Waxing and edging your snowboard can be extremely rewarding and really isn’t that hard to do. Sure, you can take it to a shop to get it sorted, but I think you miss out on a great bonding experience. The simple guide below shows that you don’t have to put a great amount of effort in to get excellent results. I actually prefer my servicing than the shops’ – I know it’s going to get done properly.
On all our snowboard courses, camps and holidays we include a snowboard tuning sesssion where one of our pro snowboarders will show you how to wax, sharpen and repair your snowboard. It’s great if you have a workshop and bench, but hardly any of us have that luxury. All you really need is a sturdy surface that’s half to three-quarters the length of your board. I’ve actually used a tool box to lean on in the past (which is a little short) but in the example below I’ve used a sturdy coffee table. I’d advise using a garage or outside area as the wax does tend to stick to flooring and make a bit of a mess.
You need to invest in a bit of kit, but think of all the money you’ll save in the long run!
Step One – Take your bindings off
This is an important step which is often overlooked. When your bindings are tightened into your board, the screws can suck minor divots into the base. It’s not advisable to warm up the base when the divots are there, as it can accentuate them and make them permanent. You also want a nice flat surface to wax on to. You can just loosen the screws a little, if you don’t want to take them all the way off.
Step Two – Sharpen your edges
It’s likely that your edge sharpener has several angle options. 90 degrees is the standard setting for beginner / intermediate riding. 89, 88 and 87 degrees are progressively more advanced. The more acute angles will give you more bite, which is handy on hard-pack and is often used for racing.
Once you’ve decided on an edge angle, take a permanent marker pen and draw down your side edge. This technique is handy while you’re getting used to sharpening edges, but not always necessary. When the line’s gone, you’ve sharpened the whole edge.
You should only sharpen the concave section of the edge. To see where to sharpen more precisely, place your board right way up on a flat surface, the area you want to sharpen is between where the board touches the ground at the front and back (assuming you have a regular camber board).
The file in your edge sharpener is probably one-directional. There should be an arrow on the side of the file that indicates the direction it should go. Arrange the file so that it is pointing in the right direction for you to stroke from nose to tail on your first edge – ideally most actions you take when waxing and edging go in one direct, from the nose to the tail of the board. Now apply pressure with the file on the side edge and drag it along the length of the edge. Do this several times until your black marker pen line has gone. To test the sharpness of the edge, scrape your fingernail over it – your nail will peel if your edge is sharp.
Step Three – Pollish your edge
This isn’t 100% necessary, but it’s nice to do. Take your Edge Rubber, if you have one and give it a few scrubs along each edge. This will shine up your edges nicely, remove any rust, even out any imperfections made by your file and improve performance… very slightly.
Step Four – Clean the base
Before you wax your base, you want to make sure it’s nice and clean. You can use a wax remover if you like, but most of the time you’re fine to just give it a scrubbing over with a brass base brush. Don’t go crazy, maybe give it 4 or 5 hard strokes in each area to remove any excess wax and dirt. This will create a bit of dust, so give your base a quick wipe over with a scotch pad afterwards.
Step Five – Apply wax
If you’ve got a specialised waxing iron with a temperature gauge, take a look at the packet your wax came in and it should recommend a temperature to set the iron to. If you’re using a regular clothes iron, set it up on a low temperature, so that it just about melts the wax with a slow dripping flow.
Take your block of wax and press/rub it on the iron while moving it around the board. Here is where you want to get a nice even covering, without applying too much wax (which will be a pain to scrape back off). I tend to start by doing a dripping line all around the edge of the board – this is where the board will be particularly thirsty for a waxing. Then I do a repeating “s” shape to fill the middle. Then take one more pass along the middle of the board filling in any of the larger gaps. See my crude diagram for a rough pattern. At the end of the day though, this isn’t an exact science – just give the board an even coating!
Step Six – Spread the wax
Now take the iron and spread the wax evenly around the board. Use small localised circles until an area is covered before moving onto the next area. Don’t focus on one area for too long because the board may be damaged by excess heat. A sign of spending too long on one area is if the wax stays wet for more than a couple seconds after you leave it. Just try to keep moving as much as possible.
Step Seven – Leave to cool
The board and wax are going to need to cool down for a while before you scrape. So make a cup of tea and put your feet up – you’ve earned a break! Ideally leave it for 20-30 minutes.
Step Eight – Scrape your board
As with edging, it’s generally advisable to scrape from nose to tail. Get your plastic scraper and angle it at around 45 degrees, then push hard and scrape along the board in the direction of the small angle. I tend to sit on the board and work in sections, but if you’re lucky enough to have a bench that securely holds the board you might want to cover the length of the board with each scrape. Continue until all of the visible wax is gone and the surface is smooth and even – don’t worry the wax has still done its job even though you’ve scraped it all back off again.
Don’t forget your edges! Most scrapers have a square cut out of the corners. Use this to run over your metal edges. Believe me – they won’t grip when they’re covered in wax!
Step Nine – Finish your board
This is where a bit of pride comes into your work. With this phase you can make your base shine and significantly increase its performance. Firstly take your scotch pad and give each area of your base 3 or 4 hard strokes, to even out your scraping job. Then take your nylon base brush and give each area 3 or 4 hard strokes (working from nose to tail) – this adds structure to your base, which stops suction and allows it to run smoother and quicker. You’d have kicked up a bit of dust, so to finish the job take a wet sponge and give the base a wipe.
Your base should now be shining like a vinyl record and your edges ready to tackle the toughest of hard-pack. You’ve now bonded with your board – get out there and ride it with pride!
So now you’ve bonded with your board it’s only right you take it to the snow! Check out our snowboard courses to review your options…