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Self-Servicing Skis - Is it worth doing?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
As a point of interest, I'm wondering if you put a concave ski base into the market how would it be expected that anyone can service it?

You'd need to grind it with a form to get the shape and then some method of checking the accuracy. Can that happen in technical terms with the equipment generally in use?

In addition, going up to John's explanation of base angle setting ( one millimeter at 60mm from edge) for the guage, then with concave base you are altering the reference plane that sets the angle, potentially making the base edge angle flat. Which is more or less what we see here.

It doesn't look tenable to me, certainly not to finish to that accuracy during routine base service.

If the base edge angle is to be produced to manufacturer specifications, then surely it's conditional on the base being flat?

It might seem like semantics, but technically everything is layed out from the reference plane which should be flat.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Had a wander around our local Decathlon today - they sell everything you need to wax your skis and at much better prices than some 'specialists' offer on line...
and no inflated p&p charges either!
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
kedsky wrote:
@spyderjon thank you. I didn't buy from you, ending with bindings and skis separately. Do you mind providing the mounting service for such customers? I would like qk inserts as well. Cheers

I do that all the time. It's bread'n'butter work for me.
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Quite common for certain brand new Salomon/Atomic skis to have concave bases at the tips and tails. Should they be like this? Absolutely not. Are they a PITA to stone grind? Yes. Some of them are that bad they should never go near a grinding stone. Mass produced and cheaply made? You decide...
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
How do service centers keep the stones used to grind bases ...100% flat ?
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Tirol 164 wrote:
How do service centers keep the stones used to grind bases ...100% flat ?


When the stones are new they are electronically balanced from the factory. A diamond is used to cut a structure into the stone and this runs true. This structure is then applied to the ski base. Whenever the diamond and/or stone is replaced, multiple ‘cuts’ with the diamond are needed to ensure it runs true. Also, because the stones are used wet (with coolant which is made up of water and an additive to prevent rust build up) they need to be ‘spun out’ at high speed dry for a minute or two to ensure they do not go out of balance.
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Tirol 164 wrote:
How do service centers keep the stones used to grind bases ...100% flat ?

The trueing of the stone (or any grinding wheel) is called dressing. The material used to dress the stone needs to be quite a bit hard than the stone so usually a diamond is used.

A dressed stone with need frequent re-dressing - usually every 20-25 pairs of skis but that can vary depending upon a number of factors.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
I've been following this thread, and all the other wax related ones, with interest and my questions are:

given that I am enthusiastic but hopeless at DIY, how easy is to completely screw this up and damage the ski?

and conversely, how difficult is it to make the ski run any better than if I hadn't bothered at all?
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@Penry, why not book yourself on Spyderjon’s course. I certainly wasn’t going to take that chance and try without some guidance.

I found it very enjoyable and informative.
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Now the stone dressing was what I was referring too as I have seen it done on a large metal shop grind stone ..not a much finer ski service stone.
They must be a very different stone to grind Polyethylene and case hardened steel from rock damage and not clog up

It begs the question if resort butchers even know about dressing the stone let alone ever do it at all ?

Personally the base polyethylene and case hardened rock damaged base edges are where I really struggle with diy hand tools at home or in resort.
I spend the most time on the base edge damage and find it the most differcult to apply any sort of precision the side edge doesnt seem that hard or as time consuming .

I had heard of usa shops using portable belt sanders on skis bases in high season..... when work loads tie up the base grinder ?
Sounds risky or at best would require a very skilled operator and the right type of belt and belt sander ?
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@Penry, It's easy to get it right if you follow the right process. The best way to learn the right process is to do @spyderon's excellent tuning course. Having sharp edges (esp in icy conditions) and waxed bases (esp in sticky/ wet snow) makes a real difference IMHO
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@Penry,

This is how easy it is


http://youtube.com/v/Wi4N4duxwgk

OK you might use an edge guide rather than the "grip"

Essentially what jon teaches you is how to do that stuff in a more disciplined and scientific way.
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So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Penry wrote:
given that I am enthusiastic but hopeless at DIY, how easy is to completely screw this up and damage the ski?

I generally don't enjoy DIY and I'm not that great either. One thing I am is quite methodical and can follow instructions. I enjoy ski servicing and working off instructive texts and pictures courtesy of Edge & Wax and reading this forum I think I do a pretty good job. I think there are two dangers. #1, screwing the edges by trying to do something with the base edge and/or making a mess of doing the side edge and #2 overheating the bases when applying wax. I haven't done either and tbh I think you'd be hard pressed to make these mistakes using the correct tools and following a decent written guide. I'd still like to do Spyderjon's course one day or maybe get the missus/kids to do it but I've managed quite happily so far.

Penry wrote:
and conversely, how difficult is it to make the ski run any better than if I hadn't bothered at all?

Really not that hard to improve things. If you feel the edges before and after it should be pretty apparent there is an improvement. And you will feel a much better glide on the ski if you wax them after a week or so without.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Penry wrote:
I've been following this thread, and all the other wax related ones, with interest and my questions are:

given that I am enthusiastic but hopeless at DIY, how easy is to completely screw this up and damage the ski?

and conversely, how difficult is it to make the ski run any better than if I hadn't bothered at all?


Like you I'm hopeless at DIY (except wall papering for some inexplicable reason). I've only been skiing for just over a year and bought my own skis not long after starting. A kind Snowhead (@mikem) who lives not too far away, showed me how to wax and tune my skis. It really is quite easy. I built my own waxing platform from a keyboard stand and wood; which is really stable and works a treat. The only slightly fiddly thing is the tuning. You have to make sure you get the angles correct; but the devices used to carry out the tuning have the angles clearly marked. I find it very relaxing and therapeutic. The only downside is seeing all the wax you've paid good money for, and lovingly applied to your skis, being scraped off in a pile on the garage floor, destined for the hoover. I reckon 95%+ of the wax ends up in the hoover Confused

Wax wise, I use Datawax Graphite Race wax in the Chillfactore and Hertel Super Hot Sauce on real snow. The Hertel lasted pretty much for the whole of the six days on the last BB and glides brilliantly. The difference in glide between skis that have just been waxed and those that haven't is very noticeable.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Quote:

I reckon 95%+ of the wax ends up in the hoover


Collect wax. Put in plastic bag or similar and melt in hot water. Pour into container. Reuse.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Quote:

they don't look any different to previously.

Didn't the bases look kind of grey and dry to start with? Especially underfoot? But not any more?
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
cad99uk wrote:
Quote:

I reckon 95%+ of the wax ends up in the hoover


Collect wax. Put in plastic bag or similar and melt in hot water. Pour into container. Reuse.

I personally don't bother to clean or hot scrape my bases before waxing but I wouldn't put dirty wax on either. And I am quite tight Shocked
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Perhaps it's because I am a snowboarder Laughing
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cad99uk wrote:
Perhaps it's because I am a snowboarder Laughing

Eeeuuughh Laughing Laughing snowHead snowHead
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
I use the ski visions gear from tognar to do base flattening and set base and side edge angles (on snowboards). The edge tools really need a flat base to get them right, and I've managed to get a few pretty convex or smashed up bases flat by hand using the base flattener tool and a true bar - managed to go the whole of last season without getting any base grinds done using those tools - it was a bit tricky at first, but with a bit of practice it's got a lot easier. I would think it's even easier on skis because the base flattener would cover the whole ski base in one go, where a snowboard requires doing one side at a time.

I'm at the point now where I can get a consistently better result than the local shop, and with 9 boards and 4 in the family, it's saved me a lot of cash over a season.
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@Dave of the Marmottes, Ah, a video of someone repairing a piece of equipment with nonchalant ease. Last time I watched one of those, on replacing bike disc brakes in that case, I smashed my fingernail out of its bed trying to do the same. Embarassed

Thanks for the advice from everyone else too, sounds like l should arrange a trip to Nottingham. The thing I don't get now is the financials. If the half day tutoring is 120 and cost of the kit brings that total to over £200, that's a lot of £25 services or am I missing something?
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Penry wrote:
The thing I don't get now is the financials. If the half day tutoring is 120 and cost of the kit brings that total to over £200, that's a lot of £25 services or am I missing something?

Personally I didn't do the tutoring.

I have 4 sets of skis and 2 snowboards to maintain and we ski twice a season - so at £25 a pop I'd be paying £300 a season but yeah with one set of skis it's less alluring.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@hang11, Ive not seen the Ski Visions gear in the flesh only on you tube but didnt follow up looking for it .
Not sure its even available in uk ?

If it works for you by hand on boards then which bits and bobs do you buy/use to flatten the base damage and other base issues out on boards.

Reason is the local resort tech is a butcher and the other tech centres are 10km away so I really need a resort diy base grind option for a large piste/mainly pow quiver .
Generally I take a case full of boards to the good tech guy but since I now diy wax I have cut costs alot and saved loads of travel time into town

Ski visions has the base flattener with medium or course stones and also the sharp steel finisher bar that fits into it from what I can see?

He is saying use emery paper to refinish these stones/tools flat after use if scoured or clogged up so this will work with myself .
(although watching him do it looked like he dosent weight the stone flat or evenly in practise on you tube .)

They also have the ski vision tool with the file in it not certain of its name... file flattener?
Did you buy or use this and is it needed?
Which stone is working for you medium or course in the base flattener on wide powder bases ?
Do you use the sharp steel bar finisher
I assume you shipped your ski vision kit into NZ as that import option used to work our well from the states.... which may be a option in the future if so .
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@Tirol 164, you can get it from slidewright or tognar - they ship internationally

I don't use the file flattener (don't think they make it any more).

For damage, I use a p-tex iron and metal scraper. Tognar have a real good burnisher tool that puts a great edge on the scraper.

Check the base with a true bar. If the edges are high, use the metal bar in the base flattener - that easily takes down the steel edges. If the base is higher than the edges, use the medium structure stone in the flattener to remove base material until it's flat.

To resharpen the steel bar (needs to be sharp), ski visions make a sharpening stone. Just gently run the bar over the stone a few times and it redresses it.

The stones are re-sharpened by gently running them over 100 grit emery paper on the sides of the stone only. The stones get clogged quickly so they need to be regularly brushed out.

I haven't used the coarse structure stone. The finish on the stones for structure isn't uniform like a shop grind - looks scratched basically, but I don't think that makes any difference to the way the board rides, not that I can notice anyway.

With a bit of time and practice, it's quick and efficient to get a board looking and riding great. Worth getting an old board to learn on first though.

It's also a lot easier if the base is already flat - ie to maintain as opposed to having to do major work, but I've brought a couple of munted boards back to life using those tools.
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Also, the tools aren't wide enough to cover any snowboard base - so do one side at a time. I tend to do a pass down each side, just to keep the amount of material removed similar. Have done major surgery on the base of a 164 hovercraft and got it pretty much perfect.


I find the best way is to do a pass that covers about 1/3 of the board in each stroke, not applying too much pressure, just let the tool do the work, and overlap each pass. Do that for each side of the board. If you are using the stones, keep them off the edges to avoid the edges wearing them down. If you are using the steel bar, then obviously you want that on the edges to shave them down, but don't use a lot of pressure, because if the end of the bar catches the base it can do some damage.


When you use the stones to do the structure, only go tip to tail and lift the stone off the base for the return (doesn't make p-tex hairs then). Then use the steel bar to do a couple of really light touch passes over the base to just take the very top off the structure you have put in.


Once the base is flat, you can use a tool to set the base edge angles again.


The bar and stones last for ages if you look after them, and redress them regularly. The bar in the tool also works well for taking down p-tex repairs, again with a light touch.
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I took the skis to Glen Charman https://www.skituningshop.co.uk.

Thanks for the advice so far.

I do find it really strange that the skis could have come from the factory like that. Well, there is the possibility that most people cannot tell if there is no angle on the bottom of the metal strip. in every human activity there is this factor. Anyone into hifi? I've been in electronics since the 1970s. Gold plated mains plugs? Valves??? £500 RCA cables ("interconnects")????? There is sooo much bollox around.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Hang11 thanks for the detailed heads up, shipping into uk usually costs abit so I needed to be sure the base flattener works as "some" of the sites other comments seem a bit flakey .
Which doesnt mean the product wont work when isolated in resort with a quiver and needing to shave a convex base or rock board in dec .
I need a true bar for board widths also saw the burnisher tool it looks good along with everything else USA its always a candy store .

Tognar strangely seems out of stock in dec I am probably going to have to wait till next year now anyway .


@peter_h, I dont think its strange but it is a learning curve so the devil is in the detail .
If you look at the curing of fibreglass/wood the mass production aspect and profit cost etc....
Fibreglass Wood Metal needs drying cure times to set and it probably isnt happening before the base finishing work is done during mass production.

The punters havent got a clue anyway and most will never ski enough to know the difference in most cases..... or will ever pay a higher service cost .
Even when they do know they have no time and limited options in resort and locally .
They will buy on image then follow the herd which the sales market is directing on a battery hen sales market principle

Thats why many of the resort ski shops are butchers because it just doesnt matter no one knows the difference or has time to go elsewhere .
The region I am in has two service centres both techs dont ski at all or even go up the mountain ..ever !

The more serious locals laugh about it as they race so need higher levels of service than the tourists .

The whole ski market reminds me of the picture breakfast menus in spanish tourist resorts except the ski punters have more dough to burn on a equipment learning curve rather than physical practise and training time .


Last edited by And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports. on Mon 3-12-18 18:01; edited 1 time in total
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That (most punters can't tell) is then the same thing as the £500 hifi interconnects Smile

That is not the same as so many people saying that unless the edges are done just right, the ski will be horrible.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
peter_h wrote:
That (most punters can't tell) is then the same thing as the £500 hifi interconnects Smile

That is not the same as so many people saying that unless the edges are done just right, the ski will be horrible.

You're incorrect. If there's a hanging burr(s) left on the edge(s) then the skis can be twitchy at best to downright scary. This is the most common tuning fault, either on a brand new ski or following a service. And unlike your hifi analogy all but very new beginners will be able to tell that there's a problem, although if the user has no knowledge of edge tuning then they'll be unaware of the actual cause but they will definately know they have an issue.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
peter_h wrote:
I took the skis to Glen Charman https://www.skituningshop.co.uk.



Interesting website, do you know any one that has done his ski tuning half day course? https://www.skituningshop.co.uk.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I do my own. Reasons:
1) initially I started waxing because it was an extra trip either at the resort or on the way home and I never felt like it as I left and it was a hassle picking them up again.
2) I ski 60-70 days a year. So the expense of waxing every three days would add up.
3) I started doing my own edges after successive disasters with three different shops.
4) I started doing my own structuring when I got comfortable with setting my own edges.

I'm no handy person. I'm a 67 year old female with an aversion to housework and a love for skiing.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Oh, here's another reason. By doing your own you learn what you like and don't like because you actually KNOW what was done. Half the time shops do as they darn please no matter what you tell them.
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6) It helps feed the ski addiction between trips/outside the ski season for less money than the other option - buying skiing gadgets.
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I noticed in Jons piste office store he has a new iron listed .

Maplus 1000w wax iron with a 15mm thick base (I believe correct me if wrong) for £50 .
My 1000w 4200 iron was about 70-80 so if its as good then the Maplus might be the new diy daddy .

After reading on the Tognar site regarding flat bases and concave tip an tail skis it just reinforces the need to diy at a acceptable std and use only the best service centres .


Last edited by You need to Login to know who's really who. on Thu 6-12-18 19:03; edited 1 time in total
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Do you mean concave tip and tail?

https://www.tognar.com/blog/base-flattening/
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After reading that I think it sums up alot .

Yes sorry I incorrectly typed convex it should be concave tip and tail skis where boards seem to be more convex or base high .
Now edited my previous post to say concave

The ski vision tools seem to get the thumbs up just as Hang11 has said .
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
So. I have just received a new pair of Head Supershape Magnums and given them an edge and wax. After contacting Head to check on the recommended standard base and side edge angles (1 & 89 degrees), I found that the factory angles were off. Can this be right?
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Grachen wrote:
So. I have just received a new pair of Head Supershape Magnums and given them an edge and wax. After contacting Head to check on the recommended standard base and side edge angles (1 & 89 degrees), I found that the factory angles were off. Can this be right?

How do you know what they were already set to?
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Skis frequently arrive with bevel angles not "as advertised". Some brands are worse than others, I hear. Some shops tune skis as part of their prep and it's whatever they think you should have unless you tell them differently, IN OTHER WORDS THEY CHANGE THE FACTORY TUNE. You should decide what YOU LIKE in any case, and just tune them to that.
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@Grachen, you don't have to follow their suggestion. Try your own angles.
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