How to tune your skis – Part 1: Edge clean up/prep

We all like the smooth glide you get after you’ve had your skis tuned at the shop. This means we have edges free of burrs, dirt, and rust. The problem is, there are wait times, labor costs, and frankly you have to drive to the ski shop. These can all be a major hassle, especially for weekend warriors who spend their Mondays-Fridays at an office (or other similar job).

ski edge

I’m here to tell you that it may be far more simple! With the purchase of some simple supplies, you too can tune your skis for the next day on the slopes with minimal effort from the comfort of your own home. So grab a cold one, grab your skis, and lets get tuning!

For the first stage of tuning your skis, you’ll need: a gummy stone, a diamond stone, a clean towel, and some rubbing alcohol – not to mention a set of ski vise. If you don’t happen to own a set of ski vise, you can always use some books or props to ensure the ski bindings are out of the way.

We’ll start by placing the skis in our vice – put the binding facing the table or workbench so you have better access to both edges. Now, depending on what kind of vise you have, you can either keep the ski base parallel to the workbench or you can choose to angle your vise so the edges are more exposed. Either way works, you’ll just need to remember that the direction of tune is from Tip to Tail. You’ll then want to lock the binding clips down and out of the way ~ this typically takes a rubber-band or something similar. Also note, if you are not using a vise and have the skis resting on top of miscellaneous items, the skis may move around during the tuning process.

Once you have the ski properly set up, you will need to find where the rust and burrs on the edges are. You can either use your finger (fingernail) or cloth for this step. I typically test the sharpness on the ski in the same manner I check a knife, but to each their own i suppose. There are benefits of using a cloth however. As you run the cloth along the edge, the tiny burrs and ruts from melting and subsequent freezing of the ski metal will snag cloth fibers, leaving them behind for your viewing pleasure. These are the spots that will require the most work during this stage.

Now that you have an idea of where the rust and burrs are located along the edge, you can begin the deburring/rusting process. You’ll want to start by taking the diamond stone wetting it. The purpose of using the diamond stone is to take the smallest amount edge off without damaging the ski in the chance of slippage. You’ll want to run the entire edge, but focus on the areas with the most rust and burrs.


In order to polish the rust you’ll want to use your gummy stone. The gummy stone looks and feels like a hard eraser. As they don’t act in a similar fashion as a file, they are best used as a polisher. You’ll literally just run the gummy stone in the direction from tip to tail. You will then repeat the process for the sidewalls of the edges. Now wipe clean and your skis are ready for their next step: Base Repair.

If you found this content useful and would like more in the future please head over to my Patreon page. Every donation helps produce more outdoor content, even a donation as small as $1 helps!

If you’re like me, you enjoy utilizing the national parks every chance you can. I also run an ecommerce store which provides apparel that takes 1% of every sale and donates it to the parks.

Until the next one, get out there and enjoy YOUR adventure!!!



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