How to Tune Skis #2: Base Repair || REI
Every skier gets some base damage at some point. Big holes that expose the core usually need to be repaired by a ski shop, but smaller scrapes and gouges can easily be fixed at home. We’ll show you how to prep your bases, fill the scrapes with P-Tex and smooth out the bases when you’re done. Shop REI’s selection of ski tuning equipment at
Everyone gets some base damage at some point. Big holes that expose the core usually need to be repaired by a shop equipped to weld in new base material, but smaller scrapes and gouges can easily be fixed at home.
You’ll need clean towels, base cleaner, rubbing alcohol, a metal scraper, and a P-Tex candle. You might also need a wire brush and a razor blade.
Start by placing your skis on your ski vise. If you don’t have a vise, you can use a couple stacks of books to balance your ski. Be sure to lock your brakes up and out of the way. You may need a rubber band for this.
The repair will work best on a clean base, so start by using your scraper to remove any extra base material from around the gouge. Stubborn spots may need a razor. Brush off any dirt or debris. Make sure you brush and scrape from tip to tail.
P-Tex won’t stick well to a waxed base, so use base cleaner around the scrape to remove wax from the area. After a couple minutes, the base cleaner will have done its job and cleared the base of wax. Now use rubbing alcohol and a clean towel to remove residual base cleaner.
Lay the P-Tex candle over your scraper to keep it from dripping on your work area. As it heats, you may need to relight it a couple times until it’s hot enough to drip regularly. Remember, you’re working with fire and very hot material, so make sure not to burn yourself and be aware of your work area.
Hold the candle as close as possible to the gouge without letting it touch. If it’s too high, the P-Tex will be dirtier and may splash off your base. If it’s too close, the flame may burn your base. Let it drip in until the hole is completely filled. You can use your metal scraper to sharpen the candle when it starts to droop.
When all the gouges are filled, stub out the candle on your scraper and set it aside to cool. Keep in mind that it will stay hot for quite a while. It’s normal for the repair to look bumpy and uneven at this point.
Once the base is cooled, use a metal scraper to remove the excess P-Tex for a smooth, flush finish. You can also check for any low spots that you may have missed. Just repeat the process to fill them in.
To recap, clean the base and remove extra base material from around the gouge. Drip P-Tex into the hole and allow it to cool completely. After it’s cooled, use a metal scraper to remove extra P-Tex and create a smooth finish.
Once the base is finished, it’s time to give it a good wax.