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  a. required tools
  b. ski press
      - press frame
      - mold
      - bladder
  c. core profiler
  d. edge bender

a. materials
  b. graphics
  c. ski design
  d. template
  e. base
     edge bending
  f. wood core
     - lamination
     - sidewalls
     - profiling
     - tipspacers
     - inserts
 g. composites
 h. topsheet

 a. preparation
 b. layup



Free Video: Intro to Ski Building (30MB).  Get an overview of the process.

Binding Inserts

Overview  Ski inserts, the same ones used by the snowboarding industry, are for attaching a binding to a ski.  Compared to the traditional method of mounting bindings with wood screws, inserts have greater pull-out strength reducing the likelihood of screws ripping out of a ski.  Aside from making a ski safer, inserts allow the swapping of bindings from ski to ski on the hill without the need for extra drilling.  By installing a "pack" of inserts, they also allow the skier to change mounting locations on the same ski with ease. 

Inserts are usually manufactured from stainless steel to resist corrosion.  To prevent epoxy during layup from ruining the threads, they also come with caps (shown in black below) which are drilled out during the finishing process.  These caps often come magnetized to aid in drilling process.  Keep in mind that the inserts are covered up by the ski's topsheet during layup making the inserts difficult to locate.  By using iron fillings, the magnetized caps are easily detected for a fool proof method of locating the inserts.   The dimensions of inserts can range anywhere in height with any type of threads.  The most common thread type is M6, the standard in the snowboard industry, with a height range of 7mm-10mm.


Step 1:  Mark Center Lines
 Begin by first marking the center lines on the top-side of the wood core.  The center lines should align the desired mounting location (chord center, boot center, etc.) and along with the vertical axis of the ski.

Step 2:  Set Up Binding Template  Still working on the top-side of the core, align your binding template of choice carefully with the center lines and secure with tape.  Next, use a nail and hammer to center punch all the screw locations.  These center punches will help guide the screw bits to allow for accurate drilling.


Step 3:  Drill Pilot Holes  Now drill small pilot holes (about 3/32" diameter) into each of the screw locations marked in the previous step.  It's best to use a drill press if available, however, a steady hand and a power drill should work fine.  Just try to keep the holes as perpendicular to the core's surface as possible.  Remember that we are still working on the top-side of the core.

Step 4:  Counterbore  After all the pilot holes have been drilled, flip the core over so that the bottom-side (base-side) is exposed.   Use an appropriate sized forstner (shown in the middle below) or a spade bit (shown on the right below) to counterbore the holes.  The size of the bits should just be large enough so that the flange of the insert can sit inside the bore.  In this example, we used 5/8" diameter bits.

Slowly counterbore the holes until you have reached the desired depth.  This depth can be determined by first measuring the core's thickness (y) and the insert's height not including the flange (x).

The difference of the two measurements is the depth that you will need to counterbore the holes.

Step 5:  Drill Final Holes  Complete the drilling process by drilling out the pilot holes so that inserts can fit through.  The diameter of the holes should measure as close as to the diameter of the insert shafts as possible.  Push the inserts into the holes and check the fit.  The inserts should sit snugly into each hole while being as flush as possible with the top of the wood core.   It's not extremely important to be flush but just make sure that the flanges do not protrude beyond the base-side of the core.  Otherwise, there will be impressions of these protruding flanges in the ski's base during the pressing which could make for an uneven base.

Step 6:  Secure with Epoxy  After all the inserts have been tested for fit, secure the inserts with epoxy.  Begin by using some tape to cover the top-side of the insert holes.  The tape helps prevent epoxy from leaking out when the core is flipped over.  

Flip the core over to expose the base-side and add just a small amount of epoxy into each hole.  Make sure that you have most of the hole along with the counterbores wetted out with epoxy.

Finally, place the inserts into each hole using a hammer to set them into place.  Fill up any visible gaps with epoxy and make sure to wipe up any excess adhesive.

After the epoxy cures proceed to the next step of cutting the composites.

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