Refreshing your dead skins

Posted on May 9, 2012


Rather than buy a new pair of skins for your Backcountry skis or split board, you can rejuvenate the adhesive of an old pair of skins.

First, ask yourself if you really want to do this. I spent $30 on two tubes of adhesive, hours in the garage, and my skins are far from good as new… I don’t think I will ever do it again.


If you decide to go this route, get yourself black diamond gold adhesive from your local ski shop or online. For wide skis or split boards, you will need at least two tubes. I probably needed three honestly, but only used 2.

You may be considering the sheets of adhesive sold by black diamond, rather than the tubes. Don’t do it! Its a great idea in concept, but you will certainly regret it when you can’t get the sheets lined up properly and they are sticking to everything but your skins.

You will also need a metal scraper, an old iron (I used my waxing iron), multiple pairs of disposable gloves, and a pair of old jeans, cut along the leg seams to create 4 strips. A blow dryer is also useful. You need a work surface covered in something disposable, like a bench in the garage covered in newspaper. Keep it in mind that anything you use will never be the same-the adhesive gets everywhere and nothing seems to get it off.

The process:
1: remove bad glue: 
Set iron to high and put on your gloves.
Lay out one skin on prepared worktable, sticky side up.
Lay a piece of your jeans on top and slowly run iron over fabric to melt glue and impregnate fabric. Let cool a bit.

Starting from one end of the skins, warm up the jeans/skin slightly with the iron then pull of the jean and scrape any remaining adhesive off using the metal scraper while the adhesive is still warm. You will need to work rather quickly. You can use the blow dryer to heat up the adhesive too (per the instructions on the box).
Repeat with second skin.

2: apply new adhesive
You will be attempting to apply a somewhat generous and uniform layer of adhesive. It should appear glossy when done. I found that the description on the box as to how much adhesive should be applied was misleading and on my first pass I applied such little adhesive that I could still see the texture of the skin base and my skins that didn’t stick to anything.

While wearing gloves, lay out one of your skins on the prepared work surface, adhesive side up. Apply a continuous bead of adhesive for skinny skins, two beads for wider skins. Use the metal scraper to smear the adhesive into a uniform layer. Try not to smear adhesive off to the side of the skin.

3: let skins dry before use. Make sure the skins are not sticking to the newspaper in your work surface or something and let the skins dry at least 8 hours (24 is better) in a spot they will not collect dust or bugs while drying. Note that you may find that you need to apply a second layer or run out to buy additional tubes if you run out, so don’t do this the night before trying to head out or something!

Posted in: Gear Repair