No doubt regluing climbing skins is one of the nastiest jobs related to backcountry skiing. Removing the old dog hair, pine needles, and kick wax encrusted glue can be a pain. We do it at the shop, use a heated scraper and glue sheets to get the job done right. You can also use Gold Label, the canned stuff, but be ready to breathe some serious fumes.
It makes it a little easier if you have skins without a center strip when using the glue sheets. Sometimes I just cut them off if the customer is okay with it. I’ve been able to make strips like this out of some shop tape for people who don’t have them and want them as well, so I don’t think it is a big deal. You could always peel it back and then reattach it when the job is done, but it adds another thing you have to deal with and keep clean during the whole process. It helps to have something to attach the skins to…to keep them straight and secure. We use a piece of wood with some wire attached to it to make it quick and easy.
I wait until the scraper is nice and hot before removing the swag glue. You can also use a paint scraper and a heat gun, attacking it in short sections. It helps to keep the old glue from globing up in front of the scraper. I try to pull it away as I go down the skin. A bit of an angle works best for the edges to keep any from getting on the pelt.
After cutting the glue-sheets to the length of the skin and removing the backing, start at the tail and place it smoothly on top of the nice clean skins. Sometimes the backing doesn’t come off cleanly and wants to stick, pulling it away from the application sheet, but do your best. Cutting them into smaller sections may help, but I like to work with one long piece.
Heat the glue up with a hot iron and slowly move down the skin, spreading and smoothing out the glue with a roller. This also helps push the glue into the skin for holding power. I usually do this 2-3 times from tip to tail. The hotter the glue is, the easier it is to smooth out, but you can also push it over the edge and it might get on the edges of your pelt, so use a bit of caution. Overheating can also make the glue stick to the application sheet, so again…use caution!
After everything has had a chance to cool off, use a utility knife to cut the sheets at the edge of the skin. Then use your finger to help separate the two pieces. This helps to keep any excess glue from hanging on.
Slowly peel back the application sheet and see how you did. The clearer and smoother the glue looks, the better. I guess you could re-apply the paper and try to repeat the above steps if something doesn’t look right, but you really want to nail it the first time. Just like that sick couloir you’ve been eyeballing.
I like to use small blobs of glue to patch spots where the glue sheets missed, but keep a rag handy so you don’t contaminate your waxing iron too much. Let the skins cool completely (the longer the better) before folding together. Viola la….you are now ready to skin to win!!!