A corrosive story

A corrosive story

Winter has finally come to Vermont.  Winter is defined by our household as having enough snow to snowshoe and cross-country ski.  Downhill skiing doesn’t factor into this definition since the ski resorts can manufacture their own snow.

So winter is here; a good opportunity to go snowshoeing with my wife (who is in very good shape and weighs about as much as my right leg).  Some would say that it is also a good time to give my wife another opportunity to “off me” and use the insurance money to build a horse barn.  I would never say such a thing, but others might.  Imagine my horror, my surprise, my utter disappointment when I discovered that my LL Bean snowshoe boots had corrosion on and in the eyelets.  For shame!  I can live with the corrosion, but two of the eyelets (shown) were so caked with corrosion that the shoelaces were locked in place.  I was able to use my other LL Bean boots, the famous Maine Hunting Shoe, and still go snowshoeing, but that is not the point of the story.  I also survived the outing, otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this…although my wife did lead me directly up a series of hills just to see if a barn was in her immediate future.
When we arrived back home and my heart rate returned to normal, I contacted LL Bean via on-line chat to ask how to clean the eyelets.  After some consultation, the LL Bean employee recommended baking soda and water or baking soda and vinegar.  It was pretty cool watching the chemical reaction of adding baking soda to vinegar.  The mixture did help somewhat, but it did not get the corrosion inside the eyelets.

Mel’s secret weapon
I explained my dilemma to Mel at the Jericho General Store and he suggested Flitz.  I had never heard of it.  Mel lent me a small tube (picture left).  It worked great on the parts of the eyelets you could reach – better than the baking soda and vinegar.

I also used Flitz on my Maine Hunting Shoe eyelets which had a small amount of corrosion on the eyelets.  Flitz cleaned them right up, then I used Jim’s trick of using a Q-tip to apply some WD-40 to the eyelets to prevent any recurrence of corrosion.

The Bean snowshoe boots went back to Leon Leonwood today for them to repair or send me a credit.  I’m pretty sure they won’t try to repair them and I will have to see what I get for a credit.  [Update: I just received an e-mail from LL Bean and they are sending me a $69 credit for the boots, certainly standing by their pledge of customer satisfaction.  Thanks Bean’s.  Since I already got new boots, maybe I’ll apply the credit towards some new chest-high waders!]

Thanks to Mel and Jim for their suggestions.  I did order a replacement pair of boots from LL Bean.  I can write about buying new boots because my wife never reads my blog!

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