The effective edge of any snowboard is the edge that comes in contact with the snow when turning. This edge is usually made of metal and it is the cutting action that it creates that allows you to turn. The effective edge does not extend to the tip or tail of your snowboard. In fact having and edge there can cause you to bail very rapidly.
Since the effective edge cuts into snow and ice to give you grip and protects your snowboard from damage it makes sense that the size and condition of the effective edge on your snowboard are important considerations. Generally a longer effective edge makes for a more stable, controlled ride while a shorter effective edge makes for a looser, easier turning snowboard.
Now that we know where the effective edge is we should ask what it is. The effective edge is made from steel and consists of a 1.5mm square spine with T-shaped prongs or squares protruding off it at close intervals. These prongs bond into the epoxy to hold the effective edge in place. For durability tempering hardens the steel.
An important point is that any steel will rust, and any edge will dull. This means that you need to maintain the effective edge of your snowboard. The procedure is similar to sharpening skates. You will require a vice, fine emery cloth, a flat file or edge tool, gummy stone and diamond stone.
Begin by placing your snowboard in a vice and running your emery clothes up and down the base edge. This will remove and rust and burs in the metal. After getting the base clean and smooth turn the snowboard in the vice and do the same to the sides of the effective edge.
Now that you have removed the surface rust it is time to sharpen the edges and completely remove any remaining rust. You do this by running your flat file at a 90′ angle to the base edge. As you do this make sure that you move the file in the same direction each time while filing from tip to tail. A nice option to a flat file is an edge tuner. This device is preset at 89 or 90′ and makes the job much easier.
If you have been consistent with you 90′ angle movement you will find the edge becomes very sharp fast. Continue this until you are either tired of slicing your fingers or feel the edge is sharp enough to easily cut ice. Now it is time for the finishing touches.
To finish the edge you will need your diamond stone and gummy stone. The diamond stone will smooth out any tiny nicks, burs or unevenness that may remain. Work the diamond stone with the same motion that you used when filing, 90′ angle and consistent tip to tail strokes. Once you have made a few passes with the diamond stone repeat the procedure with your gummy stone. The gummy stone mellows out the edge a little and refines it. An effective edge must be sharp enough to bite into ice but not so sharp that it stops instantly when biting into ice.
The last step is to de-tune the tip and tail sections of your snowboard. This must be done so that your snowboard doesn’t unexpectedly bite into the surface throwing you off. To de-tune use the flat file to dull the edges of the effective edge about 1" from the tip and tail. Use the gummy stone to smooth it out. This only needs to be done after grinding the edges of your snowboard, about once a year.
Knowing how to maintain the effective edge of your snowboard will extend the life of your snowboard, keep you out of the snowboard servicing shops and help you maximize the performance of your snowboard. Once you get used to the procedure you will find it to be quick and easy. This extra effort will pay huge dividends when you are riding down the slopes and help reduce the maintenance costs.