Mark got his wish of a modern rando setup, with Dynafit of course! More, he chose the fully enlightened “path of Dyna” by mounting them himself. His story:
Dynafit bindings are what I’ve wanted for ski mountaineering, and I finally got ’em. But with no shops around that mount them, I had to get to work. Here are a few mounting tips that may encourage the first-timer, like I was, to proceed without trepidation.
Since you’re reading this at Wildsnow, you probably know this is the clearinghouse for all things Dynafit, so take the time to read all the mounting instructions. Perhaps re-read them and make a few notes of your own.
Next, make a checklist of all the tools you’ll need. Lou has them well outlined. I strongly recommend using a drill bit designed for ski binding mounts. They are hard to find, but can be ordered from slidewright.com. Plan ahead as it may take a few weeks to obtain. Ditto for a thread tap. One item I had somewhat poor results with was LocTite brand epoxy. 3M or just about any hardware store brand gets higher marks. While Lou has sometimes suggested 5-minute epoxy, he says that 1-hour is easier to work with and stronger and suggests using 1-hour unless for some reason you need a super fast cure.
One procedural difference from Lou’s method is that I did each ski individually so I could focus very closely on just one step and one ski at a time.
In terms of method, using a workbench covered with fairly heavy paper works. Tape it down well and keep it flat on the table for accuracy. I found that scribing a line parallel to the bench edge was helpful in keeping the ski largely parallel to this edge. Making two reference marks on ski’s edge near tip and tail that extend onto the paper helps keep things in place. Use handy clamps to keep ski from moving.
Now, a most helpful tip is this: Take your time to scribe a highly accurate longitudinal centerline on the ski that extends well beyond toe and heelpiece. This makes almost everything go more smoothly. I re-did my centerline several times and was overly perfectionist about it — and treating it that way was worth it. If you are really accurate with this and then place the paper template correctly, you’re already on your way to a quality mount.
The paper templates really are good, and as Lou says, if used correctly they’ll yield a mount that’s equal or better than that done with a ski shop mechanical jig. If you take your time carefully marking, center punching, and drilling , I have no doubt this is correct. (Ask any shop employee with experience and they’ll tell you that mechanical jigs are not as accurate as one would think, and have to be watched carefully for misalignment.)
During drilling, I kept a vacuum handy to instantly clean up drilling debris. This helps keep your depth stop on the bit easy to see and reduces debris, such as metal shavings, that can get stuck in the ski’s base.
Lastly, as you follow the mounting sequence, you may notice things seem to align less than perfectly even after drilling, even though you were insanely careful as I was. I suspect this is because drill bits wander a bit or something like that. Don’t panic, just keep going and focus on repeating Lou’s alignment steps until things match up. I can’t stress this enough. Go back and realign with boot in toepiece until it looks good. Still not sure? Check and realign some more.
Another thing you may encounter with your boots is rubber sole lugs that align poorly with the heelpiece pins. Ignore this and focus on centering the metal boot heel fitting in relation to the binding’s heelpiece. If a rubber lug gets in the way of the heelpiece pins, they can be cut or ground down later. I encountered this with one of my Garmont boots. (Note from Lou: He recommends using a single-edge razor blade to cut out any obstructing rubber before you begin.)
My mount came out well. I took my time, was exacting, and re-checked everything before moving on. If you’re meticulous, Lou’s directions will be just what you need for a great Dynafit binding mount done at home. And remember, if you’re in doubt you can always do a practice mount (as I did) on a 2×4 or dumpster ski before you start drilling a new set of boards.
Thanks Mark for the excellent guest blog! Everyone, a helpful blog reader suggested a while back that a good method of finding the left/right center of a ski is to simply wrap a strip of paper around the ski, crease it over the sharp steel base edges, remove and fold in half using the edge marks as reference, then place back on ski and use the crease to mark center. I’ve been using this method and is works great, though still requiring a bit of care (mainly, mark the spot on your ski where you place the paper, as moving it towards the tip or tail will throw things off because of the ski’s varied width. Double check by reversing paper left/right but wrapping around ski in same location.
|Using paper fold method to mark left/right center of ski.|