Being able to fine-tune your Nordic, skate, or alpine skis or snowboard lets you get the perfect glide, without waiting for your sticks to come back from the shop. Matt Larsen, who works in the ski and bike industry, gave some suggestions on how to build your own custom tuning bench from just a few pieces of wood, a waxing iron, a few scrapers, and brushes.

A waxing and tuning bench doesn’t have to cost a lot of money, but there are a few key features that are needed. First, an area big enough to hold your skis or board horizontal and where wax can be collected or spilled on the floor. The bench consists of supports to hold the skis or board and can be as simple as setting it on an existing workbench or saw horses.

There is a key difference in the supports needed for setting up a bench for alpine gear versus Nordic and skate skis. Cross-country skis are softer and therefore need support for the entire length of the ski. This can be created by tracing a 2 by 6 to the profile of the ski so that pressure can be applied to the whole base of the ski when brushing off wax.

An alpine/snowboard bench usually consists of two padded upright supports with a notch cut in the center of each. These supports allow for two positions; edges horizontal for waxing and edges vertical for sharpening.

The supports can be padded with carpet scraps or old bike tires to protect the top sheet. To prevent the sticks from sliding around, they can be anchored with a bungee cord wrapped around the bindings and brakes and connected to eyelets on supports.

Matt suggests having separate waxing irons for skis with metal edges (down hill) versus those without (cross-country). He also uses a variety of scrapers and brushes ranging from softer to harder to more aggressive.

Matt claims that it takes 100 waxings to fill all the pores on a new set of gear and that the more you wax, the more efficient you become and faster you go. So if you are looking for a project that will enhance your winter fun, try building a tuning bench. If you are looking for someone with a bit more experience for advice and questions, contact Matthew Larsen Wheelbuilding at mlwheels.com. // (Adam Gebauer)