drip this molten material directly
into gouges until they’re slightly
overfilled. Allow a few minutes to
cool and carefully scrape away any
excess repair material using a steel
scraper. Flex the scraper slightly so
it contacts only the repair area and
doesn’t unnecessarily shave away
adjacent base material or structure.
Scrape the repair back down to the
original base level, then apply some
coats of fresh hot wax before heading back out to the slopes for more
training and racing.
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Drip candles work well in shallow
gouges, but are too soft to withstand the abrasive effects of snow in deeper
gouges. Unless you’re willing to refill these time after time on an annoyingly
frequent basis, consider using a more durable repair material such as base repair ribbon.
On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 representing the hardness and durability of most
sintered race bases, drip candles boast a durability rating of only about 6. Base
repair ribbon, on the other hand, has a greater durability rating of about 9.
Although this ribbon won’t bond as easily in shallow gouges, it’ll guarantee a
nearly permanent repair in deeper ones.
This ribbon is thin, about one inch wide and available in black or clear. Unlike
drip candles, it’s made of pure polyethylene — meaning no flammable ingredient has been added — so you can’t light it with a match. Instead, melt it directly
into gouges using a base repair iron, a
small hand-held electric iron similar
in appearance to a wood-burning tool
or soldering pencil that has been specifically calibrated to maximum of 550
degrees Fahrenheit (versus 1000-plus
degrees for others). This distinction is
critical since the presence of fluorinated race wax in a base (or even residual
traces of it) can create a lethal, lung-blistering gas when exposed to temperatures over 900 degrees. It simply
pays to plunk down some dough for a
safely calibrated iron that’ll last darn
near forever. Repair deeper base gouges with repair ribbon and Iron.
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Before repairing deeper gouges, use a razor blade or sharp knife tip to scrape
the gouge walls clean of old wax, road grime or base solvent residue that’ll otherwise impair good bonding. Hold an end of the repair ribbon over the gouge
that needs filling, and use the hot iron tip to melt and press it directly into the
gouge until it’s slightly overfilled. Since its molten texture is thicker and gummier than that of a drip repair candle, it takes a little more time and patience to
apply. Once done, allow it to cool about 10 minutes before removing most of the
excess material with a versaplane tool — a short curved surform blade held in
a plastic handle. Unlike a steel scraper, this will cleanly cut away harder repair
material instead of grabbing
and pulling it out of the gouge.
You can, however, use a flexed
steel scraper for final finishing
and leveling of the repair area,
just as you did for the drip candle repairs.
Restructuring the base is
necessary if you’ve sustained
numerous gouges. We’ll discuss hand structuring you can
do at home, as well repairing
gouges along steel edges, core
shots and monster trenches in
Where to buy base
Jack Moore is the founder of
Tognar Toolworks ( tognar.com), a
worldwide purveyor of
ski tuning tools and waxes.
Drip candles: About $0.50 each
at many ski/snowboard shops, or
ski tuning websites ( race-werks.com,
Steel scraper: About $7 at hardware
or woodworking stores, or ski tuning
Base repair ribbon: $1 per foot at
Base repair iron: $30 at
Versaplane: $9 at hardware stores