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How to Sharpen Your Snowboard Edges: A Step-by-Step Guide

Published on 03/14/2023 · 6 min readSnowboarding Expert Sean Corliss gives a step-by-step breakdown of how to sharpen your snowboard edges to keep your board in tip-top shape!
Sean Corliss, Snowboarding Expert
By Snowboarding Expert Sean Corliss

Photo by J. Gowell

If you've noticed that your snowboard isn't performing as well as it used to, or you're slipping on icy slopes, it may be time to sharpen your edges. The edges are the metal “blades” that outline the board and allow you to “dig in” and carve the mountain. A regular tune-up of the edges can make a huge difference in your riding experience. At the very least, you should sharpen your edges once a year right before the start of the season, but for those who get out on the slopes a ton, you should be sharpening your edges about every 4-6 outings for optimal performance. Better edge hold and control are just some of the benefits of doing so. And if you’re wondering where to begin, here's a nine-step guide on how to sharpen your snowboard edges:

Step 1: Gather Your Tools

To sharpen your snowboard edges, you'll need the following tools:

  • File or diamond stone
  • Edge sharpening tool
  • Fine diamond stone or ceramic stone
  • Deburring tool

Step 2: Secure Your Snowboard

Place your snowboard on a flat and stable surface with the base facing up. Use a snowboard vice or clamp to hold the board in place while you work on it. If you don't have a snowboard vice or clamp, you can use a towel or foam pad to prevent the board from sliding around.

Step 3: Determine the Angle of Your Edges

Most snowboards have a standard edge angle of 90 degrees, but some may have a different angle depending on the type of terrain a rider is looking to shred (icy conditions for example will want an edge with a slightly exaggerated angle to improve edge hold). Check your manufacturer's specifications to confirm the angle of your edges for specific terrain.

Step 4: Remove Any Rust or Burrs

The more you use your board, the more the edges will start to wear down—resulting in nicks, burrs, and rust. You can feel them by carefully and lightly gliding your fingernail along the blade of the board. Your nail will get caught on the nicks and burrs, showing where they are—even if they are tiny. Be careful not to cut yourself, though. While the edges may be duller than when you first purchased the board, they are still razor-sharp.

Use a file or 120–400 grit diamond stone to remove any rust or burrs on the edges of your snowboard. 120 is coarse, and 400 is fine. It's better to start with a coarse grit and then finish with a finer grit to smooth the edge out after removing the burrs, but we will get to that later in the process.

For now, pick a coarse diamond stone and make sure to file evenly and maintain the existing side-edge angle. Repeat this process for the base-edge angle (the part of the edge that runs along the bottom of the board). This may slightly scratch the base of the board and require some base repair, but these scratches can be easily remedied with some wax and a scraping tool. If your edges are severely damaged or rusted, it's best to take your snowboard to a professional for repair.

Step 5: Sharpen the Edges

Rusty edges. Photo by Sean Corliss

Using your edge sharpening tool, start at the nose of the board and work your way along the side edge to the tail with long, slow strokes—making sure to maintain a consistent pressure and angle as you sharpen. Keep the sharpening tool at the same angle as your snowboard's edge, and move the tool along the edge of your snowboard in one direction, applying pressure as needed. Work slowly and carefully to avoid over-sharpening or damaging the edges. Seeing plastic dust is a good indicator that you’ve over-filed, removed the edge, and are now filing down the plastic on the board. A few slow, firm strokes should be all it takes to remove any rust or nicks.

Step 6: Smooth the Edges

After sharpening, use a finer diamond stone (400 grit), gummy stone, or ceramic stone to smooth out any rough spots or imperfections in the edges. This step is important for making sure that your edges are consistent and even. A major discrepancy can cause a different feel between edges. For example, a dull heel edge could cause a rider to slide out on heel-side turns, overcompensate, and then catch an edge on their toeside turn.

Diamond stones

Step 7: Finish with a Deburring Tool

Use a deburring tool to remove any remaining burrs or rough spots from the edges of your snowboard. Deburring is important for maintaining the smoothness of your edges and preventing damage to the board. Lastly, use a wet paper towel to wipe away any metallic dust created from all of this filing.

Step 8: Repeat on the Other Side

Once you have finished sharpening and smoothing one side of the snowboard, repeat the process on the other side. It's important to maintain consistency between both edges for optimal performance in the snow.

Step 9: Wax Your Base (Optional)

Expert Sean Corliss recently tuned his Jones Mountain Twin, sharpening the edges and waxing the bottom. Photo by Sean Corliss

Lastly, whether it's from filing the base edges or from hitting a rocky patch on the slope, scrapes or a severe gouge can be fixed by waxing the bottom of your board. While keeping your board base up in the vise, spray some base cleaner on the bottom of your board and wipe with a cloth or paper towel to remove any dirt/dust. Next, drip some hot board wax on the base (there are all kinds of wax available, but I prefer to use a p-tex candle).

Expert Sean Corliss hit a rock and gouged the bottom of his favorite board (K2 Broadcast). Photo by Sean Corliss

Once you have wax on the base of your board, use a wax iron to spread the hot wax from tip to tail. Next, use a plastic scraper or wax remover to remove any excess wax from the board. Again, this should be done using long, slow, consistent strokes that go from tip to tail. Finally, use a cloth or nylon brush to brush away any leftover wax dustings.

Your snowboard has been sharpened and is ready for more shredding!

P-Tex wax

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On the left is a rusty, dull edge. On the right is one that has been recently sharpened and tuned. Photo by Sean Corliss

Sharpening your snowboard edges is an important aspect of maintaining its performance. However, if you're not comfortable with sharpening your own snowboard's edges, or if your edges are severely damaged, it's best to take your snowboard to a professional for repair.

If you are interested in tuning your own board, Curated offers several of the tools you’ll need. Ask a Curated Snowboarding Expert, like me, what tuning tools they recommend for keeping your board in tip top shape for the slopes; we offer free, customized gear recommendations, and love helping others share in our passion for powder.

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