By now you have hopefully read the Part I of DIY Ski/Board Tuning, which focuses on the equipment you will need for your at-home DIY tuning shop. Getting the equipment is great, but unless you know how to tune your setup properly, you might be in for disappointment and possibly a broken ass on the slopes.
Follow this step-by-step guide to ensure that your skis or board performs well in all conditions.
Step 1: Prep
A common mistake people make is doing the tuning on a cold base. This will cause problems with the wax bonding to your base. For the best possible outcome, make sure the base is warm and dry. If so, get your skis/board clamped into your workstation and get ready to clean.
Step 2: Cleaning
Using a towel or rag, clean any excess dirt from the base. If there are any scratches, try to remove the debris or excess base material that isn’t smooth using a knife. Be careful not to dig into the base causing further scratches.
Step 3: Base repair
Using PTEX and a lighter, fill in any gaps you might have on your base from the deep scratches that you will inevitably receive over your base’s lifetime. You want to melt the PTEX just enough to fill the material into the hole, being careful to not put in too much or it’ll be a chore to get that spot even with the rest of the base.
After you’re finished with all the holes, you can use a knife or razor to carefully remove any excess. Try to find a fine line where the material hasn’t fully hardened so it doesn’t rip apart when refining the base.
Step 4: Edges
Be sure to clean off any dirt or surface rust that might have accumulated on the edges. Once you’ve done that, take out your edging tool and with a firm grip, sweep along the edges to your desired sharpness. Many edging tools allow you to vary the angle of your edge, so depending on your style you might want a shallower or deeper edge than the manufacturer recommends. Most times, though, you will want to follow what they recommend. They’ve done their homework.
Step 5: Wax
The waxing process is an art form, and gets better with time. With practice, figuring out how much wax to apply at a time will become second nature. If the iron is too hot, you’ll burn the wax, if it’s too cold, the wax won’t apply to the base properly. Again, it’s just something that gets better each time. Using your iron you will want to melt the wax and distribute it evenly across the board in droplets – once you have a good amount on the base, use the iron (very carefully) to spread the wax around evenly. Be sure that you aren’t leaving the iron in one place too long or you could damage the base.
Step 6: Scrape the wax
You will have extra wax in clumps after applying. This is perfectly normal. Once the wax has had time to cool and settle, use a scraper to get the wax off, being sure to not apply too much pressure and taking it all off. Be sure to do this in one motion from front to back, which helps aid the speed.
Step 7: Brush the wax
Using a scouring pad, brush the wax in an even motion from front to back. This will help for a much smoother ride. At this point your base should look like new, and you’ll be ready to hit the slopes.
Step 8: Go get some!
What are you waiting for? See you up there!