Are you an active person who never lets the change in the season put a damper on your outdoor sporting activities? Now that winter is upon, us you are probably looking to prepare for snowboarding. And what better way to prepare for snowboarding than by sharpening your snowboard’s edges.
While this may sound difficult and time-consuming, it is easier than it sounds. Keep reading to find out how to sharpen a snowboard.
Why you should sharpen the edges
Sharpening a snowboard’s edges, also known as tuning a snowboard, helps you maneuver your board as your snowboard through the snow. It essentially enables you to stay safe as you cut through the snow while snowboarding.
The tuned edges help you make smooth turns, pick up speed, brake, and perform tricks in the snow. A tuned snowboard rides better than one that is neglected and unmaintained. A dull board is harder to control, which can lead to accidents. Lastly, sharpening the edges helps to maintain your snowboard, which in turn prolongs its lifespan.
Signs that it’s time to sharpen the edge
To determine if your snowboard needs to be sharpened, run your hand along the edges gently. If the edge feels blunt or burred, then it is time to tune your board. You should also sharpen your snowboard if it looks dull as this may mean the wax coating has worn off, and it may start rusting on the metal parts.
How to sharpen snowboard edges
What You Need
• Edge sharpener
• Nylon brush
• Wax Iron
• Plastic scraper
• Table (to rest your board on)
How to do the actual sharpening
Remove the bindings
Take off the snowboard binding screws and clean the screws and the bindings. The screws tend to trap debris that can get in between the board layers and make it lumpy. You should also clean the screw holes before you reattach the bindings.
Prep the board from tuning
Then proceed to remove the wax coating on the board. Place the snowboard on the table to enable you to remove the wax evenly without chipping into the board. To make the process easier, use the wax iron to melt the wax slightly and then scrape it off with the plastic scraper. Use minimal heat to avoid melting off any vinyl graphic sticker on your board.
Adjust the edge sharpen the angle
Next, you need to adjust the angle of your snowboard edge sharpener. If you are an amateur snowboarder, then the ideal angle is 90 degrees. Whereas more advanced snowboarders opt for a sleeker angle ranging from 89 degrees to 87 degrees.
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However, you should only adjust to the 87-degree angle if you are an expert at snowboarding. Then adjust the angle on the edge sharpener accordingly.
Know where to sharpen
This entails figuring out which parts of your board need sharpening. The main areas you should focus on are the parts that touch the ground. You can also use your finger to feel the board and determine the dull regions in most need of attention. Mark the area that needs to be buffed for better results.
File your board
Once you have determined which areas need buffing and the snowboard edge angles, proceed to file the board. The best snowboard edging tool is a coarse grit diamond stone. It will remove any burrs on the board and sharpen the board with minimal effort.
Start from the base edge and press the angle guide against the edge then start filing. Use little pressure and sand from the beginning to the end of the broad points on your snowboard. Once you can run your file smoothly down the edge of the board, you are good to go.
File your board in one direction instead of back and forth. The sharpener has an arrow pointing in the direction you should be sharpening your snowboard. File until you get to the marker line you had previously made on the board.
Do not get overzealous with your edge sharpener as once you file it down; you cannot fix it. And you should also not sharpen the ends of your board as this will de-tune the board. But you can smooth them out using a fine stone.
Test the sharpness
Run your fingers against the edges of the snowboard to check if the edges are tunes to your liking. Then file again if the results are not satisfactory. You will have to test the edges when you get onto the snow.
Always carry a sharpening stone with you to buff out any rough spots you may notice after you take your board out for a spin. You can smoothen the edges once you have edges you want using a fine gummi stone or an edge rubber.
Wax the base
Then proceed to clean your board thoroughly and remove any debris or snowboard dust before you can wax it. You can use a nylon brush, scotch pad, or a piece of cloth. Next, you need to melt the wax for your snowboard as per the manufacturer’s instructions.
Then pour the wax on your snowboard and spread it evenly. Alternatively, you can place the wax on your iron box, set it at the lowest temperature, and then move it around on your board to spread the melted wax.
Focus on waxing the edges as this is the area that needs the most amount of wax. Do not leave the iron on one are for too long to avoid damaging the board. Apply a thin layer of wax. A thick layer will make scrapping it off before your next tune-up a nightmare.
How to protect the edge (and avoid frequent sharpening)
Maintain after use
Once you are done snowboarding, wipe down your snowboard to avoid any water damage while in storage. You can wax it lightly to create a protective coating before use. This will help to reduce the chances of edge dulling when you use it. The wax will also protect it from dents when it is not in use.
Handle with care
Store your snowboard diligently when it is not used to prevent the edges from being dented when the snowboard gets slammed into objects. You should also place it on a designated spot when transporting it, such as the roof or the boot of your car. To ensure its edges do not get damaged.
Invest in a cover
This will go a long way in protecting your cover when it is in storage or when you are transporting it. Look for a cover that has adjustable straps to ensure it fits your snowboard. Also, ensure you do not strap your board too tightly in the cover to prevent the straps from digging into the board. Or get one with foam insulation to cushion the board.
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If you are an avid snowboarder, then you will need to tune your snowboard at least once per year to enable it to stay in great shape for years to come. And if you are new to snowboarding, you need not worry about tuning your snowboard for the first year or two as snowboards nowadays come pre-sharpened.