The Ten Minute Tune – Technique

| June 26, 2008

Once the vise, bench and basic tools are acquired, it is time to hit the stopwatch and start a ten-minute tune.  It is better to do the tunes as a matter of routine before you put the skis away so you don’t blow it off in the excitement of the moment when you are ready to go.

First off, wipe down the bases with base cleaner/lacquer thinner.  Try not to flood them as it just takes longer to dry.  The basic idea is to get skin glue and other gunk off.

Now, always working from tip to tail, run the metal scraper along the bases to further remove embedded gunk and knock off any high points.

 Scrape off the high points.

Next up, flat file the bases with that killer new file you just got…

Base filing - this is often the hardest and most time consuming part of the ten minute tune.


 Flip the ski up and holding the file as perpendicular to the bases as you can, give each edge a once-over.

 File those edges, but becareful not to over do it.

If you are in the mood, smooth the edges down with the Diamond Stone.

Voila!  Your bases are now sharp, but don’t glide very well, so it is time to wax them.  Starting with the “cotton” setting, adjust the temperature to just below where the wax starts to smoke.  Smoking wax means you are damaging its slippery little molecules.  Like the base cleaner, try to put on just as much wax as you need, otherwise it just takes longer to scrape it off and clean up.

 Wax'em up.

 So close!  The clock is at eight minutes and thirty seconds, so it’s time to scrape the excess wax off your bases with the plastic scraper.  These get dull after a while and can be sharpened up by running them through a table saw and taking a tidbit off.

Scrape'm Danno!

If you want to hide any scratches and improve your initial glide a bit, go over the bases with the Scotch-Brite pad until they have a uniform matte finish.  Minor scratches can be filled with wax, then once you get a collection of them, or some big diggers, you can P-Tex them all at the same time.  Huge core-shots should be trimmed out, cleaned up, and filled with epoxy, or taken to a shop for professional care.

Stop the clock!  Slap your skis together, put the skins on top, lash them all together with a ski strap and hang them up, ready to ride at a moments notice.

Doug Coombs was a fan of the “Quick & Painless” speed tune, and described it as “Maybe it’s the most screwed up tune in the world, but I’m use to it, so, it works.”

The Quick & Painless Tune video as described by Doug Coombs.

Bulk wax doesn’t do it for you? Get 15% off Toko Dibloc LF wax from

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Category: 02 Gear

About the Author ()

Andrew McLean lives in Park City, Utah and is a gear designer, writer, photographer, ski mountaineer, climber, Mountain Unicycle rider and father of two very loud little girls.

Comments (2)

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  1. rl says:

    I have this nasty whiskey someone gave me. Will it work as a base cleaner?

  2. admin says:

    The rule of thumb is, if it cleans your liver, it will clean your bases. :)

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