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How to Fix Delaminating Skis

By Tom Williamson

For most people, skiing is just a seasonal activity, so it is important for them to be able to get the most out of their expensive skis. Over time, even properly cared for skis can have problems, and those repairs can be costly. One of the worst problems a ski can have is when its layers start to delaminate. You will notice a ski has become delaminated when, looking at it from the side, you can see its wood core, or, more commonly, when the top layer of fiberglass lifts. Repairing this type of problem can be difficult, but it can be done by an amateur. If you do not feel comfortable with this repair, though, definitely leave it up to the professionals.

  1. Determine the location and the extent of the damage. Repairs near the tips are harder to accomplish because of their curve.

  2. Allow time for the wood core of the skis to dry out. If your skis became damaged while on the mountain, there is a good chance the core got wet. If this is the case, you need to make sure the core has dried out; otherwise the ski you are repairing will be heavier and likely to have more problems.

  3. Mix a batch of the epoxy resin according to the instructions on the manufacturer's packaging. Each brand can have slightly different mixing techniques, set times or working temperatures before they can be used.

  4. Use a foam brush, a toothpick or a small piece of wood to force the epoxy into the ski. Spread it evenly so you cover as much of the area as possible. It is okay to put too much in, because it will be forced out when the ski is clamped, but it might be a little messy.

  5. Place a small sheet of metal or a block of wood on the top and bottom of the ski where it has become delaminated to disperse the pressure. Place the clamps over the dispersion plates and tighten them. Use as many clamps as necessary for the size of the repair.

  6. Clean up the epoxy that oozes out of the side of the ski before it begins to dry; otherwise you will have a lot more work on your hands. Let the ski sit for approximately 24 hours with the clamps still on.

  7. Remove the clamps and check the ski for hold. The layers should all be tight and flat. Use a scraper to knock off any excess epoxy that seeped out. Be careful not to dig into the finish.

  8. Optionally, you can brush a thin layer of epoxy over the edge where the delamination took place. This might be a good idea if there is still a space, or a small chunk is missing, since it will further seal the ski or board. It is not necessary, though, since the epoxy has already formed a watertight seal and this is mostly for cosmetic reasons. If you choose to do this, apply the epoxy, let it sit for 24 hours and then lightly sand the area until it is smooth.

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