Base Repair Options
Long the low tech and easy to implement method for the home tuner to make temporary base repairs has been burning and dripping Ptex candles. Common problems are the inclusion of carbon and discoloration of clear Ptex repairs, burning hands and fingers and the simple fact the repairs do not last (largely due to the wax included in the material, reducing the bonding). Typically, repairs need to be frequently repeated.
If you get a core shot (through the base material and into the core), additional steps are necessary, either by adding epoxy or cutting out and gluing in replacement base sheet material.
A more durable and easy option for smaller repairs is Base Welding.
Metal grip, with it’s heat actuated adhesive can be melted and adhere to core and edge material and serve as a primer for base repair materials that can provide a virtually permanent repair.
Welding can be performed with soldering irons, welding guns and hot air welders. The soldering iron approach requires a lower temperature iron than those used for conventional soldering. Though still fairly ‘low tech’ and easy, care needs to be taken to avoid damaging the bases Welding guns and hot air welders may be easier to use, but can get pricey.
Coupled with a welding option, cutting and finishing tools need to be employed to clean up and blend the repairs with the existing base and base structure. For a more detailed explanation and How to Repair Bases and tools & supplies needed, please visit our Base Repair page.
Here's a base repair video using a soldering iron as seen on SlideWright's YouTube Channel
Base Repair Guns
To avoid a ‘cold weld’ that has the potential to tear out while finishing the repair or while sliding on snow, it is very important to make sure the Ski (and Snowboard) Mender RP100 has enough time to achieve proper temperature and to carefully heat the area around a repair before injecting the welding material. LDPE has a very low adhesive property, so we need the heating of both base and repair materials to form a proper weld.
You need about 430 degrees F/220 degrees C to get a proper weld, so it is important to let the smaller Ski and Snowboard Mender RP100 heat up for 15 minutes and then use the front or waxing iron on teflon sheet to preheat the base before injecting the material.
The larger, professional grade ski and snowboard base repair gun (Base Mender RP 360) does run at a higher temp and heats the base of the ski or snowboard much faster.
Originally posted 1/30/08 (edited): We just received a few guns and performed some low tech initial testing of this new consumer level ski & snowboard base repair gun by Power Adhesives from the UK.
Talk about a nice size, lightweight, brainless and low tech. After less than ten minutes of heating up the 11mm/7/16" welding rod/stick, it was smearing the material with it's 440°F temperature. The directions say 10-15 minutes (which probably is wise to wait) and implied there was a switch, which there is not. I just tested it on the packaging plastic for better contrast for pictures. Without a damaged ski at the moment, I'll try that out when the time comes and give the bases some mileage to see how long the repair lasts. It certainly isn't a bomber/industrial grade tool, but like a decent glue gun that if taken care (ie, don't drop on trigger) of seems adequately built for the home tuner and ought to last a while. No telling about the heating element though.
After initial extrusion and smearing of the provided proprietary welding material, I tried using the tip as a soldering/welding iron on metal grip, welding wire, ribbon & typical rod/stick (did not think to try it on ptex candle material). The tip is not as hot as soldering irons I've used and definitely did not smoke as much...very little in fact which was nice.
Regardless, it did seem to melt the material fine but not quite as fluid as the hotter irons have, though looks promising, especially for applying metal grip into the bottom gouges. I'm pretty sure the metal grip has a lower melting point than the other materials anyway.
Welding gun with metal stand. Fifteen minutes to heat up and melt 11 mm welding rod/sticks.
Clean tip showing recessed fan shaped flow area.
Linear smear of melted welding rod from gun & droplet/pool in background.
Using heated tip as soldering/welding iron. Left to right: metal grip, welding wire, ribbon & rod/stick and smear through heated tip.
Next time we’re in base repair mode we’ll see how it works and cleans up. Then we need to ski a bunch to test durability and will report those findings over time.
Here is the Ski Mender RP 360 (new this season) & RP 100 video:
And a hot air portawelder:
Terry (aka Alpinord)
Ski & Snowboard Base Prep, Waxing, Tuning, Tools, Supplies & Accessories