Ski Shop DIY Toolset — Part 4 — Miscellaneous

Post by blogger | June 20, 2018      

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

First, the actual DIY. After

First, the actual DIY. Not my idea, copied from the workbench at Cripple Creek Backcountry, poor man’s ski vise. Two blocks of 4×4 wrapped with silicon “rescue tape” or bike inner tubes for friction. Free to move around or store for the summer. Quick, cheap, easy, stable. (Note that regular 4×4 stock may not hold your skis high enough when inverted, if not, lam a chunk of 2×4 to a side before you wrap the tape, then you’ll have a full 6 inches height when you need it.

A few things below are somewhat essential, others simply make your tool fun easier.

Tape measure
Tool freaks like me can go on for hours about tape measures. So I’ll make a stab at five minutes. For tool belt carpentry I still swear by the Stanley 25-foot PowerLock. After decades and countless replacements that have built everything from sheds to Aspen mansions (and sometimes the sheds next to the mansions), the PowerLock feels like an extension of my hand. With the traditional model, you get layout marks for 16 inch on center wall construction, a beefy end hook, but the standard model is fully archaic in only showing Imperial units; inches and feet. For a ski shop, you need a metric tape as well as a “regular.” Stanley to the rescue on that as well. Link to right is for their metric model PowerLock in the 8 meter version (~25-foot). It appears they make 6 meter as well that might be more appropriate for the workbench.

Dead blow hammer
You need some kind of hammer. Whatever you have kicking around your home repair toolbox will usually be fine. On the other hand, dead blow hammers are a joy for recreational activities such as whacking a center punch, tapping a binding to the side while aligning or testing, and generally doing stuff where a regular steel hammer is too powerful and bouncy. I like the shopping option linked at right. Not too large, with one side being brass for actions such as persuading stuck screws out of binding base plates.

Flat bar
I just read a John Sanford thriller in which the protagonist expends significant time on pry bar epistemology. The one in question was of course used as a murder weapon. Indeed, your ski shop pry bar might be used to smash mice. Probably nothing more lethal than that, except destroying a defective binding now and then that explodes when you attempt a vertical release check. The tool you want is a Stanley Wonderbar “flat bar,” reason being it has a fairly long right-angle tongue, allowing you to pry a boot up off the ski by moving the bar sideways. Other bars might be suitable, but the Wonderbar is best. Our video explains.

Cordless driver drill
You can find several lifetimes of debates and reviews on what drill is best. I’ve owned a bunch of brands and models, beginning with the original NiCad battery Makita drills, decades ago. My main criteria are standardizing batteries, price, and purchasing convenience when I need something fast. While the blue Bosche 18v cordless products you can find online or at Lowes are not the highest quality (e.g., Milwaukee or Makita), I’m not a full time ski mech or carpenter so I standardize on the Bosch. The 20 volt Dewalt offerings are roughly equivalent, perhaps better. Incidentally, my Bosch cordless sawzall CRS180 has proved to be pro quality, under tons of heavy use. It is perfect for brush cutting when a chainsaw is overkill and your handsaw a pity. The Bosch DDS181 is my current favorite driver drill — it’s got a good quality chuck and is nicely compact. (If you’re strictly doing ski work you can get away with a smaller, lower voltage drill, but we like the multi-tasking ability of 18 volt 1/2 inch guys such as the DDS181. You can compromise with the DDB181, slightly smaller, cheaper, chuck not as good, still 18 volt.)

Cordless tool batteries
Can’t have enough battery if you’re committing to the cordless world. In the case of Bosch they’ve come up with an expensive but effective higher capacity battery that’s what you probably want for any replacements. Or, perhaps as an upgrade. Apparently the venerable lithium-ion battery has quite a bit of potential for improvement, rather than being replaced by “ten years in the future” chemistry the renewable energy press regularly raves over.

By popular demand, the taller ski support.

By popular demand, the taller ski support. Laminate a 2×4 to the 4×4.


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10 Responses to “Ski Shop DIY Toolset — Part 4 — Miscellaneous”

  1. XXX_er June 20th, 2018 11:42 am

    IME 4″ is not enough to clear many bindings that are not tech but a 6″ distance between ski & bench top will work for any ski/ binding, I put a 1/2″ slot on one side the blocks to hold a skis for an edge file

  2. George June 20th, 2018 12:15 pm

    A better (IMHO) DIY vise:
    What’s not in the pictures – a piece of climbing skin attached up side down to the top of blocks for a better grip.

  3. Lou Dawson 2 June 20th, 2018 1:25 pm

    Eastern powder requires sharp edges, out here in the west I don’t side sharpen my touring skis very often, when I do I usually just hold the ski on its side, but I do have a cinch vise I can quickly clamp on to the workbench. As for height, these blocks seem to work fine for all our touring bindings with the skis upside down for waxing and base work, but I also made a set with full 4.25 inch Trex fence post stock, nice and heavy. It would be easy to indeed add a 2×4 layer to the 4x4s, that would be plenty of height… Key would be to simply keep in mind what skis you’re planning on working on, and make blocks accordingly. BTW, the silicon tape works super well for friction.

    I should edit the blog post to suggest making thicker blocks, thanks for reminding me…


  4. XXX_er June 20th, 2018 2:04 pm

    I also work on alpine skis and non Tech AT bindings like the FR+ which need more clearance for the bindings so I also T’ed together some 2×4 as posted in that link which gives me 5″ then I screw it to my bench, works for snow boards too

  5. David B June 20th, 2018 5:02 pm

    I thought I was looking at my ski holder there for a minute. I use that grippy rubber matting that use on bars to wrap my 4×4. I use them at home and on demo days on my folding work bench. I was going to drill through and set two bolts into the 4×4 with butterfly nuts to attach to the workbench but found the rubber mat worked so well I didn’t need bolts.

  6. See June 21st, 2018 9:57 am

    How do you avoid hitting those blocks with your knuckles when flat filing bases? I try to avoid bowing the file, but I still find myself holding it with my hands just outboard of the edges. Also, any thoughts on the skivisions base flattener?

  7. David B June 21st, 2018 4:42 pm

    Flat filing bases is not an issue. I’ve not hit my knuckles doing it. I suppose it’s the way I hold the file.

  8. Lou Dawson 2 June 22nd, 2018 9:13 am

    I don’t have any trouble with flat filing using the blocks, but if I really had to yard down on a pair of skis I’d have to reposition the blocks so my fists holding the file would have room… you end up making do, I don’t flat file our skis much but I do so occasionally, when they get bad we have them machine tuned, I don’t have the time for a lot of ski tuning work, especially the type of flat filing that involves removing base material, seems I’m always doing something with a binding mount, swap, dismount, due to the blog work. During some years I also do quite a bit of ski waxing, when we get motivated to test a lot of skis, the “block” vise works well for waxing.

    We did have an Eggbar vise as well, but we’ve left it over and Cripple Creek and really don’t need it, we just use the blocks. Eggbar is highly recommended.

  9. Daniel Powers June 24th, 2018 9:38 pm

    I’ve been using 4×4’s for years, but I assumed that was because I was an ignorant hick. Turns out I was ahead of the curve for once.

  10. Lou Dawson 2 June 29th, 2018 10:20 am

    Added a photo of the taller ski support version, made by adding 2×4 to the 4×4. Lou

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