How to: refilling old binding holes

So this is an easy one, but as I see questions asked about it all the time and as I’m in the process of rehabbing a pair of new (to me) Volkl Gotamas I figured I’d snap a few quick pics and post up a how to to hopefully help at least one other out there. I’m one of those people that can read a how to a million times and still be a little unclear, but feel like I could perform brain surgery on someone if I had a few pictures to guide me along.

There’s ongoing debate as to how many mounts a ski can take before losing structural integrity. Three seems to be an accepted norm, but there are quite a few other people out there skiing on skis with swiss cheese underfoot with no problems. Ultimately what are you trying to do is not add additional strength/structural integrity to the ski (though I’m guessing that’s a side benefit, but probably minimal at best) but trying to make the ski waterproof. You don’t want water getting into the ski’s core and causing degradation from the inside. Yes, you can do it the easy way and use those hammer in plastic plugs that some ski shops use, but I personally don’t trust those staying in on their own and they just look goofy to me (odd comment, I know).

So, materials list for this one is similar to last time, though the clamps aren’t needed so play make believe that they aren’t there.

  • Epoxy
  • Cup or other object to mix and hold epoxy
  • Small objects (toothpicks work great) to get epoxy into holes and pop bubbles
  • Fiberglass or steel wool (not necessary, but if you’re planning on drilling back INTO the same holes you’ll want)
  • Gloves (optional, I opted out of them)
  • Dremel tool (if your topsheet is puckered you’ll need, if not skip step 2 below)
  • Beer (not optional, I subbed an Avery Brewing Co. IPA this time.  Again, play make believe)
Materials.  Pretend the clamps arent there.

Materials. Pretend the clamps aren't there.

Step 1:
Make sure your skis are dry. If you’ve recently skied them odds are they aren’t dry. You want to make sure they are dry so you’re not sealing moisture INTO your skis so let them sit for a day or two.

Step 2:
In my case the old bindings had pulled out of the ski causing a bit of topsheet puckering where they were previously mounted. As these upward dimples would keep my new bindings from sitting flush on the topsheet I opted to Dremel the bumps down.  I didn’t take any action shots of this step as trying to juggle a Dremel in one hand and a digital camera in the other seemed like a good way to shed skin.

Topsheet dimples

Topsheet dimples

Step 3a:
Mix your epoxy per directions. If you can mix it a little thin it will help you on this step, but if not no worries. Using your toothpick or other implement fill each of the old binding holes with epoxy. Make sure you poke around to get any air bubbles out of the epoxy. This step will start to suck as your epoxy starts to set, so mix small batches and work quickly in lieu of mixing one larger batch.

Alternatively, a host of other items can be used and give you a pretty similar outcome – though not quite the same level of adhesion to the ski/core.  Hot glue or even bathroom caulk can be subbed out, but as I love geeking out in the garage and wanted a bit stronger of a bond I opted for the epoxy route.

Step 3b:
If your plan is to reuse the same mounting holes pull out your fiberglass or steel wool and mix a little into the holes that have been filled with epoxy. You’re trying to add a little additional stiffness and integrity to the plugs in this case.

Step 4:
You’re done! Set your skis aside to dry and assume the victory pose.

VICTORY POSE!

VICTORY POSE!