Kickin’ it with Bob

Came off of a subpar ski on the cross country trail at Eaglecrest yesterday and saw I had a phone message.  Bob said if I was ready to fix my ski, he could do it.  I called him back and said I’d stop on the way home.

Bob is a craftsman’s craftsman.  He’s had a hand in most every museum in the state setting up displays, from Dutch Harbor to Utqiagvik to Skagway.  He’s also a stringed instrument builder and repairman.  He supervised the building of the state museum in town.

I’d mounted bindings on the skis, and they were not lined up.  Not centered properly and canted to one side.  But the mount was not off by much, so you can’t just back out the screws, line it up, and reinstall the screws because the new holes will be so close to the old one that you’ll just be making one big hole that the screw will not hold in.

Enter Bob.  While we talked, he methodically went to work.  I helped him back out the old screws.  Then he got a drill of the size of a piece of maple dowel he had, put a piece of tape on the drill bit about a half inch from the tip so he could drill all the holes to the same depth, then drilled out all the holes.  Next he mixed some JB Weld quick setting epoxy and filled each hole.

He then cut little pieces off the maple dowel for each hole with the band saw.  These were going every which way off the saw.  When he was done, we picked the pieces up off the floor and took them over to the ski.

He set a piece of dowel in each hole and pounded it in with a hammer.  Then he took a fine little saw I’d guess he uses for instrument repair and cut the dowels off even with the top of the ski.  Next he used a fine scraper to get them as flush as he could with the ski top.

Now he went to work finding the dead center of the ski. He made his marks with a punch, then drilled down.  He did the top center and back center screws of the nnn binding.  Once these were lined up on the centerline, they would hold the binding in perfect place to put in the two side by side screws of the nnn binding.  By doing the centerline screws front and back first, it was impossible for the binding to move and cant to one side as I had done.  Simple stuff.  Crap, a guy can learn a lot in 30 minutes.

Bob and his wife have helped me out in any number of ways over the years.  I met them through Sara right after we were married, and they are about 10 years older than Sara and I.  Bob welded zincs on the Dutch Master when I needed it.  He helped me plan and build my garage.  Laura, a graphic designer by early trade and social worker later in life, designed our company logo.  She also took a deer backbone, cleaned it all up, glued it together, then painted it to a beautiful art piece she gave me as a present.  Laura and I gather fiddleheads and nettles each spring. Sam used to go with us on the expedition when he was a kid.  Me – I just keep them in deer, moose, salmon, crab, and halibut.  A perfect match.
Took the ski out today to Montana Creek trail with Kurt, and it worked perfect.  

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