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As a carver, you will fine-tune your technique to maximize edge hold. Which means you will be able to feel the difference between subtle changes in board tuning.


Board tuning consists of three main steps:

  1. Base grind
  2. Edge sharpen
  3. Hot Wax

To maintain your board in the best possible condition, you should leave the base grind to a tune shop, and do all of the edge sharpening and waxing yourself. You can also do minor delam repairs easily. But to do a good job with major base repairs on a high-end race board, you need more equipment and a lot of practice, so it may be prudent to let a shop do it.

The best tuning tips can be found on two sites:

Read all the advice from these two sites before tuning. All the tips below are either the foundation of a good tune, or not included in the above sites. There is one interesting site that is race-specific: The Fast Wax web site provides wax recommendations for specific races, and tracks the results of skiers who used a particular wax at a particular race.

If you decide to let a shop do the edge sharpen and hot wax anyway, then make sure the shop uses only hand tools, not machines. Machines are blunt instruments, whereas hand tools can provide exacting precision by giving feedback to the user - it's all done by feel. Since there is no advantage in using machines, there is no disadvantage in using your own hand tools instead of going to a shop.



You will typically need a base grind for a new board, and at least once per season to renew the base structure, flatten the base, and remove gouges. You also need a base grind under the following conditions:

First, find a base grinder who is a perfectionist. Ask which grind pattern is used, and then ask the tuner to explain exactly why that grind pattern is best for the local slopes. Then ask the tuner how the suggested grind pattern changes between fall and spring. From these questions you should be able to assess the IQ of the tech. A few tips:

Shaving cream for your base

Swix sells "Base Prep Wax" which helps you remove P-Tex hairs that might be left sticking out after a base grind. It works just like shaving cream. You wax the base, and a warmer component of the wax rises to the surface, pulling the P-Tex hairs with it. When you scrape the base with a plastic scraper, it cuts off the P-Tex hairs.

When you pick up your board after the base grind:

If your snowboard has a deep warm-weather all-purpose grind, this is what you see when you lay a true bar on the base. The light from behind the true bar reveals the grind structure, which appears as a comb of tiny little teeth. The grind pattern is about 40 lines per inch. However, in order to see this pattern and check the uniformity of the grind, all the wax must be scraped and then brushed out of the structure. If the shop didn't do a full scrape/brush job, you will have to do it at home before you can verify whether the grind was good.

Shops will always put at least a 1º bevel on your base edges before the stone grind, to keep the metal edges from wearing down the stone. If you want a 0º base edge, a shop might be willing to do it using an old stone, in which case the structure will get cut into your base edges, so you need to polish them. Alternatively, you can get a belt grind, which can often be done without beveling the base edge.

If you have significant base suck, a shop may not be able to safely get the area under the bindings structured with the base grinder, in which case you can use a steel brush, or even a file card to add structure by hand.

Some people create structure by hand instead of getting a base grind. You can use a steel brush, along with silicon carbide sandpaper. Don't use regular sand paper, because the sand can get pounded into the base.

Many racers and world-class race teams insist that Wintersteiger base grinders provide the best grind, and as a result, carvers search out tune shops that have a Wintersteiger. On the other hand, Wintersteiger bought out Grind-Rite, and continues to sell the Grind-Rites under the Wintersteiger brand. The skill of the technician is obviously the most important. Even with a Wintersteiger, not very many ski shops are capable of doing a good base grind. See the San Jose base grind shoot-out from 2005 for an idea of the hazards you face.

After you get a good base grind, your board will have a beautiful uniform grind pattern. However, in order to get better performance, you need to scratch up this beautiful pattern with a brass brush to add micro-structure - you only need a few strokes tip to tail, which you can do when brushing after a hot wax.

If your base is gray from snow abrasion and you don't want to do a base grind, you may be able to remove some of the crud in the structure by using a brass brush followed by a coarse Fibertex pad before waxing. A coarse Fibertex pad is exactly the same thing as a Scotchbrite pad.

When repairing P-Tex gouges, you can get the P-Tex to adhere to the base better if you first heat the base up with a heat gun. If a gouge goes all the way down to the wood core (core shot), then don't ride on the board until it has been fixed.


This cut-away side view of a snowboard edge shows the base and edge angles. The base edge angle is the angle between the base and the surface of the base edge metal. The side edge angle (measured relative to the vertical) is the angle between the vertical and the surface of the side edge metal.

When sharpening the metal edges, there is one key thing to remember - you can take off, but you can't put back on. Try to sharpen them first with a diamond stone and a ceramic polishing stone. Resort to using a file only if you need to change the edge bevel, or if you have deep striations or nicks in the edge. If you want to try different edge angles, start less aggressive and work up: that way you avoid taking off more metal than necessary. Regular maintenance consists of polishing the edges with a series of diamond stones every one or two days you ride - you will be surprised how many burrs the diamond stones will catch after just a day of riding. A polished edge makes the board faster by lowering drag. You must also polish the edges if you are encountering snow that has salt sprinkled on it. The edges between your bindings will dull and burr quicker, and your heel side edge can get dull from all the hockey stops.

Edge sharpening

For edge sharpening, you can go two ways: with an adjustable edge guide, or with a fixed-angle edge guide.

On the left is an adjustable edge tool that can file either the side edge or base edge, at angles ranging from 0º to 4º. Also shown is the replacement file that fits in the tool. In the middle is a fixed side edge bevel guide; it can file only the side edge, and must be used with a separate file and clamp. On the right is a base edge bevel guide: it can file only the base edge, and requires a separate file.

The two different approaches consist of the following options:

Sidewall planer

The sidewall of a snowboard can use either cap construction (top) or sandwich construction (bottom). In cap construction, the topsheet curves to meet the metal edge. In sandwich construction, the sidewall is exposed, and appears like a sandwich. For either type, the sidewall can stick out slightly past the side edge surface. Therefore, it is necessary to shave the sidewall using a sidewall planer before filing or polishing the side edge.


A sidewall planer has a sharp bit that shaves sidewall away from the metal board edge, to keep the sidewall plastic from getting in the way of the edge file.

Sidewall planer tips:

Edge strategy

When filing the side edge, position the board vertically in a vise, with the base facing away from you. When using a fixed side edge bevel with a file and a clamp, position the file tang at around 10 O'clock (2 O'clock if left-handed) and pull towards you. If you position the tang much higher than 10 O'clock, it's likely that the file will slip off the edge as you pull, causing major badness. If you use a fixed side edge bevel, it's a good idea to buy the optional clamp (shown here) that screws onto the guide to hold the file in place; using a spring-loaded clamp is not a good idea, since the file can bend from pressure, resulting in the wrong edge angle.

Detuning for carving

Detuning is the process of dulling the metal edge around the tip and/or tail to allow the board to release easily between carves. Without detuning, some boards will feel hooky. However, detuning has the effect of shortening the effective edge of the board, so it is not recommended for carving. After tuning your board, do not immediately detune the tip and tail. Instead, take a diamond stone with you to the slope, and detune only if the board feels too catchy. If the board feels hooky at the turn initiation, detune the tip. If it won't release from a turn, detune the tail. If the board catches a lot on the flats, that is also a tip-off that you might want to detune. Make 1 or 2 strokes with the diamond stone, rolling it from flat to 45º to feather the transition from sharp to dull, for about 10 cm around the edge/tip or edge/tail transition. You can also run a gummi stone at a 45º angle. If you find that you need to detune the tip and tail, you might want to consider more base bevel, which will make the board release easier and obviate the need for detuning. However, detuning is ultimately a personal preference. Other tips:

If you are racing, detuning will help skid the board at various times on rutted-up snow around gates. However, custom race boards typically have a huge taper that obviates the need for detuning. Sigi Grabner detunes at the tip and tail, and it seems to work for him.


Think of the base of your board as if it's a living, breathing organism, like your skin: it can get chapped and crack if you don't moisturize it. Wax as often as you can. If you can wax after every single day of boarding, do it. At a minimum, do a hot iron wax every 4th day you board. A new board will come with really cheap factory wax - you'll want to apply a stone grind and then hot wax it a few times to load up the base with wax. By loading up the base, it will become harder and resist abrasion. A few bad things can happen if you don't keep the base loaded with wax:

Base Oxidation: Pulp Fiction

Over the years, the wax industry has perpetuated the notion of "base oxidation," claiming that base material in skis and snowboards made out of Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene (UHMWPE) can oxidize over extended periods of time if left unwaxed. In addition, many well-respected books on ski tuning repeat the mantra that frequent waxing is important to avoid "base oxidation." As it turns out, "base oxidation" is total fiction. The P-Tex material in your snowboard is inert, and can't oxidize. If you ride your snowboard for an extended period of time without waxing it, grayish streaks will form on the base, but that's a result of abrasion, not oxidation. Yes, it's important to wax your snowboard as often as you can to protect your snowboard from abrasion, but "base oxidation" has nothing to do with it.

This revelation was provided courtesy of Jim Honerlaw, a chemical engineer at Crown Plastics, a manufacturer of UHMWPE for skis and snowboard bases. He explained that oxidation of UHMWPE only occurs when it is exposed to very high temperatures (> 270º F). One such high-temperature scenario can occur when UHMWPE is machined into shapes used for artificial joints, which means extra care must be taken during the machining process.

To recap: UHMWPE oxidation may be a problem in your artificial knee, but not in your snowboard.

Wax for Carving

It's important to remember that you gain benefit only from the wax that penetrates below the surface of the board, into the porous spaces between the polymer chains of the plastic. The best way to get this kind of deep penetration is by using an iron to melt wax into the base, a process called hot waxing. The wax that remains on the surface of the board provides no benefit. After performing a hot wax, you need to remove all of this surface wax by first scraping the board with a plastic scraper, then brushing the board to remove any remaining wax that lies inside the grooves (the structure) of the base. The buffing machine at the ski shop does not apply enough heat to get the wax to penetrate into the base, so the wax won't last very long.

When selecting a wax, the temperature range is of primary importance. Even if you are going for the cheapest option, you will probably need to buy wax for at least two different temperatures:

Man-made snow is more abrasive than natural snow. If the snow temperature is on the boarderline between two different waxes, go with the harder one if you will be on man-made snow. The fancy overlay waxes and fluoro waxes are optional for carving.

Wax for Slushy spring snow

There are a few options for slushy spring and summer snow:

One option for spring and summer snow is to use cheap low-temperature wax, and apply a polymer on top the wax such as Zardoz NOTwax. Zardoz comes in a felt puck, along with a small squeeze bottle applicator. You put a few drops of the liquid on the felt puck, then use the puck until it becomes dry, and re-apply more liquid as needed. Zardoz also has a refill kit which contains only the squeeze bottle. You can also apply the polymer on the board before waxing so that it gets absorbed into the base. The NOTwax also keeps your board cleaner by repelling dirt. For pond skimming, use Zardoz.

Other options:

Base Burn prevention

If you ride your carving board high on edge all the time, you can get edge burn, causing gray discoloration near the edges. To prevent edge burn, you can apply a hard, cold-temperature wax to the area of the base near the edges.

You can also use cold wax additives, such as the Holmenkol Additiv Extreme Powder Cold, or Toko's X-Cold powder (shown here). These additives are powders that you sprinkle on the base and then melt in. You can apply it either before or after you do a hot wax. Be aware that it's sometimes hard to work with these cold additives - they require a hotter iron, and they also tend to shatter when you scrape the board.

If you want to better protect the entire base, you can apply a hard underlay wax followed with a softer wax for the conditions. In general, it's best if you can avoid layering a hard wax on top of a soft wax.

Base "Cleaner"

Loading the base

Dominator sells a ReNew ZOOM wax that is designed to penetrate deeply. They sell a version for graphite bases (left) and for non-graphite bases (right). When you buy a new board, or after you do a base grind, you should wax the board with this type of wax several times to make sure the base is fully saturated. This wax can also renew a base that has dried out over time.

If you have a snowboard with the graphite base, you need to use this type of wax to rejuvenate the graphite in the base every 4th or 5th time you wax. Also use a graphite wax if the base develops a whitish appearance. Rub the wax on like a crayon, then cork it in, then apply your regular wax on top. You should not spread graphite wax with an iron because it can separate the graphite from the paraffin, but you can use the touch and smear method.

The waxing process

Before dripping hot wax on the base, you can use the "touch and smear" method - touch the wax bar briefly to the iron, then crayon it onto the base. Using this method adds a thin protective layer to the base and provides a little more protection from overheating.


When applying hot wax with an iron, rather than moving the iron in circles, it is better to move the iron slowly over the base in a straight line from tip to tail, since you have better control over the heat. It also allows the base material under the wax to heat up, opening the pores. You should move the iron at the rate of about 1/2 inch per second, so that you leave a trail of about 4" of melted wax behind the iron.

A few things to keep in mind when hot waxing:

After a hot wax, you can immediately remove the wax from the metal edges while the wax is still warm. Most plastic wax scrapers have a small notch on one corner for this purpose.
When scraping the wax, don't allow a corner of the wax scraper to come in contact with the base; Keep all corners off the base, otherwise you will tear a gouge in the base if your hand slips. For this reason, it's best to go with a plastic scraper that is at least 12" long. Some people use a metal scraper, but that's not recommended - if you go with this option, place one edge of the scraper on the base and tilt the scraper up toward you, then pull the scraper toward you.


After scraping, always brush the wax out of the structure of your board. Remember: only the wax that penetrates into the base provides benefit. The wax that is left on top of the base must be removed completely, and that includes the wax that is hidden inside the crevices of the base structure. Don't assume that the snow is going to remove that wax for you. Brushing the wax out of the structure takes a long time: it's the most time-consuming process of waxing. If you use a brass brush, the bristles will sweep back over time, and you should use the same brush orientation every time you brush. To verify that you have scraped out all the wax, try scraping your fingernail on the base to see if more wax comes off. When using any type of brush, keep the brush traveling straight back along the board: don't let the brush curve in an arc as you finish each stroke, otherwise it will screw up the base grind pattern.

Topsheet care

After you finish tuning, clean the topsheet with Simple Green - It's not as harsh as base cleaner, and it's great at dissolving wax residue. If Simple Green doesn't do the trick, use a Citrus based solvent. The best one is De-Solv-it, which works better than goo-gone, and is also non-toxic to skin.


Inserts are the threaded steel sockets in the board. Here is a photo of snowboard inserts used in fabrication.

When you tighten your bindings, make sure the binding screws have at least 4 full turns of grip. The metric screws used with M6 binding inserts have a 1 mm thread pitch, so 4 turns corresponds to 4 mm of depth. If you have less than 4 turns of grip, it is possible for the screws to pull out of the inserts, stripping off the insert threads with them. In order to get 4 turns of grip, you may need longer screws for certain situations:

For low-end boards made in China, the insert holes in the topsheet sometimes have a smaller diameter than the insert, in which case you must use a countersink drill bit to drill a wider opening in the topsheet.

If your binding screws don't get enough turns of grip, they could rip out of the inserts and strip the top insert threads. In this case, you can re-thread the inserts with a M6-1.0 bottoming tap and use longer binding screws, as long as you get 4 turns of grip from intact insert threads. You can also use the bottoming tap to get rid of debris/gunk/rust that is stuck inside the threads. See the Parts section. The tap in the tap handle is a M6x1 bottoming tap, and the lower tap is 1/4x28.

If a stripped insert no longer provides 4 turns of grip, there are several approaches:

  1. If you are lucky, there may be another insert on the board that happens to line up with a nearby hole in the binding.
  2. Re-thread the M6-1.0 insert with a 1/4"-28 (fine pitch) bottoming tap. The tap will cut new threads out of the old insert, creating a slightly larger diameter insert, allowing you to use a 1/4"-28 screw. The insert will not be quite as strong, so keep an eye on it.
  3. Drill out the existing insert from the top of the board to create a larger hole, then screw in a helicoil insert. The helicoil has an outside thread that screws into the larger bore, and an inside thread that can accommodate binding screws. You can get helicoils for M6 bolts from the hardware store.
  4. Remove the old inserts and put in new ones. This process should be done by a skilled snowboard technician who has the right countersink drill bit. The existing insert is drilled out from the base and replaced with a new insert. Then a layer of plastic is glued to the bottom of the metal insert, and then a layer of P-Tex is glued to the plastic, which should be perfectly flush with the P-Tex base after scraping and base grinding.
  5. Buy a new board.
Cleaning out the inserts using a bottoming tap.

Other failure modes:

There are two insert-related trauma scenarios that you might notice when waxing your board:

  1. Base suck or Binding suck: concave depressions or dimples in the base, directly under the bindings, which come in two flavors:
    • Small concave dimples in the base material, under each insert. It is normal for boards to have some degree of concave dimpling. Typically, the slight dimpling means that you have to dig a little with the wax scraper to remove wax in the dimples. However, excessive concave dimpling is caused with binding screws that are too tight, especially while waxing at a temperature that is too high. When you wax, remove your bindings and be sure that the iron is not smoking.
    • A large concave depression in the base material under each binding. This problem can happen with bindings that use donut shaped gaskets, such as Catek bindings made prior to '04.
    Base suck prevents you from being able to effectively apply wax and then scrape it evenly from the area under the inserts without extra effort, but it does not impact carving performance. You can get rid of base suck by grinding the base.
  2. Convex dimples on the base. These can be caused by several things:
    • The binding screws are too long, and are penetrating into the base material
    • Water gets into the inserts, under the screws, then freezes and expands
    • Ice or small rocks get into the inserts, then you crank down the screws
    Most boards have capped inserts, with a bottom that prevents binding screws from penetrating into the base material. However, some boards are made with open inserts. In the worst-case scenario, you hear the spine-tingling sound of splintering P-Tex while tightening binding screws. Before screwing in the bindings, determine how many turns of the M6 screw you can get before bottoming out, then don't exceed this limit when mounting the bindings. You may need to use either washers or shorter screws to keep the screws from penetrating into the base material. If you have significant convex dimples, you can either tap them down carefully, or re-grind the base to flatten it out.
Some folks put M6 nylon grub screws in unused inserts to prevent them from getting filled with crud. Tognar sells them.

Advanced Tuning


For a delam fix, pry open the crack on the side of the board and sand the area to roughen it up. Then swab some isopropyl alcohol around to de-grease the surfaces, since the oils from your hands will prevent a good bond. Let it dry for a few hours, then use a blow dryer for a few minutes to make sure it's completely dry. The blow dryer will also heat the area to make the epoxy flow. Then, splooge the epoxy into the gap and let it work its way in. Then use the blow dryer to heat the area so that the epoxy flows deep into the crack. You will need to use Teflon base tape on the base, since heated epoxy tends to flow all over the place. If using a heat gun, be careful: ABS plastic starts to lose its molecular structure with sustained heat of around 180º F. Then put wax paper on either side of the board and clamp it overnight. You can heat the board with a heat lamp to speed the cure time. Other tips:

If you need to replace a section of cracked P-Tex, you can use an x-acto knife to cut out a piece, and then replace it. A good step-by-step is illustrated here.

Sidewall repair

On boards with sandwich construction, the sidewall is either P-Tex or ABS plastic (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene). If the sidewall is damaged and any material needs to be replaced, use the same material as the sidewall: P-Tex sidewall requires a new piece of P-Tex to be glued in with epoxy, similar to a base repair. However, ABS sidewall is easy to repair using an ABS solvent glue. To see if the sidewall is ABS, put a dab of acetone (nail polish remover) on the sidewall and wait to see if it softens up and becomes tacky. If it does, then it's ABS, in which case there are several options:

When gluing ABS to ABS, the glue will weld the two pieces of plastic together by partially dissolving them. It is also possible to create an ABS plastic filler "paint" by dissolving some plastic ABS shavings into an ABS solvent like Methyl Ethyl Ketone in a closed jar. What you get is a thick mixture that can be layered on like paint to build up a section of the sidewall. After the plastic repair has cured, you can file and sand it flush.


The Tooltonic

The Tooltonic edge sharpener is manufactured by Jean-Bernard Tschäppät, and sold in Europe. It comes with a built-in sidewall planer and a side edge beveler. A lot of people rave about it. The user's manual is available in English, French, and German. They ship worldwide. It is small and lightweight. However, it comes with a single file that is about one inch square, so it wears out quickly.


For 2007, Tooltonic now sells an attachment called the Ice Catcher IC10. It's a side-edge device that consists of two hard tungsten carbide rods that you slide down the side edge. Pressure from the rods adds an edge burr to the metal edge. Normally, this edge burr is naturally created after filing and polishing the side edge, and you normally want to get rid of it by lightly polishing the base edge with a diamond stone. If you use the Ice Catcher, use it only between the bindings; if you use it at the tip and tail, it's the opposite of de-tuning, and you will never be able to release from a turn.



Some soft bindings, as well as hardboot heels, use pozidriv screws, which look exactly like philips head screws. You can tell if a screw is pozidriv because it has radial slash marks engraved into the head, between the slots. Don't use a philips screwdriver on pozidriv screws, otherwise you can strip the head.

The pozidriv screwdriver has thin raised slash marks in the valleys of the tip. The photo shows 4 sizes of pozidriv (on top) and philips head (on bottom): from left to right, the sizes are #0, #1, #2, #3.

The problem is, pozidriv screwdrivers are almost impossible to find at your local hardware store or Home Depot. You can find them only at specialty tool stores, and you will probably only find bits, not actual screwdrivers. Online sources include Lara Tools or Techni-Tool.


The Pozidriv screws (#2 size) used for Intec heels
The really tiny Pozidriv screws (#1 size) used to hold the inside lid on Intec heels.

Summer Storage

Tuning gear sources

One thing about tuning gear: Once you use the good stuff, you won't ever want to go back to the cheap stuff. Yes, you can really tell the difference between the $20 Beast base bevel and the $80 SVST base bevel. The corollary is that if you buy the cheap stuff, it is quite likely that you will find yourself wanting to upgrade to the more expensive stuff later on, and then you'll be pissed that you spent so much money on the cheap gear to begin with.

For board tuning supplies, check out Tognar Toolworks. (pronounced TOE-nar). Tognar is not the cheapest source, but they evaluate tuning gear from many manufacturers and only sell the best stuff, so you can't go wrong. Other retailers tend to sell the entire line of tuning gear from a single manufacturer, whether the stuff works well or not. Plus, Jack Moore is the owner and carves on a Burton Factory Prime 173. Here is the minimum set of equipment that is recommended if you want to do your own sharpening and waxing on a carving board (Updated for 2007):

 Tognar item #  Description  Price What it does
 #WWD-3005  Griptopper Snowboard vise  $39.99/pair You can mount your snowboard flat or on edge.
 #SWX-R390  Swix Base Tape  $7.95/50 yards To prevent dirt/filings/cutting fluid from grinding into the base while you file/polish.
 #KLG-SF  Gummi Stone  $4.95 To remove rust on the edges.
 #DMT-W7C  Medium Pocket Diamond Stone   $9.95 To remove case-hardened burrs before you file (use cutting fluid), and before you use the fine diamond stone. Use a nylon brush and wax remover to clean it.
 #DMT-W7F  Fine Pocket Diamond Stone  $9.95 To polish the edge after you file (use cutting fluid). Use a nylon brush and wax remover to clean it.
 #SPO-303M  600 Grit Ceramic Polishing
 $15.95 To polish the edges after using the fine diamond stone, to prevent rust (use cutting fluid). Clean with a brass brush and comet.
 #MTK-701  Multi Edge tuner  $39.95 The angle settings are relative, not absolute: you have the correct angle when the file evenly removes magic marker ink.
 #MTK-721  FK Sidewall planer  $34.95 Used to get the sidewall out of the way so that your edge file creates the correct bevel angle.
 #BM-93APB  Brass Supertooth brush  $1.95 To clean shavings out of the file, and to clean the ceramic polishing stone.
 #TEC-JG16  Citric Wax Remover  $8.95/16 oz Use for cleaning spring dirt and grime from the base. Also used to clean the combo brush and diamond stone. You need to supply a spray bottle for it.
 #TOK-9770  Really cheap soft wax  $9.98/120 gm Used to hot-scrape the base to remove dirt from the pores.
 #TOK-93xx  Toko Hydro Wax  $11.95/167 gm Wax (use the wax for your temperatures)
 #TOK-9343  Toko Hydro Cold Wax  $11.95/167 gm Use on the base near the edges of your carving board to prevent base burn.
 #SAA-63430  Zardoz NOTwax  $14.95 Polymer for slushy spring conditions. It sometimes works better than expensive fluoro wax.
 #APG-MS256  Chugger Wax Iron  $34.99 For melting wax.
 #APG-SNBS  Snowboard Scraper  $8.95 Long plastic scraper (at least 9") to scrape wax off the base.
 #JAN-99438  Scraper Sharpening Screen  $2.95 Sharpens the snowboard scraper
 #APG-715  Tognar Combo Brush  $11.95 To brush wax out of the base structure: brush from tip to tail.
 #SPK-NPF  Fine Scotchbrite pad  $1.95 To lightly remove any remaining wax.

The grand Total is $284.16 + $12.50 shipping + $20.60 California tax = $317.26, and that doesn't include base repair tools (dohhhhh!).

If you have the extra cash, upgrade to the following deluxe package. It gives better results, allows more precision, is faster, is more efficient, and yes, you will be able to tell the difference. This set includes larger oval brushes, which are great for snowboards, as well as fixed side edge bevel guides, which are highly recommended over adjustable tools:

 Tognar item #  Description  Price What it does
 #TOK-4270  Toko Pro Snowboard vice  $99.95/pair Works great with any snowboard.
 #SWX-R390  Swix Base Tape  $7.95/50 yards To prevent dirt/filings/cutting fluid from grinding into the base while you file/polish.
 #KLG-SF  Gummi Stone  $4.95 To remove rust on the edges.
 #DMT-W7C  Medium Pocket Diamond Stone   $9.95 To remove case-hardened burrs before you file (use cutting fluid), and before you use the fine diamond stone. Use a nylon brush and wax remover to clean it.
 #DMT-W7F  Fine Pocket Diamond Stone  $9.95 To polish the edge after you file (use cutting fluid). Use a nylon brush and wax remover to clean it.
 #SPO-303M  600 Grit Ceramic Polishing
 $15.95 To polish the edges after using the fine diamond stone, to prevent rust (use cutting fluid). Clean with a brass brush and comet.
 #KWI-K152C  2º bevel guide  $19.95 A rock solid bevel guide. Clean the gunk off each surface of the bevel tool with Simple Green.
 #SVT-LF08  8 inch Laser Cut File  $16.95 A file to use with the edge and base bevel guides.
 #ACE-3201  Spring clamp  $3.95 Used to secure the file to the bevel guide.
 #BTS-10  1.0º bevel Beast guide  $19.95 Base bevel guide.
 #MTK-721  FK Sidewall planer  $34.95 Used to get the sidewall out of the way so that your edge file creates the correct bevel angle.
 #BM-93APB  Brass Supertooth brush  $1.95 To clean shavings out of the file, and to clean the ceramic polishing stone.
 #FCC-BRC10  File card / brush  $8.95 To clean the file, and also to brush shavings off the board.
 #TEC-JG16  Citric Wax Remover  $8.95/16 oz Use for cleaning spring dirt and grime from the base. Also used to clean the combo brush and diamond stone. You need to supply a spray bottle for it.
 #TOK-9770  Really cheap soft wax  $9.98/120 gm Used to hot-scrape the base to remove dirt from the pores.
 #TOK-93xx  Toko Hydro Wax  $11.95/167 gm Wax (use the wax for your temperatures)
 #TOK-9343  Toko Hydro Cold Wax  $11.95/167 gm Use on the base near the edges of your carving board to prevent base burn.
 #SAA-63430  Zardoz NOTwax  $14.95 Polymer for slushy spring conditions. It sometimes works better than expensive fluoro wax.
 #SWX-T7411  Swix Standard Iron  $74.95 For melting wax.
 #APG-SNBS  Snowboard Scraper  $8.95 Long plastic scraper (at least 9") to scrape wax off the base.
 #JAN-99438  Scraper Sharpening Screen  $2.95 Sharpens the snowboard scraper
#APG-BO723W  Pro Racing Nylon Brush  $25.95 To brush wax out of the base structure: brush from tip to tail.
#APG-BO722  Pro Racing Brass Brush  $25.95 To brush out cold temperature wax and add micro-structure.
#APG-BO721  Pro Racing Horsehair Brush  $25.95 Final brush to add a satin finish and remove static electricity
 #SPK-NPF  Fine Scotchbrite pad  $1.95 To lightly remove any remaining wax.

The deluxe package goes for $479.78 + $13.50 shipping + $34.78 California tax = $528.06, and still doesn't include base repair tools (dohhhhh!).

In addition, it is nice to have:

The waxWHIZard

If you are a self-sufficient New Englander, you will find contented pleasure using the Ray's Way line of home-made tuning products. The waxWHIZard is a length of PVC pipe covered with a synthetic fabric. You crayon wax onto the base of your board, then rub the cloth-covered pipe back and forth to melt the wax. It's a quick way to keep your base loaded between hot waxes, and it uses very little wax. According to pro tuner Mike DeSantis, the pressure from rubbing the waxWHIZard over the base pushes the wax deeper into the pores than hot waxing. Now if Ray can only come up with a rotobrush version.

Other Sources

Tognar seems to be the most snowboard friendly. Oddly, only a few retailers sell plastic wax scrapers that are long enough to span the entire width of a snowboard (12" or more).

Step-by-Step Tuning

The following steps have been refined and distilled over several years based on books, articles, random tips, and insight from tune shop veterans. It seems to work.



If the sidewall of the snowboard is flush with the metal edge or higher than the metal edge, you need to use the sidewall planer to shave it down:

A sidewall planer typically has two adjustments: blade height and lateral position. Using adjustment screws (shown here), you can adjust the height of the blade, which determines how much sidewall gets shaved off.. Adjust the height of the blade to remove just enough sidewall to get it out of the way so that the edge file will not come in contact with it. In addition, there is a knob on the back of this sidewall planer that moves the black piece laterally. Adjust the lateral position so that the blade removes sidewall up to the metal edge. You don't want to take off too much sidewall, since it is supporting the metal edge. When using the sidewall planer, you need to really concentrate: if the sidewall planer slips off, it will tear a big gouge into the metal edge.

The planer will shave off a continuous coil of sidewall material. Save this material - if it is ABS plastic, you can use it to make sidewall filler (see the section on sidewall repair).

Then, sand the sidewall with 320 grit silicon carbide sandpaper.

Filing the side edge

File the side edge if you need to establish or change the bevel on the side edge, or to remove a deep nick that can't be removed by diamond stones. Before filing the side edge, it's important to use a diamond stone to eliminate case-hardened burrs, otherwise those burrs will dull your file.

When using diamond stones or ceramic polishing stones, use cutting fluid or water. Re-apply the cutting fluid every few strokes.

You can run the diamond stone back and forth down the edge. This photo shows the diamond stone held in place on a fixed side edge bevel guide using a mini spring clamp. If you have previously used an edge tool to establish an edge angle, you can use the same edge tool with the diamond stone; otherwise, use your hand to keep the diamond stone flat with respect to the edge surface. For heavier repair work, you can use the extra-coarse (black) DMT stone, but you should use a bevel tool to prevent changing the bevel angle.

Every few strokes, use a paper towel to remove dirt and particles from the metal edge to ensure a clear polish from the stone. If you use the Moonflex diamond stones, bear in mind that the stones have a bevel formed by the plastic casing around the edges of the stone. If you attach the stones to a fixed edge bevel using a clamp, make sure the clamp applies pressure to the center of the stone, not the edge, otherwise the stone can tilt up on its own casing bevel. After removing case-hardened burrs, the next step is edge filing, if you need to establish or change the side edge bevel.

In order to see the progress of the edge file, use a sharpie pen to first make a few dashed lines every so often on the side edge. Apply as little ink as possible, and blot it to remove areas where any ink pools. For each dash, flick the sharpie pen from the middle of the metal, alternating toward either the top or bottom of the side edge. That way you can easily see whether the file is cutting mostly the top or bottom of the side edge.

If using an adjustable edge guide, adjust it to the proper angle. If using a fixed file guide (shown in the photo), clamp a file on top of the file guide, and keep the file tang pointed away from you, at around 10 O'clock (2 O'clock if left-handed). When using a file with a fixed edge guide, it is best to use the optional file clamp that screws onto the edge tool (the rectangular metal piece on top of the file in the photo). If you use a spring-loaded mini clamp, you risk the possibility that the file might bend against the spring while you exert pressure on the file.

Pull the tool toward you to cut the bevel on the side edge. Be sure to use the file in the direction that it cuts. Keep each stroke short enough so that your forearm remains horizontal: Use overlapping strokes, don't pivot your wrist, and step back as you progress down the side edge of the board. A fine hair of metal will coil off the file. You will need to concentrate to maintain enough pressure without letting the tool slip off the edge.

Every few strokes, use either a file card or a brass Supertooth brush to clean the filings out of the file, and use a paper towel to remove grime and particles off the edge. Also, You will need to periodically shift the position of the file in the tool; otherwise, the file will develop a wear pattern, and you will wind up cutting striations into the edge metal.


LoupeVision™ shows the progression of side edge filing. At left, the photo shows the view through the loupe after applying a sharpie pen to the edge. The middle photo shows the edge after the file is half way to establishing the new edge angle. The right photo shows the result after the file finishes establishing the new edge angle.

Polishing the side edge

After filing the side edge, use a sequence of diamond stones to polish the side edge. Whereas the file only cuts when you pull it toward you, the diamond stones will polish in both directions. First use the medium diamond stone (200 grit) to remove longitudinal striations left by the file. Use it for several passes until you can feel it stop cutting. When using a diamond stone, you don't need to apply a lot of pressure: let the stone do the work. If using a fixed side edge bevel guide, a mini spring clamp will work well to hold the diamond stone in place, since you will not be applying a lot of pressure.

After using the medium diamond stone (either after filing or just for polishing), use the fine diamond stone (400 grit) to further polish the edge. Use it for several passes until you can feel it stop cutting.

Finally, use the ceramic polishing stone (600 grit) to super-polish the edge. Use it for several passes until you can feel it stop cutting - you should hear the ceramic stone "sing" when the edge is polished. At this point, you can see your reflection in the side edge.

Base edge

If necessary, the base edge can be filed and polished with a base edge bevel tool, using the same approach as the side edge.

First, it's usually a good idea to remove rust on the base edge with a gummi stone. Before you do that, apply teflon base tape to the snowboard base, so that it abuts the steel base edge and spans the entire effective edge. Otherwise, you will wind up grinding dirt into the base with the gummi stone. If you decide to file the base edge, you need to remove the base tape first, otherwise it will change the base edge angle.

If you previously filed the side edge, a microscopic edge burr will be created that hangs over the base edge. Applying the gummi stone on the base edge removes the edge burr, but you can also use a diamond stone to remove the edge burr, in which case you don't need base tape.

Shown here are two of the many tools available for either filing or polishing the base edge. On the left is the Beast 1º base edge bevel, and on the right is the SVST 1º base edge bevel. The Beast model has the feel of cheap plastic ($20), whereas the SVST model has a rock-solid, machined-aluminum feel ($80).

Just as with the side edge polishing, run a diamond stone down the base before using the file, and then after using the file to further polish the edge. You can also use diamond stones to polish the base edge after carving to get rid of burrs. Be aware that some base edge bevel tools require the longer diamond stones. This photo shows a moonflex diamond stone in the SVST base edge beveler. Polish the base edge using a sequence of several stone: a Medium diamond stone (200 grit), followed by a fine diamond stone (400 grit), followed by a ceramic polishing stone (600 grit). Use cutting fluid.

You will want to establish the base edge bevel under two circumstances: on a new board, and possibly after the board gets a base grind. The photo shows the proper way of holding the file in the base edge tuner. Once again, the tang points away from you, and you pull the tool toward you in short, overlapping strokes. Most base edge tuners are designed so that when the file stops cutting, the correct edge bevel is achieved. Be sure to apply some cutting fluid to the file. It's best to err on the safe side, and to avoid over-filing the base.

There is a top-secret way of getting a very sharp polished base edge: First sharpen with a file using a base bevel that is 1/4º less than what you want to use as the final bevel. Then, switch to a base bevel tool with the desired bevel, and sharpen the base starting with a medium diamond stone. Beast sells base bevels in .75º and 1º, and SVST sells base bevels in .7º and 1º that can be used for this purpose.

Pre-wax prep

After using the edge tools and before waxing, clean all the metal filings from your workbench, to prevent the filings from getting stuck in the wax tools. You want to segregate your wax tools and your edge tools, so now is a good time to put away all your edge tools before getting out your wax tools.

If you have a lot of grayish abrasion on your base, you can use a brass brush followed by a coarse Fibertex pad to remove some of the scale before waxing. A brass brush can also remove old, hard wax that is still in the structure.

Some folks apply Zardoz NOTwax onto the base and let it dry overnight before doing a hot wax.

Waxing guidelines

Guidelines when hot waxing or hot scraping:

Hot waxing

Before waxing with your intended wax, it's a good idea to clean the base of your board by doing a few hot scrapes. Perform a hot scrape by waxing the board with really cheap soft wax, then scrape off the wax while it is still warm. When hot scraping, you want the wax to penetrate into the base and cause the dirt to float to the surface. Keep doing a hot scrape until the wax no longer comes off dirty. After you have finished hot scraping, brush the wax out of the structure with a nylon brush or a combo nylon/brass brush.

To prevent base burn, use the iron to hot wax the base around the edges of the board with cold temperature wax to provide more durability near the edge of the base when carving - within about 1 inch of the edge. Cold temperature wax doesn't work with the touch-and-smear method: you need to drip it on directly.

It's easier to work with cold temperature wax if you can keep it in a liquid state and prevent it from cooling. You also may need to turn the iron temperature up. Work in small foot-long areas at a time, and immediately iron in the wax after you drip some on the board. Cold temperature wax is also why you need a shop apron - if it gets on your clothes, or your carpet, it's impervious.

Then let the board cool. After the cold temp wax cools, scrape it off with a plastic snowboard scraper.

But first, you may need to sharpen the plastic scraper: The 4 cutting edges of the scraper last for maybe 4 boards, then need to be sharpened. The photo shows one of the many scraper sharpeners, which requires an ordinary file.

This photo shows the sharpener in action. Secure the plastic scraper in the vise, then go to town with the sharpener.

With a sharp plastic scraper, keep scraping the base until the scraper no longer removes wax. To avoid gouging the base, keep the edges of the scraper off the base. You can bend the scraper with your hands to dig in a little deeper, which may also be necessary if your board is slightly concave.

Sometimes the scraper cannot easily remove the wax near the metal edges, if the metal edges are a little higher than the P-Tex. In this case, you can use the short ends of the scraper near the edges, using the following precautions:

  • In order to avoid gouging the base near the edge, place one corner of the scraper just off the edge of the board.
  • Bias the pressure toward the corner of the scraper near the metal edge, to avoid placing too much pressure on the other corner, which could result in gouging the base
  • Place one hand on the end of the scraper to guide it down the length of the snowboard
  • Place the other hand near the middle of the scraper, and apply gentle pressure to the scraper as you scrape

After using the scraper, brush the board with a nylon brush to remove most of the wax from the structure. It takes a long time to brush out the wax. When you think you are just about done brushing, you are really only about half done. Follow the nylon brush with a brass brush, using a few strokes to scrape out the remaining wax deeper in the structure. The brass brush also adds micro-structure to the base. To test just how much wax is removed with the brass brush, compare how much resistance you feel with the nylon brush, before and after using the brass brush.

After performing hot scrapes, followed by cold temperature wax, hot wax the entire snowboard base using the proper temperature wax for your mountain, using the same steps. Do a hot wax as many times as necessary to load the base up with wax. You must scrape and brush the board each time you perform a hot wax. The first time you wax the board after a base grind, you should hot wax up to 4 times.

If you are ExtremeCarving, wax the sidewalls.


Then spray the base with water, and use a horsehair brush to put a satin finish on the base. The horsehair brush also removes static electricity.

After you are done with all brushing, run a fine (gray) Scotchbrite pad over the base once or twice. It removes any loose specs of wax.

Then, use Simple Green to clean the topsheet and dissolve any wax residue, especially on the areas under the bindings. Use De-Solv-it for any gunk that Simple Green can't remove.

If heading to a race, scrape and brush the board at the race start, and cork in an overlay, such as Swix Cera F. In addition, keep the base of your board cold: bury it under about an inch of snow, in an area out of the sun. If you leave your board base-up, in the sun, it will warm up, and stick to the slope like glue.

Group photos

Edge and base tools : True bar, file card/brush, brass supertooth brush, nylon supertooth brush, adjustable file guide and extra file, fixed side edge guide with a file and clamp, and two base edge guides: the Beast guide and the SVST guide.


Edge related tools: The mini spring clamp, base tape, cutting fluid, sidewall planer, fixed side edge guide, gummi stone on the far left, followed by three diamond stones (black = coarse, blue = medium, red = fine), then a series of Moonflex diamond stones (black = 100, yellow = 400, red = 200, blue = 500, white = 600), then a ceramic polishing stone, and a laser-cut file.


Wax/scraper/brush tools: Three oval brushes: a brass brush surrounded by horsehair at top, then a nylon brush, and a horsehair brush at the bottom. Also, a short plastic scraper, a metal scraper, and a long 12" snowboard scraper. The WaxWHIZard makes an appearance, as well as the Swix standard wax iron an a snowboard scraper sharpener.


Wax: Starting at the upper-right: cheap wax for doing hot scrapes, Toko X-cold powder, bulk quantities of wax for Lake Tahoe temperatures, along with blue (cold temperature) and red (medium temperature) wax . Plus the two types of Renew Zoom wax, and Zardoz.

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