DIY Tuning: 8 Tips for Tuning Your Skis/Board

Tuning Your Skis or BoardBy 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.

EdgesStep 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.

Scrape the wax

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!