Snowboard Tuning – Step by step instructions

Gareth Simpson

by Gareth Simpson

October 18, 2019

How to Tune a Snowboard

Summer heat and humidity are likely to result in a rusted snowboard. Such a board does not give the best performance in winter. To overcome that, it is essential to tune your snowboard. Read on…

Materials Required

For tuning your own beloved snowboard at home, it is essential to invest in a comprehensive but affordable kit. This will help you save significantly on future shop services.  Following are the materials or tools required:

  • Nylon brush
  • Screwdriver
  • Wax
  • Wax iron or regular clothes iron
  • Iron
  • Edge sharpener
  • Plastic scraper
  • A robust surface such as a coffee table in a garage that is at least half the length of your board for placing it (Consider choosing a place outside the home or in a garage, as the wax is likely to stick to the floor.)

Step by step instructions

Step 1 Remove the Bindings

Although a crucial one, this step is somehow ignored. With the attached bindings, the screws can pull the trivial divots towards the base. In the presence of divots, it is unwise to prepare the base. This is because it is likely to heighten them. After all, a flat surface is what you need for waxing, right? So, the first step is to take them off or simply loosen them a bit.

Step 2: Sharpen and Polish Your Edges

In the next step, your focus should be on the snowboard’s edges that you need to sharpen and then polish. For sharpening, you start by choosing the right angle.

Your edge sharpener will have many angle options but it is 90 degrees that is ideal for first-time or intermediate riding. An angle lower than that is a choice of an advanced rider. The more acute the angle is, the more bite you get for racing and riding on hard snow.

Now, using a marker pen, outline the side edge. When this line vanishes, the full edge is sharpened. It is recommended to sharpen only the concave area. In case of a traditional camber board, this area is between the two end points touching the ground.

While sharpening, do check out the one-directional file. An arrow should be there on the file’s side to denote the direction in which it should move. Set the file such that it is in the right direction to hit from tip to tail on the first edge.

Well, a majority of actions while edging and waxing are done in a single direction, from the tip to tail. Once the direction is set, using the file, apply pressure on the edge and drag the file along the edge. Repeat this step until the drawn line disappears.

If the edge is sharp, your fingernail will peel when you scrape it over the edge. This is the sharpness test. Once the desired level of sharpness is attained, reset the file and focus on the edge at the other side.

Once sharpening is done, you can polish the edges. This is optional. If you have an edge rubber, scrub it a few times along each edge to give a shine to edges. Doing so also discards rust and file-instilled imperfections for ensuring a better performance.

Step 3: Scrub the Base

The next step is to clean the base before you apply wax to it. Cleaning via scrubbing is essential so that the base can hold the wax. While a nylon brush does a nice job of cleaning the base, a wax remover is another tool to choose.

Clean hard using the brush for almost five times to discard any dirt or previously applied wax. Doing so will accumulate dust on the surface on which the board is kept. So, do clean it with a wet cloth at the end.

Step 4: Apply and Disperse the Wax

Now, it is time to use the waxing iron. Usually, it will have a temperature gauge. Just go through the packet or manual that came with the iron and find out the recommended temperature. In case of a clothes iron, keep the temperature low for keeping a slow trickling flow.

Now, press a chunk of wax against the iron by budging the iron around the board. To get started, dribble a line around the edge, a board area that specifically demands waxing. Next, drip in the ‘S’ pattern for waxing the middle portion.

Now, go for one more round along the board’s middle area and fill the bigger gaps. This is just a way to wax and not a universal procedure. You need to ensure an even coating without much wax or else it will be painful to remove later.

Once the wax is applied, use the iron to disperse the wax evenly. Consider using local circles for finishing a full area under focus and then proceed to the next area. Do not use iron for too long on one area, as the additional heat can damage the board.

Step 5: Allow Cooling

Let the wax and board cool down prior to the last step of scraping and finishing. Leave it for at least half an hour.

Step 6: Scrape and Finish the Board

Board scraping should be done from tip to tail using a plastic scraper set at 45 degrees and driving it hard along the board until all noticeable wax vanishes and the surface looks even.

Do also include the edges, as the grip in snow will not come if they are layered with wax. If the edges are made using metal, run the square cut of the scraper. Finally, you can finish the board to give it a shiny look and boost its performance significantly.

Overview of Edge Detuning

Detuning means dulling the edge section in the predetermined regions of tip and tail. This is done with the help of a file or a stone and is essential for freestyle riders who do not want to sharpen the edges. Detuning reduces the probability of catching an edge. It is usually done when the board is first delivered to you. To detune, at the effective edge’s each end, round out almost one inch of the rail using a flat file.


Knowing precisely how to tune a snowboard appropriate can make the distinction between anytime smooth ride and a costly repair just prior to the trip. So, consider sharpening the edges and waxing the board.

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