(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)
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.
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.
My early season riding isn’t much different than most skiers and snowboarders. I’m on a glacier with varying conditions and trying to mimic racing as much as possible.
Whether you lost a screw, adding shims, have a tear out or want to swap bindings between multiple skis, we have any array of ski binding screw options to help you do it yourself.
Please note it is impossible for us be on top of every screw head type, length, shims, cants, rail system, and nuances for every binding and situation. So please try to resolve screw by going through the steps below issues prior to calling or emailing.
See more Binding Topics for more insights on mounting, binding and screw questions.
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.
For a reference for downloading for printing or to keep handy on your favorite device:
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.)
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
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 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).
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.
Rick 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.
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.
For all intents and purposes, regarding materials, tools, screws and installation procedures, Binding Freedom & Quiver Killer stainless steel threaded inserts are virtually interchangeable.
(Click on the adjacent images to enlarge.)
After performing base grinds, machined edge sharpening or hand side edge sharpening with a file, a hanging burr can be formed which may feel like a razor sharp corner. This can create hooking of the edge and unexpected edge action. Removing the burr is necessary and and easy final edge tuning step.
Like any cutting tool, you need to keep sharp for quicker, easier & better results. Why waste the material and just toss them when they can be used for years. Having a few sharpened scrapers around is also nice when you have a lot of scraping.
For those who grew fond of the Maplus Universal (Green) and Universal Hot (White) solid waxes in the past can rest assured that the formula, glide and durability is the same, but the colors changed over the past season and can be found here.
The following ‘in process’ school video project may provide you and others with visual aids and another perspective on diamonds, files and edge tuning. The edge tools used in this video can be found here.
Measuring and cutting climbing skins can be easily facilitated and more convenient by securing the ski to a vise. With the ski secure, attach the tail as directed by the manufacturer and pull towards the tip to measure the bend at the tip bale in place. Cut the excess and peel back and cut off 12″ (30cm) or so of the backing with the trimming tool. Lay the tip section on the ski base to assist the tracing of your tip template.
Sharp and smoothly polished edges, with correct edge geometry (aka properly ‘tuned’) are critical to maximize the carving capability and overall performance of your expensive board(s). What tools and techniques do you employ?
The flatter, properly structured and defect free base will accept wax and glide better than one that is not. A better slide will also help the turn and basically overall enjoyment while out ripping it up on the snow. Keeping the bases in shape also prolong their lives and value.
Every home tuner needs a decent permanent or portable work area, ski and snowboard securing system and general shop tools and supplies to perform a variety of tasks.With a good set up that works for ones personal needs and budget, tuning, waxing and base prep tasks become easier, quicker and more enjoyable.
As an art, mixed with science and opinion, tuning, waxing, base preparation and other ski and snowboard related issues have been long debated, continually evolve and……..often don’t……….SlideWright’s Blog is an attempt at addressing frequently asked questions and esoteric topics pertaining to tuning, waxing, base preparation and other tasks. It’s all as easy or as complicated as you want it to be. Drop us a line if you have questions, comments or suggestions. Relax, have fun and find your own way. Let us be your guide.
How flat (or not) are my bases? What are my base bevel angles? How straight are my scrapers, edge guides & tools?….are among the typical bits of information needed to perform and gauge quality of work and determine what work is required.
Like any tool we carry, there is a range of quality levels available to meet budget, personal goals and acceptable tolerances. From basic straight metal bars to precise, finely milled, high quality case hardened steel, the DIY tuner can achieve the desired and necessary level of precision using the fundamental tool known as a true bar.
Extruded aluminum T-tracks are commonly used by woodcrafters for setting up jigs, guards, stops, router and saw tables and other shop tasks requiring unique clamping capabilities.
The Tools4Boards ski & snowboard vises (Cinch, CordLoc, BoardLoc & Pro 500) which are designed to integrate with the Terminator tuning stand also work great with T-tracks, knobs & T-bolts mounted into a workbench or homemade tuning stand. This is a time saving, highly versatile and unique approach to securing skis and snowboards compared to the conventional system of clamping vises with jaws to a bench or tuning stand to perform base repair, tuning & waxing tasks….even binding mounting and adjusting.
While sharpening and polishing side edges and in order to cut the metal side edge only, the sidewall material needs to be planed or back-filed. Otherwise the cutting tool will get clogged with the sidewall material and reduce the efficiency and possibly the accuracy of the desired bevel.
The objective of structuring is to impart grooves into the base material. This removes suction that a perfectly smooth base would produce, especially in wetter snows. The structure also channels water that is produced by the friction between the ski or snowboard base and the snow. A finer structure is desired in colder snows as it holds the smaller amount of water longer and helps the glide. Changing the structure frequently is not practical and should be done relative to major trends in the snow temperatures and time of year.
Cleaning and regularly waxing your bases is the most common and easiest ski and snowboard maintenance task. It will protect your boards and optimize the glide and turns.
Basic Hot Waxing Steps:
1) Bring the skis or snowboard to room temperature if possible.
2) Place the board(s) on a good work surface that can secure them for scraping.
3) Clean the bases with base cleaner or hot scraping.
4) Drip, crayon, hot touch & crayon or hot touch iron smear solid wax onto clean and dry base. Less wax requires less scraping, brushing & mess to clean up.
5) While keeping the iron moving, spread and melt the wax evenly over the entire base. A trail of liquid wax should just follow the iron.
6) Work the wax in again to assure coverage
7) Let the wax cool and harden for a minimum of 30 minutes.
8) Scrape wax down to base with a sharp plexi scraper to an even, thin film.
9) Free the base structure by brushing out the micro-grooves/structure of the bases and polish to a nice sheen with manual or roto brushes (or both).
10) Clean up the mess and then go glide fast and make smoother turns!
The clothes iron has always been used as a low cost method for melting and applying wax to ski & snowboard bases. An amusing irony regarding tools versus gear, is that many skiers will go to great lengths and expense to purchase performance ‘tools’ for their feet, and great lengths to spend very little for 2nd and 3rd rate tools for their hands to take care of their expensive gear, trashed day in and day out. I’ve been no different, but once you use a nice tool, irons a case in point, and realize it’ll do a better job, in less time, it’s hard to go back.