It’s about that time when you’re getting ready for heli skiing in northern Canada, but before you go you want to give your skis a good service. Or perhaps you’ve just had some great spring skiing with us here at Last Frontier, but have discovered a couple of gouges after scrapping a few rocks near the valley floor. Repairing these is the first step towards giving your gear a full tune-up, and this post will briefly discuss how best to do this.
Before beginning there are a few materials and tools you’ll need for the job: P-Tex candles, clear or black; sharp knife or blade; matches or lighter; plexiglass scraper; metal scraper; sandpaper; and 320 grit or a base pad.
Begin by cleaning the area you’re about to repair. Remove any dirt with a good base cleaner – warm water will work fine also – and dry thoroughly. Do not use the base cleaner on the entire base. Use your sharp knife to remove any excess pieces of material in or around the repair area. If the gouge is up against a sidewall then you can still use P-Tex to repair it, but it will not last as long. In this case you may benefit from taking your skis to a professional.
P-Tex burns at remarkably hot temperatures, so take caution throughout the entire time of using it. For safety, remove any flammable solutions (i.e. base cleaner) from the work area, and ventilate the room if possible.
Sharpening the end of the P-Tex candle to begin with will help it light easier. The idea is to melt the candle in such a way that the molten P-Tex flows off into the gouge.
Through the burning process carbon is released (you’ll see this as the black stuff that appears) and we want to try and minimize this as much as possible, as it reduces the strength of the repair. Holding the candle low to the base of the board, all the time slowly rotating, will provide best results.
The key is to maintain a steady blue flame, and apply the P-Tex in a pouring motion, as apposed to letting it drip continuously. By this method, we reduce the amount of carbon buildup, but any that does filter in will float to the top. For this reason it is good practice to slightly overfill gouges – then the carbon will be removed once you scrape it off in the next step.
Take your time throughout this process, and if necessary (for bigger gouges), fill in several stages. By taking your time this gives the base of the board a chance to heat up, allowing a better cohesion between base and P-Tex.
When all is cool, use your metal scraper to remove the excess from the base. Now using the sandpaper, or base pad, gently go over the repaired area. The plexiglass scraper can then be used to remove any fine ‘hairs’ that may remain.
With all you’re holes filled in, next job is to give your skis or board a great wax job. This will not only have you gliding effortlessly over the surface of the snow, but will add a layer of protection over the recent repairs.