Files, files and more files...

30 Oct 2011 2:35 PM | John Ellis (Administrator)

Q: I have been stoning my edges for a while now, but they aren’t sharp enough anymore.  Is there a way I can sharpen my edges better than using a stone?

A: I am SO glad you asked that! Throughout the season, ski edges are getting worn away and new material must be exposed. Stones are designed to primarily polish metal, while files are designed to cut metal away. But there are LOTS of files out there such as:

Panzar files- designed to cut a LOT of material at once. Be extra careful with these. Bastard files- designed to cut a lot of material, but not like a panzer. Mill files- available in 1st cut (medium), 2nd cut (fine) and finishing (extra fine). Mill files are the primary ski file to use.

 File Quality and hardness matter a lot too. The top files are Carbide Steel and Stainless Steel, followed by Chromed Steel and Hardened Steel. A file of less than 65 Rockwell hardness is not suitable for race-ski edges. Modern ski edges are so hard that they will destroy such a file in only a few minutes.  Carbide files are SO hard that they are brittle and will break if dropped, and can “chatter” down the ski edges in some conditions. Carbide files also cost around 10-15 times as much as a chromed file, making them not a practical choice for most tuners.  Stainless files are great, but are expensive and hard to find.

I advise owning 3 chromed files: a bastard file (8-10 inch), a medium mill file (4-6 inch) and a fine mill (4-6 inch).  90+ % of ski work can be done with these 3, and they should last 1-2 seasons for most users.

Pictured below are:

Carbide

Stainless (medium)

Chrome Mill (medium),

Chrome Mill (fine)

Chrome Bastard

Panzar (large and small)

Locally, Sturtevant's and World Cup Skier Services have an excellent selection, as does Tognar:  http://www.tognar.com/files-base-tape-ski-edge-tuning/

Remember to brush files clean and they will last a long time.

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