Snowy Sunday project: Heat molding my 32 Forecasts

Nothing to it.

A $40 heat gun, some cardboard tube, a thermocouple, an hour and a half, and three beers. I was going to take my boots to the nearest Zumiez today, and simply take the path of least resistance. I'm sure the heater that 32 gives it's distributors does a fantastic job of heating their liners. Unfortunately, I called them and their sales representative chirpily informed me that while they sold 32s they 'don't do heat molding', and none of their locations do heat molding, sorry. Which didn't seem plausible, but after saying 'Really?' and 'Are you sure?' in an incredulous voice a couple of times, I gave up. Hell, I have a heat source and a basic knowledge of thermodynamics. Who doesn't?

The key was ducting the hot air into the toe of the boot. I used a handy 1.5 inch cardboard tube that had a previous life as the center of a roll of wrapping paper. If you just blow heat into the top of the boot, you won't get good airflow through the liner, and the heat just stratifies in the top of the boot. You need to get the air down into the toe, and then it will heat the rest of the liner as it flows out of the boot. I heat soaked the liner at about 220F for 15 minutes. I cut a notch in the tube about 6 inches from the end so it would bend a little more gracefully.

Not the most elegant solution, but cardboard is a very poor conductor, and I wasn't worried about the tube singing the liner. Ultimately it worked very well.

I simply can't believe the level of fit I have now. I'll have to actually ride it, but it feels incredible. I could barely get my feet into the boots prior to treating them.

No comments: