For some reason, it is really hard to find
information on mounting telemark bindings, and often the info
that is available is unclear and sometimes even inaccurate.
I am not a ski tech, though I have mounted many, many pairs of
skis through the years for family and friends and the method
I use has worked well. If you want to mount your bindings yourself
use this article as a guide. Please read the entire article
before beginning. The tools you will need are as follows:
- Electric drill and a drill bit ( 9/64 or 3.5mm, 5/32 or
4.1mm for metal top sheet skis)
- Center punch, awl or hammer and nail
- Epoxy* (the long cure type is waterproof)
- Screwdriver ( large phillips* or Torx 20 for Superloops)
- Ski tap* (#12 for metal top sheet skis)
- String, paper clip, tape and scissors
The first step is to find chord center on the ski (chord:
a straight line joining two points of a curve). The easiest way
to do this is to take a piece of string and tape one end flush
with the end of the ski tail, stretch the other end out in a
straight line to the tip of the ski.
Cut the string at the very end of the tip. Fold the string
in half and mark it in the middle. Take the string and tape it
back on the ski exactly as before. Use a square lined up on the
center mark on the string to mark the chord center spot on the
ski. If you don't have a square you can probably improvise using
something square like a sheet of paper. When you mark the second
ski, check your work by measuring from the tail to make sure
both marks are in the same exact spot on the skis.
When mounting the binding, the position of the binding
on the ski should be such that the pins (if there were any) or
the pin holes on the boots are at chord center. On the
Superloop, to do this you drill your front hole 1 inch forward
(toward the tip) of chord center, all other bindings with the
standard hole pattern (Voile, Riva, Chili, etc.) are mounted
this way as well. With the Pit-Bull follow the directions and
use the template supplied.
An old BD pin binding, notice that the front hole is
1 inch forward of the pins
A Superloop, when the boot is in the binding the pin
holes are 1 inch back
Now that you have determined the placement of the binding
along the ski, it is time to drill the holes and mount the binding.
Start by drilling the front hole. Make sure you center this hole
side to side. Sometimes this is hard, doing it by sight can be
difficult, the graphics can really throw you off. Accurately
measuring can be hard because of the radiused edge on cap skis.
I have found the center point by measuring edge to edge but an
easier way is to use a piece of note paper, wrap it around the
ski at the point that you are going to drill the hole and fold
it over both edges as shown. Then, take the paper fold it in
half with the two creases from the ski edge meeting, unfold it
and wrap it back on the ski and the center crease is the center
Make creases along the edges then fold
to make a crease in the middle, wrap it back around the ski and
the fold in the middle (rt.) is the center.
Now center punch or use a nail to mark the front hole,
then drill. Clean out the hole and mount the binding (without
any risers you may be using) on the ski with the front screw.
Tighten snugly but not all the way. The screw should be tight
enough to keep the plate from flopping around too easily, for
the crux move is at hand...
Slide the boot into the binding all the way, and adjust
the boot (the binding will move with it) so that the heel is
centered over the ski. When it looks right, remove the boot oh
so carefully so that the binding plate does not shift (very important).
Now, the next screw and its placement will determine how the
boot sits on the ski, if the plate is off a fraction of an inch
it will throw the heel off to one side or the other a lot more.
Therefore, center punch the right rear screw hole in the exact
center (as close as you can anyway). Carefully drill this hole,
making sure the bit does not wander out of the punched spot.
Install the screw, snug down and finish drilling the rest of
the holes. Tap the holes if your skis have a metal top-sheet
(you will have seen metal shavings come out of the holes when
you drilled them).
Now remove the plate and fill all the holes with epoxy,
I use a straightened out paper clip for this, scoop up some on
the wire and let the epoxy run off the wire while holding it
over the hole, if you are careful you can get it to run right
into the hole. Now is the time to place any risers you have on
the ski, then the plate, and then re-install the screws in the
order you put them in before, snug them down. I like to put more
epoxy on the threads of each screw for extra security, also it
runs up around the screw head to form a seal. Now , again in
order, tighten each screw down all the way. Wipe off any excess
epoxy with a rag, mount the heel plates and your done.
1. Epoxy: you definitely want to use the slow-cure type
epoxy, it is easier to work with in this application and it is
waterproof, this is not the case with the "5-minute"
stuff. One other note about epoxy: it will react with the foam
in foam core skis, it bubbles up and it is hard to keep the epoxy
in the hole. Counter this by putting some in the hole and on
the threads of the screw just before putting the screw in. I
used to worry about this reaction and the possible damage to
the core ( I had visions of the epoxy "eating" the
foam) until I cut open two different pair of otherwise damaged
skis and inspected the screw holes, I saw no significant sign
of damage to the foam. 2. If your screws are phillips head type
they are probably the ski type screw that I never can remember
the name of. Anyway, the screwdriver for this screw head is almost
impossible to find except from ski shop supply catalogs (and
you know what that means: high dollar). You can make your own
by taking a large phillips head screwdriver and filing or grinding
down the tip a bit until it fits down into the screw like it
should. 3. Tapping metal top sheet skis is recommended by manufacturers
of skis and bindings and by me too. Remember I told you to tap
them if you do like I do and skip tapping them. If the top sheet
pulls up and ruins your ski, please don't forget that I told
you to tap it and sue me. Myself, I never tap them, I believe
that the thin metal is tapped by the screw (like self-tapping
screws do) and the core material is drilled out and is soft enough
to accept the screw without forcing the top-sheet up. I think
that this self-tapping action actually locks the screw in better.
I have never had a top sheet delaminate from mounting, BUT I
could be wrong, so remember, I told you to tap those holes.
Some Reader Submitted Comments and Tips
After glueing and screwing the binding in turn the ski upside
down overnight. This makes sure that the glue sets near the topsheet
where youwant it. Self tapping seems to work best if you only
turn the screw in a quarter to half turn at a time, and back
it out a little in between. At least until the top sheet is tapped,
after that it should be easy to screw it in the rest of the way.
Make sure that the screw is square to the ski!- for risers thicker
than about 10mm it's much better to seperately mount
the riser to the ski and the binding to the riser.
Some riser tips:
You can cut your own risers out of a plastic chopping board,
or a similar high-density sheet plastic from an industrial plastic
supplier. If it's high density enough then you should be able
to use a 9/64" drill and self-tap the binding screws into
the plastic. Or use machine screws from above into matching T-nuts
inserted from underneath for a totally bomber setup. Draw chord-center
and longitudinal center-line marks on both the ski and the riser
to help line them up.Make a paper template for the riser-to-ski
mounting holes. Four holes works well, one in each corner. Drill
the riser with a thick enough drill bit so that the ski mounting
screws fit loosely. If the screw threads engage in both the riser
and the ski then you'll end up stripping one or the other when
you torque it down, and you really don't want to strip the ski.
Countersink the riser holes so the screw heads are flush or lower.
After mounting the riser to the ski then mount the binding to
the riser being careful to center the boot heel. Make sure you
lift the heel block at least as much as you lift the binding.
There's no torque on the heel block so feel free to use long
screws that go all the way through to the ski. Finally take your
time to double check and measure everything twice. If you can't
afford to take more care and more time than a ski shop would,
then take the skis to the shop instead. Hugh Grierson
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Matt Kalin , Verbier