How to Tune Edges

Your 1-2-3 Daily Tune

  1. Check for burrs on your edges by running a finger along the full length of edges. Remove any burrs with a medium diamond stone in a Base BEAST and Side of BEAST (or Pocket BEAST) with the proper bevels for your edges.
  2. Check for ski sharpness by dragging a fingernail across your edges. If the ski edge scrapes away some fingernail it's probably sharp enough. If your edge is dull, sharpen following the side edge tuning procedure below.
  3. Finish your daily tune with hot waxing and head for the slopes.

Enjoy your slope experience with tuned equipment. It's easy and more fun!

Ski Edge Tuning

Base edge beveling is lifting the edges off the snow a slight amount (.5° to 1°) so they won't engage until the ski is tilted on edge. Too little base edge bevel causes a ski to hook up before the skier is ready and excessive base edge bevel creates instability as the edges are raised too far off the snow.

Side edge bevels are commonly 1° - 3° with the high number indicating a more acute angle to penetrate farther into hard snow. Too little side edge bevel can cause a ski to skid and too acute a bevel can cause the edge to knife into the snow and "rail".

RULE #1: If some is good, more is not always better!

Edges must be sharp from contact point to contact point for carving. Skis need to grip the snow to allow them to bend into a turning arc. If the ski edges are dull, this will not take place causing skidded turns. If your skis are hooky, increasing your base edge bevel in the tip may help or you might want to have your boot canting alignment checked.


Base Edge Tuning

For best results, begin with a ski that is stone ground flat. Hold the ski in a vise with the base up and use a Base BEAST and an 8" mill file to establish your base edge bevel. Begin on the far edge with extended arms and pull file toward you with 8-12" strokes. Rotate the ski 180° in vise to work on the other edge. Tip: Beginning tuners should darken the edge with felt tip pen and file until the entire edge is shiny.This technique gives you a visual on how much edge material you are removing.

Do NOT file into the base material as this will create a base high (convex) shape causing instability. Finish by polishing with a medium diamond stone in a Base BEAST. Polishing with a progression of finer stones will enhance the performance.

Maintain your base edge with very light polishing with a Base BEAST and a diamond stone after any side edge sharpening. Abrasive hard-snow conditions wear on the outer edges of the base and cause convexity. Have your skis stone ground to re-establish a flat base if your ski becomes unstable because of excessive wear. Note: Base edge bevels need to be re-established after any base grinding.

Sidewall Planing

Most skis are designed with plastic or aluminum sidewall reinforcement just above the edge. This sidewall causes difficulty when working on the side edge, as it tends to hold the file away from the metal you are filing. The solution is to remove some of the sidewall material with a Plane BEAST before tuning, so it doesn't interfere with your work.

Edge Profiles

Side Edge Tuning/Sharpening

Side edges need daily maintenance for maximum ski performance. Hold your ski in a vise with the side edge up and base away from you, so you can easily work on side edge. This position allows you to pull the Side of BEAST (or Pocket BEAST) toward you giving better control than if you were pushing the tool.

Sharpen with an 8" mill file in a Side of BEAST (or Pocket BEAST) until your edge is very sharp. Follow with a medium diamond stone to polish the edge. Use a progression of finer stones for "speed" events.

Remove Burrs

Lightly run a gummi stone along the edge at a 45° angle to remove fine burrs after polishing. DO NOT DULL or "DETUNE"!

Machine Tuning

Visit a good service shop if your bases are not flat or have sustained large gouges. Machine tuning or stone grinding will renew skis to a "block" shape, but generally do not set precise edge angles. Establish and maintain proper edge angles after any machine tuning/stone grinding with quality BEASTedge tuning tools.


Recreational Skier Bevel Recommendations

Average Recreational Skier Hard Snow Soft Snow
Base Edge Bevel
Side Edge Bevel 1° - 3°
Advanced Recreational Skier
Base Edge Bevel .5° - 1°
Side Edge Bevel 2° - 3° 1° - 2°

Ski Racer Bevel Recommendations

Junior Racer Slalom GS SG & DH
Base Edge Bevel .5° - 1°
Side Edge Bevel
World Class/Elite Racer
Base Edge Bevel 0° - .5° 0° - .5° .5° - 1°
Side Edge Bevel 3° - 4° 3° - 4°

The angle ranges listed are variable depending on snow hardness, speed and your strength and skill level. A high level, technical skier tends to encounter hard and icy snow conditions. An increased bevel angle enables the base edge to be in immediate contact with the snow surface and side edges to penetrate deeper for better grip. A less experienced athlete may find that these extreme bevels tend to cause the ski to hook too quickly and edges to bite into the snow too much. This can cause erratic ski performance and possible knee injury.