Ski Tuning 101 Presents: Base Edge File Guide Review

Base Edge File Guides - Review

This is the big one! The “Sharpening the Base Edge” photo guide is the most popular page on this blog (other than the homepage of course) so without further ado, I present my Base Edge Guide Review.

For this review, I used four of the most popular tools for base edge sharpening. The FK SKS Base File Guide ($9), the BEAST Base Beveler ($20), the Swix Base Beveler ($30) and the Toko Adjustable Base Edge File Guide ($48)

Things to know before diving in:

A. Base edge guide, base beveler, base edger, base-side guide, etc., are all interchangeable words for the tools being reviewed here.
B. Always sharpen the base edge before the side edge!
C. Choosing the correct diamond stone or polishing stone is an important part of base edge maintenance. See my review here: Diamond Stone Review
D. Filing the base edge should be left to a shop. I personally never use a file on my base edge; there is just too much room for error. Diamond stones and ceramic stones however are perfectly fine.


1. Let’s start with the FK SKS Base File Guide, which goes for $9 and comes in 0.5, 0.7 and 1.0 degree angles.

 There isn’t much to say about this tool. It’s cheap and it’s plastic. The plastic seems to be relatively durable, and it’s easy to set up, but I wouldn’t recommend it for any kind of serious tuning because it is awkward to hold and use, and does not exactly scream precision.

If FKS machined this tool, or even parts of this tool, out of steel or aluminum, they would have a winner. Being that it’s completely plastic, I wouldn’t recommend it.


2. Next up is the BEAST Base Beveler, which goes for $20 and comes in 0.5, 0.75, 1.0, 1.5, and 2.0 degree angles. The average skier should be looking to use a 0.5 or a 1.0-degree base edge bevel.

The BEAST Base Beveler is my favorite tool of the bunch. I’ve been using it for years, and it is the best compromise between value, durability, precision and performance. It’s made from durable plastic and has a metal glide plate. The glide plate is what sits on the base of the ski, creating the specified bevel angle. Being that this piece is made from metal, it won’t wear out over time, guaranteeing lasting precision.

The BEAST is the only tool reviewed here that can accept any size diamond, ceramic, or Arkansas stone, as well as any size file. Using the BEAST requires a spring clamp to hold the stone to the guide. This is not a drawback, since they only cost about a dollar, and you should already have one lying around for your side edge guide.

The BEAST is easy to hold, easy to setup, and easy to use. There is no guesswork involved – if you set it up like you see in the pictures, you will be getting a good base edge tune. For most skiers and tuners, this is the ticket. It’s the tool that I will continue to use, and I highly recommend it.

3. The Swix Base Beveler is next on the list coming in at $30, and in 0.5, 0.75, 1.0 and 1.5 degree edge bevels. Again, most skiers should be looking at the 0.5 or 1.0 degree options.

I’m torn on this tool. On the one hand, it is all metal (which = precision and durability), it is simple, and it is SO easy to use that it is actually fun. On the other hand, it does not accept anything thicker than a diamond stone, and even those are tough to fit in, which is a bit perplexing.

Also, those two metal pins that you see sticking out of the bottom? Those are what come into contact with the ski edge while tuning. What I noticed was that while tuning, those metal pins will absorb and deflect each and every little bump or ding in the ski edge, causing the tool to vibrate and make an awful sound. This called the tools precision into question, and made me wonder whether the metal pins were causing the edge to go dull. The BEAST only has plastic parts touching the edge, so you know that it cannot dull the edge. The Swix, however, I am not so sure about.

The Swix Base Beveler is an overall good tool, but I still prefer the BEAST.


4. Lastly we have the Toko Adjustable Base Edge File Guide, which sells for $48, and adjusts between 0.5-1.5 degrees.

Those of you that have read my review on adjustable side-edge guides know that I am not particularly fond of any adjustable edge tool. The Toko is no exception. It is a durable, well-built tool, but it has many of the same problems of the Swix tool. It barely fits a diamond stone, and it has metal pins that grind against the edge of the ski during tuning.

Worse, the adjusting mechanism is poorly designed, and very far from precise. It is basically a screw head that, when loosened, slides up and down a scale of edge bevels from 0.5-1.5 degrees. The tool allows you to set ANY angle between 0.5 and 1.5 degrees including 0.9, 1.12, 1.06, you get the idea. The adjusting mechanism does not lock or snap into place when you reach any of the common bevels like 0.5 or 1.0 degrees. You have to eyeball it by lining up the markers, and hoping you are really at 1.0 degree, and not 1.1 or .90 degrees.

There is just so much potential for error with this tool that I do not recommend it. Toko could make some very simple design adjustments to this product and have a real winner on its hands, but until then, skip it.


In summary, the BEAST is that rare find of value and performance. Just because you can spend more money, does not mean you have to. Pick up a beast, a spring clamp, and your choice of diamond stone, and you will be well on your way to a sharp base edge!