Get More From Your Snowboard’s Edges – How To Bevel & Sharpen

This is part 2 of my snowboard series on tuning your edges, if you haven’t detuned your edges properly, go read my detuning guide first.

Alright, so you’ve detuned your edges appropriately and assuming that you aren’t riding boxes and rails all day, you now need to sharpen and bevel your remaining edges. Obviously, don’t sharpen and bevel any places you’ve detuned, that would put you back at square one again.

Bevelling your edges

What is bevelling?

In simple speak, this means you’re going to reduce the angle of your edge. The below diagram should make this a little clearer for you.

This diagram shows you different bevels with your snowboard placed upside down, base facing up:

Snowboard Bevel Angles

What does base bevel do?

Base bevel lifts your bottom edge away from the snow, this means there’s less contact with the snow which results in better gliding and speed. This means you’ll catch edges less easily, but it also means your board is a little less stable and precise when turning.

What does side bevel do?

Side bevel increases the grip of your edge. This is especially good for cutting into icy surfaces, but it also means you’ll need more precise control over your edges to avoid gripping into snow when you don’t want to.

What bevel angles do I want?

As you can see in the diagram above, adding a side bevel decreases the total angle of your edge and adding a base bevel increases the angle of your edge. The trick is getting the right balance between the two so that it matches the type of riding you want to do.

Warning: You can’t really un-do a bevel. You can add more bevel, but it’s really hard to make a 3 degree bevel back into a 2 degree bevel. Make sure you want that bevel angle before going too far.

Here is a good overall guide of what bevel angles you can use for what sort of riding:

Beginner – 1 to 2 degree base, 0 to 1 degree side
Intermediate – 1 degree base, 1 degree side
Freerider - 1 degree base, 1 to 2 side
Spinner - 2 degree base, 0 degree side
Boardercross – 0 to 1 degree base, 1 to 2 degree side
Halfpipe – 1 degree base, 1 degree side
Slalom Race - 0 to 0.5 degree base, 3 to 4 degree side
GS Race – 0.5 to 0.75 degree base, 2 to degree side
Super G – 1 degree base, 2 to 3 degree side

What bevel angle I’d recommend

Go with a 1 degree base, 1 degree side or a 2 degree base, 2 degree side if your tool only does 2 degree bevels. Overall a 1 degree bevel on your base and side is the most useful and well rounded bevel for riding all sorts of terrain. You can’t undo bevels, so there’s no point going further unless you intend to use this snowboard for only a specific type of riding.

Most other bevels are meant for halfpipe or racing specialists, so the only time I’d recommend another bevel angle is if you’re intending to use your snowboard as a jib/rail/box specific snowboard. If you’re intending to only hit rails and boxes exclusively, make your base bevel a 3 degree bevel to make it harder to catch edges on the rails and boxes.

How do I add a bevel to my snowboard?

It’s as simple as sharpening your snowboard like normal, but instead of leaving it at a 90 degree angle, set your edge sharpening tool to the bevel you want. See below for a guide to sharpening your edges.

Most tools will either have the number 88 or 89 on one side of the tool and 90 on the other side. 88 means using that side of the tool is a 2 degree bevel and 90 would mean that using that side doesn’t add any bevel.

You can get slightly more expensive tools that let you adjust the exact bevel angle to the degree you want, but they are a little more expensive and usually unnecessary if you’re just wanting a standard 1 or 2 degree bevel on each side.

Sharpening your snowboard’s edges

Why sharpen your edges?

Nice sharp edges help you to cut into any ice and hard snow when you turn. This means you can grip into the snow better and hold your edge while turning.

How to sharpen your edges

It’s really simple, even easier than detuning your edges. You’ll want a special edge tuning tool built to hold a file in place while you run it along your edges, as well as a gummi/diamond stone for smoothing out any really rough spots left by the file.

Dakine Edge Tuner Tool

Edge Tuner Tool

Diamond Stone

Diamond Stone

The tool and gummi/diamond stone will cost about $10-20 each at any ski or snowboard shop.

Here’s a video on how to use the tool to sharpen your edge:

Remember that you have to sharpen the edge that runs along the base of your snowboard first before you sharpen the edge that’s on the side of your snowboard. Also, don’t forget to check the bevel angle of your tool before using it!

Hope this guide helped you out. Thanks again to Beau for submitting this question topic!

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Comments

  1. Hey Jed,
    Should I get a diamond stone too?cuz I heard usind metal file causes your edge to get thinner?
    And can I use a diamond stone with my edge sharpener that is same with yours(the one at Dakine kit)
    Can I make a 89 degree bevel with dakine sharpener?
    Thank you…

    • Yes – you need both a diamond stone and a file to maintain your edges. (and yes – if you bought the deluxe tune kit you should have a stone inside that will do the job).

      No – you can’t do a 1 degree bevel with the dakine sharpener. If it’s like mine, it’ll only do 88 or 90 degrees.

      If you want to do a 1 degree bevel you’ll need to get a different adjustable edge sharpener, but honestly I don’t think it’s worth the effort unless you have an adjustable edge sharpener already. I typically don’t even bother with bevels anymore and just use the 90 degree side of my sharpener and I don’t have any issues catching edges on rails and boxes.

  2. And which tool is diamond stone in my kit?I couldnt find anything that looks like your picture of diamond stone

    • It’s the gummi stone (the grey rectangle pocket stone). It’s not actually a diamond stone, but it does the same job just like a diamond stone.

  3. At racewax.com they say metal sharpener is only for beveling edges and you need a gummi/diamond stone to sharpen your edges so they don’t get thinner after some time?

    • Your Dakine edge sharpener you have will do the job just fine.

      Your snowboard will usually need replacement long before your edges get too thin from sharpening. It’s not like you’ll be sharpening every day anyhow. You only need to sharpen when your edges get dull and when you have burrs on the edges.

      Honestly I wouldn’t advise bothering with a lot of those advanced tuning methods. The only people who really bother with most of that stuff is racers who don’t mind spending 2 hours tuning their board for a 0.5 second improvement in their slalom time.

      Stick to the basics: Wax once in awhile, diamond stone/gummi stone for deburring, edge sharpener tool for sharpening. That’s honestly all you need and doing more than that starts to be a huge waste of time for general snowboarding.

  4. Snowbender says:

    Yo Jed,
    Do I need a gummi stone/edge sharpener for riding urban.I’ll play with some street sh*t this season

    • Yeah, basically every snowboarder needs a diamond stone/gummi stone and an edge sharpener if they want to make sure their edges stay burr free.

      The other option is not taking care of your edges, but then you end up with tons of burrs/rough spots that can catch when you hit rails/boxes and send you flying.

  5. Hey Jed,

    First off, thank you for all of your help and information. Your site rocks!

    I got a One Ball Jay file guide (supposedly smaller for Magnetraction boards). My question is, should the number on the guide be facing the edge or away from the edge. In other words, should the side that says 90 degrees be touching the edge if I want a 90* bevel?

    Also, I’ve seen many people in the message boards saying that these edge tools (OBJ or Dakine) are only for side edge and not the base edge. Is this true or is it OK to use on both edges?

    Finally, I just bought a rocker board this season for the intent of using it in the park half of the time, and all mountain the other half. I’m still relatively new to freestyle snowboarding. Small jumps and easy boxes thus far. Do I need to bevel or as you said above, and should I detune? The edges don’t appear to be very sharp even though it’s new.

    Thanks so much!

    • Hah that’s a good question with the file guide, honestly it depends on the file guide, which is a little annoying to figure out since it seems to change. I remember having that except same discussion with a friend when we were trying to figure out which side was the 88 degree bevel and which was 90, in the end we had to look at the manufacturer’s page and ask some tuners in town.

      Typically the number shows the angle of the edge it’s on, at least that’s what I’ve found – but I can’t guarantee that’s how it is for all edge tools. That said, your best bet is still to email the company and ask directly if you want to be 100% sure.

      As far as bevels go, you don’t really need to worry about it unless you want to get very advanced with your tuning, but it’s not required at all. Most boards come with some sort of bevel already, especially park boards, and it’s more important to remove burrs from the edges regularly (maybe once a fortnight or less if you don’t ride regularly) to avoid catching an edge on rough spots.

      Definitely don’t detune all the edges, if you want to detune only detune the nose and tail where the edge ends as I described here – http://snomie.com/edge-catching-detune-snowboards-edges/ – but don’t detune your regular riding edges, you need that for turning and carving.

      Hope that helps answer your question.

      • Sorry for the late reply, but thanks so much for your answers. They are very helpful. Just tuned and waxed my board by myself for the first time. Ready to hit the hill on Saturday!

  6. Hey Jed!

    Thanks for the review of this item. Your information helps out a lot!

    A few questions:
    If I was to buy each piece that I see in the Dakine Super Deluxe Tuning Kit, would it be cheaper? or if I were to buy a cheaper iron then purchase the Deluxe Tuning Kit?

    If I did piece together my own kit, what would be the essentials for maintaining my board? I understand that I would need an iron, the wax, scrapers, deburring stone. Are the brushes, pads, etc. really necessary?

    I ride about 60% trails and 40% park, but I am beginning to get increasingly better at rails, boxes, and jumps. What bevel angle do you suggest I use to maximize the efficiency of my edges?
    Since the bevel on the edge tuner included is only for 88 and 90 degree bevels, what tuner would you suggest that I could use for the certain degree bevel you suggest that I use from the question above?

    Thanks a bunch!
    Daniel

    • Hey Daniel, typically you could piece together the kit piece by piece on another site like tognar.com, but depending on the quality of the waxing iron and how much you end up paying for the dakine kit, it may not be a huge difference in price.

      For essentials, what you mentioned is correct (I’d maybe add an edge sharpener in there as well as the deburring stone) and the brushes and pads aren’t really required.

      With bevels, it depends on personal preference (I have a separate blog on bevels here: http://snomie.com/snowboards-edges-bevel-sharpen/), but I like a 1 or 2 degree bevel on each edge although honestly it’s not a big deal at the end of the day and most people won’t even notice it.

      Personally, I think for 99% of people, bevels aren’t really something they need to worry about and most factory snowboards come with bevel already (eg – a lot of park boards have a 1-3 degree bevel already).

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