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Ptex tips for DIY base repair?

SquidWeaselYay

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#1
Well, I've only been able to get 2 days into this season so far, and already messed up my Santa Anas. Plus, I have a chunk out of my kenjas I need to fix. I honestly don't even know how I manage to do this so much, it's not like I'm hucking cliffs. :doh: At least none of them are core shots.

Anyway, I'm looking for tips about using ptex candles. I can manage decent repairs when the hole is pretty shallow. But I am having trouble with the small (less than dime sized) holes that are a bit deeper - the ptex just splashes right back out, thinly coating the inside of the hole and leaves a crater. I've tried letting it cool, going back, filling in the hole, repeat. I hold the candle as close as I can. Still leaves a divot in the middle, argh. How do I get it to fill in the hole completely without just mounding up on the sides and leaving the dent?

I know that the best thing to do is to get it repaired at the shop, but if I did that every time I messed up my bases, I'd be putting the shop guys' kids through college. Any suggestions are appreciated.
 

Fluffy Kitty

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#3
Here is a good guide:

https://www.tognar.com/blog/base-repairs/

I suggest you just keep mounding on. Mounding a little is actually something you need to do, to make sure the divot is all filled in. Mound it up until the divot is level with the base, then scrape it down with a steel scraper.

https://www.tognar.com/bahco-steel-scraper/

Or, mound up a little, then scrape down, and repeat. Make sure it is cooled and hard before scraping; otherwise, you can drag it back out. Resist the temptation to cheat by shoving the half-cooled plastic around with the scraper; that will result in poorer adhesion. Sometimes, after scraping, you will see some holes, or a new divot; fill those in again, and scrape down again. Repeat until smooth.

You will notice that the PTex will not stick much outside of the gouge, thanks to wax. This is good, but you do want to make sure there is no wax on the inside of the gouge. You can use a base cleaner; I just use alcohol.

Read a tutorial about how to use steel scrapers for woodworking, and watch at least one video of it. It works differently than you would think; it's the burr (which we usually try to get rid of on ski edges) that actually does the scraping. Usually there is only one side where the edge is burred enough to be sharp, and you scrape by pulling.

Ideally, you can use a Ptex iron. I have a 20W soldering iron from Radio Shack that I use. It helps to heat the base a touch before melting any on. (I flattened the tip of mine, but that's not necessary.) Sometimes you can get a Ptex "ribbon" or "wire" that's easier to solder than the candles. Even with an iron, though, you need to mound up a little to make sure it is all filled in and level.

https://www.tognar.com/tognar-p-tex-base-repair-iron-120v-us-can/

If you want absolute perfection, you can then get a stone grind, but that can wait till when you need to do it next anyway. Mostly, don't worry about it being perfectly flat. More important that it is well filled in.

If you are feeling very DIY, go over it with a ruby structuring stone made for base flattening. (But that's more expensive than stone grind!) Some people use wet-dry sandpaper. (You risk creating unevenness.)

https://www.tognar.com/ski-visions-ski-base-flattener-structure-tool/
https://www.tognar.com/6-coarse-stone-for-ski-visions-ski-base-flattener/

Also:


(He always has a sip of coffee while waiting for things to cool. :rotf:)

Hope this helps! (And I hope I didn't overinform it like I always do...)
 
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Belgiangirl

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#4
I've had this problem before and I've found it's either due to the nature of the scratch/dent or because I'm not using enough ptex to fill it up.

I made a nasty +10 inch scratch in my Auras the very first day I used them and had a hard time filling it up. Think the main problem is the base ptex didn't get scraped off when I hit the rock but rather pushed aside so I'm gonna try to slowly level this out and fill up the scratch some more.

Yesterday I repaired a small core shot and I tried layering ptex while it was still warm. Still not perfect (think it got a smidge too hot) but decent enough. I can post some pictures if you'd like.

What seems to work best for me is starting out by cleaning the bases. I use a dewaxing spray for this, either locally or on the entire ski if there's a lot to repair. Then I use a small knife to cut away any flaps or strings of ptex hanging loose, trying to even out the scratch or hole. Then I use a piece of ultrafine sandpaper to roughen the interior of the scratch so the ptex will stick better.

I then light the ptex candle with a lighter (a ptex iron sounds nice though) and start dripping the ptex into the holes and scratches. Holding the ptex candle as close to the base as possible without touching is key but takes some practice (one of my friends had a very old snowboard with a completely battered base that I loaned to get a feel for ptex repairs). I lay the metal scraper flat on the ski and move it along the base with the candle above it to avoid dripping ptex where it's not necessary. If the scratch is deep, I'll let several drops of ptex fall into it until it's filled to a level above the base of the ski.

Sometimes I feel like the ptex candle is getting too hot (flame gets bigger and more drops of ptex than I'd like). If this happens, I blow out the candle, wait a few minutes and relight it to finish the job.

Then I let it cool and start scraping off the excess ptex. I use a very light hand for this and use different directions to scrape, to get the repaired surface as smooth as possible. Once I'm satisfied doing this, I give the repaired area a few light strokes with the ultrafine sandpaper, brush the ski as usual and do a few cycles of waxing.
 

SallyCat

Moderator
Staff member
#5
Thanks for this very helpful thread!

I can definitely second the importance of thoroughly cleaning the gouge and the area around it before dripping in the p-tex. Like @Belgiangirl , I use a ski base cleaner.

Not being a finesse worker, I just pile as much in the hole as I can and then use a metal scraper to smooth everything out. Work from the inside of the lump of p-tex outward when smoothing so you don't pull the whole thing out.

I've found that the metal scraper and some patience gets the damaged area plenty flat.
 

SquidWeaselYay

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#6
Thank you everybody for all the good info! This has been really, really helpful. After reading all of this, I think I just gave up too soon when it was mounding on the sides and not filling in the hole. I'm going to try to give it another go tomorrow before the snow comes on Saturday (hopefully). I'll report back with success or snags.
 

SquidWeaselYay

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#7
Okay, so far, doing alright. But the gouge in my Kenjas from last year turned out to be a core shot straight to the metal. I used a soldering iron to head up the exposed metal a little bit, and heat up the base in the inside of the hole, then quickly ptexed it while still warm. The ptex cracked in the middle again, so I scraped, used the soldering iron to heat up the middle of the ptex repair, then put more ptex on top. Waiting for it to cool to scrape it. Hopefully this worked.
 

SquidWeaselYay

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#9
Hm....okay. I'm hoping that since this is a pretty small hole, my repair will be a good "for now" fix until I can either order some of that or just take it to the shop. I do love to learn to do things myself though...
 

SquidWeaselYay

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#11
My ptex repairs looked MUCH better on the Santa Anas, thanks to the tips from this thread! The Kenjas are still not great. The ptex ended up cracking, so I took a soldering iron to the crack to remelt it there, then dripped more ptex onto it while still warm. It cracked again, but the crack was much smaller this time. At this point, I just waxed it so I could ski them today, and the ptex sank a good ways after ironing in wax. I figure it will get me through today, but seems that my "amateur engineering" was not super effective.

Also, I'm doing all this in a garage, about 40-50 degrees. Husband won't let me do it in the kitchen. I do rush the skis straight inside for the ptex to cool, but I'm wondering if I need to do the whole repair in a warmer place since the kenja core shot is down to the metal, which gets cold fast.
 

volklgirl

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#13
I highly recommended dropping some $ on a P-Tex welder (basically a soldering iron), and string P-Tex and Metal Grip. Terry has some really great info and videos on his website - that's how I learned to do it. He was VERY helpful. https://www.slidewright.com/soldering-iron-base-repair/

I haven't had a single P-Tex repair fail since changing to using a welder and Metal Grip.
 

SquidWeaselYay

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#14
@Fluffy Kitty sent me some metal grip, and I used that with an old soldering iron VERY carefully. It worked way better. When I took it in for a full tune, I expected the shop guys to tell me it needed redone, but they just looked at it and nodded in approval, so I guess I did okay.


I will look into the welder though. I'm not sure how the ribbon ptex is used, haven't looked it up yet.
 

AusinCanada

Diva in Training
#15
The tip I got that has worked for me is to hold the candle as close as possible (blue flame) as others have mentioned but also to do the first scrape down with a woodworking rasp thing that honestly looks like a cheese grater. This lightly takes down the p-tex to almost flush. You then use the scraper to complete the scrape. When I manage to do it right, the repair is invisible
 

Belgiangirl

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#16
@Fluffy Kitty I bought the repair iron by Tognar and some ptex ribbon to up my game on the repair front, but turned back to the good old lighter and candle as I couldn't get the ptex to melt.

How long do you typically wait to let the repair iron warm up? Do you heat the base with your waxing iron? Didn't even get to that part though :tongue: What am I missing?

Also, I feel like the ptex (candle) I'm currently using is ridiculously soft and gets pulled out again within days (that or the BF is ruining his bases on purpose :redface: ). Any recommendations for good quality candles?
 
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Fluffy Kitty

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#17
@Fluffy Kitty I bought the repair iron by Tognar and some ptex ribbon to up my game on the repair front, but turned back to the good old lighter and candle as I couldn't get the ptex to melt.
Hmmm... It should be hot enough in a few minutes. Some irons can take 5-10 minutes, and you should be able to "smell the heat". If it's not heating up enough, it's probably defective. You can see if Tognar can send you a new one.

Also, I feel like the ptex (candle) I'm currently using is ridiculously soft and gets pulled out again within days (that or the BF is ruining his bases on purpose :redface: ). Any recommendations for good quality candles?
That should not be happening regardless of the candle. It may be that there is still some wax left on the surface that is making it so the PTex does not quite stick; try wiping it with alcohol, or with base cleaner and then alcohol. Or the surface of the gouge is too smooth and resistant to melting, which happens when it's pressed in rather than scraped out. You can try roughening up the inside of the gouge a little with sandpaperl, or, if the iron ever gets hot enough, with the iron.

I don't recommend roughening up your boyfriend with sandpaper... :becky:
 

Belgiangirl

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#18
Hmmm... It should be hot enough in a few minutes. Some irons can take 5-10 minutes, and you should be able to "smell the heat". If it's not heating up enough, it's probably defective. You can see if Tognar can send you a new one.



That should not be happening regardless of the candle. It may be that there is still some wax left on the surface that is making it so the PTex does not quite stick; try wiping it with alcohol, or with base cleaner and then alcohol. Or the surface of the gouge is too smooth and resistant to melting, which happens when it's pressed in rather than scraped out. You can try roughening up the inside of the gouge a little with sandpaperl, or, if the iron ever gets hot enough, with the iron.

I don't recommend roughening up your boyfriend with sandpaper... :becky:
Gotcha. I think I might've been a bit impatient and wanted to start before the iron got to the right temperature... I'll have to give it another go!

Hah, I do most of the prepping you describe, minus the alcohol wipe and usually it gives me some pretty decent results but the last round of ptex didn't even last for 5 days :doh:

I'll try the alcohol first but I'll keep the non-recommended method in the back of my head :becky:
 

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