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Sensory Overload: Where to Start???

Starting out to learn anything new or to increase skills and knowledge, including maintaining your skis or snowboards, there is always an over abundance of information and uncertain choices that can numb or paralyze anyone enough to not take the first step.

✴ You need to start somewhere and choose easy tasks
✴ Take your time and be patient
✴ Learn as you go and from your mistakes
✴ Don’t be afraid of making minor mistakes. They can be fixed.

Determining what capabilities or level of tuning you are after will help decide on tuning or other tools. What level tuner are you and want to be; Leisure/Casual, Performance or Serious?.

If you looked at building a tool kit whether it’s files, diamonds guides, brushes, waxes, etc as you looked at building your quiver of skis, you wouldn’t necessarily get everything you can to start. There are simply too many variables to grasp without time and experience, cost and other considerations. As with skis and other gear, you can always buy more and there are various grades or calibers of tools. For the recreational skier and tuner, getting every one of the finest tools may be overkill and an unnecessary expense. But if you appreciate fine tools, and start out purchasing them, it’s hard to go back to lessor caliber as you become spoiled.

For the ‘all mountain’ capabilities for main files & diamonds which you can build on, we suggest:
1) bastard or 2nd cut file-for edge sharpening, beveling and setting edge geometry, coupled with guide. The coarser the file, the faster the cut and filings stream off easier.
2) panzer/body file-for removal of side wall (edge off-set), quick removal of edge when establishing edge geometry or removing excess base material. Also great for plexi scraper sharpening.
3) 200 & 400 grit diamond-for de-burring, maintenance sharpening, finishing and polishing edge
4) aluminum oxide stone-inexpensive ‘beater’ stone for knocking down case/work hardened edges, de-burring, knife sharpening, misc tasks
5) gummy stone-de-tuning and rust removal
6) base and side edge combination guide-used to secure files, diamonds and stones accurately to set edge geometry (bevel angles) and can be used for maintenance sharpening with diamonds or stones

For starting out and I’d bet for the majority of recreational tuners (and if you’ll also need other tools), a Tools4Boards Deluxe Tuning Kit or SuperStation, coupled with a diamond and gummy stone will be more than adequate, can be built upon and is a great value. The 3 in 1 Xact or Razor in our kits are solid and highly versatile. Later, if you decide to purchase more dedicated angle guides, for side and/or base edges, the 3 in 1s will still be a nice tool to keep handy for sidewall planing, scraper sharpening, bevel measuring and as an additional guide. Over time you’ll realize that having more than one guide expedites each job, especially when you are maintaining several pairs.

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Base Repair Options

4/8/09: New! Soldering Iron Base Repair video can be viewed here.

Long the low tech and easy to implement method for the home tuner to make temporary base repairs has been burning and dripping Ptex candles. Common problems are the inclusion of carbon and discoloration of clear Ptex repairs, burning hands and fingers and the simple fact the repairs do not last (largely due to the wax included in the material, reducing the bonding). Typically, repairs need to be frequently repeated.

If you get a core shot (through the base material and into the core), additional steps are necessary, either by adding epoxy or cutting out and gluing in replacement base sheet material.

A more durable and easy option for smaller repairs is Base Welding. Metal grip, with it’s heat actuated adhesive can be melted and adhere to core and edge material and serve as a primer for base repair materials that can provide a virtually permanent repair.

Welding can be performed with soldering irons, welding guns and hot air welders. The soldering iron approach requires a lower temperature iron than those used for conventional soldering. Though still fairly ‘low tech’ and easy, care needs to be taken to avoid damaging the bases Welding guns and hot air welders may be easier to use, but can get pricey.

Coupled with a welding option, cutting and finishing tools need to be employed to clean up and blend the repairs with the existing base and base structure. For a more detailed explanation and How to Repair Bases and tools & supplies needed, please visit our Base Repair page.

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Hot Touch Crayoning & Smearing Wax

To save time, wax and mess while hot waxing solids, Hot Touching is better than dripping and then ironing, especially with harder, cold waxes.

Hot Touching & Crayoning uses the least amount of solid wax, total effort, time and is the least messy. By briefly touching a bar of wax against the base of a hot waxing iron, the wax softens and is easier to apply to the base by crayoning a section of a ski or board at a time. When the crayoning becomes less effective, repeat the hot touch and crayoning until the base has a reasonably even and thin coat of wax. Then make several passes with the iron to liquify and evenly spread the wax over and into the base.

(If you are concerned with a hot iron and a very thin layer of wax on your base, using a sheet of teflon between will protect the base and make for smoother ironing.) Let cool & harden, scrape and brush. The scrapings will be minimal compared to drip/hot waxing and scraping.

Hot Touching and Smearing is similar to Crayoning. The difference is after touching the wax bar to the base, you smear the wax onto the base with the iron. This can be somewhere in between the dripand crayoning methods in both technique and amount of wax applied.

Following hot touching and smearing with a light hot scrape or fiberlene between base and iron can be comparable to crayoning requiring minimal scraping and brushing.

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Measuring Edge Bevels

Accurately measuring and recording edge bevels is necessary to match or select proper dedicated edge guides or mult-angle guide tools & settings for efficient edge work. This will give you a point of reference in making adjustments relative to skiing or boarding feedback, or for maintaining consistency while maintaining sharp and smooth edges. It’s a good idea to measure and record the edge angles of new ski or snowboards so you know where they were when you got them. Later, you’ll be glad you did.

As a precision base and side edge bevel meter from SVST, the Pro Bevel Meter snaps to the metal edge with a strong magnet that then quickly and accurately rotates the finely machined tool meter and shows you your side or base bevel angles. This sets the standard for precision measuring, ease and speed.

Also a finely machined tool, a machined side edge bevel meter, can be placed against the base of the ski and quickly measures the side edge with (4) preset angles: 1 thru 4° (89 thru 86°/SVST 91° thru 96°). As with all measuring devices placed against the edge, requiring visual clues of the tool relative to the edge, good visibility and backlighting is necessary to compare the edge to the tool. Magnify glasses help in the visibility department.

(Note: the side edge angles 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, etc are the angles cut inward from the side edge relative to a 90° degree corner. Thus, the European standard is 90, 89, 88, 87, etc, while SVST/US standard is the dedicated edge guide designation to create the side edge bevel, 90, 91, 92, 93, 94, etc.)

Base bevels are simpler in that they are designated relative to flat: 0, 0.5, 0.7, 1.5, 2, etc….

The most common bevel angles are 1° base bevel & 3° side bevel. Designations always should include base bevel angle first, followed by side edge angle: 1:3 for 1° BB & 3°SB, for example.)

Metal or plastic protractors can also be used as can T-bevels, coupled with protractors to return reasonably accurate measurements, but require extra care and time to assure a good measurement. The plastic protractors require extra care as the sharp ski or snowboard metal edge can modify the plastic protractor edge.

A very handy way to see if you have a match to your edge guide is to run a marker of some sort along the edge, leaving a thin ink film. By running your guide over the ink with a fine stone (to minimize edge material removal), the removal of all the ink will indicate a match or near match, while ink removal on one side of the edge or the other will indicate there isn’t a match and you’ll be able to determine if the guide is too steep or shallow relative to the edge.

A reliable multi-angled tool is very useful for this as a low cost measuring device used in this manner, since you can try different angles and zero in on the angle the edges are.

Another method for measuring the base edge bevel is to use a true bar and measure the height or use feeler gauges at 60mm to determine the angle. As the following graphics show, it is actually 57.3mm mathematically, for the given heights, but 6omm is generally considered acceptable since it is easier to remember (and marked on the above true bar, from the right edge).

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The Cinch Ski & Snowboard Vise

The Cinch Ski & Snowboard Vise is the most versatile board securing device on the market. No longer do you need to be concerned with side clamping problems relative to various shaped sidewalls and widths of skis (ie, fat skis) or snowboards. You can also secure multiple skis to streamline waxing, cleaning and repair tasks. Though designed to integrate with the Tools4Boards Terminator portable tuning stand, they can be mounted with their included clamps to virtually any typical bench or table.

Additionally, the vise can be clamped or bolted with knobs variety of work surface for easy repositioning in line with the board or rotated from inline to perpendicular.

The lasso clamp coupled with the skidproof board supports will provide years of easy and quick fastening of your boards to expedite accurate tuning, repair and waxing tasks. They also offer enough friction to perform many tasks without securing the ski or snowboard with the lasso clamp.

Your ‘one-size-fits all’ solution for securing all skis (including wide skis) and snowboards. The Cinch vise with included Lasso Clamp can conform to any binding type and secure any ski (including alpine, AT, Telemark, XC/Classic /Touring, NNN/SNS & skate), along with snowboards and splitboards.

There is also a side lever clamp for side edge work on snowboards and fat skis if the pad and clips aren’t enough.

Please check out a review by Lou Dawson at Wildsnow Backcountry Skiing blog and a unique method of using the mounting versatility of the Cinch.

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Old Enough to Slide, Old Enough to Tune

Basic tuning tasks can easily be taught to young rippers. It gets them connected early with their gear, builds confidence, teaches usable skills to build on and hopefully develops appreciation and respect so they will take better care of their (or their friend’s and cousin’s) gear and other possessions….

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Maplus Waxes & Thermometer

(For larger view of Racing chart , click on image.)

Universal Wax Paraffin (hydrocarbon)
Universal Solid (Cold-Hot)
Universal Solid Fluoro (Cold-Hot)
Universal Granular (Cold-Hot)
Universal Liquid
Universal Spray
Super Glide FluoroWax
Skin & Base Glide Wax
Super Glide Wax-Patterned/Scaled, aka ‘No-Wax’ Ski
Paraffin & Low fluoro products for workshop, ski-rental leisure.

Racing Base Wax Paraffin (hydrocarbon)
Racing Base Solid (Hard-Soft-Hard Graphite-Soft Graphite)
Racing Base Liquid (Hard-Soft-Hard Graphite-Soft Graphite)
High and medium melting point paraffin for saturation and protection of racing ski bases.

P1-Paraffin Wax Paraffin (hydrocarbon)
P1 Spray (Cold-Med-Hot)
P1 Liquid (Cold-Med-Hot)
P1 Solid (Cold-Med-Hot)
Paraffin for training and leisure and racing use in presence of low humidity (0% – 30%)

P2-Low fluoro Wax Paraffin (hydrocarbon)
P2 Spray (Cold-Med-Hot)
P2 Liquid (Cold-Med-Hot)
P2 Solid (Cold-Med-Hot)
P2 (Ice) Powder (Cold)
Low fluoro paraffin for training and leisure, and racing use in presence of low-medium humidity (30% -60%) or as a base before applying perfluorinated waxes P4.

P3-High fluoro Wax Paraffin (hydrocarbon)
P3 Spray (Cold-Med-Hot)
P3 Liquid (Cold-Med-Hot)
P3 Solid (Cold-Med-Hot)
P3 (Ice) Powder (Cold)
High fluoro with additive MBN7 paraffin for racing use in presence of medium-high humidity (60% – 90%) or as a base before applying perfluorinated waxes P4.

P4-Perflourinated Wax
P4 Spray (Cold-Med-Hot)
P4 Powder (Cold-Med-Hot)
P4 Solid (Cold-Med-Hot)
Perfluorinated wax to be applied on top of fluorinated paraffin products for racing use in presence of medium-very high humidity (50 – 100%).

However you wax your boards, be sure to clean the bases very well and pay attention to structuring to reduce suction for better slide, especially in wetter conditions. The Maplus liquids and sprays will achieve a higher level of saturation and durability than hot waxing with solid waxes by simply applying and rubbing in with cork or felt. Saving lots of time and effort, they are easier to apply and control amounts, less or no scraping or brushing is necessary for high performance. For optimal performance, add heat by moving a iron down the ski or snowboard, over a sheet of teflon for further saturation. After at least 10 minutes and the wax has hardened, polish the excess wax with horsehair or nylon brush to expose the structure. When waxing, realize that you are trying to get the wax into the base, not on the base. Scraping and brush polishing removes the excess and exposes the base structure.


-We recommend cleaning the ski or snowboard bases with Maplus detergents and then applying a hot Maplus Racing Base after each race or after preparing the ski or snowboard bases and edges.

-All traces of basic wax must be thoroughly removed before applying racing wax: scrape off the wax and then brush and polish thoroughly.

-If you clean the ski or snowboard bases with a detergent immediately before applying racing wax, we recommend heating the base so the detergent can evaporate completely.

-We recommend the following iron temperatures to melt Maplus ski or snowboard waxes:

-120°C (248°F): Universal;
-130°C (266°F): (Soft – Soft Graphite) Racing Base, (P1-P2-P3) Hot;
-140°C (284°F): (P1-P2-P3) Med;
-150°C (302°F): (P1-P2-P3) Cold;
-160°C (320°F): (Hard – Hard Graphite)Racing Base, P4.

If used improperly, the waxing iron can damage the ski or snowboard construction.

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Waxless XC or BC Skis Are Not

Wax-less skis need glide wax: Despite what their name implies (from not needing grip or kick wax to propel the skier), the bases of wax-less skis (typically BC & XC) require some TLC as well.

Cleaning the scales and glide area to equally maintain cleanliness and sealant of bases can be achieved fairly easily for better glide and longevity. Clean the entire base with cleaner, let dry, wipe, wax, let dry 5 min., and polish. The glide area can be hot waxed for best performance but is counter productive in the kick area (scales or patterned base).

Using a spray wax on the grip/kick zone (the cut-in, patterned base or raised scale area) will improve glide, especially in warmer conditions when the snow might tend to stick and slow you down. This is probably more of an issue on single cambered BC skis, versus double camber skis, where the kick area maintains more of a continual contact with the snow.

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Putting Your Boards to Bed :-(


What’s the recommended storage wax and a good procedure to prepare skis & snowboards for storage after the season?

At the end of the season or for extended periods of no use, it’s good practice to make sure your bases are covered with hydrocarbon (storage) wax to protect and seal the bases and edges. With either liquid/spray or hot waxed solids, leave unscraped to avoid drying them out and rusting the edges.

Any straight (no additives like fluoros) paraffin/hydrocarbon wax will serve the purpose of sealing bases and edges to properly put your skis into Summer hibernation. Conventional wisdom suggests a soft wax is best since it’s easier to scrape off next season. By applying a medium or universal temperature wax, you might save some effort, material, steps and time preparing next season since it is possible you can just scrape brush and go, versus scraping, brushing and reapplying, scraping and brushing the same medium or universal temperature wax next season.

First clean the base with Maplus liquid detergent Clean or Flouro clean, Kwik Citra Kleen or KUU BioCitron (Clean should be used to remove traces of paraffin, Fluoro clean should be used to remove fluorinated wax if previously applied). Make sure any rust is removed from the edges. Then use an iron to apply a solid or liquid wax like Maplus Racing Base or Universal or Universal Hot. Many prefer hot scraping versus base cleaners to insure the base is completely clean, you may scrape the wax off when still warm, then re-apply the same wax again. The trick on the final wax application is to not scrape any wax off until next season when you are ready to hit the slopes again. This “travel wax” seals and protects the base from any damage during transport and storage. It’s OK to place skis together with the bases facing each other using Maplus straps. Skis and boards, like bears prefer to hibernate in a cool, dark and dry place….and dry of the powder days, tours, turns and stellar days ahead.

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Intimidation Factor. Real or Not?

Are you overwhelmed and intimidated by overly precise expectations starting out and afraid to mess up big? At what level do you or do you want to learn to maintain, repair, wax, structure and giving some love to your boards? What amount of effort do you wish to employ? What level skier or rider are you? What level of results are acceptable for your personal needs & goals?

Leisure/Casual/Recreational-wants to protect their investment and do the basics only to keep it simple and fun.

Performance-recreational & pros, depending on priorities and other factors can range from the highest standards to allow for some ‘rationalized’ or acceptable ‘slop’, but still want very good performance and maintain gear.

Serious-racers, pros (makes a living on skis or snowboards) and performance-minded recreational, etc, where only the highest standards of tuning, waxing, repairs, tasks tools and supplies are considered and practiced.
I’m putting together a tuning kit and am confused with all of the choices for files, diamonds stones and guides. Where do I start and what should I buy?

Determining what capabilities or level of tuning you are after will help decide on tuning or other tools. What level tuner are you and want to be; Leisure/Casual, Performance or Serious?.

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T4B Razor or Xact Multi-Angle Tool?


Multi-angled edge guides offer an economical and versatile solution for accurate edge work as well as other uses. Both the Tools4Boards Xact & the Razor are made from very durable polycarbonate (Lexan), include a small file, offer accurate side and base angle work, bevel angle measuring, sidewall cutting & wax scraper sharpening. If later, you find that you’d prefer a dedicated guide or two for side or base work, your multi-angled tool still can be used as an additional guide or for it’s secondary functions.

The Razor uses (replaceable) pegs with graduated lengths to provide 1° increments for side edges from 0° to 6° (90° to 84°/90° to 96°) & 1/2° increments for base bevels from 0° to 3°. It will accept virtually any length stone, diamond or file up to 6mm thick in it’s two integrated clamps. One clamp screw is swapped between the side and base edge clamps as needed. The pegs can leave a slight mark along the base if the tuner bears down too hard. These can be easily remove with a fiber pad and do not damage the base. Here are PDF instructions for the Razor.

The Xact uses an asymmetrical ceramic knob with a roller to dial virtually any angle between 0° to 6° (90° to 84°/90° to 96°) & for base bevels from 0° to 12°. Additionally, the side edge clamp can accept virtually any cutting tool while the base clamp and set screw only accepts the small file included. Since the base bevel needs little maintenance after it’s establishment, this is a minor issue for many. Here are the PDF instructions for the Xact.

For sidewall cutting either guides can be loaded with a panzer or coarse file and set from 5 ° to 6°.

For scraper sharpening, the side edge is set to 0°/90° for the Xact and no pegs for the Razor, coupled with a coarse or panzer file. Hold the tool in one hand or a bench vise and run the plexi-scraper across the file and against the side of the guide.

For measuring angles, mark the edge with a marker and run the guide over the edge with a fine stone or diamond. If the removal is even there is a match to the angle set. If there is removal on one side or the other, adjust the angle until there is even removal.

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Tuning Kit & the Basics


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 the kit (or download: Razor or Xact) for details on proper edge tuning. Go to your Tools4Boards dealer for more information on tuning or to find kit replacement items.

Waxing Skis and Snowboards

-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.


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 side-wall 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

Depending on snow temperature rub on either MAPLUS HOT (White -5° to 0° 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.

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.

Always use MAPLUS ALPINE SKI STRAPS to protect bases and prevent skis from scissoring during transport.

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