How to Tackle Snowboard Edge Repair at Home
Damaged the edges of your snowboard and can't make it to the ski shop for a repair? This article walks you through the basic process so you can repair your edges at home.
The steel edges on your snowboard are what cut into the snow and allow you to carve your way down the mountain. Without them, you wouldn’t have much control. When these edges get damaged, it can seriously affect your riding. While a ski shop will be best equipped to handle the repair, you may not have the funds to pay someone else to do it. Or maybe you are just a die hard do-it-yourselfer who enjoys the challenge. Either way this article will explain the process, step-by-step.
Before you start any repairs, you'll need a good work space where you can lay your board top sheet down without it rocking from side to side. A sturdy, waist height workbench and two pieces of 4x4 plywood a little longer than the width of your board will get the job done pretty well. You can add some strips of carpet or non abrasive fabric to the tops of the 4x4s so you don't scratch up your top sheet while working on your board. Cutting some vertical slots into the 4x4 slightly wider than the thickness of your board will allow you to address the side edge and work on it with more efficiency.
Your workspace should be room temperature. If the room is too cold it will cause your p-tex and other materials you're working with to cool down and contract too quickly, which can cause problems.
Ensure that your work space has good ventilation. You could be working with chemicals or lighting things on fire that you really don't want to inhale.
Think About It
Having a designated workspace will not only prevent you from ruining your kitchen table, it will also enable you to lay out your tools and materials in a neat and organized manner so that you can think through the process of the repair and, hopefully, avoid screwing it up. Before you start any repair, you should mentally walk through the process step by step. Write them down on paper, if it helps, or keep this article handy for reference. Take your time. Rushing through a snowboard repair can lead to costly mistakes that leave your board in worse shape than before you started.
Wear safety glasses and gloves to protect your eyeballs and fingers from harmful chemicals and sharp edges. I prefer nitrile gloves because they are more durable than latex gloves and they are disposable. Consider wearing an apron while in the workshop to avoid ruining your clothes. It will also make you feel like a pro snowboard mechanic (or a mad scientist).
Cleaning the board thoroughly will remove any contaminants that may interfere with the bonding of your repair materials to the base of the board. It will also allow you to assess the damage that needs to be repaired. I have more than once thought I needed a base weld before cleaning my board only to discover after further investigation that what I thought was base material peeking through was actually just dirt or small pebbles. This brings me to the next step.
Assess The Damage
Set your board down on your workbench, make sure you have good lighting, and take a good long look to identify any and all of the edge damage. You may notice something that didn’t seem apparent at first glance. If you're lucky, you’ll decide that the damage isn’t that bad and a repair isn’t even necessary. We are going to pretend that there is a board in front of us that needs some major work. On one side, the edge has been impacted and pushed into the core material of the board. This has caused an air bubble underneath the base material that could absorb water into the core. On the other side, the edge has been cracked and is sticking out of the board. There are a few different ways to approach these repairs, but here is how I would take them on.
Materials & Tools
- Dremel with cutting wheel
- Drill with small Phillips head bit and a very small drill bit
- Exacto knife or box cutter
- Replacement edge
- Steel file
- Epoxy (Loctite Epoxy Hysol 11C is a good choice)
- Epoxy syringe
- Base patch (from sheet of p-tex base material or cut from an old trashed board)
- 2 or 3 C-clamps
- Steel scraper
- Edge screws
Edge Replacement Repair
Once we’re all dressed up and have our tools and materials ready, we can start with the broken edge.
Using a dremel, cut out the broken or damaged area of the edge that has been pulled away from the board. Be careful not to cut into your core.
Take your exacto knife or box cutter and cut out the base material one to two inches from the edge that you removed. Be careful not to cut into the core. Hold on to the piece you cut away - it may help you cut out your patch later on.
Cut out your replacement edge using a dremel. The replacement edge should fit very snug against the existing edges. Err on a longer cut and trim the replacement edge with a file to get a perfect fit.
Align the replacement edge so it is flush with the existing edges and locate where the screws will hold the edge in place. It will be helpful to mark them with a pen.
Predrill your screw holes with a drill bit to prevent cracking the core material. Don’t drill all the way through the snowboard.
Sink your screws, holding your replacement edge in place. If the edge is not perfectly aligned at this point, don’t worry. You will tune the edge to get it flush later.
Using a dremel, sheer off the tops of the screw heads. Leave enough so that the screws are still holding the edge firmly in place, but take enough off the top to fill in with base material.
Cut out a patch of p-tex to match the base material removed earlier. (Or, skip this step and base weld over the area that was cut out instead.)
Prepare your epoxy using the instructions on the packaging, then apply it to the exposed core material and set the patch into place.
Place a steel scraper over the patch and clamp it into place using C-clamps so there is equal pressure throughout the patch.
Wait for the epoxy to dry completely. The amount of time this will take will depend on the epoxy you choose to work with. (Epoxies that take longer to dry will be stronger and last longer. Quick-drying epoxies will get you back out on the mountain faster.)
After unclamping to reveal the repair, use a file, sandpaper and/or razor edge to clean away excess epoxy and to make the base of the snowboard flush with the edge.
Spend plenty of time tuning the replacement edge so the transition between the new edge and old edge meet smoothly and seamlessly.
Impacted Edge Repair
Now we can take a look at the edge that is impacted but not broken. For this one we’ll take a different approach. Rather than replace we are going to reshape.
Using a chisel and hammer bang the edge back into place.
The impacted edge likely created a bubble in the base material. Drill a small hole in the middle of the bubble.
Prepare your epoxy using the instructions on the packaging, then apply it to the exposed base material.
Using a chisel, gently lift up the base material where the bubble is and squirt some epoxy under there with a syringe.
Clamp a steel scraper with pressure directly on top of the bubble.
Wait for the epoxy to dry completely. The amount of time this will take will depend on the epoxy you choose to work with. (Epoxies that take longer to dry will be stronger and last longer. Quick-drying epoxies will get back out on the mountain faster.)
After unclamping to reveal your repair, use a file, sandpaper, and/or razor edge to clean away excess epoxy and to make the base of the snowboard flush with the edge.
Spend plenty of time tuning the reshaped edge; it is probably pretty banged up. It will likely never be as sharp as the rest of the edges ever again but it is worth getting it nice and smooth at least.
Sometimes the bubble that was glued down will pop up again, in which case it will probably need to be cut out and repaired with a patch or base weld, but at least we tried to fix it the easy way first.
After all of the edge repairs are done, the board will need a complete tune, including a hot wax. I’ve written another article on basic snowboard maintenance which includes how to tune and wax your snowboard. Check that one out if you need more help.
So, what did you think? Do you feel prepared to do an edge repair on your own snowboard, or did you decide to take it to a repair shop? Did you start a repair and run into some problems halfway through? If you have any comments, questions, concerns, or confessions I would love to hear them. You can click on the link to my expert profile below and live chat with me directly!