar to pause, arrows to advance)

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Tools4Boards Tuning Kit Instructions

TOOLS4BOARDS TUNING STATION KIT (SAVE THESE INSTRUCTIONS)
Waxing Skis and Snowboards
• Innovative
• Simple
• Inexpensive
• Fast

 

SAFETY
• Always wax in a well ventilated area.
• Never leave wax iron on unattended.
• Use ski and snowboard vises.
• Pay attention. Sharpened edges can be harmful.

Skis and Snowboards perform at their best when the edges and base are maintained on a
regular basis. Tuned skis & boards are much more fun and responsive!
The TOOLS4BOARDS TUNING STATION KIT comes with a high quality edge tool, file blades, file
brush and stone to remove excess side-wall material and bevel, sharpen and polish both the
side-edge and base-edge of skis and snowboards. Please refer to the edge tool instructions
included in this kit for details on proper edge tuning. Go to tools4boards.com or your
Tools4Boards dealer for more information on tuning or to find kit replacement items.
BASE PREPARATION & MAINTENANCE
CLEAN UP
Start with a well-ventilated, clean and unobstructed area free of debris. Use a ski and/or
snowboard specific vise mounted to the table-top of a solid workbench. The TOOLS4BOARDS
CINCH vise is ideal for holding both skis and boards. When traveling a portable tuning stand
like the TOOLS4BOARDS TERMINATOR is an ideal platform on which to mount vises.
Wash your hands and make sure your ski or snowboard is securely fastened base-up in the
vise. Run the sharp edge of the PLEXI SCRAPER down the length of the base to remove old wax
and dirt. Brush the base vigorously with a NYLON BRISTLE BRUSH and wipe the base clean with a
sheet of MAPLUS LINT-FREE TOWEL. Run the towel down the each edge to remove any rust
NOTE: To keep your scraper sharp use the edge tool included In the kit. Simply place the sidewall
cutter blade in the side-edge slot of the tool and with the bevel angle set to 0′, pull the
tool along the side of the scraper a few times to reestablish sharpness.
There are two methods used to further clean the base:
1) Rub the warm temp MAPLUS WAX (White) like a crayon covering the entire base with a thin
layer of wax to protect the base from initial contact with an iron to prevent scorching, then
using the MAPLUS WAX IRON or similar with the temperature setting around 120′ C and,
positioning the block of wax a few inches above the base, gently hold the wax against the iron
to start the wax dripping. Move the iron along a few inches above the entire length of the base
reversing
direction 3 times so there are 3 lines of wax from tip to tail. Run the iron down the length of
the base and keeping the iron moving make a few passes (each pass around 5-10 seconds) to
melt the wax into the base. A thin layer of liquid wax Should now coat the entire base. Wait a
few minutes until the wax begins to harden and then use the plexi scraper to scrape the soft
warm wax off the base. Removing this soft wax wilt also remove dirt and contamination and
clean the
base. Brush the base vigorously with a NYLON BRISTLE BRUSH and wipe the base clean with a
sheet of MAPLUS LINT-FREE TOWEL
NOTE: If the wax smokes the iron temperature setting is too high. Always keeping the iron
moving along the length of the base to prevent burning or scorching of the base material.
2) Use MAPLUS CLEAN wax removing detergent spray to cover the length entire base and then
wipe clean using a sheet of MAPLUS LINT-FREE TOWEL. Brush the base vigorously with a NYLON
BRISTLE BRUSH
NOTE: To remove any micro hairs from the base material run the SCOTCHBRITE NYLON
ABRASIVE PAD down the length of the base, rubbing and pressing.
NOTE: To re-establish base structure, simply wrap 3M SAND PAPER around one length of the
PLEXI SCRAPER, then make a few passes down the length of the base pressing the paper against
the base materiaL
WAX ON
Depending on snow temperature rub on either MAPLUS HOT (White -5′ to O· C) or Cold (Green
·10 to -5′ C) temp universal paraffin wax like a crayon over the entire base to create an even
wax layer. Then cork in the wax by vigorously rubbing and pressing the cork back and forth
along the length of the base or, if a wax iron is available, set the iron temperature to around
120· C and, positioning the block of wax a few inches above the base, gently hold the wax
against the iron to start the wax dripping. Move the iron along a few inches above the entire
length of the base reversing direction 3 times so there are 3 lines of wax from lip to tai. Run
the iron down the length of the base and keeping the iron moving make a few passes (each
pass around 5-10 seconds) to melt the wax into the base. A thin layer of liquid wax should now
coat the entire base. Wait 20 minutes until the wax has hardened and ski or board has
completely cooled and then use the plexi scraper to scrape most of the wax off the base. Run
one end of the scraper down each side of the ski or board edge to remove any excess wax that
may have overflowed onto the sides when ironing.
NOTE: Ironing wax into the base is the most effective way to apply wax to maximize
performance and durability. Consider investing in a MAPLUS WAX IRON if you don’t already own
one.
NOTE: If the wax smokes the iron temperature setting is too high. Always keeping the iron
moving along the length of the base to prevent burning or scorching the base material.
BRUSH UP
Using multiple overlapping strokes in one direction from tip to tail, vigorously brush the base
until shiny using a NYLON BRISTLE BRUSH. The more you brush the faster you go.
FIT TO BE TIED
Always use  ALPINE SKI STRAPS to protect bases and prevent skis from scissoring during
transport.

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Tools4Boards XACT 3 in 1 Tool Instructions

 

Xact All-in-one sharpens and bevels side edge, base edge and trims excess side wall. Simply turn knob to clamp file, or pull and turn knob to adjust bevel angle. Patented adjustment feature provides simple and accurate bevel angles. Ceramic rollers minimize friction and allow filings to fall away from base. Infinite bevel angle adjustment from 0° to 6°. Comfortable to use. Made of durable and impact resistant Lexan polycarbonate. Holds any length file or stone for side edges and includes high quality Swiss-made file blade for side and base edges.

Tools4Boards XACT 3 in 1 Edge Tuning Tool Instructions or click on image below.

 

 

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Glide Waxing and Anti-Icing Backcountry Climbing Skins

As counter-intuitive as it sounds, glide waxing climbing skins improves efficiency while backcountry touring. By improving the glide and preventing ice build-up and snow clumping, wax may quicken your pace while reducing effort. On rolling slogs improving the speed you carry on slight downhills is a nice benefit and in some cases, you won’t need to spend the time to remove skins for a short slope and then need reattach them.

Rub-on solids, paste, liquid and spray waxes are easy to apply and coat the skin fibers, but are short lived compared to hot waxing solid glide wax. Like adding heat to wax applications on skis and snowboards, you will typically achieve higher durability (read, longer glide). Of course there is the concern of adding too much heat and possibly damaging your skins or melting the skin glue. But by using as low of a temperature you can to melt and apply the wax of the day (same as on your ski or splitboard bases) to the skin, you can benefit from the easy process as shown in this Toko video. Follow it with a light brushing against the nap after the wax cools to open the nap again.

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SkiVisions File Base Flattener

(Updated 11/7/12: Revised instruction and NEW instruction videos at the bottom of the page)

The File Base Flattener is a powerful planing tool that uses a file to flatten concave (railed, edge high) snowboards and skis.  It is a different application from the steel blade in the Base Flattener, the steel blade is for fine flattening work, the File Base Flattener’s purpose is to cut through concave metal and plastic quickly.

New boards and skis always have some concave sections; they must be flattened for the board or ski to function correctly. A base that is concave makes the board or ski grabby and hooky, not smooth.  They make edge-to-edge transfers difficult and sticky.  You cannot relax on a concave base; you always have to be prepared for its next bad surprise.

From the top, you can see this is a two-hand push tool (for both power and control), with your rear hand on the larger bump.  ALSO OBSERVE THE STRIP OF WHITE PAINT ON THE LEADING EDGE OF THE FILE, THE FILE MUST BE USED IN THE TOOL WITH THE WHITE PAINT AS SHOWN SO THAT THE FILE TEETH ARE IN THE CORRECT CUTTING DIRECTION.

From the bottom side you see a 7-inch double cut file held in place with a  powerful magnet.  The front of the tool has a glide bar so the file sits flat to the base.  Notice again that the file has a strip of white paint on the leading edge, the file must be placed in the tool with that white strip facing forward as shown.  If the file is in the tool backwards it won’t cut your base and using it that way will dull it quickly.

Several points to keep in mind when using this tool:

1.  Always use the tool in the tip to tail direction.

2.  Use only moderate pressure, the file will cut metal and plastic without excess effort.

3.  Use only light pressure when running the tool off the tail, otherwise a) the file can get popped off the magnet, and b) the file will dig into the plastic at the curve of the tail and leave file marks in the plastic.

4.  Clean the file teeth after each pass with the supplied brush, only clean teeth will cut.

5.  If the file gets clogged with wax, use wax remover with the brush to clean them.

6.  If the File Base Flattener isn’t cutting edge metal on concave skis or boards,   then you have hardened edges, that hardening can only be removed with the green stones in the Ski Sharp.  See Tuning New Skis in the index for a discussion and procedures for this problem.

When used on snowboards, you flatten one edge at a time; observe the position of the tool on the board.  You are cutting from the center of the base through the outside of the edge.  But remember, since the board is concave, the tool is really cutting just the high plastic and metal near the outside edge of the board.

You take one pass down one of the edges, clean the file out with the brush that is supplied with the tool, then take a pass down the other edge, always rotating edge to edge so that the tool is used in a balanced approach and the board gets flattened consistently.

You will feel the file cutting the metal edges as you work.  You will also feel when the file no longer cuts metal, that tells you that the edge is then flush with the plastic base.  However, the board may still have some amount of concavity.  To bring the base to a totally flat condition because plastic needs to be removed, use the SkiVisions Snowboard Base Flattener with the stone blade.  You will have to rotate between both file and stone Base Flatteners to remove both plastic and metal if the base is significantly concave.

So how flat does a snowboard need to be?

1.  If the board is concave, you can get it flat enough with the File Base Flattener and it will work well on the snow even if there is some concavity in the plastic.  That concavity will soon wear away as you use the board.  And remember, if you use base edge bevel (as you should, see Snowboard Edge Tuning) any concavity on the base will be reduced in effect by base edge bevel.

2.  If the board is convex (rounded) you want to remove plastic and bring the board to a flat condition with the Snowboard Base Flattener using the 12-inch stone blades, convex bases do not work well on snowboards.  (See Snowboard Edge Tuning)

Use your true bar frequently to check your progress, you don’t want to over-do.  You will also be able to tell how you are progressing by how the tool acts as you start to get flat.

It is both a very aggressive tool and very easy to use, but don’t get carried away.  Take it slow, check your work often; you will get it flat soon enough.

When used on a ski, the file covers the surface edge to edge.  However, you can also use it on only one edge at a time as used on snowboards, this can make the flattening process go faster.  But again, remember, go slow, check your work often, don’t over-do.

Only moderate pressure needs to be used on the tool, it does not require “muscling it”.  And remember, only light pressure when running off the tail (see above).

See Ski Base Flattener for a thorough discussion on flattening bases.

Concave Bases, the first problem:

New skis and boards ALWAYS have concave sections.  They are caused by the manufacturer not letting it cool and age before grinding it, or by shipping it in very hot cargo carriers.  Regardless of the reason, the concave sections need to be removed for it to work right.  They may look great when new, don’t be fooled.  Oh, and when you go to the shop to buy, take your true bar and inspect (a ruler will do if not too flexible).  Buy the one with the flattest base and save yourself a lot of trouble.

The File Base Flattener is the only hand tool up for the job.  It is powerful (you can easily put 50 to 60 pounds of pressure on the tool) and uses a very sharp double cut file designed to simultaneously cut plastic and edge metal.  It is the “heavy machinery” of hand tools.

When factories grind skis and boards, they chase speed and efficiency.  Unfortunately, that also translates into work hardened edges and plastic caused by too much speed and pressure with the stone, and it can become a real challenge getting the tune on a new ski or board right.

Hardened steel edges are hardened on the surface only, about .001 of an inch, very shallow.  But, until it is removed, files, carbides, or steel will not cut it.  It is best removed with our 4 inch green stone with tape wrapped on one end for bevel.  Whenever you have concave bases you generally also have hardened edge sections.

If you observe that the File Base Flattener isn’t working, that is, isn’t flattening the base, you have hardened edges.  You can tell when the edges just seem to get slick and shiny but aren’t getting cut with the file teeth, because they can’t.

Sometimes it is a good idea to mark the concave edge sections with a felt tip marker so you can concentrate on those areas and watch your progress.

The following videos show using the File Base Flattener:

SkiVisions Using our File Base Flattener Part 1

SkiVisions Using our File Base Flattener Part 2

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SkiVisions Edge Tuning Tool

(Updated 11/7/12: Revised instruction and NEW instruction videos at the bottom of the page)

The SkiVisions Ski Sharp Edge Tuning Tool is a complex, multi-adjustable device, disguised as a simple, user friendly tool.  Its purpose is to give superb edge tuning results without requiring sophisticated edge tuning knowledge or skills; the tool itself provides the sophistication.

The Ski Sharp’s effectiveness is a combination of design (it works on both the side and base edge simultaneously) and the inserts (files, stones of different materials for different purposes and grits, and carbides) to give the desired edge sharpness and polish.

The Tuning Stick, which comes with the Ski Sharp, lets the novice or the expert precisely analyze the condition of the edges before tuning, the progress during tuning, and the sharpness and polish of the edge  desired at completion.

Is ski tuning with the Ski Sharp expensive?  Absolutely not.  It is true that you have to make an initial capital investment in the tool and inserts, but thereafter, all inserts  are re-sharpenable and RARELY need replacement.

WHAT IS UNIQUE ABOUT THE SKI SHARP?

It is the only edge tool ever designed and patented (#4,850,252) that sharpens both the base side of the edge and the side edge simultaneously, and at the same time has independent bevel selections for each edge from 0 to 3 degrees.  Say you want 1 degree base edge bevel and 3 degree side; no problem.  Also:

  • Edge bevels are absolutely precise and edge metal is polished
  • The tool is incredibly quick and easy to use
  • The tool requires no skill, especially when stones (we prefer) are used

WHY IS ITS UNIQUENESS IMPORTANT?

Although flat bases are important, it is edge tuning that makes skis act magically.  A perfectly tuned edge has three characteristics:

1.  Grip.   The ability of the ski to grip the snow at an appropriate level for the snow conditions is very important — not too grippy in soft snow, but plenty of bite in hard snow.

2.  Slip.  This is the truly elusive component in edge tuning.  A ski must be able to slip if it is to be skied dynamically.  The great Alberto Tomba, who skied with incredible power, always had the same complaint when he lost a race: “My skis were too sharp!”  As powerfully as he skied, he still couldn’t overcome their “stickiness”; his tuner did not know how to tune for slip.  What is an example of slip? You are half way through a turn and suddenly your line won’t work.  A ski that won’t slip will lock you on that failed line.  Best case, you make a bad turn, worse case, this can get very dangerous to your ACL if you are locked on and get in the back seat. Bottom line, you don’t work an over-sharp edge, it works you. An edge that will slip will let you make very quick, micro adjustments to change to a line that works. Even though the ski is fully loaded and arcing a carve, just a slight flattening of your foot is all it takes to allow you to adjust your line.  The trick is to tune in both bite and slip.  You can do it, but only when you know that is your objective.  These instructions will show you how. The amount of sharpness is your call, since everyone is different.  But if you find you can’t flatten your foot a little and adjust your line, your skis are too sharp.

Snow conditions dictate how to tune for slip.  It may seem illogical, but new snow has very little slip, so you have to build slip into the edge tune.  That is why new snow requires a very polished edge or the they will be sticky and reluctant to slip.

Old snow on the other had has lots of slip.  You can run with far sharper edges and final polish is not so critical.

Everything in between new and old snow becomes a judgment call and personal taste plays a big part in the decision.

3.  Glide.  Edges, like bases, need to glide and act slippery.  Polished edge metal gives you that good glide, and the newer the snow, the more important the polish.

We think of ski edges as fine cutlery, nothing less.

For years we have had the above summary about grip, slip and glide.  Some of our customers understand it, some find it confusing.  So, let us try to attack this from a different angle.

Optimum edge tuning is very elusive until you find the benchmark, which is not obvious.  But, when you find the benchmark, you own the answer.

It is not an intellectual question; it can only be determined by personal experience, and your personal edge tuning experiments.

You analyze your muscles as you ski.  That is where the secret is embedded, deep in your quads, where the benchmark hides.

Your muscles need to be relaxed and fluid.  That is a product of your correct edge tuning.  A ski that holds you up in the turn with just enough muscle input to effortless hold you up and allow you to steer your skis.  But JUST barely enough.

If you are inputting EXTRA muscle just to hold you up in hard snow without slipping your edges are too dull, and, you will quickly wear down your muscle resiliency for the wrong reason.

Conversely, inputting extra muscle to try and force your over-sharp and sticky into the turn edges, your tuning is wrong also.  Again, muscles need to be relaxed and fluid.  Over-sharp and sticky edges eat muscle resiliency as efficiently as dull edges do, you tire yourself from fighting your edges.  And, they are far more dangerous than dull edges, especially to your ACL.

Where you can carve hard snow with a relaxed body, both as to confidence in your skis to grip, and confidence that your skis still have the right amount of slip, so your muscles can be relaxed and fluid, that is the benchmark, and it is easy to analyze.  Once you know this, you own it.

HOW IS ITS UNIQUENESS ACCOMPLISHED?

1.  Engineering.  First, the tool may appear simple, but it is a compilation of sophisticated engineering.  In over 25 years, no other ski tool has come close to duplicating it.  Second, the inserts, simple and precise.

2.  Instructions.  Edge tuning can be complex.  We simplify the process by carefully giving thorough instructions, both the why’s and how’s of edge tuning.  Nobody beats the thoroughness of our instructions.

How To Use

First, the purpose of the Ski Sharp is to maximize efficient edge tuning results.  None of us have time to waste.  We need results and we need them quickly.

Decide the amount of bevels you want for your base and side edges and turn the long screws at the bottome of the tool until the indicator bar shows you those degrees for both.  It is that simple and accurate.

When you apply the tool to the edges there are two types of strokes you can use, a single pass down the ski, which we don’t recommend, especially when using the stones, and over-lapping strokes, which we do recommend.  An over-lapping stroke is a forward stroke of up to 16 inches in length, then a back-stroke of about 12 inches, another forward stroke of 16 inches, etc., which means you are slowly moving down the ski by the difference is stroke lengths.  We prefer long smooth strokes rather than short choppy ones.  Do not pressure on the back stroke (see below).

It is important to know how to do the back-stroke.  If you are using files or the Carbide Skiver, don’t pressure the tool on the back-stroke because doing so will wear the insert out quickly.  On the other hand, you should pressure the tool on the backstroke when using any of the stones because the back-stroke does not cause them any additional wear, since they work in both directions.

Always remember, when using the Ski Sharp, use just a light touch. You don’t have to muscle the tool as the inserts will do the job without needing excessive hand pressure.

Finally, you have to decide your edge tuning strategy, so let’s review some basics :

1.  It is a good idea to designate your skis as left or right.  If we do that we only need to tune the two inside edges. The outside edges are beveled and kept polished, but never sharpened.  Sharp outside edges do you no good when skiing so sharpening them both wastes time and puts wear on the inserts and the edges.

2.  By keeping your outside edges polished and fresh, but not routinely sharpened, you can switch to them, designating them the new inside edges, when the previous inside edges get tired, rock damaged, etc. The outside edges will be new, fresh, and ready to be tuned as the new inside edges.  And, this approach saves lots of ski tuning time.  We mark the inside tip on the base side with a MarksaLot or a white paint pencil (depending on the base color) so we can see it easily when tuning.

Edge Tuning Procedures:

1.  Check your edge sharpness with the tuning stick (See All About the Tuning Stick below). Do so all along the edge because you need to know your starting point.  You will find the ski dullest under foot, with progressive sharpness out towards the tip and tail, exactly what you don’t want.

2.  Sharpen and de-burr with the green stones.  Use the procedure outlined below under Zoning It is the most important tuning procedure to follow. Start under-foot, not at the tip, and start polishing the edges with a back and forth movement with the Ski Sharp with just light pressure on the tool. The stones don’t need pressure to cut, you can feel them cutting and polishing through the Ski Sharp.  After about 5 back and forth passes under-foot, slowly start working your way out towards the tip and tail, adding more distance out after every several passes, until you have progressed all the way to tip and tail.

3.  Check the edge sharpness with the Tuning Stick, you should now find that the edge has become sharpest under-foot, with progressively less sharpening out towards the tip and tail.  This is exactly what you want.  The bite of the ski comes from its ability to bite under-foot.  Keep in mind, when you are tuning with stones, you are never removing excess edge metal as you can do with files — you are only removing enough to make them just right.

4.  If the edge is not as sharp as you want, you have two choices.  We first like to use the green stones to see if the correct sharpness can be achieved with them.  If not, and this is important, put a file or a Carbide Skiver in just the side file pocket, keep a stone in the base file pocket.  Again, start under-foot several passes and then work outwards towards tip and tail just as you did previously.  Don’t over-do!  Also, keep in mind, when you generally tune your edges with stones, the metal remains conditioned and cuts easily  with files or carbides. A little of this procedure goes a long way.  Stop frequently and check your progress with the Tuning Stick.  Then, return to the green stones and re-do the edge again, starting under-foot and working your way out.  By now you should have a very sharp edge with a micro burr.

5.  Edge polishing is next; the desire for the amount of polish varies both from skier to skier and the snow conditions.  This also is the point where the Tuning Stick really performs.  In new, fresh cold snow, always polish.  In old, icy, or hard man-made snow, you may like the finish of the green stones, they give you a distinct communication or feel of your edges on the snow. Highly polished edges won’t do that.  Everything in between is personal preference, you have to experiment and find what you like.

6.  Polishing tip and tail.

The final edge tuning step is to polish off the sharpness of the edges at tip and tail.  If the edges are sharp at the tip and tail they will be grabby and the skis difficult to control.  We recommend polishing the tip and tail plus one inch past the contact point, which is the point at which the skis are the widest at tip and tail.  When polishing one inch behind the contact point (going towards the bindings) you give the ski a little extra forgiveness without sacrificing performance.  The picture shows detuning at a 45 degree angle polishing the tip of the edge with our ruby ceramic polishing stone.  Once this is done they only need to be re-polished periodically if you use the Ski Sharp with our recommended techniques.

Does this seem like a lot?  It is not.  It takes us just several minutes to tune the edges of a pair of skis for the day.  Once everything is set up correctly, the daily work is very quick.  (see “Tuning Routines” in the Index)

All About Bevels

First, let’s look at exactly what bevels do:

1.  Base edge bevel makes a ski more forgiving and the edges less “sticky”.  They feel as if they have better glide and they transition better in the turns, so you “catch” edges less frequently.  Generally, this translates into a quicker and more forgiving ski, giving you greater confidence.  However, if a little is good, more is not better. Greater base edge bevel will make your edges feel less sharp on hard snow because they have to be angled higher for the tip of the edge to be able to bite.  You have to experiment to find what you like, and the snow conditions where you ski will influence your decisions.  For instance, hard snow skiers generally like less, powder skiers more base edge bevel.

2.  Side edge bevel has only one purpose: to adjust the sharpness of the edge, the greater the bevel (say 3 degrees) the harder the ski will bite, which is good for hard snow but too much for soft snow.  The hardness of the snow where you generally ski dictates how much side edge bevel to use.  Keep in mind, on the side edge, 1 degree is also 89, 2 degrees is also 88, and 3 degrees is also 87, all depending on your point of view.

3.  Beveling purposes and effects are no more complicated than that.  The Ski Sharp, together with the Base Flattener,  lets you experiment to find what you like.

4.  So what are the bevel selections for a very sharp ski?  Base edge bevel at 0 and side edge bevel at 3.  A selection that should only be made by very hard snow skiers.  This selection also makes for a very unforgiving ski, particularly if your boot canting is not correct.

5.  So what are the bevel selections for a relatively dull ski for soft snow and powder?  Base edge bevel at 2 and side edge bevel at 0.  This keeps the ski from biting too hard in soft snow.

You should always first tune your ski according to the manufacturer’s original bevel settings; your ski shop can get this information from the factory rep if it is not well known.  Using the Ski Sharp to maintain factory bevels is very easy to get started with when using the tool.  If you find you want the ski to act differently than it does with the factory settings, experiment, it is a little work, but well worth the effort, especially as you develop your own tastes.

Only the files or Carbide Skiver will cut in bevels, not the stones.  The files are OK for that purpose, but if you do a lot of edge tuning, get one carbide skiver – it will last virtually forever and cuts in precise bevels.

Only one edge bevel should be set at a time, particularly when cutting in base edge bevel.  That means only one file or Carbide Skiver in the base file pocket.  It is best to have nothing in the side file pocket when first cutting in base edge bevel, you want to feel the cut, and in particular, you want to feel when the cut is finished Then you know the bevel is set. Base edge bevel is cut in until the file or carbide skiver stops cutting. Both the feel of the tool in your hand and the sound it makes (or doesn’t make) will tell you when the bevel is cut in.

Side edge bevel is cut in using a file or Carbide Skiver in the side pocket and preferably a stone in the base pocket.  To cut in side edge bevel you can usually plan on taking about 10 passes per edge, but you cannot measure your progress, and the file or carbide will just keep cutting, so limit the number of passes down the ski – don’t get carried away.

Keep in mind, when you are cutting in bevels, you are creating micro burrs, and those burrs can only be taken out with lots of polishing the edges with stones, the finer the better.

Remember, once your bevels are cut it, they will keep their angles with normal tuning.  If you just tune with stones, you may want to check the base edge bevel periodically with a file or carbide, but the Ruby Sharpening Stones will generally maintain bevels through regular tunings.

All About the Tuning Stick

The Tuning Stick which comes with the Ski Sharp is a simple plastic rod, but don’t be fooled, it is a sophisticated analytical tool, it allows you to precisely “read” the sharpness of your edges and the presence of micro burrs.

As you are tuning your edges,  it is easy to get “lost”, that is, not really know where you are. The Tuning Stick solves that problem because it will always tell you the sharpness and burred condition of your edges, and you can always get consistency from ski to ski.  It takes the guessing game out of edge tuning.

Before you begin tuning, check your edges with the Tuning Stick.  You will see how they are more dull under foot than out towards tip and tail.  You will also find out that, unless you are in soft snow, one day is all it takes to lose the sharpness under foot and, keep in mind, under foot is where you want your ski to be sharp; it is where all the skis’ grip and bite and “sting” comes from.

Once you start using the Tuning Stick, you will quickly realize the benefits of frequent tunings. Daily is the norm unless the snow is soft.  You spend a great deal of effort and money to get on the hill, not taking every advantage once there does not make sense, tuning really pays when it comes to on the hill fun.  And once you get the hang of it, it only takes a few minutes.

We HAD to develop the tuning stick because our edge tuning techniques and advice are unconventional, so we needed to develop and easily observable way to analyze edges while they are being tuned and which could be used to parallel our advice without guesswork.  Hence, the tuning stick was developed for that purpose.

Our edge tuning methods are totally inconsistent with other tuning advice you are likely to hear, even the names the other tool manufacturers choose for tools indicate that they really don’t have a clue what edge tuning is really about.  In edge tuning, more is not better.  Better is better, and better only comes from an approach where ski edges are honed with precision and polish, not a mangling, using a tool size and insert lengths that interface correctly with shaped skis.

“Zoning” the sharpness of the edge, as discussed below, can only be repeated ski to ski if you have the capability of analyzing the edge; zoning cannot be executed effectively without the Tuning Stick.

Hold the Tuning Stick at 45 degrees to the edge and push down on the stick (don’t pull it up) with moderate pressure, something more than just light pressure, and shave plastic.  The Tuning Stick will give you three sensory  observations (see below) which allows you to be very precise with your edge tuning.  If you only use light pressure on the stick you will only be reading the burr, heavier pressure really shows you how the ski will bite, especially in hard snow.

When the Tuning Stick is scraped on the edge, it gives you a great deal of feed-back such as:

1.  If the edge is sharp and polished, the edge will shave plastic off the stick in a smooth and consistent manner, its sound will be smooth and consistent, and it will vibrate a little.

2.  The amount of shaved plastic will demonstrate the level of sharpness and is easy to observe.

3.  If the edge is dull, it will not shave plastic, and the dullness will be very apparent.

4.  If the edge is burred it will shave plastic very aggressively, and the Tuning Stick will also vibrate and make a squealing sound.

5.  The Tuning Stick gives you three sensory observations, visual (observe shavings), feel (vibration), and sound (range of smooth scraping to squealing).  There is no comparable method for analyzing your edges.

One of the problems with the Tuning Stick is that tuners can become so intrigued by it, and the way it shaves plastic, that they have a tendency to over-sharpen their skis, to over-tune their skis, playing with the stick.  If you notice yourself doing this, back off.

Keep in mind, the construction of your ski will determine how sharp you can tune it; it is a little known fact that not all skis can take the same sharpness.  Skis that are very damp can be tuned much sharper than skis without much dampening (powder skis and the like).  Why is this the case?  Because skis without dampening vibrate when you set your edges in hard snow, they then literally vibrate out of your edge set (you lose grip). If you tuned those edges very sharp, they then immediately bite in again but again vibrate out of the edge set.  Consequently, you get a very rough and unstable ride.  A dampened ski will bite with the edge set and won’t vibrate out, so the edge set holds for a great carving turn.  The point is, if you have an un-dampened ski, don’t try to make it a hard snow ski by making it very sharp, you won’t like the result.

Also, if you use your skis on the rails, you ruin your edges and they can’t be kept properly sharpened.  We suggest that if you like the rails, get a dedicated pair of skis and don’t bother tuning them, and never use your good skis on rails.

The Tuning Stick as a “Management” Tool

This is a special note to racers or others who don’t tune their own skis.  Even if you don’t tune your own skis, you need to be able to analyze your edges to see if they are properly prepared.  The Tuning Stick is your best way to do it.  You will be able to precisely analyze the job your tuner is doing for you, and, you can learn exactly how you like your edges.  In other words, you are no longer a “victim” of your tuner.  And, if you can’t get what you want, you might have to do it yourself, but then it is easy, we show you how.

The reason ski racers are so prone to blowing out  ACLs is because no slip is tuned into their skis.  Now we have no doubt every racer says, I don’t want any slip, it will slow me down, won’t let me hold a carving edge, won’t let me hold the arc of the ski, etc.  CORRECTLY TUNED IN SLIP DOES NOT COMPROMISE ANY OF THOSE CONCEPTS.  You can still carve without slipping, but you have a far larger quiver of possibilities when you have some slip built into your edges.

When skis have no slip it is easy to get caught in the back seat in a way that prevents the possibility of escape — you just keep getting dragged deeper into the back seat, until POP.  Goodbye ACL.  Slip gives you a degree of safety as well as agility and quickness.  Use the Tuning Stick to not only manage your tuning, but to also manage your safety!

You want to win races?  You think speed is about waxing?  Nope.  Winning is about confidence, that confidence comes from your edge tune, proper waxes just makes the most confident go faster.  Our edge tuning techniques are all about confidence in our skis, their performance is predictable, the edges have grip, slip and glide as we discuss.  And when you have absolute confidence in your edges, you are in the mental condition to win, to enter the zone.

Zoning

If you really “get” that edge tuning is a perfect balance of grip, slip and glide, and you learn how to effectively analyze your edges with the Tuning Stick, the last step is “zoning”, the method to make your skis magical.

Ideal ski tuning makes it float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.  If you want that effect, zoning is required.  The beauty of the SkiVisions approach to zoning, though, is that it is easy; anyone can do it!  The sting comes from a sharp ski edge under-foot and the float comes an edge that is progressively less sharp out towards the ends.

So how do you zone tune the edges?  Let’s say the running surface of the ski is 60 inches in length. That can be broken down into approximately three 20 inch sections and tuned as follows:

1.  The 20 inch section under-foot is tuned sharp.

2.  The other 20 inch sections (shovel section in front, tail section in rear) are tuned progressively less sharp.  That is done by using overlapping strokes with the Ski Sharp wherein you do fewer repeats as to move towards the tip or tail. Fewer repeats means less work on the edge and less sharpening.

This is point loading.  There is nothing new with the concept of point loading and ski tuning, but the SkiVisions approach is both unique and the most effective method of producing and controlling point loading using the Ski Sharp, Tuning Stick, and the SkiVisions tuning techniques.

Keep in mind, when zone tuning the edges, frequently checking your progress with the Tuning Stick is critical to track your progress and to accurately compare your edge tuning from ski to ski.

The Ski Sharp Inserts

Ski Sharp Files.  These are the newest Ski Sharp files as of 10/2012.  They are designed to give aggressive edge cutting yet excellent finish.  It is the biggest, most aggressive file we have ever made for the Ski Sharp.  Note the black dots, the file must be placed in the tool with the dots facing the same direction and the tool used in that direction.  Files only cut in one direction.  This is not a chrome plated file so it can be re-sharpened  with the acid soak method shown in the maintenance video.
If you look carefully at the files in the picture you will see dots of black markings at the leading edge of  each file.  IT IS IMPORTANT THAT YOU FOLLOW THIS INSTRUCTION.  Those dots need to be facing the same direction and the tool needs to be also used in that direction for the files to cut edge metal.

It is important that you use the files in the correct direction only and that you do not pressure the tool on backstrokes when using over-lapping strokes; pressuring a file against its cutting teeth (facing the wrong direction) wears it out quickly.

Brush the metal filings out of the file teeth frequently. If they are loaded up they won’t cut.

When using the files, an important technique is not fully insert the file in the side edge pocket, but rather, to drop it down so that more of the file teeth are used. (See Maximizing the Life of the Inserts below)

The sharpening stones only work if you continually adjust the stones to a fresh section of stone.

This picture shows a Ruby Ceramic Stone that is NOT fully inserted in the side edge pocket.  It is important to move the side edge inserts up and down in the pocket frequently to maximize the life of the insert and to keep using fresh stone sections to maximize its performance.  The inserts also need to be rotated in the pockets to further maximize their usefulness.

So, after each pass down one ski edge, adjust the stones to a fresh section and continue.  Frequently changing the stones’ position to fresh stone grit is the secret of sharpening with stones.

Green Stones.  The green stones are aggressive silicon carbide stones that love to eat hard metal.  They are intended to replace files for general edge sharpening purposes.

NEW SKIS.  See the index regarding tuning new skis. These stones are for working edges that have been hardened at the ski factory from misuse of the tuning equipment.                                                                                     HARD SNOW. You may find you like the final finish of the green stones in very hard snow.

Polishing Stones.  The purpose of polishing stones is to allow you to polish your edges to a finer finish and to remove any traces of burr.

RUBY CERAMIC POLISHING STONES.
We have consolidated the ENTIRE polishing process into one stone, our new ruby ceramic stones, and have thereby eliminated the need for progressive stone grit polishing.  They are incredibly effective at accomplishing the entire spectrum of polish and burr removal in a single stone.  They are constructed of the finest ruby aluminum oxide and glass. We love simplicity, these stones get us there.

Carbide Skiver.  The Carbide Skiver is a cutting insert as are the files.  However, they are used only one at a time!  A stone can be used in the other pocket when using a carbide, never another carbide, it is too much, over-kill.  But unlike files, they can be re-sharpened (see below) an infinite number of times, and they can be rotated to use up to 16 cutting surfaces before needing re-sharpening.

You can observe these two cutting edges on the carbide that show wear, one edge more than the other.  As carbide edges wear, they get rounded and shiny.  This carbide will need re-sharpening soon. (See Maximizing the Life of the Inserts below) If you do a lot of cutting with the Ski Sharp, get a Carbide Skiver, they cut edge metal like butter and last forever.  They are a one time investment.

The Carbide Skiver feels relatively dull and ineffective if you roll it in your fingers, but don’t be fooled. It is a very aggressive cutter because of its relative hardness to the ski edge.  It is easy to “over-do” with the carbide so use it with care and be conservative with it.  Use it with a light touch, let it cut at its own pace, don’t rush it.

The Carbide Skiver is a flat carbide blank, this makes it re-sharpenable an infinite number of times.  However, a white plastic shim piece needs to be used with it to create a cutting tooth.  This is the Carbide Skiver in the base edge pocket.

This is the Carbide Skiver in the side edge pocket. Again, notice the white shim piece used to form a single cutting tooth.  Keep in mind, the Carbide Skiver is mostly used in the side edge pocket for sharpening purposes. The Carbide Skiver is used in the base edge pocket only when cutting in base edge bevel initially and perhaps occasionally when re-checking base edge bevel.

It is important to use this insert correctly when cutting in bevel!  Cutting in bevel requires a number of passes, taking some edge metal each time, until your bevel selection is achieved.  However, if you continuously use the carbide in one direction you will develop striation lines on your edges, small lines that look like skip marks.  You can avoid this by reversing direction with the carbide each pass along the ski.  Say the first pass down the edge is cutting from tip to tail. You should then reverse the carbide in the Ski Sharp and cut from tail to tip.  This way you prevent the striation marks in your edges.

The Carbide Skiver leaves a very nasty burr.  After using it, major polishing is required to remove the burr; you can also polish it out lightly by hand.

The Carbide Skiver is not for cutting through rock damaged edge sections. Rock damaged edge sections must first be polished thoroughly with the green or 180 grit stones.

The Carbide Skiver needs more care when re-sharpening since the process is done up on its narrow edge rather than on the flat surface.  There are 16 cutting edges that you can use on each carbide, and you can observe when they are all worn. Close inspection will show worn areas and a shiny edge.  When re-sharpening it, it is important to hold the edge very balanced on the diamond file while rubbing it back  and forth so that there is no rocking the carbide side to side.

Maximizing the Life of the Inserts

There are two ways to maximize the life of the inserts.

1.  First, moving the inserts up and down in the side file pocket:

We are showing the Ruby Ceramic Stone raised up in the side edge pocket, that is, not fully inserted.  This allows you to get extra life out of the stone and to make quick, frequent adjustments to the stone so that fresh stone grit is always being used on the side edge. The side edge is where all the real work in edge tuning is done.  This technique is used when using either files or stones.

2.  Second, re-flattening and re-sharpening the stones and the Carbide Skiver (see Stone/Steel Inserts Maintenance).

 

Rock Damaged Edges

We call rock damaged edges invitations to obsessive behavior. Many tuners think they have to polish them out, that edges have to be pretty to be correctly tuned.  Don’t do it! 

You can clearly see the sheen of a finely polished edge and the ugliness of a rock scar.  Every time you hit a rock you diminish the effectiveness of your edge.  That is just the way it is.  Don’t make it worse (expand the damage) by fiddling with it.  Polish it out to the extent you can with the green stone IN THE SKI SHARP and some final polish with the ruby ceramic stones and that is all. Leave it alone beyond that.  Why?  If you attempt to polish it out by hand, you will also round off some of that nicely polished edge, exactly what you are trying to preserve.  Don’t make your edge tuning a version of cancer surgery where you have to take some good tissue to prevent the spread of the damage!  Remember, you can sharpen a rock scar so the edge then works, you just cannot make it pretty.

And, as you continually flatten the ski and tune the edges, eventually the rock scar will  disappear.  Let it go at that.  Don’t polish it by hand. 

Cutting Back the Edge Protector

This is the SkiVisions tool for cutting back the edge protector.  It is the SkiVisions Base Flattener steel blade and it is very sharp, we grind each corner of the bar so there aren’t any sharp edges that can dig into your ski sidewall.  The ends of the bar are very sharp and easily skives off edge protector plastic.

There is a narrow strip of plastic just above the top of the ski edge and you can observe it in this picture.  The problem is that, as you are tuning the ski, particularly if you use side edge bevel, that plastic clogs the inserts and slows the tuning process.  We like to skive it off on our skis a little at a time so that it is still there, doing its job, but it is out of the way when tuning.  By angling the steel blade we can push it down the edge, easily skiving off the plastic only so that it is out of our way.  Since we only take off a little at a time, this needs to be repeated from time to time, but it only takes a minute to do.

Note, some manufacturer’s use a plastic type coating on their skis, cutting back the plastic coatiing is more easily done using the same technique but using one of the Base Flattener Ruby Stone Blades instead of the steel blade.  If the steel blade is reluctant to bite and cut, wants to jump once it is cutting, or generally doesn’t want to make smooth cuts, try the Ruby Stone Blade instead using the same technique — it will work better.

Some Technical Stuff

We know not everyone is interested in technical stuff, so this is just for those who are.

Lubricants.  Should you use lubricants when tuning ski edges?  Lubricants range from water to honing oils, etc.  ABSOLUTELY NOT!  Why?  While it is true that lubricants help the cutting action of stones, the problem is, when you are tuning edges you are constantly producing “trash” in the forms of metal and dust, if you use lubricants, you promote driving the trash into the base pores, whereas if the stones are used dry, the trash can simply be wiped off.  All of the SkiVisions stones are designed to be used dry, never with lubricants.

Checking base edge bevel and converting to degrees.

To measure base edge bevel all you need is an automotive feeler gauge like the one shown, and a true bar.

You are reading the gap between the true bar and the tip of the edge.  If the feeler gauge can insert into the gap, go to a thicker gauge, until it no longer can be inserted into the gap. The prior thickness is then the amount of bevel in thousandths of an inch. You can convert that gap to degrees using the chart below.

It is unfortunate that base edge bevel was originally expressed in degrees because it is meaningless without also identifying the starting point, 1 degree with a 3/32 of an inch starting point in from the tip of the edge, as we have used on the Ski Sharp, is a good measure for base edge bevel in degrees, and is the basis for the conversion in the chart below.  If the start point was, say, 1/2 inch from the tip of the edge, the ski would have so much bevel it would be un-skiable.  What is important when measuring base edge bevel is the distance as measured by the feeler gauge shown above rather than the degree of angle.

The following chart shows the thousandths of inches measured by the feeler gauge comparison to the degree setting on the Ski Sharp (base edge).

Degree setting                .5        1        1.5        2        2.5        3

Inches (thousandths)    .0015    .003     .004     .005     .006     .007

Keep in mind, anything over .005 (2 degrees) means that the ski has to be tipped very high on edge to get the edge to bite, something that should only be done by tuners looking for a specific effect.
Also, keep in mind that if you frequently ski very hard and man-made snow that your inside edge will wear very quickly, meaning, the base edge bevel will INCREASE due to that wear.  When that happens, you need to flatten the entire base with the SkiVisions Base Flattener with ruby stone blades to bring the entire base and edges in proper plane with each other.  The easiest way to track edge wear on the inside edge is by using this feeler gauge technique.

Setting base edge at true zero

We carefully set each Ski Sharp base edge file at true zero, it is the basis for the accuracy of the tool and we designed adjustability into the base file clip for that purpose. Here is how we do it.

To check if your Ski Sharp base edge is set at true zero, first turn the base edge bevel screw on the top to zero and tighten the screw on the underside all the way so the base plate is snug to the base file holder.  Then using a true bar, slide it along the base edge file and along the base piece of the tool to see if the true bar just “kisses” the file, it brushes the file so that you know it is precisely on the same plane as the base piece of the tool AND  as you pass the true bar off and back onto the file there is no “clicking” at the edges of the file.  Remember to once again loosen the screw on the underside about 1/2 to 1 turn so there is some play for the adjuster range.

If the true bar is not “kissing” the file, and/or it clicks as it travels off and onto the file, the base clip needs adjusting.  Using a #1 Phillips screwdriver, adjust the two small screws until the true bar makes precise but not excessive contact with the file.  Any turns of the screw are VERY minor, usually less than 1/16 turn.

Safety Rules

Maintain a firm grip on the Ski Sharp and keep your fingers away from the sharp metal ski edges. As said before, and as your Ski Patrol knows, edges are cutlery.

Your ski must be held in a ski vise when using the Ski Sharp.

Keep the tool clean and replace any worn or damaged parts.

The following videos relate to how to use the Ski Sharp.

SkiVisions Edge tuning with our SkiSharp Part 1

SkiVisions Edge tuning with our SkiSharp Part 2

SkiVisions using our tuning stick

SkiVisions Maintaining Cutting Inserts, Base Flattener Stones, HS Steel Bar & Files

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Toko (Red Creek) Rotating Brush Instructions

User Guide for Rotating (Roto) Brushes

Important:

To protect the eyes we recommend the use of protective glasses whenever working with rotating brushes. Make sure no one is standing close to the drill without eye protection.

 

With the exception of the brass and horsehair brushes having a rotating speed of approx. 800 per minute -the normal working speed is between 2500 and 3000 rpm without using any pressure on the rotating brushes.

 

Brushing out like professionals:

Before waxing:
Brass brush: To be used before waxing for the pre-cleaning of the ski base. The recommended rotating speed is approx. 800 per minute. Please work only with single shaft with plexi hood without
using any pressure.

– After drawing (scraping) off the wax layer using the acrylic glass blade (plexi-scraper):

First step: Remaining wax is brushed out of the base using the horsehair brush. This gives the base a matte surface whereby wax-residues remain at the depth of the base structures.

Second step: The remaining wax of the base structure is brushed out using the nylon brush until
no wax particles are visible anymore. Now the base has to be polished for getting a perfect High-Glass finish.

The black nylon brush is especially suitable for polishing with optimum finish for all waxes. Can be used as a universal brush.

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