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Inline Skate Boot Repairs Help Needed; How to Fix Skates

JonathanS's picture

I need some help, and it is a bit unusual.  I have a pair of K2 Radical boots that are currently my only pair of boots until my speed boots arrive.  They broke today, and I will be pushing my luck to get my speed boots in in time for the SkateStrong class on the 28th.  So I'm hoping to try and fix my K2 Radical boots, if at least only temporarerly.  I am looking for a local solution or even suggestion, so here is my problem.

The K2 Radicals have an upper plastic ankle support, similar to the setup on a rec. skate.  This plastic upper is attached to the carbon fiber? (maybe fiberglass) footbed with a large diameter rivet on either side of the skate.  It is one of these rivets that has sheared off.  The rivet is a much larger diameter that what is carried at any home improvement center.  The fastner would need to be nearly flush on the boot side, and could stick out on the outside if it had to.  I haven't measured it, but is probably 3/8-1/2" in diameter.  The wider the head on the fastener the better.  I have ruled out a simple carriage bolt, because the square head on the inside of the carriage bolt would dig into the carbon fiber? in the footbed.

Again, this is only temporary, so it doesn't have to be great looking, as long as it functions and is safe for me.  And I do realize that there is irony in the fact I want this to be safe but I am still rigging my skate :-) 


roadskater's picture

Automotive Fasteners T-Nuts Epoxy Tyvek Magic

Hi JonathanS. Ouch. Sorry to hear about the K2 Radicals and the sheared rivet. Without seeing it, I guess I'd say take the boot to an automotive fasteners shop (look in the good old yellow pages...in Greensboro, for example, there are at least two I know of), where they have all sorts of, well, fasteners for automobiles. When searching for skate bolts and such, I have found the big hardware stores to be less and less good for getting useful stuff. They'd be a good source for expoxy, as would Hobby Lobby. A NAPA might be able to get something for you if you know what to call it by the time you ask. This is often the hardest part, just knowing the name of the piece you need. Anyway, as I think about it maybe bondo might come in handy too...you know the stuff that can sometimes be useful fixing dents or holes or both (usually both as you used to drill a hole to pull a dent, right?). I'm not knowledgeable with the stuff, but think you might end up deciding it could help shore up the repair. The main item that comes to mind is a T-nut, which has a flat base (the top of the T-shaped item) you could put on the inside, and a female-threaded stem (the longer part of the T-shaped item) that would go through the rivet hole to receive a bolt. I think you can easily get these with a base (the disc shape at the top of the T) of up to an inch. If the T-Nut base is not big enough, you might be able to fashion a large, perhaps flexible, mega-washer of sorts from something plastic which is fairly thin but rigid (cheap vanity licence plate plastic, layers or not of plastic file folder material, that mighty thin chopping board stuff which is really hard but thin plastic--the horrors of these under my feet remain, something like that. Regarding T-nuts, they are often used in the bottom of the boots of rec skates, with the flat base inside the boot, protruding through a hole in the boot and the frame, so a bolt can be attached from below. Come to think of it, I think T-nuts are used in speed skates too, but we're not usually supposed to see or feel that! You might find T-nuts in your old rec skates lying around in a closet, or at the Play It Again Sports store, or with some frames that were usable for either speed or rec skating (like the 3x100+85 black/yellow Salomon frame that went cheaply on eBay a couple of years ago. Maybe someone with such a frame has some T-nuts. You might email the inlinenc and triangleskateclub lists on yahoogroups.com. There are a lot of McGyver types in the skate world so somebody has something I'm sure, but so will the automotive fastener shops and even the local guys that work on auto body repairs maybe. Don't forget the local skating rink, either, if you have one. You know they have to repair rental skates and speed team skates, so they'll likely have some hacks to suggest or do for you. I don't know the situation but it seems like a T-nut, a couple of pieces of plastic inside and out, maybe some epoxy if using layers of anything, and a bolt might do it for a couple of weeks. Speaking of layering, if you have some Tyvek envelopes (of course I don't mean go down to the US Post Office and get them free to use in your project, but ones that have been mailed to you, or that you've incorrectly written an address on, yep), these can be used in layers with epoxy to fashion some very crude but pretty durable fibroxy (just my made up term) for skatey stuff. As an aside with me as hero, my favorite kind of story because there are so few, once in New Orleans when the plastic top part of my VW Rabbit's radiator sprung a leak, after 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, I was able to fashion a patch with epoxy and Burger King napkins methinks it was that somehow held together for the trip home to NC. Dumb luck I'd say, but yay for epoxy! And I've skated 2 Athens to Atlanta trips at least on skates repaired the night before, sad to admit. For repair projects others like to use JB Weld and I can say the times I have used it I didn't find it quite as good to work with, but it depends what you're doing of course. For this project it might be the best as it is more of a putty consistency as I recall. Keep JB Weld in mind for your project, though, especially if you can't find a T-Nut. Also there's some plumber's epoxy putty and I tried it for something. I think I liked mixing epoxy better. At Hobby Lobby you can get various styles of epoxy with differing drying times. You mentioned rivets. That brings to mind that a shade-tree auto repair guy or gal might have a thought or two. Also, timv often recommends machine shops as they are folk who figure mechanical things out all day every day. Crazy asking this, but is this a job that zip-ties could be used for? Sorry to not know the boots in question. Don't forget a thin layer of neoprene might be glued to the inside where the T-Nut is, but it might just make it worse so try that before pasting it down too tightly. Also Loc-tite makes a product called RTV Plastic methinks it is, which is soft rubbery stuff when dry (squeezes out of a tube) and it might be good for a thin layer of comfort over the T-Nut or other repair. I used RTV Black to repair my 1979 Fiat Spider 2000 convertible's top many times. It's flexible and durable and easy to work with. Well I hope some of these ideas help. Attach a photo if you would like to show us what it looks like. Good luck! Let us know what you end up doing and how well or not it works!
skatey-mark's picture

other ideas

You could always look on ebay for a pair of K2 skates in the same size. You might get lucky and pick up something for $25, which is worth it just for the wheels & bearings... Or Play It Again Sports might have something cheap to gt you by if you can't repair the skate... And, of course, there's always duct tape... ;-) - SM -
roadskater's picture

Yes I Forgot the eBay Skate Rental Idea

You might pick up some K2 Radicals on eBay for not much, yep. It's only "rental" if you don't know the size or what not. I wish eBay were still so cheap you could sell just a left or right skate, boot, or frame when one side goes bad! Maybe you could call K2 and see if this was a regular problem and if they might offer a replacement or parts or something? Mention you wrote about it on a blog and somebody suggested to call and give them a chance to give you info or support. K2 is a good company it seems to me, with a good product, and they support events for rec or did so for a long time, and well. Not sure lately as I've been too [something] to go anywhere! Also, visit a Harbor Freight store and look at what they have in there to keep stuff together.
JonathanS's picture

How I fixed my skates

So with the great suggestions, here is what I found. I checked on ebay, but couldn't find anything for less than $100, so that was out. I went down to the autoparts store, but could really find anything that would work. I needed some potting soil at Lowe's, so while I was there I thought a quick glance can't hurt. In hardware, in the pullout drawers of odd parts, I found T-nuts. So I bought a few sizes of T-nuts, regular bolts of the same sizes and a few washers.When I got home, the bolts and T-nuts were too long. So I got out the bench grinder and shortened them. I imagine if one could also use a vise and hacksaw to shorten them. I put a little blue lock-tite (love that stuff, the blue, never the red lock-tite) on the threads and put it all together. It all works great. Went for a short skate and everything seems to be good as new. I only have the head of a nut sticking out of the outside, and the inside is as flush as the original equipment. Thanks again for everybodys suggestions. I am back on the road.

The parts cost me $1.50. 

eebee's picture


Thanks for the update! Good to know you fixed it for so cheap...not counting the glue and tools :-). Dare I ask...how did you blow out your skate in the first place? Any spectacular wipe-outs?
JonathanS's picture

no cool war stories

While it might be thrilling to have some cool story of a great crash, I am afraid it was nothing of the sort. I use my skates for my main transportation around town. The other day I skated in to the hospital for clinical (for nursing school), with no problems getting there. But when I took my boot off, I noticed that fastener hanging loosely, when I really started probing, the only thing still holding it in was a small lip of metal. The main piece had broken off and was still on the inside, just loose. I assume it must have been slowly failing with time. I have been trying to learn to double push, and I wonder if the changing from inside to outside edge of the skate all the time is maybe more that it was built for. Just a guess. So I bummed a ride home at the end of the day. That is my tale of thrills and daring adventures.
roadskater's picture

Great! Automotive Fastners Store is a Specialty Shop

I'm really glad you got your kit back on. And $1.50 is a great price. Kudos to Lowe's for having the T-Nuts and associated parts. Kudos to you for having a bench grinder. Just to help anyone else who comes along, if you can't find parts at the auto parts store or the big box hardware store (Lowe's or Home Depot), an automotive fasteners store is the kind of place people who repair cars or perhaps race them would go for all sorts of odd bolts and other fasteners. It takes a decent sized city to have one of these in the USA, I guess. As noted, Greensboro has a couple at least. Some old time auto stores (not the glitzy shiny ones but the dirty grimy great auto grease smelly ones) would have this stuff because they never through stuff away. To be thorough, however, I should admit I don't even know if T-Nuts are considered an automotive fastener. That's a super homebrew repair job, JonathanS. Congrats.

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