How to Tune Skis

How to Tune Skis
No matter how little or how much you ski, eventually your skis will become damaged by skiing over rocks, ice or bare spots. Damage to your bases and edges, regardless of how small, will slow your skis and make them more difficult to steer.

Performing basic maintenance on your skis, including tuning and waxing, is easy to learn and takes less than a half hour. With tuning, your skis will perform better and you'll protect your valuable investment.

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderate

Basic Ski Tuning Techniques

Things You’ll Need:
  • Workbench or pair of sturdy chairs Steel flat edge scraper P-Tex candles and matches Steel file File guide Diamond stone Ski wax Used clothes iron Plastic pot scrubber Large rubber band
  • Workbench or pair of sturdy chairs
  • Steel flat edge scraper
  • P-Tex candles and matches
  • Steel file
  • File guide
  • Diamond stone
  • Ski wax
  • Used clothes iron
  • Plastic pot scrubber
  • Large rubber band
Step 1
Place your skis upside down over two chairs. If you own a ski workbench, open the jaws and secure your skis with the base side up.
Step 2
Retract the ski brakes using a large rubber band. Retracting the ski brake will make it easier to work on the bases.
Step 3
Pull a steel file down the bases from tip to tail. Avoid filing back and forth -- file in one direction. Press firmly on the file with enough pressure to remove a small amount of plastic base material and metal edge. The goal is to flatten the bases and edges so that there is a uniform surface to ski on. Turn the ski on one side and file the side edges using a file guide set to the proper amount of bevel. A good place to start is a 1-degree bevel on both edge surfaces: bottom and sides. This is often called a "one and one" bevel and is appropriate for most recreational skiers.
Step 4
Light the end of a P-Tex candle with a match or lighter and drip P-Tex into all gouges and scrapes throughout the entire ski base. Use a liberal amount of wax to completely fill the gouge. If necessary, allow the P-Tex to dry for 15 minutes and re-apply.
Step 5
Drag a steel edge from the tip to the tail to remove any extra P-Tex from the base. The base should be a uniform gliding surface with no nicks, dings, gouges or abnormalities before waxing.
Step 6
Run a diamond stone over the edges to smooth any remaining burrs or nicks resulting from filing. Run the stone down the base and side surfaces of the edges. Repeat all of the above on the other ski.

Ski Waxing

Step 1
Choose an appropriate ski wax from the chart in the link below. Try to match the weather and snow conditions with a wax from the chart.
Step 2
Plug-in a used clothes iron and adjust to the lowest heat setting. After the iron has heated, press the edge of a block of wax against the hot iron surface and melt a liberal amount of wax onto the ski base. Move slowly down the ski base from the tip to tail. Press the surface of the iron onto the base and distribute the wax evenly down the entire surface. Use plenty of wax on the base. Allow the wax to dry for at least 15 minutes. Repeat on the other ski.
Step 3
Drag a steel edge down the surface of the ski base from the tip to tail. Press hard enough to remove the majority of excess ski wax but not hard enough to remove all of the wax. Repeat on the other ski.
Step 4
Buff the ski base surface with a plastic pot scrubber to finish the surface. Use moderate pressure, dragging the scrubber back and forth until the wax is smooth. Repeat on the other ski. Remove the rubber bands from the ski brakes and store them in your toolkit for future use.
Step 5
Insert a small piece of wax paper between the contacting surfaces of the skis before storing or carrying.

Tips & Warnings

 
Make sure that the skis are held firmly in place while you work. Use liberal amounts of P-Tex and wax. Finish the bases so the running surface is clean and smooth.
 
Make sure that the skis are held firmly in place while you work.
 
Use liberal amounts of P-Tex and wax.
 
Finish the bases so the running surface is clean and smooth.
 
Never hurry while tuning your skis. Do not attempt to sharpen the edges without a file guide. Always use the appropriate wax for the conditions.
 
Never hurry while tuning your skis.
 
Do not attempt to sharpen the edges without a file guide.
 
Always use the appropriate wax for the conditions.

Article Written By Allen Smith

Allen Smith is an award-winning freelance writer living in Vail, Colo. He writes about health, fitness and outdoor sports. Smith has a master's degree in exercise physiology and an exercise specialist certification with the American College of Sports Medicine at San Diego State University.

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