Boot Fitters Fixture/Clamp for Tech Fitting Equipped Shoes

Post by blogger | November 10, 2010      

Some of the boot fitters I know rig up a boot fixation system on their bench so they can grinch on ski boots without them skittering all over the bench like a wounded rat. Such systems are usually just an easily adjustable alpine binding mounted on a board. I could have rigged the same thing and it would help part of the time. But when you heat mold tech fitting equipped boots, the toe and heel fittings can get thrown out of alignment enough to be noticeable when you snap into your binding heel unit. To prevent that, the boot needs to be aligned in a fixture that anchors the front tech fittings and centers the heel. Whipped this up yesterday, check it out.

Backcountry skiing boot clamping device.

The rig uses an old Dynafit TLT toe unit I had lying around set on an alpine binding stack shim. Heel is a slick adjustable Marker Titanium 12.0 (yes Nigel, it goes to 11). Click image to enlarge.

I tried to do this project with zero hardware store runs, but alas, had to head over to the money pit for longer screws that would hold in the plywood. Two layers of 3/4 plywood, sunk with nice long #12 screws. I’ll clamp the whole rig to the bench. No more dancing rat.

Centering and lining up the heel unit with the toe was tough. Works well once that is done, though you have to be careful the boot heel is centered in the alpine binding heel cup.

Backcountry boot clamping system.

Dynafit toe and Marker heel unit mounted on a beefy plywood foundation. Marker heel has a wide range of fore/aft adjustment, so I can work on lots of different size boots. Career number 78? Nope, but for some reason I end up working on a lot of boots. Click image to enlarge.

Beyond keeping toe and heel aligned, when you punch AT boots for length you can end up pressing the sole rocker out. Freeriders might like that, but I don’t because I’m more of a freeclimber than a freerider. Solution is a rig that uses a press clamp to press the boot sole down into the fixture, thus preserving rocker as the boot heats and cools. I’ll post about that when I get around to actually blowing out some boots. Skian mentioned how enlightening it was to punch an old pair of boots to the point of failure. I think I’ll do that; destroying things always makes for great blogging. Soon, my dears.


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17 Responses to “Boot Fitters Fixture/Clamp for Tech Fitting Equipped Shoes”

  1. Dave November 10th, 2010 9:38 am

    I have Garmont Radiums and will need to get the toes punched for width this winter if I can find a shop that will do it (I lack the nerve, tools, and know how). If the punching is for width, not length, is there still the risk of affecting rocker or insert alignment and hence, the need for a jig to hold the boot? If a jig is needed, why not just keep the boot mounted in the ski’s binding? Thanks.

  2. Mark November 10th, 2010 9:45 am

    My old Megalites, which are TOO tight might be a good test subject.

  3. Lou November 10th, 2010 10:31 am

    Dave, width punch isn’t as hard on the boot, but it can twist it so it should still be held in a fixture. Using a binding on a ski doesn’t resist the twisting very well, and also easily allows the boot heel to shift left or right because of flexibility in the Dynafit binding heel.

    I’d say go for a minor width punch if the heating is localized and the boot sole area is kept cool. But care is the word.

  4. Tom Gos November 10th, 2010 11:06 am

    Lou, it looks like you mounted the Dynafit toe piece on an old Salomon lifter to get the toe to approximately the same height as the heel. Just curious if the Dynafit screw pattern happend to match the holes in the Sally lifter or if you had to re-drill it. I have some of those old lifters around and was thinking that if they match it could make for an easy way to switch alpine and Dynafit bindings on the same ski.

  5. Matt November 10th, 2010 11:17 am

    ok now you got me scared…I am soon to go get my pair of BD methods (which I do use the tech inserts with) punched near the toes for additional width at a shop I have trusted for years. But now I’m wondering, should I be anal and make sure they are using some sort of mount/clamp like this?!? I hadn’t even thought of this as a problem before I read these last 2 entries….

  6. Matt November 10th, 2010 11:19 am

    sorry, didn’t see Lou’s answer to Dave…seems to answer my question

  7. Lou November 10th, 2010 11:27 am

    Tom, I drilled new holes, and I’m not sure the lifter plastic would be strong enough to hold a Dynafit for skiing, unless you used extra long screws and went through it into the ski.

  8. Matt Kinney November 10th, 2010 7:45 pm

    “grinch on ski boots without them skittering all over the bench like a wounded rat.” 😆
    Very good lou.

  9. Lou November 10th, 2010 7:49 pm

    Er, you’ve wounded a few in your time? 😀

  10. Matt Kinney November 10th, 2010 8:04 pm

    You should see the claw marks on our kitchen counters. I can tell you that using the boot power straps around the paper towel holder does not work.


  11. henrik westling November 13th, 2010 4:34 am

    Hi Lou
    Yesterday I was going to screw on a pair of dynafit low tech lite on my skis. As you know it consist of a speed toepice and a lowtech heelpice. But when putting the low tech heelpice on the ski, it’s much lower than the Speed heelpice. This make the boot leaning backwards… Making skiing position much more upright. Do you know why dynafit sell this combination this way ? I took a distanceplate from an old telebinding between the ski and the binding to get the same hight as the orginal speed heelpice. I really hope it will hold together. I have some pictures in my blog at under “utrustnig”

    Henrik Westling

  12. Lou November 13th, 2010 7:51 am

    Henrik, Dynafit uses different names for this stuff that confuse, so I’m not clear. But in terms of “why” they’d provide a binding setup with less ramp, perhaps for racing/running, or they just figure people will deal with it just as you did.

  13. Arnie May 3rd, 2012 5:21 am

    Long time lurker drawn out by my current project..just rigged up something similar to punch my tlt5’s for width. Using the hot water method and on my first go the sole obviously distorted (twisted)so I backed off straight away and got to work on a hybrid clamp as above. If I “tennis ball” and press clamp the front (as per a previous post) do you reckon that’ll preserve the rocker while I punch the side? It’s a relatively big punch as my feet are pretty square(same width almost to the ankle) Also, I recently treated myself to an IR thermometer, do you know the temperature where it’ll all go wrong and “raclette” my new boots if I decide to hot gun it?

    Thanks for a great site, glad you enjoyed some euro hut to hutting

  14. Lou May 3rd, 2012 2:40 pm

    Arnie, you can check for rocker preservation by just looking at the boot before you start heating. It should be clamped and held in such a way that the rocker is slightly exaggerated. Temperature that Pebax melts at is around 300 degrees F, varies according to exact formulation. It’s just a type of nylon, by the way… If I were you I’d find a junk pair of boots to experiment on… Lou

  15. Arnie May 4th, 2012 1:09 pm

    Hey Lou,
    Thanks for the advice, I’ve an old pair of F1’s I’ve been playing with, pulled them about quite a bit, very easy to work with , this grilamid is different I’m guessing because it’s so thin although it doesn’t seem to stretch much, well not at the temps I’ve got it to with boiling water(I’m pretty much at sea level) although I’m sure I’ll get the shape I need…can’t wait to ski ’em

  16. Lou May 4th, 2012 1:45 pm

    Arnie, I’m pretty sure you’re going to need higher temp than boiling water to do any real molding of grilamid. Lou

  17. Arnie May 4th, 2012 2:45 pm

    just taking it easy, I remember Fede saying they’d got a full size in length and width with boiling water. It does seem to move but not stretch like pbax. As you’ve kinda said before, anatomical lasts are great, if it’s your anatomy, not the son of the italian boot maker!

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