Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Binding Mounting

Just like everyone who has many pairs of skis mounted, I have had shops mount several pairs wrong, not to mention charging what seems to be a high fee for drilling about 16 holes. My biggest frustration here is the EXTREMELY high percentage of incorrect mounts.

I see 2 alternatives: 

  1. Take them to a reputable shop to do the mount I've come to the conclusion that EVERY shop messes up mounts. Don't ask me why its not that hard, but whatever. The point is it happens. So go to a big shop. The reason for this is that a big shop has the resources/money to make up for a mistake, they will do something to evenly compensate you for their mistake. I would recommend going to a ski shop owned by a ski corporation such as Colorado Ski & Golf/Boulder Ski Deals owned by Vail, or Loveland Ski Area's repair shop, since I ski there so much.
  2. Mount your own bindings Save yourself the money and do it yourself. Fortunately I was lucky enough to have my good friends Emiel and Emrys Hall show me the ropes, which I really appreciate! To mount your own bindings you will need these things:

  • Binding Template
    • Most bindings have a unique screw pattern. Make sure you print out the right template! Make sure is that your printer has not scaled the template so that it fits on a page easier. Just check this with a tape measure after printing out each template.
  • Plastic Drill Hole Plugs
    • These keep water out of old binding drill holes. Some people just like to put epoxy in the holes. The reason I prefer to use the plugs is that I feel it is difficult to completely fill a hole with epoxy primarily because of just how much epoxy likes to stick to your applicator. These plugs can smashed in with a couple light blows with a mallet.
  • Drill Bit
    • There are 2 drill bit sizes used for binding mounts. 3.6mm for skis without metal in them and 4.1mm for skis with metal. Personally, regardless of whether or not there is metal in the ski what I like to do is drill the hole with the 3.6mm bit, then IF there is metal I go back with a 4.1 mm bit and go just through the metal sheet, but not past it.
    • Of course you can use just a normal drill bit and tape it at 9mm or use a collar, but the Slide Wright drill bits that prevent you from drilling too deep are very quick and easy to use.
    • Drill bits can also be found here
  • Pozi Drive #3
    • Screw driver for the screw used for binding mounts.
  • Wood Glue
    • Put this in the drill holes before you screw the binding in. Epoxy works too.
  • Hammer/mallet
    • Used to smash the plastic plugs into old drill holes.
  • Punch
    • Used to mark the locations where you will be drilling.
  • Tape Measure/Calipers
  • Additional Resources: 
  1. Mark the boot centerline on each ski. 
    Although almost all skis have recommended mount points marked you want to check this! Top sheets often shift during pressing! You can check this by measuring from the tip of the ski and marking your mount position of choice on each ski
  2. Find and mark the centerline of the ski
  3. Tape template to ski
    Use the repeating vertical lines located on the sides of the template to make sure it is centered on the ski along with the centerline marked in step # 2.
  4. Center punch the mounting hole locations
  5. Remove template
  6. Immediately circle all punched drill hole locations with a black sharpie
  7. Check that holes are where you want them
    1. Place skis next to each other, compare.
    2. Measure distance from tip to several hole locations
    3. Measure distance from side of ski to several hole locations, make sure they are symmetrical on each ski.
  8. Make sure you won't drill through skis!Check to make sure that the drill bit is short enough that when drilled to its tape/collar it will not drill into the base material
  9. Drill holes
  10. Clean out holes
    Blow sawdust out, use a razor if necessary to remove ski material dangling from holes.
  11. Put glue in holes
    You don't need to fill holes completely, screws will take up most of hole volume. You can use either a toothpick or a syringe as an applicator. Wipe away excess glue.
  12. Check Screw Length
    As described by Emiel you don't want a screw that is too long for your ski to 
    accommodate: "Be sure to check the length of the screws you are using. if the screws are too long they can dimple the base or cause other issues. a good way to accomplish this is to place the screws in one half of the binding (say the left half). then position the bindings on the skis in the approximate location you are mounting and hang the screws over the sidewall of the ski. you will be able to see if the screws are too short/too long before you do any drilling or screwing into the skis. do this for both the toe and heel pieces."
  13. Screw the bindings in
    Apply ample downward pressure to screwdriver while screwing in, especially as the screw starts to catch so that the screw by itself is not doing all the work to get into the ski and as not to rip out the ski material as the screw tries to catch. DO NOT OVERTIGHTEN SCREWS! Doing this will strip them and significantly reduce their strength. If you do strip it to the point you think the screw has lost all structure integrity, per Emiel Hall's suggestion: remove screw, jam hole full of steel wool and epoxy, reapply screw.
  14. Set forward pressure, DIN, etc
  15. Enjoy!
I'm sure I'm missing a couple of steps, but thats the basic idea, let me if missed anything!

P.S. I've been quite busy with an undisclosed project for the last couple of weeks, hopefully I'll get it all finished up in the next week or two, in the meantime I'll try to get posts up here whenever I have a chance!