How to Repair Damaged Topsheets (Skis or Snowboard)
Topsheet damage is very common, and leaving it exposed can cause serious damage to your equipment. The local Jerrys in the lift lines play bumper cars with their rental boards, and your beloved skis get the damage. People overloading the racks during lunch at the lodge also cause things to fall and eventually you'll be the unlucky one. Let's also not forget the person who apres'd too hard and knocked over your board.
You're packing up for the day and see big chunk taken out of your topsheet, what now? Good news is that most damage can be easily repaired. All materials can be purchased for around $20-30 at your local hardware or auto parts store. One tube of epoxy is plenty for several repairs so get your friends together and everyone can fix their equipment.
While we hope to provide guidance during your repair, we are not responsible or liable if you mess up your skis, board, or yourself.
Here's what you'll need:
Slow cure, waterproof epoxy. We used Original JB Weld but similar products will suffice. A quick cure (5 min style) epoxy will work for an emergency, but won't hold as well long-term.
Disposable plastic lid
Plastic scraper or popsicle stick
Sandpaper - 80, 150, 220 grit
Paper towel (blue shop towels work best)
PPE (mask, gloves, eye protection)
Razor scraper (an extremely sharp knife will work too, do not use a dull blade)
(Optional) - Paint primer. A simple spray can is fine.
(Optional) - Black paint. We used bumper paint since it's slightly thicker & more damage resistant than regular black paint. It's our first time trying this out so we'll update with longevity results.
Prep the Area
If there's any rough high spots, cut them off with a razor scraper. Put on gloves and use the razor to cut out any hanging debris in the gash. Be careful to not cause anymore damage. Tape off the surrounding area, paying extra attention to covering the edges and base underneath.
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Put on your mask and eye protection. Take some course to medium grit sandpaper and smooth out the gash. It doesn't have to be perfect, just clean it up.
If you have an air compressor, a couple quick bursts of air should clean out most of the particles from sanding. If not (like me), some rubbing alcohol and shop towel will do the trick. If the gash is covered in dust and debris, the epoxy won't hold as well.
The JB Weld we used is a 2-part, 50/50 mix. Simply squeeze out an equal amount of each onto a plastic lid. This doesn't have to be precise, but try to be close. Use a plastic scraper or popsicle stick to mix the epoxy. This should be spread out to an even layer, scraped up, and repeat until it's fully mixed. Do not 'stir' it, as this will impart air into the epoxy.
Double check that all edges and base material are fully covered.
Take a small amount and spread it into the gash. Repeat until it's filled above the topsheet, this will be sanded down later. Once full, make some hard presses to take out any air bubbles. Don't put a massive pile on it, but it's better to have slightly too much than slightly less.
Let dry for about 20-30 minutes then take off the tape. If anything got onto the base, clean it off immediately. A dab of rubbing alcohol should take it off then finish with a brass or steel brush if you have one.
The epoxy takes 24 hours to cure, so store them in a safe spot.
Now that it's fully cured, it's technically sealed and good to go. However, it's not very aesthetically pleasing and we want to add another layer of protection whenever possible.
Don your PPE (mask, gloves, eye protection), and take 80 grit sandpaper to knock down most of the excess epoxy. Repeat with 150 then 220 grit to smooth it out. At this point, it should be flush with the rest of the topsheet. For an ultra smooth finish, try a final pass with 400 grit.
Use a tack cloth and/or a shop towel with rubbing alcohol to clean off any dust. Like before, a few blasts from an air compressor can help too.
Tape & Mask
Tape off the edges and fold down to the base. Take your time to line everything up perfectly. Tape around the top, leaving a small border around the epoxy.
It's up to you how to mask off everything else, but we used a garbage bag. Old newspapers, cardboard, etc also work well. The important thing is that everything, especially the base, edges, and ski bindings are completely protected.
Prime and Paint
Shake up a can of primer and give it 2-3 light coats. Let dry according to instructions. Go back with the black bumper paint with another 2-3 coats. Let dry and remove tape.