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2018/19 Epilogue — What did we learn: grinding evolves

Grinds – Less continues to be more. Being in the upper Midwest with cold snows, the lines we etch into a ski base are generally minimal, 0.01 to 0.02mm in depth. Linear structures continue to dominate in classic skis and broken line structures continue to mostly dominate in skate skis. Interestingly here at Finn Sisu, successful broken line skate ski structures have somewhat evolved to mimic linear structure shape in that the groove width and length, and their spacing, have become narrower and longer.

More than I would normally expect, a common variable called grinding speed appears to influence results. Playing with stone speed when grinding is nothing new but when looking back at grind data, the cutting speed ( m/sec ) was exactly the same on all recently, and some past, tested successful structures.

The shape of needles in the diamond dressing bit has recently evolved. A square synthetic 5 diamond needle shape has been added to the stonegrinders tool kit. In the past, a needle was composed of natural diamond chips stacked one behind the other in 1,3 or 5 rows.  Later, a solid synthetic diamond rhomboid shaped needle of 3 or 5 rows was introduced. The new square bit produces a slightly rounder, wider groove. The rhomboid bit produces a sharper, finer groove. This winter grind testing produced good results using the square needle shape, with one of the structures making our grind menu.

Grind structure is always evolving. As an example, over the last 5 seasons, structure evolution resulted from each previous season’s best grind ideas being tweaked to create the next season’s best. But, with that being said, there will always be grind ideas out of left field, yet to be explored.

— Tom Novak

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