How to Tune Your Snowboard

Waxing, edging and base repair explained

Like changing your oil, eating healthily or going to the dentist, tuning your board is one of those things we should all do more often; we’re probably just being lazy. 

A new season is the ideal time to kick start the habit. Whether you want to bring an old plank back to life or keep your new steed looking fly, a properly maintained board will be more fun to ride. So let’s dust off that iron and get to work.


How often should I service my snowboard?

All Rome snowboards come factory waxed, so you don't have to worry about an initial service. We recommend performing a basic check-up after a week’s riding, or at least monthly if you spend a lot of time on the hill. That might sound like a lot of work, but it can be fun; some folk even say it’s a form of meditation. We find it to be really satisfying activity, so grab a beverage and lets get to it! 



Snowboard Waxing

Waxing is the most important element of your maintenance job, especially if you have a sintered base. It repels water, which reduces friction and makes the board faster (natch) and it helps protect the base by keeping dirt out of the pores. 

Waxes are available in a bunch of different varieties depending on the snow conditions, but if you wanna keep things simple then a universal temperature wax is the way to go. Here’s how we do it at the Syndicate:

  • If your board’s looking grubby then use a base cleaner to release any muck before applying a new layer of wax.
  • Grab your iron. It doesn’t really matter what kind so long as you’re not planning on ironing any shirts with it any time soon. 
  • Set a low temperature – just enough that the wax melts without producing smoke. A little heat will also encourage the pores of your base to open, but too much and you can melt the p-tex.
  • You can either hover the iron over your board and move steadily around dripping wax, or else heat the block on the iron and then rub the soft wax evenly over your base. The advantage of the second method is that you’ll use less wax and have less to scrape off at the end.
  • Once the whole base is covered, spread it further into the base using slow but steady movements with the iron. Move in circles and don’t stay too long in one spot or else you could burn the base.
  • Leave the board to cool down for at least a half hour, then remove the excess wax with a scraper. This is your chance to ruin your new pants or sweater!
  • Finally, take a stiff brush or a kitchen scourer and run it from nose to tail a few times to re-expose the structure of your base.

At the end of the season, before throwing your board into the garage for the summer, treat it to a thick layer of wax and don’t scrape it off again until winter rolls around. It will keep your base from drying out and serve you well when you’re ready to shred.

 

Edge tuning

Most riders don’t need to worry about sharpening their edges too often. You should also be aware that messing around with the bevel can have a negative influence on how the board handles.

That said, there are some good reasons for giving them the occasional tune-up. Fresh edges will provide more grip on icy halfpipe walls and big cheese wedges, or getting low on the groomers. On the flipside, rail riders might want to set a mellower bevel or even de-tune them completely to prevent hook-ups.


How to sharpen your edges

Your edge consists of a right angle, so there are two faces to take care of (base edge and side edge). For this job you’ll need a snowboard edge sharpener. You can adjust the angle of the file within the guide; we recommend keeping it set between 88 and 90 degrees.

NOTE: If in doubt, leave the angles as they are. At the Rome factory, the edges of each board are given an appropriate bevel for its intended riding style.  

  • Start with the base edge. For this side, a bevel of 90 degrees is more aggressive, and a bevel or 89 or 88 degrees is mellower (less catchy).
  • Run the file from nose to tail a few times, until it any burrs have been ground out and it doesn’t catch
  • Switch the file around for the side edge. On this face, a bevel of 90 degrees is mellower, and a bevel of 89 or 88 degrees is more aggressive.
  • Grind the edge from nose to tail in the same way, paying attention to any sticking points.
  • If you’ve bought a full servicing kit then finish by running a diamond stone over the edge for an even smoother job. 

How to de-tune your edges

It’s often a good idea to de-tune the contact points a little, so they’re less prone to catching.

Place your snowboard sideways on a smooth surface; where the edge touches the ground towards each end is the area that can be de-tuned. And don't worry: since most of the pressure when you’re riding is applied to the edge right under your bindings, you’ll still have enough hold.

  • Take a file and work it across the edge at each contact point. Move back and forth at a 45 degree angle until it’s slightly blunted.
  • Hardcore jibbers might want to continue this process right along the length of the edge. You won’t be winning any pipe contests but you’re way less likely to dig your edge into a rail.
  • If you have one, use a gummy stone for a smooth finish. 

 

Base Repair

It’s the last run of an epic powder day. Everything’s been going perfect when suddenly you feel a bump and hear that nasty sound: you’ve hit a rock, and it’s left a big gash in your base. Dayum!

You might feel like crying but don't sweat it – damage like this is easier to repair than you’d think. All you need is a stick of p-tex and a workbench. Here’s the drill: 

  • Take a sharp blade and cut off any excess base material around your repair area.
  • Make sure the area is clean and dry.
  • Set the p-tex stick on fire using a lighter or candle, and drip the molten p-tex into the gouge. Keep it low to the board so the flame stays; this will reduce the amount of carbon deposits and make for a cleaner-looking repair (especially important if you’re dealing with white/clear p-tex). 
  • Build several layers up until the hole is completely filled.
  • Let the area cool down completely and then use your blade (or a metal scraper) to peel away the majority of the excess p-tex.
  • Now grab a file and work it over the repair until it’s as flat as the rest of the base
  • Finish by given the board a fresh wax

 

How to tune your snowboard – summary

Every Rome snowboard is constructed from the highest quality materials; if you invest a little love, you will enjoy it for a long time. 

  • Wax the base regularly – ideally after each week’s shredding
  • Take care of your board and it will take care of you! 
  • Edges are easy enough to sharpen but you should only need to do this occasionally – and don’t mess with the bevel unless you’re confident. 
  • De-tune the contact points to reduce hook-ups
  • Damage to the base isn’t the end of the world. In fact you’ll be surprised how much snowboard maintenance you can do yourself without throwing money at an expensive service.