Backshop Refresher

Hand tuning edges and fixing bases can be easy.

Some of the most basic work in the backshop can be some of the most intimidating. Don’t let these services (and their profits) slip out of your store. Pass around these simple instructions to your backshop employees and have them practice on used or rental boards. In no time, they’ll feel comfortable offering their services to any customer who walks through the door and you’ll be seeing a whole new revenue source.

This article was developed from Chris Walsh’s seminar during the Master Technician’s Workshops that took place in Santa Ana, California early this fall. Walsh currently works for Sun Valley Ski Tools and was a service technician at Mt. Bachelor ski shop for fourteen years.

Simple Edge Tuning

Here are several simple things to remember when tuning snowboard edges by hand:

1. Remove rust and debris from both the side and base edge prior to any work.

2. Find where the contact point of the snowboard is on the tip and tail with a tru bar. This is the point where the edge raises up off the snow and no longer affects the snowboard’s turning performance.

3. Use an eight-inch file to round off the edges. The idea is to get rid of those edges that don’t have any affect on riding so you’re not wasting any time during the edge tuning.

4. Run a gummi stone over the edges to get rid of the little burrs. If you find the edges have hardened due to impact with rocks or other objects, try using a diamond stone with a 220 grit.

5. Figure out the bevels you want on the board. One degree on the base and side are the optimum all-around bevel angles, but don’t be afraid to try others. Some advanced techniques suggest using a one-degree bevel between the bindings, since that’s where the turning is initiated, but then leaving the areas between the tip and binding and the tail and binding with a 90-degree angle (no bevel).

6. Check the flatness of the base before filing. If it is not flat, grind the base flat.

7. Using a file guide, pass a file over the edge. Use light, short passes down the base, then make one nice long pass to tie all the cuts together.

8. Put a double-sided ceramic stone into the file guide. You can go both directions to take out small indents from the file

9. Repeat on the other edge of the board.

After the base is done, switch over to the side edges. Follow these instructions:

1. Prep side edge like you did the base edge.

2. Make a light pass down from top to bottom of the board with the side-edge guide. On the final pass, make one continuous slide.

3. Clean out everything including files and edges.

4. Use (diamond) stone to clean the edge. Make a final run with a red gummi stone over the edge to polish it.

Fixing A Blown Edge

First, be straight with the customer. Although the damage looks bad, it can be fixed. But you’re going to need the board for 72 hours to do the job right and allow everything to bond properly. So if you can, rent the customer a board for the day. Explain to the customer that the rental and the cost of the repair is still cheaper than the price of a new board.

Here are the steps to repair the edge:

1. Figure out how deep the damage is on the edge of the board. Cut away the edge and base material from the damaged area. Let the board dry for 24 hours to make sure there’s no moisture in the woodcore. (Moisture will impede the bonding process and ruin all the work you’ll do.)

2. Use cracked edge material. It flexes more easily, and will take more punishment. Load up the base area with epoxy. It’s slow setting and has a longer working time, plus it doesn’t shrink as much as a quick setting bonding material. Fill in just below the base. Because epoxy and P-tex don’t bond very well, let the epoxy cure for eighteen to 24 hours.

3. Get a router and grind the epoxy flat. Cut a piece of P-tex to fit in the area. Leave just a little room for the epoxy to fill in around the repaired area.

4. Cutt the edges in the board at a 45-degree angle and do the same with the new piece so they fit together like pieces of a puzzle.

5. Use urethane to build up the sidewall, then the edge. Try using a catalytic glue, and work from the back to the front, or from the core toward the sidewall area.

6. Pre-drill the screw holes in the board to hold the edge down, turn the screws into place, then get the epoxy in and around the edge. Use hot-stuff glue.

7. Rough up the edge material, then set it in.

8. Place the P-tex piece in the hold. (It should fit like a charm.)

9. Use a file to smooth the edges out and scrape the P-tex piece flat with the rest of the base.

-John Stouffer