Step 1: PRE-OP a) and b) Let your ding dry out thoroughly, at least 24 hours if possible. If you really don’t have that long, use a hairdryer. It is vital that the ding is completely dry before you start your repair.

Step 2: ROUGHING UP a) Rough up the dinged area with as coarse sandpaper as possible, say 80 grit. This is done to remove the damaged fibres and resin. b) Sand roughly 10cm each side of the crease. You’re preparing the area for the new lay-up (cloth & resin) to bond, plus making a dip so that you don’t sand your repair straight off (Common balls up no.1).

Step 3: MASKING OFF a) Tape up the area around the ding with masking tape to avoid getting excess resin on your stick. Plus, the tape is a really good guide for later when you’re sanding - sand to the inside edge of the tape. b) If the crease continues around the rail too, sand and mask that shit too.

Step 4: CUTTING CLOTH 4a) Cut your cloth with scissors to the size you want, using four or sixounce cloth. Make sure the first layer overlaps the edge of the masking tape. Then make sure the 2nd layer is smaller (by a couple cms than the first) to avoid having a step - requires more sanding and is harder to blend in. 4b) Same again.

Step 5: LAYING UP Mix your laminating resin with a couple of drops of catalyst (depending on temperature - if you’re doing this repair in the car park at Thurso in January add another drop or two). Soon as you’ve mixed it apply immediately. Remove your cloth and paint the entire area inside the tape with resin, place on your 1st layer, wet it out thoroughly with your paintbrush, apply 2nd layer, wet it out thoroughly. Next finger it from middle out to remove any air bubbles (Common balls up no.2: leave airbubbles in your repair and you’ll sand thru ‘em and still have a hole - bad news) 5b) Same Leave it for 10-15mins minimum, but it doesn’t matter if it’s the next day... (If so, clean brush with white spirits, acetone).

Step 6: FILLER COAT (not pictured) Mix your laminating resin with wax-in-styrene (filler resin - called this coz it fills up all the weaves in the cloth and makes a nice smooth layer for sanding. Common balls up no.3: Trying to sand laminating resin on it’s own clogs up the paper, more work, not as good a finish). Paint on top to masking tape, making sure all of the weave is filled in. Leave your filler coat for a MINIMUM OF AN HOUR AND A HALF, the longer the better. If you want, while you’re waiting, have a little clean up, grab a cold beer and prepare your papers and sanding block, get it all in order for the your next stage, sanding.

ADVANCED TIP The fingernail test. If you can pick a little crater with a finger, it’s not ready. Do the fingernail test on the lay-up on top of the masking tape, NOT in the actual repair area coz you’ll cause a low spot.

Step 7: SANDING Ideally, you want to start with 100 grit, then 150 grit, then 240 grit, and if you really want a good finish wet n’ dry 400-800. Sanding is the longest stage of your ding repair. Don’t rush it, take your time and get it right. (Common balls up no.4: Go nose to tail, and keep it always in the same direction so that all the scratches go the same way. If not, the scratches will stand out like dogs balls.) Sanding block can be any type of wood.

ADVANCED LEVEL NINE SANDING BLOCK TIP: Glue on a bit of wettie neoprene to one flat side of your block (a harder block sands quicker, but to get a better finish you want a bit of softness there too, you don’t want it too hard). 7 a) and b) Use the block on flat, don’t use it on the rail - use your hand to fit contours of the rail. Always go nose to tail. ALWAYS. After you’ve gone through your three grades of paper, you’re good. Depending on how many beers you had waiting, you’re ready to hit the soup straight away... Get out there!

JUST REMEMBER - Fix ’em straight away. - Never put wax in your fargin dings! - If you want a temporary seal, use sticker or tape.

HOWIES OTHER DING REPAIR PITFALLS Another common error is making your brew too hot, better to go just a few drops - it’s safer than making it too hot and catching fi re. If it’s too hot, it also goes off too quick causing discolouration, and not leaving as long for resin to soak into the cloth properly. ALL laying up should be done outside or in well ventilated area... a mask is a good idea (more important in sanding process). For sanding ALWAYS use a mask, tie an old t-shirt, something so you’re not breathing in the particles, because they’re really, really nasty. Good luck!