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How to Tune Snowboards (Helpful Guide)
Published: July 14, 2021
To maintain your boards’ performance season after season, you have to be able to repair, clean, and tune the edges. Basic tuning can be done at home with proper tools, and it can also be a fun activity! Proper snowboard tuning will help keep you gliding smoothly and having fun on the slopes.
Tuning your snowboard’s edges is important to keep your board fast, responsive, and catch-free when initiating turns. Plus, it is also a way to customize how your snowboard rides and feels underfoot. It is best to check your equipment regularly, have semi-frequent tune-ups, and frequent waxing. These must be professionally serviced once a year, preferably after a season and before storing them.
So, how do you tune your snowboard at home? To properly do so, you must first look for any scrapes, rust and burrs. Next, you should clean the bases, then perform a basic base repair. Finally, detune the edges, and finish up by waxing your snowboard.
To learn more about how to tune a snowboard, scroll down for our in-depth guide.
How do you know if your snowboard needs tuning?
You first have to look at the bases for scrapes. While smaller scrapes and gouges can easily be fixed at home, you should get it repaired by a shop if it has big holes that expose the core.
Next, examine the snowboard’s edges for any rust and small burrs. You can easily do minor edge work at home, but if your board need extensive repairs and sharpening, you should take them to a ski shop.
Repairing the base
Scrapes or punctures in your base may affect how well your snowboard glides, so it is important that you are able to repair it.
Materials that you will need for a good base repair:
Steps for repairing your snowboard’s base
- Start by setting your snowboard on a vise. If you do not have a board vise, you can improvise by using a couple of stacks of books to balance your board.
- You also have to make sure that your bindings are tucked and out of the way.
- Next, use your metal scraper to remove any extra base material from around the scrapes or gouge. You may also use a razor for stubborn spots, but be careful to avoid any additional lacerations.
- Brush off any dirt, debris, or any build-up wax. Start from tip to tail.
- Next, use a base cleaner around the scrapes to remove any wax from its pores. This is done, so that the P-Tex candle can cling properly.
- Wait for a couple of minutes, then use a towel and alcohol to remove any residue from the base cleaner.
Filling the scrape/gouge
- Light the P-Tex candle over your metal scraper to keep it from dripping on your work area.
- As it heats, you may need to light it up a couple of times until it is hot enough to drip continuously. Be careful not to burn yourself, and be aware of your work area or surroundings.
- Hold the candle as close as possible to the scrape, without letting it touch it. Do not get your face too close to the heat. If the P-Tex is too high, it may be dirtier, and may splash off your base. Whereas if it is too close, the flame may burn your base. So, proceed with caution.
- Let it drop until the gouge is completely filled.
- You should use your metal scraper to sharpen the candle when it starts to droop.
- When all the gouges are filled, extinguish the candle on the metal scraper, and set it aside to cool down, as it will stay hot for quite a while.
- Once the base is cool, use the metal scraper to remove the excess P-Tex for a smooth finish.
Sharpen the edges
For a snowboard to perform its best, you have to get rid of any rust and burrs on your board’s edges, as these can cause drag, and will slow you down on the slope.
Materials that you will need:
- Clean towels
- Gummy stone
- Diamond stone
- Rubbing alcohol
Steps for a good edge work
- Start by setting your snowboard on a vice or a stack of books to balance your board, and make sure that your bindings are tucked.
- Inspect the board for any rust and burrs; run your towel along the edge to avoid cutting your finger. Feel any small nicks. These nicks will snag fibers from your towel to show you where you need to work.
- Any rough spot needs to be smoothened without damaging the edge, so make use of a diamond stone, wet it with water, and run it over the burrs. Be careful to avoid scratching the base material. Thus, keep applying pressure on the metal edge, and focus on the areas that have more rust/burrs. Make sure to cover the entire length of the edge.
- For minor rust, use a gummy stone. This is less abrasive, so it is good for polishing. Make sure to keep it flush with the edge. Pinch it, use your fingers against the base, and keep the pressure light to avoid overdoing it. Make sure to cover the entire length of the side edges.
- Run the gummy stone lightly along the edges for a final polish.
- Finish by using a towel and rubbing alcohol to clean off any metal shavings.
If you have a new snowboard, it is best to have it de-tuned at a shop, rather than doing it yourself. Similarly, if your snowboard has more serious damages, take it to a shop as well for a more in-depth repair or tuning, instead of doing the repairs yourself, in order to avoid damaging it more.
Remember that you have to properly care for your snowboard, so that it will perform at its best, and you can enjoy your time on the slopes.