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Ski/Board maintenance

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Ski/Board maintenance

Postby lordhelmut » Wed Dec 12, 2007 10:20 am

Was wondering how anyone who waxes/edges there own gear goes about it. i've done it maybe 4 or 5 times in my life and again last night, since sports Authority had a turn around time of 3 days for them to do it. Since I didn't have the proper bench, I kind of had to Jerry-rig it a bit. A couple questions :

1) what order do you do it. The informative guy at Sports Authority in Lakewood suggested I fill in any nicks with the ptex first, let it sit for 20-30 minues, level out with the scraper. Then do the edging. Maybe i'm doing it the wrong way or not long enough, I finally after a good 30 minutes on each pair of skiis began to get sharper, then again, I didn't have a bench with clamps, so I had to lean them up against the wall. I finally put some wax on and leveled out pretty much the instant it dried. Just trying to get an idea of what others do.

2) Are there places where you can buy specific benches for ski waxing and edging or is it easier to just go to Home Depot and make one yourself.

3) How much wax and ptex do you use? My ptex job on a significant gash was pretty miserable last night and I think I put way too much wax on.

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Postby Steve Knapp » Wed Dec 12, 2007 10:34 am

I have a workbench in the garage and wax my skis there about every five ski days. Before I built the bench I had to use the kitchen table, which sucked. I buy a three-pack of wax with different colors and temperatures and then wax for the conditions I expect for the next few outings (currently using a mix of 18-28 degree wax as the really cold weather hasn't set in yet). I hot wax each ski and then scrape off the excess not long after they've cooled off. I don't ptex much anymore, I used to do that but the ptex would usually get pulled out the next time out. For deeper gashes you really need a base weld, which I don't have the equipment for. I don't sharpen either. Usually I take the skis in for a professional tune and stone grind once or twice a season. Seems to work OK unless I'm on the Birds of Prey downhill course at Beaver Creek (pure ice all year it seems).

I know you can buy benches from some of the specialty places, but you are probably better off building something. I don't have clamps but would like to get those someday.

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Postby RenoBob » Wed Dec 12, 2007 10:45 am

LordHelmut:
In a previous life I was an R & D ski tech for a US ski mfg. You're going about it in the right order: fill gashes, scrap and flat file base, sharpen edges, wax, scrap wax.

Overfill all the holes and scratches with Ptex.
Use an old electic iron for waxing. Hold the iron point down over the ski and stick your block of wax on it, medium heat. Once the wax starts to melt, slowly passing the iron and wax down the length of the ski, leaving a ribbon of melted wax about 3/8" wide. Then iron the wax over the ski. It doesn't take much, but too much won't hurt, you'll just scrap it off.

With out a bench and clamps it's tough to do. Even with the right tools and setup it will take you 30minutes to an hour to do a pair properly.
Get any kind of work bench approx. 6' long and order a set of ski clamps. I'm sure they are available locally or on line, just make sure they will handle your width of ski. Look for Oberg flat files, they're the best for flat filing and hold their edge the longest IMO. Also find a clamp to hold your ski brakes down so that you can make long uninterrupted stokes on the base and edges. You should be able get one from the mfg. of your bindings.

Yes, a ski shop can whip out a pair of skis in minutes, that's why God invented stone grinders, belt sanders and automatic waxing machines.
But, there's nothing finer the the smell of burning Ptex and melting wax on a cold Winter's eve.
Some mistakes are too much fun to make only once.

Postby lordhelmut » Wed Dec 12, 2007 10:48 am

Yes, a ski shop can whip out a pair of skis in minutes, that's why god invented stone grinders, belt sanders and automatic waxing machines.
But, there's nothing finer the the smell of burning Ptex and melting wax on a cold Winter's eve.



Bob, I agree, its a fun project to do with a beer(s) and a fire (if I had a fireplace). I sat there stroking the smooth bottoms and sharp edges, and I love the smell of that wax.

CG_old

Postby CG_old » Wed Dec 12, 2007 10:54 am

I've read that wax can cause respiratory issues... so I always wear a respirator. Not sure if that's true or not, but I've heard it from several different people. May want to consider a good NIOSH approved respirator, especially in a poorly ventilated area (my shop isn't well ventilated).

I've had good luck buying tuning supplies here:
http://www.reliableracing.com

- Chris

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Re: Ski/Board maintenance

Postby Ken Gross » Wed Dec 12, 2007 11:18 am

lordhelmut wrote:

2) Are there places where you can buy specific benches for ski waxing and edging or is it easier to just go to Home Depot and make one yourself.



Yes! Check out these websites:

http://www.tognar.com (great selection, decent prices on some things)

http://www.raceeffect.com (smaller selection, great prices esp on wax)

tognar's site has lots of DIY tune info and a great product line. RaceEffect has some great tune packages that come with an assortment of tools

I always tune my own skis, and find it to be quite enjoyable but time consuming.
"Democracy is 2 wolves and a lamb discussing what's for dinner. Liberty is a well armed lamb willing to contest the majority decision." Benjamin Franklin 1755

Postby drex27 » Wed Dec 12, 2007 12:56 pm

http://www.the-raceplace.com

Quite simply the best tuning gear on the planet. Granted, this was used during my racing days and might be a little overkill, but there is still some great advice there.

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Postby BTL » Wed Dec 12, 2007 3:39 pm

I made a DIY bench from a 2 X 8 bolted to a folding metal sawhorse for cheap and it stores away easily. Good vises are worth their weight and I would second the Tognar suggestion for vises and other gear. The ski visions' stuff (base flattener, edge tools) are good for the home tuner. Some of the equipment may seem expensive, but you'll probably have it for years and use for many pairs of skis or boards.

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Postby Pete M » Wed Dec 12, 2007 3:58 pm

1. Have core shots & edge damage repaired by a QUALIFIED ski/board tech. Very difficult to do at home. And remember there are lots of hacks out there. Just because somebody works at a ski shop does not mean they are qualified to due this type of repair.
2. DO NOT attempt to sharpen your own edges. You WILL destroy them. Have it done at a shop.
3. You should have no problem waxing your own board. Clean it (scraper & orange/citrus cleaner) until the hairs on the ptex are exposed. Wax thin to win, less is more in this case. Take lots and lots and lots of time with the iron paying special attention to the area inside of the metal edges. These areas experience the most wear. Scrape and scrape and scrape and scrape. When your you are sick of scraping, scrape some more. Then buff it out w/ a green brilo pad. Not difficult, but very time consuming. :)

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Postby Ken Gross » Wed Dec 12, 2007 4:18 pm

Pete M wrote:1. Have core shots & edge damage repaired by a QUALIFIED ski/board tech. Very difficult to do at home. And remember there are lots of hacks out there. Just because somebody works at a ski shop does not mean they are qualified to due this type of repair.
2. DO NOT attempt to sharpen your own edges. You WILL destroy them. Have it done at a shop.


Core Shots are easily repaired if you have the right tools, and I have made some long lived base repairs using only a ptex candle and a bic

Edge damage is more involved but not beyond the scope of a craftsman

Totally disagree on edge tuning.. again need proper tools (files & guides) but not at all hard to do. In fact edge sharpening should be done every 4-5 days on snow at least... for many it is too costly to pay for a pro tune every 4-5 ski days... and a couple of files and guides will cost less than 2 tunes at a shop.

The only thing I take my skis to the shop for is the occasional stonegrind (once per season)
"Democracy is 2 wolves and a lamb discussing what's for dinner. Liberty is a well armed lamb willing to contest the majority decision." Benjamin Franklin 1755

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Postby rlw49 » Wed Dec 12, 2007 4:18 pm

Okay, dumb question, which I am fully qualified to ask. Do they lubricate downhill ski bindimgs? If so, with what? I'm thinking ski techs might not work on them since they may be too old, but they haven't seen much use.These will probably be rock skis.

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Postby Chicalorado » Wed Dec 12, 2007 4:39 pm

I used to work at a snowboard park in IL, and when we weren't busy, the boss would have us tune and wax the rentals. Needless to say, I've done well over 200 boards in my day.

That being said, doing it yourself is really not that difficult. There have been some great posts on this subject already, but I thought I'd offer a few tips:

1. Make sure your board/skis are warm before you put hot wax on them.
2. When doing edges, always go from the tip to the tail.
3. When scraping the wax off, scrape from tip to tail.
4. Pick up a pair of collapsable sawhorses from Home Depot. I have something similar to this.
5. Wax and especially P-Tex are not good for your respitory system, but a respirator is not necessary. I do my work in the garage and open the doors. If doing work inside, an exhaust fan will suffice.
6. After scraping off all excess, rub down with a brillo pad, then finish with running a tuning cork tip to tail.
7. To see if you missed a spot, run the back of your hand over the surface, not the front. Your fingerprints and such will make it feel worse than it really is.
8. Edge sharpening is not that difficult if you have a file with a guide. If you have massive edge damage, it can be done with a big file and experience, but I wouldn't recommnend it.
9. When melting wax onto the board, make sure the iron is hot, but not smoking/steaming. If it is, it is too hot and the wax won't be as effective.
10. Devote an evening to it as it is time consuming and have fun with a beer in one hand. After you've done it a few times or watched someone who knows what they're doing, it gets easier.

Hope that helps! See you on the mountain.
"There is a road, no simple highway,
Between the dawn and the dark of night,
And if you go no one may follow,
That path is for your steps alone."
~Grateful Dead

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