Friday, July 10, 2015
New Nut, New Skates - Fixing my K2 227G Skates For Another Couple Thousand Miles
No, I don't mean go to the parts store and buy a new one, then solder it in. Of course I can do that.
I mean actually disassemble the switch and most of the time I can actually remanufacture the switch.
I've always been creative at reusing things, my first repair was dad's 8-Track player way back in the day. He hated that I did it, but was shocked that I could.
I've got this massive box of parts for electronics, a cabinet of parts for my own odds and ends, and deep in the closet under my dress shirts and my running shoes is the Skate Box.
I think it is probably true that I have the most number of inline skate bearings in Wilton Manors under one roof. It isn't that I run a skate shop, although I easily could, it is that I have been refurbishing bearings for decades at this point.
Literally two decades. I got into the sport in 1993. I have skated every year since. I have skated 21,100 miles total.
Yes, I count.
When I was competing, I skated as much as 2,500 miles a year and 200 miles a week.
I didn't think so. Inline skating as a sport collapsed in the early 2000s. It's now That Kid Down The Block or the trick skaters. The rest of us do it because we really enjoy the activity.
I mean really.
Given the parts, I am able to keep my sport going. I can tear down a pair of skates down to the component parts and tighten them back again so that the wheels roll free with no binding and no crunching due to crap in the bearings.
I have also trained people in how to actually skate without breaking their fool necks on a number of occasions.
After all, if you skate, you will fall.
But all that mechanical stuff sometimes goes awry. I've thrown bearings and bolts in the past. What I mean is that I'm skating along and all the sudden something feels a bit "wrong". Looking down, I notice I've lost a wheel or my brake is wobbly.
Slow to a crawl and retrace the last mile. See if you can find that nut. If you can't you probably won't find an exact replacement.
Why? They stopped manufacturing that skate back in 2003 and you are stuck. I contacted K2 and that was their answer. Too bad. Amazing skate.
That was what happened with my favorite pair of "Cruising Skates". They're a pair of K2 227G Softboot skates. I could strap those things on and do a 50 mile workout in comfort gliding from Philadelphia to Valley Forge and beyond not thinking twice other than how far is it to the next Water Stop.
Five Wheels Good, Four Wheels Meh.
Bigger Wheels Fast, Smaller Wheels More Maneuverability.
I'd kill for a proper pair of cruising skates with five 100MM or greater wheels on it...
The problem with all skates, not K2 alone, is that those soft boots wear down due to your foot sliding against the fabric. Eventually they get to the point where your heel has worn the fabric lining down and you're against the padding. My skates are all at that point, and I have lined them with, you guessed it, Duct Tape.
In this case, Olive Drab, Military Spec, Industrial Strength Duct Tape, but Duct Tape nonetheless.
But back to that bolt thing.
Every time you disassemble a skate, and this is also pretty good to remember for when you repair your car or the back gate, use some "Loctite" on the threads of the screws.
Loctite is a sort of glue that you put a dot on the threads of the screw or bolt, then tighten up. That glue will hold a screw in place instead of allowing it to work free under use. For "light duty", something you intend to remove later for service, use "Loctite Blue". You can remove it and replace it later. The other strengths like Loctite Red may be too strong for duty, so you need to research that yourself.
For skates, Loctite Blue is perfect, and is even what my skates came with.
But in the case of my favorite skates, I forgot to use it on the nut on my push wheel. That's the back wheel on the right foot. Most of the force from my skating was on the back wheel due to my not skating in racing form lately, but most people tend to push from the heel as a matter of course. It is incorrect technique, but if you're just out cruising around the park in loops, nobody will hold that against you.
Fitness Skating vs Racing.
Somewhere around the Pompano Beach Airpark, near to the Goodyear Blimp base, I threw that nut. It's somewhere in the grass, I'll never find it, and I'll probably never stop looking for it. It's an aluminium nut that looks like a mushroom. The stem part goes over the bolt that holds the push wheel in, the cap held the brake assembly tight to the skate "truck" where the wheels live.
I took the skate with me to the Home Depot on Sunrise Blvd in Ft Lauderdale. Instead of going to the local small old line hardware store, I went there only because it is closer. Standing by the parts bin full of weird fasteners, I was poking around. The bolt tested to 8MM (Metric) and I knew I could find a standard hex nut, but I wanted a cap on the top.
I'm looking at it all "cluessly and confused" until this little woman came up. A former Skater herself, we had a great time talking about The Good Old Days of the 1990s and early 2000s when we could get up dozens of people for a long haul workout. But she knew exactly what I needed. A "T-Nut". We found one that fit. All that I had to do was bend the prongs back.
That's the thing with doing something out there that others have stopped doing. It's like keeping a classic car going. Sometimes you have to machine the part, other times you can rebuild it with Loctite and Duct Tape, and other times you really need a friendly Skater Chick to find a T-Nut to get you back on the road.
Thanks Skater Chick! You were the Best! Lets hit the park sometime!