My Home Mount of Dynafit Backcountry Skiing Bindings


Post by WildSnow.com blogger | December 8, 2006      

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.

Mark Worley

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.

Marking center on backcountry ski.
Using paper fold method to mark left/right center of ski.


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Comments

9 Responses to “My Home Mount of Dynafit Backcountry Skiing Bindings”

  1. Terry Ackerman December 8th, 2006 5:10 pm

    Way to go Mark! All you need now is some snow.
    FYI We’re stocked with a bunch of bits now and some taps.

  2. ray b. December 9th, 2006 4:48 am

    great writeup mr worley. problem is, now i feel much more compelled to pick up a new ride this year! i’ll hit ya on couloir to see how they field-tested. i remember mounting my fr’s a few years ago and appreciate the freak-factor, and they’re pretty easy.
    peace to all

  3. Mark Worley December 11th, 2006 2:46 pm

    Perhaps this is a little late, but I ultimately did use the paper measuring method to find the ski center, and it works nicely.

  4. Benjamin Reeve January 21st, 2009 3:53 pm

    For whatever it might be worth, when mounting without a jig that forces the drill bit in place (has bushings in it), some of us use a “three step” method for making the holes. It is a re-run of the notion in machine metal work of “first drill out the root of the drill bit.” So… we put a very tiny burr in a dremel tool, and make a “dent” with it in the topsheet at the location where the hole is to be. If we are slightly off for openers, we round out the dent into the correct position (as checked with a dial caliper). Then we dill about a 1/16 hole in the location of the “dent” using the dent to center it. The actual drill bit for the screws will center on this pre-drilled hole and there will be no “drill bit wander.” To remove the bit of plastic topsheet that can get ridged up in a circle around the hole we slice flat with a very sharp wood chisel. Then the screw goes in straight.

  5. Tom February 3rd, 2009 4:13 pm

    I was mounting TLT bindings for a new pair of Megarides using the “Garage Mount” instructions (actually being performed in my basement). I got to Step 12 of the first part on the first ski (toe binding is all screwed on and the heel of the boot is centered). I thought all is well, but then I happened to try the other boot. The center of that boot’s heel wasn’t centered on the ski! It was off about 1/4 inch – the center of the ski lining up outside the edge of the screw that holds the Dynafit plate on the boot heel.

    I then tried another pair of boots (old TLT700s) in the toe binding. (Thinking this will tell which Megaride boot is out of square.) One of the old pair was dead on but again the other boot had the heel off center in the same direction by about 1/4 inch! To add to my consternation, it was the left boot of the Megarides and the right boot of the TLT700s that appear off center. (Unlike some of you I don’t have any other boot pairs to check.)

    Has anyone noticed Dynafit compatible boots being out of square like this before?

    When the boot heel is off center, I can twist it to center with a fair amount of force (the toe binding doesn’t shft). That force would seem to preload the heel binding release to one side. It would also add some twisting stress to the toe binding while in downhill mode.

    Any thoughts on how I should proceed with the mounting? Should I custom mount them for each boot, and mark the skis left and right? I don’t think I should mount the binding heel 1/8 inch off center on this ski to split the difference. However, I might line up the toe binding on the other ski so that each boot is only 1/8 inch off center.

  6. Lou February 3rd, 2009 5:04 pm

    Hi Tom, in my experience there is frequently a small amount of variation in this (caused by both boot variations and the fact that it’s impossible to mount the heel perfectly on center) and it is indeed taken up by slack in the binding, and usually a non-issue especially if the difference is split. But the amount of difference you have sounds like it’s beyond spec and would be too much even if it was split. If the boots are still new I’d get right on it and exchange them for another pair. If not, then your only option is a left/right ski.

    That said, you might have a compound error going on. I’d check and make sure your center axis line you drew on the ski is perfect, then check that when the boot is in the binding and dropped down without engaging the heel unit, the center of the rear screw on the boot heel falls exactly on the center line. Then rotate the heel unit and see how the boot heel falls on the pins. Doing this might be instructive.

  7. Brian Von Tersch January 26th, 2010 2:44 pm

    I’ve got an old pair of tri-steps and a new pair of boots. I checked the mounting instructions to see the spacing between the heel of the boot and the heelpiece of the binding. It mentions a 4mm spacing and a 6mm spacing for different models but the Tri-step is not listed. I’m on the road so I don’t have my little red spacer but I have one helluva ruler. Which is the correct spacing? Second, I bottomed out the heelpiece adjustability at 4.5 mm spacing. Is that within tolerance if the correct spacing is 4mm? I bought these boots small, maybe too small so they will almost certainly be the smallest I will ever use and I’d like to not have to re-drill if possible. And by the way I did get the dynafit or life-link retro done on these which has stopped me from walking out of them. Thanks.

  8. Mike G March 24th, 2011 7:04 am

    I’ve just begun my first home mount. In the instructional article it suggests using a 5/32 bit with epoxy if you don’t have a metric ski bit. The dynafit instructions indicate that a 3.6 mm bit should be used in wood skis. I’m putting Vertical ST’s on new K2 Waybacks. Should I use a 9/64 (3.57mm) bit without epoxy, with epoxy, or just use the 5/32 with epoxy? Thanks.

  9. Lou March 24th, 2011 8:02 am

    Mike, the idea behind using the 5/32 is for those of you who don’t have a ski binding mount tap to open up a 3.6 mm hole. With some skis, forcing a screw into an untapped 3.6 mm hole can result in some bulging of the ski layers, so over the years I found that the 5/32 seemed to be a good compromise if not tapping the hole.

    But in most skis, either bit dimension usually works without tapping.

    We recommend always using epoxy, and whatever hole dimension you drill be very careful to tighten screws adequately, but not over tighten to the point of damaging their holding power. This especially important with the 5/32 bore.

    If you’ve never mounted a pair of skis, I recommend doing a practice mount on a pair of dumpster skis, as well as drilling some extra holes and practicing hand tightening the screws.

    Some skis are very sensitive to how hard you tighten the screws and you can easily strip them, while other skis have very dense and beefy reinforcement areas for the binding screws that you can really crank on.

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