Q: Have you ever wondered what it takes to rubberize dog agility contacts? Well here’s the answer!
A: The first step is to make certain the surface is securely attached to the contact’s frame. We use aluminum sheet metal that will never rust and creates an excellent surface for strength, durability and acceptance of binder and rubber granules. Before applying the rubber, the surface must be cleaned. We use an ammonia based cleaner to remove any residue, oils and grime.
The rubber granules are weighed and the appropriate about of binder is added. It is extremely important to get this ratio correct, if not, the rubberized surface can be shiny and slick. Exactly what you don’t want. You have much more control over the outcome if you work in small batches. It is more than worth it in the end!
Before you apply the prepared mixture of granules and rubber, a very thin layer of binder is applied to the surface. The next step includes creating a retaining edge around the contact you are surfacing with rubber. Strips of wood can be attached with clamps to create a retaining edge or a moveable strip of wood can be used as you proceed. If you are new to this process by all means create an affixed retaining edge as shown below. It is also very important to note that the binder used is moisture cured. If your environment is very humid the curing process will happen rapidly, but if the environment is very dry the surface area may still be tacky the next day! Also make sure that the retaining edge and slat forms are removed as soon as curing has just begun! If not you will have a very hard time removing them later!!!
If slats are included in the specifications for the contact surface, these should be constructed first for enhanced longevity and added strength.
The pattern for the slats is layer out with wooden strips to create the correct width and height. They are held in place with clamps or very strong tape.
A small spatula and guide for the ends of the slats are used to press and secure the prepared granules in place. A small amount of binder must be placed in the channel before the prepared granules.
Creating the slats on an A-Frame may also require weights to insure that the prepared granules do not drift under the forms.
Once the slats have been made and cured then the rest of the surface rubber can be applied (usually the next day). Use a guide to keep the prepared granules on the surface and use a trowel to press in to place.
When transitioning from one color to the next, it is best to cover the completed rubber with part of a form used for the slats. This will protect that surface and provide a guide for the new colored granules. This is also easiest to do if the 1st color is either cured or partially cured.
Once all of the rubber is fully cured, it is best to reinforce the edge of the rubberized surface with a strong weatherproof adhesive. Apply in small sections and then press into granules on the edge with a spatula. Use a paper towel to remove excess adhesive. This process helps to prevent chunking on the edges.
That’s all it takes to get the job done! Have fun and RUN HAPPY!!!
If you have any questions, please let us know. Best Wishes.