preparations have to be made before pressing the ski. These steps are
Step 1 Clean the mold. Try to make the mold as
particle and dust free as possible. Even the smallest wood chip will
leave an impression in the base material. A vacuum, blow dryer, or
even a damp cloth can be used to remove most of the particles from the mold.
Step 2 Prepare the painters plastic bag. Laying up a
ski requires the use of epoxy which can overflow from the mold. This can
ruin your mold and make a mess of your workspace. You can
prevent this from happening by two methods.
The first and probably best method is to use some smooth plastic that does
not bond to epoxy. HDPE and some acrylics work well for this application.
Cover the mold with the plastic (about 1/8" thick) and screw into place.
The epoxy simply peels off the plastic leaving the mold clean for the next
pressing. Using this method, however, requires that your mold be
relatively large so that the epoxy does not run off the mold and into your
The second method is to use painters plastic to create a bag, or envelope,
that holds the
excess epoxy. First cut a rectangular piece of painters
plastic that is longer than the ski by approximately 5 inches on both sides and
that is wider than your mold by 12 inches on both sides. Center the
plastic with the mold and secure in place using some double-side tape as shown
Use the thinnest tape as possible and only tape near the edges of the mold where
it won't interfere with the base material. After all
the ski materials have been placed on the mold, the sides of the excess plastic
are folded over the top to form a bag.
Step 3 Bend the tips and tails of the base material to fit into
If the edges pop off of the base while bending simply tack them back into
place with some more super glue. By pre-bending the edges to fit
into the mold it lessens the chance of the edges popping off while being pressed
upon by the bladder. They don't have to be bent to perfectly match
the mold. The bladder will take care of the rest.
Step 4 Clean the base of any particles or dust.
Place the base with attached edges on top of the mold that is covered with
painters plastic. Try to center the base as accurately as possible.
Secure the middle, tip, and tail with some of the same double-sided tape as
before. Don't use too much, just enough for the ski to hold its
place. This will prevent the base from shifting around while being
pressed. You'll want to tape the base through the plastic and directly
upon the mold itself. The reason why is that the painters plastic can
shift due to its elasticity which would allow the base to move. To tape
the base to the mold first cut some small holes in the plastic with a razor to
reveal the mold as shown.
Now just apply the tape over the hole and the base will have a
secure foundation to tape to.
Step 5 The core can also shift while being pressed. To prevent
this we nail the core to the mold during layup. Pre-drill several
small holes (1/32" inch diameter) in the sidewall material where they will clear
Depending on the core and sidewall design, you should have several
centimeters to work with. Make sure your nails fit snugly into the
holes and they clear the base.
This is a crude method to prevent core shift but it works. There
are better methods, but this is the simplest.
Step 6 Pre-drill the top sheet material for the insert pattern.
This step is optional but it ensures that the inserts will be visible
afterwards. This eliminates the guess work from drilling out the
Another option is to simply use inserts with magnetized caps. These
allow the hidden inserts to be found using some iron fillings and makes the
drilling process foolproof.
Step 7 Double check to make sure all the materials are cut to
proper width and length. There's nothing worse than to realize that
your fiberglass is too short while trying to lay up the ski.
Step 8 Clean all materials from particles, oils, etc.
Clean materials bond better to each other. Particles can also leave
indentions in your ski if they are not removed beforehand.
Step 9 Inspect the press. Make sure your
press frame is operating safely. Also check if your bladder has
developed any leaks.
Once all the above have been completed you can begin the actual