* Prices may differ from that shown
So, you've cleaned off all of the old wax from the base of your skis. What is probably now very evident, if it wasn't before, is that the base is not a smooth, unblemished strip of plastic, oh no. It's probably scored and gouged to a greater or lesser extent, most likely primarily around the area of the bindings, where the greatest weight has been applied to the ski. Elsewhere, where the ski has greater freedom to flex, the damage is probably far less.
So, how do you repair this damage?
Well, the base of skis is covered, between the thin metal edges, by a thin layer of polyethylene around 3 to 4mm thick. It could be any colour but most usually it is either white, almost transparent, or black. Black bases are so because the polyethylene has graphite in it. In either case the way in which the base performs is identical; the colour in the black base is purely cosmetic and serves no practical purpose.
Damage will likely range from long scratches to deep holes. In all cases the repair consists of filling those holes and then smoothing the surface to an even flatness. For this I use Toko Ski Repair Candles. The name "candle" is not misleading: you do, indeed, set light to them to make them perform their magic. Once again, therefore, this is not something you would be recommended to do indoors, especially if you have smoke alarms! However, try also to avoid doing the repairs in the cold. The ski base needs to be around "room temperature" or else the repair may not adhere well.
Scratches you can repair "as is" but deeper holes may benefit from slightly undercutting their edges to allow the repair better to bond. I have also read that where a repair is up against the metal edges it may be beneficial first to apply a coating of superglue to the metal first and then lightly abrade it with some fine sandpaper; it's something I haven't personally tried.
I light a repair candle with a disposable cigarette lighter; it should light after a few seconds applied heat. The frame will initially be small, yellowish and smoky but the flame should very soon start to burn more consistently and then you are ready. The candle will start dripping and so you need to be careful: it's hot! When ready, hold the dripping candle just above the surface of the ski base, where you want to deposit the repair material. The heat of the flame should also soften the original base material and so ensure a good bond.
You will go through a fair number of candles and wastage is inevitable so don't fret about it. Just think of all the money you're saving by not getting your skis professionally serviced. The candles come in different sizes but are all around 20cms long; a pack of four 6mm candles will cost you around a fiver off of the Web. Size doesn't matter!
When all the defects are filled the ski base will then look a bit of a mess but don't worry about that, that's the next stage on the repair process. Eventually your skis will once again look [almost] as good as new.
To be continued...