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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Climbing Skins - Maintenance and Renewal



Climbing Skin Maintenance TipsSkin glue does not last forever. It gets dirty, it gets patchy and it can get gooey. All of these problems leave your skins performing poorly, and there's nothing like lame skin glue to wreck an otherwise excellent day of skiing.


There are several ways to improve or renew the glue on your skins: retouching with a tube of Black Diamond Gold Label glue and the dreaded full re-glue with iron-on sheets are probably the most common approaches.


In a recent e-mail exchange with Rick Lui at ClimbingSkinsDirect, Rick shared a tip he offers in the FAQ section of his website - reactivating your old glue (Rick was a founding partner in the original Ascension Skins company and an expert on matters climbing skin related).


Basically, he suggests simply running an iron on medium heat directly over the glue surface to reactivate and renew your old glue. Here's how Rick describes the process on :



Reactivating the glue is easy to do with a waxing iron.

  1. Heat the iron to a medium heat.
  2. Clamp the skin firmly to a flat surface.
  3. Lightly place the iron on the glue surface. 

    • Be careful not to push the glue, but just let the iron gently float across the surface leaving a "wet look". 
    • If the glue has a lot of water in it, you will see the glue "foam up" and sizzle as the water evaporates. 
    • If the glue has just lost it's stickiness the melting will drive the contaminates into the glue, and bring fresh glue to the surface allowing the glue molecules to spring back to their original (tacky) shape. 
    • If the problem was just lumpy glue, this method will restore the surface for better contact and adhesion.


Intrigued with the idea and in need of some skins to fit my daughter's skis, I thought I'd give it a try on a pair of skins that I'd previously given up as in need of a full re-glue. The old glue was lumpy, dirty and gooey. I was amazed at how well the iron took care of the problem. I was even able to thin out the glue distribution - I felt the skins simply had too much glue on them. Rick does caution against pushing the glue around, but I found a little redistribution and removal helped my skins dramatically.


The process was far easier than a full reg-glue and the results great. I heated the glue base multiple times with the iron set on medium heat. Each pass improved the glue surface and ultimately renewed the skins to functional form! The iron brought back the shiny glue surface, eliminated all bare spots and clumps, and helped to push contaminants off to the side for easy removal. I let them cure for 24 hours and they have seen seven or eight days of use thus far.


I highly recommend this process before undertaking a full re-glue!



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1. Ryan said...

I've used a brown paper bag as a barrier between the glue and iron, seemed to work fine and kept the iron clean. I think the bag absorbed some of the contaminates from the glue as well.

2. dave said...

Copy that. The paper tends to absorb some of the glue too, so depending on the skins, iron heat, etc, you should be careful not to remove too much.

3. Joshua said...

It would great to see a video of how you did that and what the glue looks like before and after, Dave.

4. Armin said...

Hey, that skin rack looks mighty familiar. :-)

5. dave said...

A video of the process is a great idea. I'll see if I can fit the time in to make one.

6. ed said...

I've used parchment paper, the kind used for baking, as a barrier. It works very well realsing from the glue easily. You can also kind of see thru it to judge how the glue is changing.

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