Head B2 RD - Stealth Edition (aka How to dye your boots)

Discussion in 'Hardgoods: Skis, Bindings, Poles, and More' started by Noodler, Jan 12, 2019.

  1. Noodler

    Noodler Coming out of hibernation... Skier

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2017
    Posts:
    707
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    I picked up a pair of NOS Head Raptor B2 RD boots for cheap. These are true race plug 150 flex shells and the plastic is quite thick. I don't know what color you would call them, but they aren't white; maybe more of a translucent "ivory".

    So I didn't love the color. What to do? Maybe you can dye ski boot shells?

    I researched what is takes to dye plastic after it's already molded and cured. I found info on dyeing lots of types of plastics and other materials, but very little on dyeing polyurethane (PU). There are paintball people who dye their guns and armor. And frisbee players who dye their discs. But very little about anyone specifically dyeing PU. I did find a few old threads on the newschoolers forum about dyeing your ski boot shells, but they were using the original Rit dyes for fabrics. Rit now has a line of dyes called "DyeMore" specifically for synthetic materials, but even the Rit docs said nothing about PU plastic.

    But I figured, WTH, I'll go for it. However, I feared that the color might not be "infused" well into the plastic shells completely, so I decided to go with a color that would look fine no matter what shade it ended up being. I was also unsure of how the base ivory color would "mix" with the color chosen. So I selected the Rit DyeMore Graphite color, fearing that if a chose a blue or red it might end up being more of a pastel color and I didn't want that.

    Next step was to take apart the boots. Being plugs, everything on these shells comes off. So I removed everything, just leaving the bare plastic bottom clogs and the upper cuffs. Here's a pic of what the shell looked like before I started:


    I followed Rit's directions for DyeMore and used the stove top method. I used 2 full bottles of dye in a very large pot that could fit one bottom clog and one top cuff. In retrospect you probably could get away with using a large tub or bucket if you don't have a pot large enough for your shells, but the directions state that you really want to do this in a pot and keep the heat on the items the whole time you're dyeing them. Luckily we have a large pot that I usually only use to steam crab legs on Christmas eve (don't tell my wife ;) ). I used my infrared thermometer to make sure I got the water to 200* F and added the dye.

    I decided that I didn't want the shell pieces to come in direct contact with the pot bottom and sides. So I wrapped the pieces in old towels and figured I could still stir the dye liquid enough to ensure the color would be even. Once the water hit the right temp, I placed the shell pieces in the pot and kept the heat on for about 10 minutes, simmering the shells in the dye. I then turned off the heat and left the pieces in the dye bath for 30 minutes. Time to remove the pieces…

    And then my jaw hit the floor. :eek:

    I couldn't believe how well the PU plastic absorbed the dye. The shells are now as black as midnight. I didn't expect the DyeMore graphite to produce midnight black. Rit doesn't even have a DyeMore black dye, but they do have a "formula" to achieve a black color by mixing Graphite, Blue, and Red together. So I was quite surprised that the Graphite dye alone achieved this level of penetration into the shells and such a dark color. There isn't even a hint of the old color anywhere on the shells (even the thick soles). They honestly look like a stock shiny black shell.

    After removing the shell parts from the pot, I rinsed the pieces in cold water while holding the flaps in their correct positions. The hot water had straightened out the upper cuff flaps quite a bit. Once the shell pieces were cool and clean, it was time to put them back together. That was easier said than done. The boots were much easier to take apart than get back together, but I got the job done in the end.

    So now I have a pair of B2 RD shells in the "Stealth Edition". They're kind of the polar opposite of the current Head "Stormtrooper" white boots. Here's a shot of one of the boots on our black granite counter top:


    And another in its more "natural" environment (yeah, we got some snow in CO!):


    Next step is to cant and plate them so I can get them out for their maiden run. Luckily my feet drop straight into these shells without need for modifications (other than flattening and lowering the bootboards to get my feet in a good position in the shells).

    Knowing what I know now, about how well the Rit DyeMore works on PU-based shells, I might have gone with a different color, or done something a bit more interesting, like dye the cuffs and bottom clogs different colors. Oh well, maybe I'll find another set of shells super cheap. I also wonder how well the current Head boots that are opaque white might take the Rit DyeMore dye…
     

    Attached Files:

    DanishRider, Analisa, S.H. and 9 others like this.
  2. GregK

    GregK Getting off the lift Skier

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2017
    Posts:
    453
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    When I saw the thread title I thought “why bother?” till I saw the original ivory white color and though “I can see why he wants to dye those!” Lol

    They came out awesome!!! Curious if when scratched eventually you would ever see the ivory again or do you think the dye impregnated the shell enough that it would still be black underneath.

    A lot of work but they do look killer now. Much meaner looking! Great job.
     
    Noodler likes this.
  3. Thread Starter
    TS
    Noodler

    Noodler Coming out of hibernation... Skier

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2017
    Posts:
    707
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    Hmmm, good question. I also have thought about the fact that I'm going to be routing the toe and heel lugs once the plates go on. So I guess I'll find out just how deep this dye job goes. I'll keep some dye on-hand for touch-ups just in case.
     
  4. bbinder

    bbinder Out on the slopes Skier

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2015
    Posts:
    1,026
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    Noodler, you have more time on your hands than I do :D
     
    tch, oldfashoned and Philpug like this.
  5. Thread Starter
    TS
    Noodler

    Noodler Coming out of hibernation... Skier

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2017
    Posts:
    707
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    All in all, I think it took about 2 hours total labor. But, yeah, my wife would tell you that I should spend more time on the honey-do list. ;)
     


  6. Ken_R

    Ken_R Living the Dream Skier

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2016
    Posts:
    2,812
    Location:
    Littleton, CO
    I am just wondering how you kept the kitchen from becoming a mess!
     
  7. dbostedo

    dbostedo Asst. Gathermeister-- Jackson Hole 2020 Moderator Team Gathermeister

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2016
    Posts:
    2,850
    Location:
    Northern Virginia, USA
    Yeah... I could see a circle of cabinets partially died black all around the stove if I tried this.
     
    RuleMiHa and Ken_R like this.
  8. dbostedo

    dbostedo Asst. Gathermeister-- Jackson Hole 2020 Moderator Team Gathermeister

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2016
    Posts:
    2,850
    Location:
    Northern Virginia, USA
    Yeah... that would be cool... looking at the colors you can mix up on the RIT site has a lot of possibilities.

    https://www.ritdye.com/color-formulas/?type=203&hue=0&collection=0&pantone=0
     
  9. Philpug

    Philpug Enjoying being back on two skis. Admin Pugski Ski Tester

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2015
    Posts:
    19,586
    Location:
    Reno, eNVy
    Looks like the toe lugs are routed already
     
  10. Chef23

    Chef23 Putting on skis Skier

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2017
    Posts:
    195
    My son uses RIT dyes to dye lacrosse heads. After the dye job he puts them in the freezer which helps the dye set. We boil a bunch of water and transfer it to a container before adding the dye. He is a goalie and dyes goalie heads so you need more area.

    It holds up pretty well but it can soften a lacrosse head. The plastic in a ski boot is much thicker so it might not have the same effect.

    Very cool though they came out great.
     
  11. Thread Starter
    TS
    Noodler

    Noodler Coming out of hibernation... Skier

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2017
    Posts:
    707
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    They were routed for DIN compliance, but will need it again after the plates go on.
     
  12. Thread Starter
    TS
    Noodler

    Noodler Coming out of hibernation... Skier

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2017
    Posts:
    707
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    Yeah, I remember seeing some posts about lacrosse players dyeing their equipment. Your comment about the softening of the plastic is something else I'm wondering about. What is the impact of the dye on the strength and longevity of the PU plastic? Considering how cheap these boots were, it was worth the experiment to me. Of course they're also a beast at 150 flex, so if it softens them up a bit, I won't be shedding any tears. ;)
     
    Chef23 likes this.
  13. Thread Starter
    TS
    Noodler

    Noodler Coming out of hibernation... Skier

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2017
    Posts:
    707
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    Wore rubber gloves and had some old t-shirt/rags handy. Surprisingly little mess, but I was uber careful. Luckily our kitchen has a ton of black, so I was in the clear even if I did drip. :)
     
    Ken_R likes this.
  14. Atomicman

    Atomicman Getting off the lift Skier

    Joined:
    May 6, 2017
    Posts:
    231
    Sheesh...You Just Turned your RD's into Dobies!
     
    Noodler, Philpug and James like this.
  15. James

    James Skiing the powder Instructor

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2015
    Posts:
    5,725
    Wow, never would of thought it! Does some rub off with your hand?

    Just don't try it with the Fischer Vacuum.
     
  16. Tom K.

    Tom K. HRPufnStf Skier

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2015
    Posts:
    2,156
    Being Heads, you now have "graphene" colored boots, not "graphite"!
     
    Noodler likes this.
  17. Thread Starter
    TS
    Noodler

    Noodler Coming out of hibernation... Skier

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2017
    Posts:
    707
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    Nothing rubs off normally. However, I was putting some silicone in them today and the paper towel I used had a very light gray tone when I was done. So the silicone was able to get some of the dye to release.

    Interesting to note that while I was spraying the silicone in the garage, I had the boots in the sunshine for the first time and noticed that they are actually still translucent. The color looks really odd with sun streaming through them. You don't notice this at all with the liners in them.
     
  18. eok

    eok Slopefossil Skier

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2015
    Posts:
    307
    Location:
    Central Oregon
    Kind of off topic, but...

    Rode on a chair with one of the racer kids. Her boots were one of the Junior Head Raptor models. But it was hard to tell what they were because she had apparently scribbled randomly all over her boots with (guessing) different colored Sharpies. She REALLY put a lot of effort into it as very little of the white shell color was left untouched. Cool looking effect... for a kids boot. ;^)
     

Share This Page


  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice