When placing binding screw inserts in skis, or even tapping regular binding holes, the tap must be inserted perpendicular to the ski or else, well, let’s just not go there. I’ve always aligned the tap free-form by hand. Although the first couple half turns often make for somewhat nervous moments, I’ve never had any problems with this approach — but I wasn’t aware of any tooling that could at least speed things up and make the process more relaxing. Now, as a result of the back-and-forth in the comments section after Lou’s “Quiver Killer” inserts review, I’ve improved my shop by using tap guides. Check out what myself and Lou are using in our respective home shops.Plastic Tap Guide Block shown above $9.25
According to Lou, like me he’s always tap danced without a guide, but never really liked the feel of doing so, is bummed it takes extra time, and notices he’s frequently enough off perpendicular to be a concern. He says if nothing else, using a tap guide speeds up his tapping by a factor of three or more, and makes it a pleasant smooth experience instead of a tooth clenching “I hope this works” moment. This especially while tapping for binding screw inserts, which must to be done well. So here you go. If you do much ski work, get a tap guide that works for the type of tap dancing you do. You’ll be glad you did.
Self-Aligning Hand Tapper & Reamer $23.96
Alpine Tap Collar $15.95
Lou just got this one for his shop. It’s steel instead of plastic, but essentially the same thing as above plastic job only not as big diameter. He says it probably yields no better or worse results than the plastic one, but might last longer, although it also costs more. He reamed out one hole for his regular binding tap, and uses one of the stock holes for his insert tap.
(WildSnow guest blogger Jonathan Shefftz lives with his wife and daughter in Western Massachusetts, where he is a member of the Northfield Mountain and Thunderbolt / Mt Greylock ski patrols. Formerly an NCAA alpine race coach, he has broken free from his prior dependence on mechanized ascension to become far more enamored of self-propelled forms of skiing. He is an AIARE-qualified instructor, NSP avalanche instructor, and contributor to the American Avalanche Association’s The Avalanche Review. When he is not searching out elusive freshies in Southern New England or promoting the NE Rando Race Series, he works as a financial economics consultant.)