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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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Colorado Ski Resorts Powder Level Cameras

image of Colorado Ski Resorts Powder Level Cameras-Telluride Snow LevelAfter a snow storm it’s always good to find out ‘how much they received’. Here are Colorado Ski Resorts Powder Level Cameras which are periodically updated to see how much has accumulation. Many are date stamped and are cleared at various times of the day. Some do it at 4pm, others at 4:30 and so on. The accumulation is since their last clear off. Telluride has a conveyor belt on a timer which is pretty trick. By checking during a storm you can get a sense of the rate of the snowfall.

Please let us know if you find that any of these do not load or know of other camera URLs. If a snow stake cam is not available, we’ve included snow report links. Some images may not load even after this page is refreshed. You may need to ‘view image’ by right clicking or selecting control/view image, or click on the source link above. Some images have time stamps and other hints there is something inconsistent if the image shows sun at night or dark during the day.

Here is summary of Colorado Ski Resort Conditions Open Trails 

Arapahoe Basin Ski Area

Aspen/Snowmass- Elk Camp

image of Colorado Ski Resorts Powder Level Cameras-Aspen-Snowmass

Beaver Creek- Spruce Saddle

image of Colorado Ski Resorts Powder Level Cameras-Beaver Creek

Breckenridge- Base of 6 Chair

image of Colorado Ski Resorts Powder Level Cameras-Breckenridge

Copper Mountain Resort Live Feed & Timelapse Snow Stake Cams

Crested Butte- High lift

image of Colorado Ski Resorts Powder Level Cameras-Crested Butte

Eldora Mountain Resort

Keystone Ski Resort-North Peak
image of Colorado Ski Resorts Powder Level Cameras-Keystone

Loveland Snow Camera

image of Colorado Ski Resorts Powder Level Cameras-Loveland

Monarch Snow Report

Powderhorn Mountain Resort

Purgatory Snow Camera

image of Colorado Ski Resorts Powder Level Cameras-Purgatory

Sunlight Ski Area

image of Colorado Ski Resorts Powder Level Cameras-Sunlight

Steamboat- top of Sundown Express

image of Colorado Ski Resorts Powder Level Cameras-Steamboat

Telluride- Prospect Bowl- 10,900 ft

image of Colorado Ski Resorts Powder Level Cameras-Telluride

Vail- Blue Sky Basin

image of Colorado Ski Resorts Powder Level Cameras-Vail

Winter Park – Dog Patch trees

image of Colorado Ski Resorts Powder Level Cameras-Winter Park-Colorado Ski Resorts Powder Level Cameras

Wolf Creek Ski Area Snow Report

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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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SkiMan SideWall Sharp Planer Information

SkiMan SideWall Sharp Planer InstructionsPurchase Ski & Snowboard Sidewall Planers here.

  • Ergonomic sidewall planer
  • Easy handling, steady grip, maximum  accuracy
  • Best results, minimum  effort
  • Adjustable  blade position and cutting  depth
  • Right and left hand  use
  • For ski and snowboard
  • SkiMan SideWall Sharp Planer Instructions

For Recreational, Snowsports Pros and Racers

The   use    of   the    sidewall    planer is   essential  to   remove   excess   of material  which may compromise  the file cutting  and  make  it  difficult  to obtain  the right angle.

It is necessary to use this tool before filing,  so  that  the  file  can  make  a precise  work on the edges.

Ski or Snowboard sidewall:

  • remove before filing
  • titanium blade steel
  • edge base
  • ski or snowboard  body
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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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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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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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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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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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Binding Freedom & Quiver Killer Stainless Steel Threaded Insert Installation

Binding Freedom Insert

Binding Freedom Insert Courtesy of Drew Persson-PhotoTurbo.com

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.)

The main difference between the two is that the Binding Freedom inserts have a notch across the top. This allows for the use of a slotted driver or Binding Freedom’s 3 in 1 Installation Tool. This slot also allows for the removal of the insert without ruining the interior threads while using an extraction tool with reverse threads.

Quiver Killer Insert

Quiver Killer Insert Courtesy of Drew Persson-PhotoTurbo.com

Stuff happens and occasionally you may need to remove an errant insert so always order more than you think you need…just in case. It is also possible that the slot in the BF insert can also get stripped or compromised and an extractor may become necessary. A jam nut in conjunction with a threaded installation tool or shoulder screw can also be used for installation and extraction for both inserts.

Dimensions: Both Quiver Killer and Binding Freedom inserts are nominally 9mm length x 8mm (5/16″) diameter. The actual diameters for both average 7.85 mm. The lengths QK inserts average 8.55 mm & the BF inserts average 9.15. This is a minor 0.6 mm average difference which may be important for some but inconsequential for most. A little deeper hole will fill with epoxy to nullify any voids.

Both have the same outer (same tap & handle) and inner threads. The inner threads accept M5 x 0.8mm pitch machine screws. The pitch indicates the travel distance of the screw for each revolution. Both inserts are within 0.2mm of the same effective average screw depth of over 6 revolutions (QK=6.5 and BF=6.25) which is around 5mm screw length engagement inside the inserts.

General Binding Insert Installation Tips:

  • Practice on old skis or scrap wood before attempting on your current skis.
  • It is highly recommended that you redrill existing holes for binding inserts after testing the binding location and skis with a conventional alpine binding mount.
  • Even though existing holes may have been fine for alpine or telemark mounts, does not necessarily mean they are free from accuracy errors. Alpine screws can be off a little bit and work fine. The tolerances for threaded inserts are less and be sure to double check existing holes before blindly drilling away. You can use a paper binding template with the holes punched out as a quick gauge.
  • Only attempt installations when you have time, focus and mojo. If you are pressed for time, tired, distracted, inebriated, among other factors, errors are more likely to occur.
  • Despite all of the care in the world, you can still be off just enough to create a problem once the epoxy sets. We recommend that you ‘lightly’ install your bindings with appropriate screws to align the binding holes with the inserts while the epoxy cures. It is possible to ‘tweak’ the installed insert location just enough if there are slight errors. Double check the overall alignment.

Also see:

Drilling Holes: 1/4″ (0.2500″) or F (0.2570″)? Some recommend using a 7/1000″ larger ‘F’ drill bit while others prefer the more standard 1/4″ drill bit which fit in our standard drill guides to assure vertical and accurate drilling. The F bit fits the Binding Freedom guide block better.We consider 7/1000″ well within the reasonable margin of error so either will work. The SVST stepped drill bits measure 1/4″ (with 5/16″ shank), as do our straight jobber or brad tip bits. A brad tip bit is very accurate for initial hole drilling, but not recommended for re-drilling existing holes.

Tapping: After the holes are accurately drilled, carefully tapping the holes to create interior threads for the inserts is required. The inserts are not self-tapping like wood and alpine screws (though some alpine screw installations require tapping (some tap their ski binding holes, regardless). Using a drill/tap guide with a stop collar or other visual aid is recommended. You want to be assured that you tap vertically and do not continue to tap a hole after the tap hits the bottom. It will strip the threads if the tap stops at the hole bottom and the tap keeps rotating.

Epoxy: Generally, a longer curing epoxy is best for more strength. Either the Hardman General Purpose  Epoxy (Blue) or the higher strength, Hardman Very High Peel Strength Epoxy (Orange) work well. The General Purpose is a light amber color and finishes clean and hard. The Very High Peel Strength finishes flexible and gray. Be sure to clean the inserts to free them of any oils or other material that may affect the bonding of the epoxy. A bike or chain degreaser is a good option. After filling the holes with mixed two-part epoxy, use a tooth pick to remove bubbles and coat all surfaces in the tapped holes.

Installing Inserts: The installation of threaded stainless steel binding inserts can be accomplished by hand with a dedicated insert installation tool and tap handle or a threaded shoulder screw, hex bit, driver and jam nut. The Binding Freedom inserts can also be installed with their dedicated 3 in 1 tool. After installing an insert with the threaded options and you are backing out the tool, you may feel the insert also backing out. A quick counterclockwise rotation of a driver or tap handle usually releases the tool and leaves the insert in place. If not, utilizing a jam nut and wrench in a clockwise direction while backing out will hold the insert.

For extractions, as mentioned previously, the Binding Freedom 3 in 1 tool can be used with the slot of the BF insert. A jam nut locked to the insert with a wrench with the threaded tool can be used. If that does not work, a reverse threaded extractor may be required. This may or may not damage the threads. Heating the insert with a soldering iron often softens cured epoxy enough to facilitate the extraction.

Be sure the inserts are installed flush or just below the top sheet. If you find later that one or more is just ‘proud’ of the top sheet, it can be filed or ground flush.

Screws: Flat, Button & Pan head stainless steel screws are typically used with the inserts to replace the original alpine screws. See the Stainless Steel Screws for Threaded Inserts post for more information.

Threadlockers: Loctite and Vibra-Tite VC-3 are recommended threadlockers that must be applied to the screws and let cure before screw installation. There have been issues with Loctitie and some plastic parts on some bindings. Generally, it is not a problem, but Vibra-Tite does not create these problems and is generally given the edge as the better of the two options.

Periodically reapplication of a threadlocker will be necessary if bindings and screws are frequently removed and reinstalled into others for binding swaps. Not much is needed, but be assured that the screws do not work themselves out.

If you have questions or wish to post a comment, please do so below.

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Finding Your Ski’s Centerline

One of the few things consistent between all of the various shapes, sizes, side wall and top sheet shapes, binding locations, and camber/rocker, etc of skis and snowboards is that they are symmetrical relative to their longitudinal centerline.

Finding the centerline with accurate measuring and layout tools is critical when drilling for and mounting bindings or checking their proper mount locations from the shop. Not only for side to side symmetry, but to assure they are in line with the ski.There are many simple and complex tools and approaches employed using any number of measuring and layout tools to determine the centerline. Some are accurate and some are not.

The first two thing to remember is that in order for your skis to perform as designed is that bindings need to be centered relative to the edges and NOT the top sheet or side walls AND the sides of skis are typically not straight, but curved. Additionally, their proper fore and aft location is important and establishing an accurate centerline assists in this regard.

Cautions: Without factoring the curvature of the ski sides, simply using a try square or intersecting diagonals or intersecting arcs can result in minor to major inaccuracies.

Granted, the turning radii of many skis is large enough that measuring from both sides using a square can be reasonably accurate if not used absolutely and directly across the skis,

while using crossing diagonals and arcs can result in large discrepancies. Top sheet graphics and variable side wall shapes are other sources of inaccuracies. Whether a skis is cap or sandwich construction or symmetrical top sheet graphics, they are not to be relied on for measuring the skis other than general dimensions.This leaves the edges as the ‘benchmark’ for the lateral ski dimensions (as well as for base flatness). Accurate measuring tools like calipers, tape measures and rulers can easily find the width from edge to edge, but are not necessarily the easiest or accurate or reliable tools at transferring measurements to the top sheet for marking.

Easy & Accurate Techniques: A very useful aid is to place a strip of masking tape down the perceived center of the ski. If you don’t have tape a grease pencil on the top sheet works as does a clamped piece of string or straight edge. The longer the straight edge or distance from your end marks, the more aligned your centerline will be. If the marks are closer and you are slightly off center with one of your marks, the angle of the centerline will be greater than if they same two marks are farther apart.

A center rule, ideally with edge guides or ‘locators’ is the simplest and quickest  reliably accurate method to mark a center line. The math is eliminated and you simply need to match the measurements on each side of center to set the center.

 

This PDF centering template can be used to by folding it over the ski and creasing it over the edges at the same measurement and tape it. You can mark each end and then move the template other locations and use it on the other ski.

 

 

Using the common try or double square, is another easy option for finding center. Rather than spending time micro-tuning the blade location (with the handle against each edge) go ahead and ballpark the length either

just long or just short of center and make a mark along the end of the blade. After you have two marks, measure in between them to find true center.

Always double check your measurements, before, during and after drawing your centerline.

 

       

Once you are confident your line is indeed the center of your skis, you can square against it at the ski’s mounting point to draw your center line for your  boot center and tap on your binding template and are ready to mark and drill for an accurate binding mount.

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Race Tuning Videos with Willi Wiltz Added to Toko Videos

5 New Race Tuning Videos Featuring Willi Wiltz Added
5 new race tuning videos featuring renowned ski and snowboard technician Willi Wiltz have been added to the TokoVideos.com.  Willi serviced Tommy Moe, Daron Rahlves, and Bode Miller to their medals and biggest successes.  Additionally, Willi has worked with snowboarders Nate Holland and Shaun Palmer with great results too.  Learn from the best at your own pace at TokoVideos.com

 

Video Index

Metal Edges (Alpine Skis and Snowboards)

Recreational/All Mountain Edge Tuning

Recreational/All Mountain Waxing

Race Tuning w/ Willi Wiltz

Race Waxing

Cross Country Skis

Recreational

Grip Waxing (Advanced)

Glide Waxing Racing Skis

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Trimming & Waxing Climbing Skins

(FAQ)

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.

Pull back the tip section, leaving an inch or so to keep the skin attached to the ski to help trimming the tip. Once the tip is trimmed, peel off the remaining backing and pull from tip to tail and lay the skin down, centered on the ski, and secure the tail clasp.

If trimming to fit a shaped ski, apply reasonable pressure to the side of the cutting tool against the ski edge with a finger while slowly and continually running down the length of the ski, trimming the skin to match the ski profile. Disengage the tail clasp & pull upward with the skin tip secure, and lay it back down on the ski, with the trimmed edge 1/4″ (6.4 mm) from the edge onto the base. Repeat the trimming process on the untrimmed edge. After it is trimmed, reposition the skin on ski. You should see equal edge exposed on either side of the skin.

Black Diamond PDF Instructions

Black Diamond skin trimming video.

Rub on bar wax to increase glide and reduce ice build-up. Paste wax or spray-on may also be used if you are at room temperature, but bar wax may be more practical when out and needing to reapply. The paste wax or spray may cover more of the skin fibers than a rub on will providing a little more waterproofing and coverage and might be worth some experimenting.

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