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How To Tune Your Snowboard in Eight Easy Steps

Instead of allowing an anonymous shop tech to run amok with your beloved snowboard, take control of your destiny and give your shred stick a first rate tune in the comfort of your own home. Dedicated rider and Backcountry buyer Brandon Collett shows you how in this eight-part video series.

Part 1: Edge Sharpening and Maintenance

Part 2: Detuning Contact Points

Part 3: P-Tex Repairs

Part 4: Clean the Base

Part 5: The Final Wax

Part 6: Brushing and Polishing

Part 7: Summer Storage

Part 8: Tools of the Trade

Part 1: Edge-Sharpening Overview

1) First, take note of your stance settings and remove the bindings.

2) Always sharpen the base edge before moving on to the side edge.

3) Use a wetted diamond stone to remove any rust and burrs.

4) Before working on the base edge, check with the manufacturer to determine the base-edge angle your board is set at. Most boards come from the factory with a 1-degree bevel, but you’ll want to be certain before taking a file to your board.

5) Set your board on the stand with the base facing upwards, and attach a file to the file guide at the desired angle.

6) Working tip to tail, run the file guide down the board in smooth and even strokes, making sure to overlap where each stroke finished. If the edge is in good shape, this should only require a couple of passes.

7) For the side edges, secure the board in the vice with the base perpendicular to the floor and facing away from you.

8) Like the base edge, check the angle your side edges are set at; most boards come from the factory with a 1, 1.5, or 2-degree side-edge angle.

9) Secure the file in the file guide at the appropriate angle, and work tip to tail in smooth strokes until a sharp edge is achieved.

10) Go over the edges with a gummy stone for polishing and to remove any burrs that may have been pushed up while sharpening.

11) Head to the hill.

Part 2: Detuning Contact Points

1) Identify the contact points. These are usually about two inches above and two inches below where the edge begins to round up at the tip and the tail.

2) Place your board on the stand with the base facing up.

3) Use your file in smooth, continuous strokes to round off the sharp edge at the contact points.

4) Use a diamond stone or gummy stone to smooth out the edges and give them a final polish.

Part 3: P-Tex Repairs

1) Locate the scratch and use a razor to remove any burrs or shavings so the damaged area is prepped for the P-Tex.

2) Use a lighter to light one end of the P-Tex candle until it will continue burning on its own. Keep the candle above a tin can to stop drips from getting all over your work area.

3) Hold the P-Tex a half inch from the scratch and allow the P-Tex to drip into the void until it’s filled.

4) After filling up the scratches, make sure to extinguish the P-Tex candle.

5) When the P-Tex is fully cooled, hold a razor flush with the base to remove the excess P-Tex, creating a smooth, uniform surface.

Part 4: Clean the Base

For Extruded Bases:

1) Spray the base of the board with a spray-on base cleaner.

2) Wipe clean with paper towels.

3) Repeat as necessary to remove dirt and old wax from the board.


For Sintered Bases:

1) A few hot-waxing and scraping cycles is the best way to clean dirt and old wax from your board’s base in preparation for a final coat of performance wax.

2) Set your board on the stand with the base facing upwards.

3) A block of all-purpose wax is ideal for hot wax and scrape cycles. Save the pricey condition-specific stuff for your final wax.

4) Heat up the iron just hot enough to melt the wax. Touch the wax to the iron and allow it to run down the length of the board—when in doubt, use more wax rather than less.

5) Working tip to tail, iron the wax onto to the board using a back-and-forth motion. Be sure to keep the iron moving to avoid burning the base.

6) As soon as the wax is ironed onto the board, remove as much as possible with your plastic scraper held at a 45-degree angle.

7) After the scape, go over the base several times with your nylon brush.

8) Repeat the process several times, just make sure to allow the board to cool between hot wax cycles.

9) If your board is brand new or has been recently stone ground, you may want to repeat this process seven to ten times.

Part 5: The Final Wax

1) If you’re going to use a condition-specific wax, now is the time to apply it.

2) Just like the hot waxing, heat up the iron and drip a generous line of wax down the length of the board.

3) Working tip to tail in a back-and-forth motion, iron the wax onto the board, making sure the wax runs all the way to the edges.

4) Unlike the hot waxing, you’ll want to allow this coat of wax to fully cool before scraping—for some waxes this could take up to an hour.

5) After the wax has cooled, use your plastic scraper at a 45-degree angle to remove as much wax as possible—it should come off in nice, white shavings.

Part 6: Brush and Polish

1) For a quick, cheap, and easy polish, just pick up a brillo pad like the one you use for cleaning dishes.

2) Wipe down the base with the pad, removing any excess wax and giving the board a shiny and slick finish.

3) Then reattach the bindings and you’re good to go.

4) For a real boost in speed, you’ll want to give the base a proper brushing.

5) Working tip to tail, use your nylon brush in smooth strokes, making sure to only brush in one direction. Keep in mind- this is brushing, not scrubbing.

6) If you really want to get techy, use a fine horsehair brush after the nylon brush for a really slick finish.

7) You can’t brush too much. The more you brush, the faster your board will be.

8) After brushing, reattach you bindings and head to the hill to fly like you’ve never flown before.

Part 7: Summer Storage

1) Properly prepping your board for summer storage is going to increase the lifespan of your board, and it will require minimal tuning when the lifts start to run again.

2) Spray your board off with the hose—this is especially true if you’ve been riding in dirty spring conditions.

3) After allowing the board to air dry overnight, use a gummy stone to remove any dings, burrs, or rust from the edges.

4) Clean the base prior to storage by either wiping it down with a base cleaner or running it through a couple of hot wax and brushing cycles.

5) Using a block of all-purpose wax and your iron, drip two to three times as much wax as you normally would down the length of the board.

6) Iron the wax across the board using a back-and-forth motion, allowing the wax to run over the base and cover the edges. This thick coat of wax will protect the base and edges from air and moisture so they won’t rust during storage.

7) Store the board in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight.

8) When the snow arrives again, simply scrape off the coat of summer wax, and you should be ready to ride.

Part 8: Tools of the Trade

To give your board a first rate tune in the comfort of your own home, you’re going to need some basic tuning equipment. Watch Backcountry buyer Brandon Collett run through the basic gear needed to get your board up to snuff for the coming season.

1) Snowboard vise or stand—A good set will keep your board secured to the workbench for greater precision while sharpening, cleaning, and waxing.

2) Diamond stones—You’ll want a rough-grit stone for repairing damaged edge sections and a medium-grit stone for general maintenance.

3) Files—Very useful for sharpening edges and setting a bevel. Files are best employed with the help of a file guide.

4) File guide—You’ll want specific file guides for your base and your side edges.

5) Gummy stone—A nifty and inexpensive tool for polishing and detuning snowboard edges.

6) Ski iron— A ski-specific wax iron will give you greater temperature control and is specifically shaped to apply hot wax to skis and snowboards.

7) Plastic scraper—Simple and inexpensive, a wax scraper is essential for removing wax from your snowboard bases.

8) Wax brushes—A set of brass, nylon, and horsehair wax brushes will help you clean snowboard bases and boost speed after waxing.

9) Wax—You’ll probably want a block of all-purpose wax for hot-waxing cycles and some condition-specific wax for exceptionally cold or warm weather conditions.

10) P-Tex candles—A simple and inexpensive way to repair gouges and scratches yourself.

11) Razor—Useful for cleaning up damaged areas on the snowboard base and for removing excess P-Tex following a repair.