Quelling the Eruptions — Ski Volcano Cutter

Post by WildSnow.com blogger | November 13, 2015      

One wonders how Google will index that blog post title! But you shop rats and DIYers know what I’m talking about; those pesky “bubble” eruptions around the screw holes in your previously mounted skis. They’re as bad as acne and sometimes nearly as time consuming to fix. Sure, you can tediously cut around each hole with a knife or razor, or attempt to simply scrape everything with a steel scraper. Those options are time consuming and sometimes not so effective. I made a small cutter out of an old wood-screw countersink that works quite well. Final step is still running steel scraper over the holes a few times, but the complete process is now fast and easy.

The problem.

The problem.

The solution: cutter at right made from old countersink, shown on left before modification.

The solution: cutter at right made from old countersink, shown on left before modification. I cut off the skinny drill bit part, made it smaller and totally dull so it simply indexes the cutter in the hole. I then flattened and sharpened the larger countersink surface which does the actual removal of the bubble volcano.

Results: quick hit with the cutter then a few strokes with the cabinet scraper.

Results: quick hit with the cutter then a few strokes with the cabinet scraper.

I sometimes use a disk grinder with a sanding disk to flatten skis with lots of screw holes and epoxy–speedy but crude. A Stanley Surform blade used without the holder can work, but I’ve had it pick up and pull chunks out of the top skin. Another method is to use a sharp knife with a smaller blade (Xacto), using a rotating motion to carve the volcano away. Binding Freedom makes tool for clearing the top edge of larger insert holes, perhaps it works for smaller holes as well? Any commenters have a favorite method? I’m always willing to learn new.


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25 Responses to “Quelling the Eruptions — Ski Volcano Cutter”

  1. Jim Milstein November 13th, 2015 8:38 am

    I use a very sharp chisel, flat on the ski.

  2. Greg Louie November 13th, 2015 8:48 am

    1.5″ paint scraper kept super sharp with a file. Boom.

  3. CHRIS November 13th, 2015 8:55 am


  4. Lou Dawson 2 November 13th, 2015 9:21 am

    Chris, no need to shout, I happen to have a few chisels around here. They tend to occasionally rip up a chunk of topskin so I quit using them. Same problem with most other scraper or knife based methods.

  5. XXX_er November 13th, 2015 9:41 am

    after drilling the holes i use a large drill bit to chamfer the top sheet a bit and i don’t get volcanos but for volcanos that are already there just use something sharp to cut it down … whatever is kicking around

  6. Lou Dawson 2 November 13th, 2015 9:50 am

    BTW, my bias here is a semi-production environment. Not a ski shop, but swapping bindings on quite a few skis over the winter. I want to get those bubbles off fast, with no damage to the ski.

    New mounts, I just press the ski specific drill bit down with a bit of pressure and let it trim the top of the hole a tiny bit.


  7. Andrei November 13th, 2015 10:09 am

    I use scraper sharpener like a wood rasp and file those suckers off. Since they stick out, the sharpener files off only the “volcano” part and doesn’t harm the ski itself.

  8. Andrei November 13th, 2015 10:10 am

    Oh, and you can do two “volcanos” at a time…

  9. Jack November 13th, 2015 10:28 am

    I’ve used the Binding Freedom tool. A web search for “deburring drill bit” found several sets with a similar cutting arrangement. Smallest diameter was for 1/4″ holes. I believe this would work with a little bit of dexterity.

  10. Drew Tabke November 13th, 2015 10:36 am

    I grab whatever random free-floating rusty razor blade is on the bench and cut them off. Lou’s system looks more OSHA friendly.

    Lou, on the subject of binding mounting and re-mounting, did you ever do a post on Gorilla glue vs. a standard waterproof wood-type glue for mounting? DPS still suggests Gorilla glue for mounting their skis, and I was wondering if might actually work better for all skis.

  11. Seth November 13th, 2015 12:15 pm

    Nice idea.

    Another option would be using a de-burring tool. I don’t have a lot of experience with your ski specific problem but have had a lot of experience with machined plastic parts. Most tools come with multiple blades given some quick experimenting with different geometry blades you should be able to get great results. Very fast as well. Maybe worth a try.

    Here’s one example.

    Hope this helps.

  12. Lou Dawson 2 November 13th, 2015 1:51 pm

    Hi Drew, I do use Gorilla mud on occasion but I’ve found several problems with it.

    1. It really locks up, and can’t be easily reversed/softened by heating. I’ve broken screws that were set with Gorilla saliva.

    2. Gorilla droppings expand while curing, which might be good inside the ski but can ooze all over the place.

    I use a variety. For quickie mounts I’ll need to reverse I use 5-minute epox or ski binding white glue. For “real” mounts I use 1-hour epoxy. And I do throw in a tiny amount of Gorilla excretion if I don’t have anything else around, but I use just a tiny bit rather than glomming a bunch into each hole.

    Apologies to all gorillas for the attempt at humor.


  13. GeorgeT November 13th, 2015 7:16 pm

    I luckily have an old countersink that deburrs safely. I used this same countersink for building my ski bench. God forbid I catch Lisa’s fashionista pants on an exposed screw head.

  14. See November 13th, 2015 7:16 pm

    Dremel sanding drum on a flex shaft.

  15. Bernard November 14th, 2015 7:49 am

    Thumb plane.

  16. CHRIS November 14th, 2015 8:51 am


  17. Jim Milstein November 14th, 2015 9:49 am

    Chris, call 911 immediately. You don’t have to suffer like this.

  18. Zach November 14th, 2015 10:06 am

    Binding Freedom makes another deburring tool specific to 3.5 and 4.1 holes. I have been using this guy and it works great. http://www.bindingfreedom.com/ski-screw-hole-deburring-tool/

  19. Lou Dawson 2 November 14th, 2015 10:43 am

    Chris, interesting how sticky beer can be, eh?


  20. Bill Balz November 14th, 2015 11:20 am

    Mirror-sharp chisels and countersink for me.

  21. Brian November 14th, 2015 5:23 pm

    All good suggestions. I like using my Ski Visions ski base planer with the high speed steel blade. It’ll take down all four in a couple of quick strokes.

  22. Kristian November 15th, 2015 10:31 am

    I have personally (your results may differ) had good luck with the following:

    Set the ski on a firm flat supported surface, use a hammer and an UPSIDE DOWN center punch, and gently use the slightly rounded head of the center punch to return the volcano back to where it came from.

  23. DavidB November 15th, 2015 4:53 pm

    I use a sharp razor blade from a Stanley knife.

    Lou, that skis looks like a DPS Wailer 99 Tour1. Tell tale black hole of Calcutta.

    Drew & Lou I mount many pairs of DPS Skis every year and use Gorilla Glue. I wouldn’t use 5 minute epoxies if you were wanting a permanent mount. They are generally too brittle and crack then let water in.

    I use your soldering iron method to heat the screws and don’t generally have any issues screws.

    If you drill and tap DPS skis then the fibre’s will hold the screws quite well, just make sure whatever glue you use stays flexible and will waterproof the hole.

  24. Lou Dawson 2 November 15th, 2015 6:21 pm

    Agree on the 5-minute, I just use it as a temporary solution that I like better than gorilla mud. Lou

  25. Lou Dawson 2 August 10th, 2016 1:38 pm

    Rick asked about the necessity of tapping screw holes, I’d say, sure, excessive “volcano-ing” as you refer to is indeed caused by a person forcing a screw into too small a hole for the ski’s construction. In my experience the tap is not always necessary, but sometimes it is. It’s easy to test by picking one hole without the binding and running a screw in by hand a few turns to see how tight it is. Also, many skis these days have drilling info printed right there on the ski. Lou

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