Monday, December 11, 2006

Klister Control

Klister can be more of a blessing than a curse, but only if you control this feisty servant.

Wax in a tube, like glue that never dries, klister has developed its own legend, full of demonic behavior and the horror of ruined clothing and equipment. But it's not evil, just misunderstood.

Many people fear klister's reputation so much they add to it by dousing the kick zone of their klistered ski with a flood of solvent, waiting a few minutes and attacking the gooey mass with a plastic spatula. This will move a lot of klister out of the kick zone and give the illusion of some success, but when the solvent dries the ski will be as sticky as a plastic placemat in a pancake house. The klister hasn't gone away completely. Thinned by the solvent, it has just moved to new neighborhoods and settled down. It's all over the sidewalls and top sheet of the ski. It's under the edge of the binding plate.

To succeed with klister, you must be patient. You can't kill it with chemicals. You can't scrape it away with a plastic or metal scraper. But two items from your own bathroom can turn klister cleanup into a trivial problem.

You will need some toilet paper and an old toothbrush. You will need wax remover, but not a lot of it.

Carefully place one ski on the waxing profile. Unroll a strip of toilet paper the length of the klistered area. Pat this onto the klister. Some technicians suggest you heat the paper at this point, using a hot air gun or hair dryer, but be careful. Softened klister could escape if heat is applied too quickly. You want the klister to soak into the paper.

You can also use Swix Fiberlene or similar cleaning tissue, which is more rugged than toilet paper, but also more expensive.

Using a thin plastic scraper, start at one end of the kick zone and scrape firmly, at a shallow angle, to the other end of the waxed area in one smooth motion. This should pick up the paper and klister in one nice HAZMAT wad you can then flick into the trash can. Only a little residue will remain on the ski.

Dip your old toothbrush into the wax remover and scrub the leftover klister in the kick zone. This is also the time to scrub away the little boogers of klister that always hide along the lower part of the ski sidewalls, especially with cap skis. The protruding edge of cap skis makes a little ledge under which the klister hides all summer if you don't root it out with your last base cleaning before applying storage wax.

Repeat the toothbrush cleaning as necessary to get all the little klister insurgents out of their hideouts.

Your other choice is to do a hack job on the cleaning, or no cleaning at all, and pay me to clean it up at the beginning of ski season. But let me warn you: I'm not cheap.

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