By Franklin Crowe
It’s true, chicks dig scars, but the same doesn’t go for your board. You know the feeling, when you’re ripping around the mountain off the beaten path, and a chill rolls up your spine as the sounds of rocks, stumps, and other non-snow materials rip through the base. It’s inevitable for sure. Nobody wants to stay on the groomers all day, but riding with a damaged base can definitely cut into the fun of your day. Don’t worry, there’s hope. Check out these easy steps of first aid for your ride.
Lots of diggers will obviously affect your glide. Just run your hand along your base. All the roughness you feel is base material that’s sticking up acting like a bunch of brakes, slowing you way down. Not cool if you’re coming up short in the park, having to skate through the flats, or getting smoked by your friends. Even worse if the diggers go all the way through your base so that you can see the core of your board (a core shot), snow will eventually pack in and under your base and damage the bond between the layers. This water damage will eventually create a delamination and separate your base from the rest of your board. Not cool.
What can you do? The least you should do if you don’t have a core shot (which is more serious), is to iron a coat of hot wax on your board. This will fill in the scratches a bit, but better yet when you scrape the wax after it cools with a nice sharp plastic scraper, it will help shave pieces of base materials that are sticking up. The wax is your shaving cream and the scraper is your razor. This will help but is really only masking the damage.
Next step is to actually replace the base material on your board. Your base is made of an ultra-high molecular weight (UHMW) plastic, called p-tex, which is porous so that it can absorb wax. You can buy p-tex “candles” at your local shop. They come in clear and black to match your board’s graphic. No problem using black in colored areas and vice versa since it’s the same basic material, your base will just have that artsy look. You also need a lighter and a metal scraper.
First take your metal scraper and scrape your board from tip to tail getting rid of any schmegma. Then wipe your board down with a rag to make sure it’s nice and clean and dry. Now light one end of your p-tex candle while holding it over your metal scraper. CAUTION !!!! The p-tex will take a bit to catch and to start to drip. It is now incredibly hot burning liquid MAGMA and will hurt like sh**t if you get it on your skin so be careful !!!!!! Now you can drip it into the diggers. You may need to return to an area after it dries to completely fill the wound. You may see black material dripping from your clear candle. That is carbon created from the flame. If you hold the burning tip to your metal scraper and gently twist the candle, the carbon will stick to the metal and your candle will drip clear. You’ll have to repeat this every so often. When all your gashes are filled you can blow out the candle (be sure to make a wish), but again be careful not to burn yourself or breath in the smoke. Lay the candle on your metal scraper to cool.
Now take your plastic scraper and gently scrape off the excess p-tex from the repairs so that it eventually becomes flush with the rest of the base. That’s it, now you’re ready to hot wax and get after it on the hill.
If you do have a core shot it’s super important to drip p-tex into it to protect it from water damage and delams. Unfortunately, this won’t hold for long so you have to get it in to your local shop where they have the machines for more permanent repairs. If you’ve got the loot, getting a full tune at your shop will take care of all this and get your shred stick looking like new. As always, take care of your ride and it will take care of you.