Alright, let’s get this out of the way:
1. I am not a qualified or “expert” ski/snowboard technician, just a guy who likes to figure things out, do it myself and then share it with others. 2. I am not responsible if you totally jack up your skis/board. 3. Your local ski/board repair shop will be MUCH better at this and if you are uncomfortable with the possibility of botching your repair take it in to one of your local places.
Okay, glad we got that over with. On to the fun stuff: Base repair, if you haven’t had to do it yet then 1. YOU WILL or 2. You aren’t riding hard enough 😉 Point is, it’s gonna happen sooner or later especially if you ride early or late season (or mid season with this dismal snow year). With this being my first in this series you might expect something simple like a small ptex gouge repair, well, sorry, we’re diving right in head first with a core shot requiring a base patch. This is what we’re working with, a ~4″ long by 1/2″ gouge received when doing some “guided ski compaction” at A-Basin (SO WORTH IT!)
Some background, there are many ways to make a repair on a board, some better than others. I am showing you one way and the way I am showing you is based on someone using just some simple tools that I already have. There are special tools for just about EVERY repair/tuning task you can think of (See here for pages and pages of “stuff”). While that stuff is awesome and great for shops, I’ve found it can mostly be labeled as “Nice to have” and not completely necessary, but if you have hundreds of dollars to spend on tuning/repair equipment then have at it. For this repair, here is what you will really need:
- P-Tex Sheet Material – Comes in Clear(ish) and Black
- Base Cleaner – Denatured alcohol or acetone can work too
- P-Tex candle or ribbon (For touch ups afterward)
- Epoxy – Slow setting is preferred but use what you can find
- Cellophane or wax paper
- Razor Blade
- Dremel – Nice if you have one, otherwise can be done by hand
- Clamps (C Clamps or any other wood clamps will work)
- Metal Scraper
- A piece of flat plastic or metal to clamp your repair down while setting
- Piece of paper and pen/marker
- Typical tuning tools to wax and tune after repair
Step 1: Prep the base
Using a combination of a razor blade, a straight edge and your metal scraper, notch out a square around the effected area. They make templates ($40) to make this easier using a more rounded shape but rectangles are going to be easier for a DIY. Try to cut at an angle to make the groove look more like this: /__\ instead of straight or \__/ so you can “keyhole” your repair material later.
Clean out the old base material and any scraps from your rectangular groove. A dremel can help here.
Step 2: Making your patch – With your rectangular groove cut out of your base, you can now start making your base patch. First step is to create a template. If you were super precise and made a perfect rectangle (Good on ya!) then just take measurements and use them to cut your patch. If, like me, one end is slightly larger and the sides aren’t exactly parallel, then use a sheet of paper and your scraper (a small screwdriver works too) and push the edge of the scraper through the paper and into the groove. This should give you a pretty good outline of the shape you need.
Tape the small cut out piece of paper or the paper it was cut out of over the P-Tex sheet material and use a marker to draw the outline of the shape you will need. Tip: Try to go slightly larger than the template at this point since we can always sand down and can’t add material. Use your razor to cut out the base patch from the P-Tex sheet.
You will then need to tweak your patch slightly to get it to fit snugly. Using a small piece of sandpaper, sand off the sides until you have a good snug fit. Once you are close be sure to sand the piece at an angle like /–\ around all the edges so that it will fit more like a puzzle piece once inserted. Test the fit and remember which way it goes/which side is up for the upcoming steps.
Step 3: Epoxy the Patch in Place – The first part of this step is to ensure that the epoxy will have a nice clean bonding surface. Use your base cleaner/alcohol ect to get both the patch and the area to be patched free of any oils/wax or other contaminants and then try to touch the area as little as possible.
Once it is all clean, it’s time to take the big step and set that patch. I put some masking tape along the base just in case I dripped any epoxy outside the repair area. Be sure to read and follow all of the instructions on the epoxy package as they are all slightly different for amounts of resin to hardener and set times ect. In general though you will put a thin layer of your epoxy compounds into the area to be patched, ensure it is mixed well.
Once your nice even layer of epoxy is in place, put your snug fitting patch into the groove. Some epoxy paste may squeeze out the sides while you do this, that is fine (especially if you put the tape down).
You will then want to take your cellophane or wax paper and cover the patch, next take the metal/plastic scraper or a flat piece of wood or metal and place it over the wax paper. Clamp this piece down providing even (not crushing but firm) pressure over the patch.
Step 4: Let it Set – Probably the easiest step. Let your epoxy dry and harden for the recommended amount of time based on the type of epoxy you used.
Step 5: To Be Continued
You’ll have some time to kill so go watch a ski or snowboard flick while it dries. Or better yet, go grab your non-jacked up board and go enjoy some turns. Come tomorrow your board will be ready for the next steps.