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Shredded Skin Repair

Here’s a little skin maintenance tip I came up with recently. I’m sure others have done this but here it is in print, for what it’s worth.

The lean early season conditions in Alaska have been hard on some of my gear. Lot’s of PTex has been lost and last weekend I encountered the dreaded climbing skin shred. I’ve heard about this but managed to avoid it all these years. The only thing worse is when the skin rips in half following a tear. That would suck.

But this tear involved the middle of the skin and only went in a couple of centimeters. Skins are expensive so I decided to try and repair it. As an orthopedic PA I’m pretty handy with a needle and thread so I took some Vicryl suture to my skins and fixed them up. I secured the repair with some Seam Grip on both sides and then reglued the repaired section.Sewing complete

Seam Grip and skin glue to protect the repair

Seam Grip added to protect the high abrasion side

With snow falling up here now I'll be able to test this repair next weekend if weather cooperates. I’ll keep you posted. - Brian

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Reader Comments (6)

Nice! My only question is whether the Vicryl will dissolve? Maybe silk or other nonabsorbable suture would last longer? Then again, perhaps proteolytic enzymes are needed to dissolve the suture and you'll be fine with it just coming in contact with petex and snow?

December 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAndy D

Well, Doctor, it's just what I had around the office. Silk would be good, too. But like you said, without the inflammatory response, it's unlikely the suture is going anywhere. Plus, I like the way Vicryl handles and ties.

December 11, 2012 | Registered CommenterBrian

What the heck kind of needle did you use on those skins? I am trying to sew up 2 long skinny scraps from my cut off edges into a kicker skin and I can't get the needle through my skins. I'm just using a regular sewing needle and thread and it won't budge.

January 5, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterandy

Yeah, that sounds like a hard way to do it. I used surgical suture which has a strand of single thread material that is swedged onto a curved needle. Using a needle driver, it goes right in. These needles are quite a bit sharper than conventional sewing needles.

You could drive the needle with some plyers, perhaps or find a friend who works in medicine to snag you some suture. Vets have the stuff too. Good luck.

January 7, 2013 | Registered CommenterBrian

I keep some heavy nylon thread and a couple upholstery needles in my repair kit. One needle is curved and the other is straight. Both are fairly heavy gauge and come sharpened to a three sided pyramid point which I can resharpen. They've worked on everything from crampon holes in polypro long johns to heavy leather ski gloves. I even sewed up the cuff on a plastic boot by heating the needle with the whisperlite stove and burning the holes through (I held the needle with a multi-tool). The pack of 6 or so needles cost me $5 or so 10 years ago. The other 4 are still in the package as I haven't lost the first two yet. Works for me.

January 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTonyBob

That's some great beta. I've also seen guys using the needle and thread from sew-up tire repair kits for high end old-school bicycle tires.

January 11, 2013 | Registered CommenterBrian

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