Reconditioning a PowderJet
Words and Photos by Seth Beck
One of the things that intrigued me very early on with PowderJet was the idea that these boards could be maintained and ridden for many years. In a world of disposable consumerism, it is really refreshing to put in a little effort and breathe new life into a snowboard.
The reward that comes when you look down and see a snowboard that you reworked is a nice bonus. This season I refinished all three of my PowderJets and figured it was worth putting up a little tutorial. This follows the cleaning up of my first shapeshifter and putting on the Johan paint scheme.
Step 1 - Repair Any Damage
It was a particularly dark evening when I met Jesse in a Rut-Vegas parking lot. He pulled the second ever PowderJet split from the back of his pickup and said good luck. I was rolling to the Gaspe at 5:30 the next morning and the split still needed the holes drilled for the clips and hooks. In my rush to complete, I screwed up and put a set of holes in the wrong place. That has always pissed me off. This refurb gave me the chance to finally fix.
I filled them with JB Weld WoodWeld two part epoxy. Once dried, I shaved down the epoxy with a razor blade and then sanded flush. Last year I used this same epoxy to fill a huge gouge I put in the topsheet of my other split and it has held up brilliantly. Two part epoxy and a few clamps will fix nearly any damage you do to these boards.
Step 2 - Sand the Topsheet and Sidewalls
I start with 60 grit to take off the bulk of the clearcoat and any paint. Jesse recommends having the rotary sander on the board before starting to get the most out of the sand paper. Since the clearcoat penetrates the wood, you likely won’t be able to get all of it off. I just try to get a uniform color and address any scratches. The sidewalls will not take much to clean up. Be particularly careful with your angle on the nose and tail as you can start to expose the fiberglass if you are too aggressive. I finish with 220 grit sandpaper to prep it for paint. Make sure to wipe all the dust off before painting. A little tip from the guys at Grain Surfboards, ball up some masking tape so the adhesive is out and lightly push across the surface to grab the dust.
Step 3 - Painting
Sketch your design on first with pencil. For this design, I cut templates based on the original Johan out of paper. Tape off your design using Frog Tape. Make sure you press down hard on the edges to lock it in and avoid paint seepage. You can stretch the tape and put down slowly to get clean curves. On all my boards I have taped off the sidewalls because I figure the paint will just wear off and I like the look of the laminated sidewalls. Your choice.
Any paint that is outdoor rated will work. I have been using whatever comes in a small can from the hardware store. I do two coats for a solid finish. I hit the dry paint lightly with 320 grit sandpaper by hand to knock down the edges of the lines and smooth out any stroke marks. Jesse also recommends hitting the places that were taped as the adhesive pulls the grain out slightly.
Step 4 - Clearcoating
I finish with 3 coats of clearcoat. Jesse recommends Minwax Helmsman Spar high gloss spray. I bought satin by accident and I like it. The key to coating is to keep the spray at a consistent distance and really try to lay it down uniformly.
About This Design
We all have a board from our past that stands out. For me, the Johan 163 will always be mine. That board hauled ass, turned on a dime, and was the deck that I really started to push myself on steep terrain. I liked the 163 so much that I based the nose width and sidecut of the Sickle on its dimensions.
For awhile now I have wanted to do a topsheet that paid homage to that board. The idea for this design was to do a faux roundtail, versus the faux swallowtail that adorned the base of the 163. I got so nerdy that I used the nose, tail, and sidecut profile from the original 163 to draw out the roundtail design. For an added touch, I painted the skulls from the original base on with mars black acrylic paint. It has been a minute since I have painted and I was a bit nervous of the outcome. The bonus of the skull painting is that I landed it on the filled holes from Step 1. The finished product looks so damn fine, I don’t know if I will ever take it off my wall.