Ever felt intimidated to learn how to sharpen snowboard edges? Me too. But it is actually much easier than you might think, and I will break it down step by step for you here.
Once you learn how to do it (and realize that you can’t really screw anything up) that fear and trepidation will cease to exist. So keeping reading and in no time, you’ll be sharpening your edges and making those sweet turns out on the mountain!
Tools you’ll need
First thing you’ll need tool wise is a sharpening tool, file and/or different types of stone files. You’ll probably use all of them throughout the process, so it will be good to have them all by your side from the beginning.
The sharpening tool comes with a preset guide that helps make it dummy proof to sharpen your edges. The file and stone files are a little more art than science and will require a steady hand, but after a little bit of practice, you’ll be great at it!
Let’s break down how to sharpen
Step 1. Wipe down your edges with a citrus based cleaning solution and rag. (be careful not to catch any part of your fingers on any gauged edges)
Step 2. For beginners, take a black permanent marker (like a Sharpie, etc) and draw a line on the side and bottom edge to cover up it. That way, you will know you are done once you have removed the line by sharpening.
Step 3. Most beginners will sharpen their edges at a 90 degree angle. As you get more advanced, you may want to change that up to 87, 88, or 89.
Step 4. Take your guided edge tool (red picture shown above). There should be an arrow on the stone that fits inside the tool that shows you which direction to go when sharpening your edges. You will want to sharpen only the concave edges (meaning those that touch a flat surface if you lay your board face up on a flat surface)
Run the guided tool, always in the same direction that it shows from nose to tail of the board in single strokes multiple times until it runs smooth or you have removed all the black marker from the edges. It’s normal to feel some “sticking” as it catches on gashes, gauges or “burrs” on the edges. You’ll be removing these as you sharpen.
Once it is sharp, you will know by running your finger nail over it. If the edge scrapes off a thin layer of your nail, you know its sharp!
Step 5. You can then take an edge rubber and polish your edges to complete the edging process.
Step 6. This is an extra step, but you could also take your big file and detune the edges that are not the concave edges (meaning the ones that don’t lay flat on a surface when laid down. Mostly around the nose and tail of the board). I’ll go into more detail on this in a future post that will be about detuning your snowboard edges (or removing sharpness from them)…so stay tuned for that!
Should I sharpen my edges?
This is up to you, but I say a resounding, Yes! First, it removes any rust you may have built up on your edges if you put it away in storage before the edges were dry. Secondly, having sharp edges on your snowboard allow you to carve and make turns without washing out and falling. You can make nice, tight turns with sharp edges compared to not sharp edges.
If you don’t want to learn to sharpen your edges on your own, then I would recommend you get it tuned by your local snowboard shop. An edge tuning can be very inexpensive (in the $15-$30 range) and again, it will keep your board in excellent condition.
Last thing I’ll say about why to get your edges sharpened is for the safety factor of it. You don’t want to lose your edge on an icy groomer sending you flying into other riders, or onto the hard packed snow or even into a thicket of trees. Your body will thank you later!
So give sharpening your snowboard a try! You’ll be glad you did.
If you are a regular reader of my posts, you should already know that you’ll hear “give it a try” from me on almost everything I write. Learning new skills is really what snowboarding is all about!
Snowboarding pioneers that created this so called sport did just that. They tried different boards, set ups, and tricks to making this amazing activity what it is today. So why not follow in their footsteps and give sharpening your board on your own a try.
The more I’ve learned about how to maintain my board and about snowboarding in general, the more I’ve fallen in love with it more and more each and every year. Very empowering to know that you don’t have to take your board to a shop for every day maintenance items.
As always, thanks for reading. Hope you can apply what you’ve learned to your snowboard life. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please don’t hesitate to leave them below and I’ll get back to you. See you on the mountain!
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