Vise Squad

| June 24, 2008

Tuning (or trying to tune) a pair of skis without a bench and a vise is almost worse than not tuning them at all.  The skis fall over, you slice your hand, the wall gets scratched and the tune comes out marginal at best.  The backbone of a good tuning system is a solid bench and the heart of the system is a good ski vise. 

 A good place to start for a bench is a sawhorse.  These are nice as you can walk 360 degrees around them, and by trimming the legs down, you can operate on your skis at waist level, and thus apply more file/scraper pressure.  The basic set-up shown below is a wooden sawhorse with secondary chunks of 2 x 4″ pieces of wood screwed on top, then the vises mounted to that.  A bonus of the sawhorse bench is that it is also easy to clean up afterwards and it can be stored out of the way.

A good ski vise can be the most expensive part of a tuning kit, but they are essential, especially with rounded, shapey cap skis which are tricky to hold. 


Use blocks to help support the tips and tails.  If you have the technology (a saw), cut slots in the support blocks so you can plug your skis in sideways and work on the edges without having to clamp/unclamp them.  Close enough is good enough.

15% off ski tuning supplies from

Toko DMT Diamond stones are a nice way to tell your skis “I love you.”

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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.

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  1. Tuning Bench Tie-Down « – Backcountry Skiing & Beyond | February 4, 2010
  1. Chris says:

    Hey Andrew –

    Another idea, and one I use, is a Black and Decker WorkMate. Although it’s a bit more expensive than a simple saw horse, with a few simple 2×4 “inserts” this bench can be made to tune skis, serve as a base for a bike stand, and handle basic woodworking along with many other tasks. Plus, it folds up nicely and is somewhat mobile.

    Just found your blog – keep up the good work!


  2. Dostie says:

    Nice trick Andrew. Think many skiers recognize the sailing h/w?

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