Once the P-Tex has cooled, scrape off the excess with your scraping device. I like to use a retractable razor blade scraper. Press your blade or scraper on the ski and slowly move over the fixed area, removing a small amount of excess material on each pass, while being careful not to damage the base. This technique takes practice to achieve a smooth fix. The good news, however, is that while a smooth fix is aesthetically pleasing, it is actually of relatively little consequence to the outcome of the ride.
Now you know a bit more about P-Tex repairs, which will not only save you money, but it can actually be pretty fun. Personally, I think there is nothing quite like the smell of burning P-Tex after a pow day to put you to sleep. And if mosaics of multicolored P-Tex base repairs become a fad, you’ll be ready.
Most importantly, though, repairing your bases is about getting you ready for your next experience on the mountain, so go shred!
A Note about P-Tex Repairs vs. Base Welds
For any gouges in your base that aren’t deep enough to reach through to the core material of your ski/board, filling them with P-Tex using the steps above should yield a good, solid repair.
It’s ok to perform a repair with a P-Tex candle if the gouge does expose the core material of the ski, even if it’s along the edge (like the gouge shown this article). Skiing around with a open core shot on your ski isn’t great; moisture can work its way into the core material itself, and, if the core shot is along your edge, it’s much easier to blow your edge out if the area takes another hit from a rock. So having some P-Tex in the gouge is much better than not addressing the damage at all. However, P-Tex bonds better to itself (the base material of your ski/board) than it does to the wood, fiberglass, and metal often exposed with a core shot. If you do repair a core shot with P-Tex as we have here, there’s a chance the repair will fail / the P-Tex will fall out.
To ensure the best, strongest repair of a core shot, you’ll want to use a product called Metal Grip to partially fill in the core shot before finishing the repair with P-Tex. Metal Grip looks a lot like P-Tex, but it’s a mix of polyethylene (plastic) and a heat-activated adhesive that bonds much better to metal and the core material of your ski/board. Once you melt a foundation layer of Metal Grip to the core shot, you can finish the repair, filling the gouge completely, with P-Tex. However, you’ll need a special, low-heat soldering iron to melt Metal Grip into the core shot; you can’t use the same kind of iron used to solder metal onto a circuit board (such an iron gets far too hot and will burn the Metal Grip, or your base). Given that working with Metal Grip requires more expensive, specialized tools than just a lighter and a razor blade, it often makes more sense to have a shop perform a base weld for you. Shops have the proper welding equipment, and a repair can be done for 20 or 30 dollars.
NEXT: APPENDIX–POLYMER CHEMISTRY