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Versatile Big Gator Tools Hand Drill and Tap Guides

Ski_drilling-guide3Any DIYer will find years of usefulness for an array of gear and home projects, repairs and maintenance out of Big Gator Hand Drill & Tap Guides. They can be used on flat surfaces (like skis & snowboards), corners and round items (like ski poles and bike frames). With or without clamping, these handy guides should be in every DIYers toolbox.

Big Gator Tools was established in 2005 and is now marketing the most universal patented drill Land tap guides ever sold. Guides are made from a special nickel alloyed steel that is heat-treated and ground along bottom surface to assure stability and accurate perpendicular alignment on flat surfaces. All guides have a 90 degree V-groove along the bottom that allows perpendicular alignment on round parts as well as corners.

TAP GUIDES: Holes are sized for ANSI Standard and Metric Ground Thread Taps.

Standard V-TapGuides can handle tap sizes: ( 0-80, 1-64, 1-72, 2-56, 2-64, 3-48, 3-56, 4-36, 4-40, 4-48, 5-40, 5-44, 6-32, 6-36, 6-40, 8-32, 8-36, 8-40, 10-24, 10-32, ¼-20, ¼-28, 5/16-18, 5/16-24, 3/8-16, 3/8-24, 7/16-14, 7/16-20, ½-13, ½-20, 5/8-11, 5/8-18)

Metric V-TapGuides can handle tap sizes: ( 1.6mm, 2mm, 2.5mm, 3mm, 3.5mm, 4mm, 5mm, 6mm, 8mm, 10mm, 12mm, 14mm, 16mm)

STI TAP GUIDES: (Screw Thread Inserts)

STI-UNC V-TapGuides can handle standard ground STI hand tap sizes: (Unified Coarse Threads: 9/16-12, 1/2-13, 7/16-14, 3/8-16, 5/16-18, 1/4-20, 12-24, 10-24, 8-32, 6-32)

STI-UNF V-TapGuides can handle standard ground STI hand tap sizes: (United Fine Threads: 5/8-18, 9/16-18, 1/2-20, 7/16-20, 3/8-24, 5/16-24, 1/4-28, 10-32, 8-36)


Standard V-DrillGuides are made for 17 standard drill sizes: (1/8 to 3/8 in 1/64 increments) Covers all the drill sizes in a standard 3/8 drill index except drill sizes smaller than 1/8”. Heat treated for durability like drill bushings. It’s like having a portable drill press anywhere! Straight perpendicular alignment wherever you go.

Metric V-DrillGuides can handle drill sizes: 3, 3.3, 3.5, 4, 4.2, 4.5, 5, 5.5, 6, 6.5, 6.8, 7, 7.5, 8.0, 8.5, 9, 9.5mm

Here is a video from Tom Hintz, owner/publisher of made this video as part of an independent review of the Big Gator Drill and Tap Guides. (Please note that the tap guides do not need to be clamped in place like in the video to hand tap.)

For additional information also see: Drill and Tap Guides for Hand Drilling

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Toko Ski & Snowboard Vise Options

As a general guide there are three main Toko options for Alpine Ski Vises to choose from (and one for Snowboard and Skis).  Here they are with a brief explanation:

Toko Ski Vise World Cup
This is our most popular vise.  It can hold the skis base up for waxing, scraping, and base edge bevel tuning.  It can also hold the skis between 90 degrees (and anywhere down to 60 degrees) for tuning the side edge.  The clamping surface is 70mm long providing a very sold hold on bindings or binding plates and narrower ski side walls.  The jaws open up to 95mm.
Toko Ski Vise Freeride-155mm
For those with very wide skis and who don’t want to clamp the Ski Vise WC to the binding plates, this is a great option.  We have changed the end pieces on this vise to bring the cost down.  The jaws open to a massive 155mm giving the option of fixing skis from the binding plates or the sidewalls.  Also gives the option of 60 and 90 degrees for working on side edges.


Toko Ski Vise Express

This vise doesn’t “fix” the skis down per say, but still allows for a decent surface for waxing, scraping, and tuning skis.  If the vises are placed far enough apart and the top sheets are dry, friction from the high-grip rubber pads keeps the ski still and stable enough for some decent work.  This vise is perfect for anyone who wants a basic set up for hot waxing and tuning but doesn’t want to spring for a Ski Vise WC or Freeride.


Toko Board Grip
Friction from high-grip rubber pads against the snowboard or ski top sheet hold the snowboard or a pair of skis fast when working on the base.  The snowboard or ski can be fixed vertically when working on side edges.  Adjustable widths.




(Reprinted and edited from Toko eBlast.)

Updated links 8/29/13

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General Shop Setup Tips


Every home tuner needs a decent permanent or portable work area, ski and snowboard securing system and general shop tools and supplies to perform a variety of tasks.With a good set up that works for ones personal needs and budget, tuning, waxing and base prep tasks become easier, quicker and more enjoyable.

Good lighting, power, tunes, mess containment and storage are typical requirements. These are also typical requirements for anyone that needs or wants to also perform home improvement or maintenance tasks. Keeping that in mind while setting up your shop or work area can allow for year round, multi-purpose use. Others prefer a dedicated tuning area, while still others need more portability or easily storable options.

Acquiring an array of general tools and supplies is equally important to help the DIYer achieve desired results in less time and effort. In short, if you have a good shop or work area, you are more inclined to take care of your gear to maximize performance and useful life. This will continually save you money, time and effort….and increase enjoyment.

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T-Track Tuning & Waxing Bench

Extruded aluminum T-tracks are commonly used by woodcrafters for setting up jigs, guards, stops, router and saw tables and other shop tasks requiring unique clamping capabilities.
The Tools4Boards ski & snowboard vises (Cinch, CordLoc, BoardLoc & Pro 500) which are designed to integrate with the Terminator tuning stand also work great with T-tracks, knobs & T-bolts mounted into a workbench or homemade tuning stand. This is a time saving, highly versatile and unique approach to securing skis and snowboards compared to the conventional system of clamping vises with jaws to a bench or tuning stand to perform base repair, tuning & waxing tasks….even binding mounting and adjusting.

Probably the minimum length of T-track needed is around 4’. Less can be used if used in strategic locations relative to the lengths of skis and snowboards to be maintained. The Cinch, CordLoc & BoardLoc vises have a 3/8” diameter hole in their base. One option is to bolt one vise support to the bench and place the other in a 2 or 3’ foot section of track. Ideally, a 5 or 6’ T-track allows maximum flexibility.

A groove can be cut or routed into a bench top as long as it is well supported and thick enough for the track and necessary screws. A strong epoxy can also be used to permanently attache the track to the bench. Building up on top of an existing bench to just above the thickness of the track is another method of installing T-track.

The most common T-tracks accept either 5/16” or 1/4” T-bolts or modified hex bolts. A modified 3/8” bolt can also be used. Since the 3/8” hole in the vise bases are 3/8”, we feel the 1/4” bolt allows a little to much ‘play’, but is workable. The 5/16” is probably the best size since there are many accessory options available, along with track, bolt & knob availability. The best length bolt is 1 inch to fit the Cinch, CordLoc & BoardLoc vise bases. The low profile knobs we carry are the only ones we’ve found that will fit the vise bases and quickly secure or loosen to adjust location and orientation of the support base.

Once installed, the T-track and Tools4Boards vise system will provide a quick and secure method to help you take care of your boards.

For another description of installing a T-track in a door used for a bench top, please visit Backcountry skiing blog and website by Lou Dawson.

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Clamping Edge Cutting Tools

To provide secure attachments of diamonds, files or stones, to dedicated guides, spring or beveler clamps are necessary. The spring clamp can be quickly squeezed and repositioned while the beveler clamp requires the tightening and loosening of the thumb screw. The beveler clamp fits in the hand nicely while the spring clamp may feel awkward and in the way until you get used it’s shape and you find a comfortable position.

Tip: By removing the plastic knob on the SVST beveler clamp screw to expose the hex (allen) screw top, a hex key or wrench can be used as a preferred method by some to more easily tighten and loosen the clamp.

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Tuning Stand Mod: Conventional Vises

Can conventional clamping ski and snowboard vises be mounted to the Terminator tuning stand?

Yes. Not only does the unique extruded rail/beam of the Terminator allow for easy and quick installations of the T4B vises with knobs & bolts or clamps, but any vise can by clamping or adding a conversion block and knob, bolt or cam lock. This method will allow for quicker vise adjustments, utilizing the rail system of the Terminator. The same mod can be used for T-Track tuning and waxing benches or tables.

Another great feature of the Terminator tuning stand is it’s ability to be customized for limitless other accessories, made from a variety of materials and can be used for other tasks beside tuning ski and snowboards. The extruded rail allows for easy attachments of accessories using conventional hex bolts, cam locks and other fasteners and clamps.

One of easy modification is to add blocks with knobs to allow for easy integration of conventional vises. This maximizes the use of the rail for quick installation of the vises if the stand is used as a portable or taken to and from a storage location to safe room. It also allows for quick positioning of the vises if tuning different length or types of skis or snowboards.

This example shows a maple block with a few saw pass through a table saw to allow the block to seat, lock & slide in the top trough. The knobs are easily attached by 3/8” hex bolts feed in the ends and through holes in the blocks.

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Fiberlene or Shop Towels?……or Both?

Fiberlene (or lint free) towels are excellent for removing dirt and old wax after using wax remover to clean the base or absorbing wax and dirt in base when placed between iron and base. It is also can be used as a final polisher and cleaner after waxing and scraping because of it’s slight abrasiveness.

Heavy duty shop towels are also durable, absorbent, readily available and handy to have around. They do not, however, stand up to heat as well as fiberlene towels. Though lower in lint (and more durable) than household paper towels, they are not ‘lint free’. If you are looking for those extra little performance enhancements, fiberlene is generally your better choice. If you are more pragmatic, the shop towels are a very good option for most cleaning tasks. If you cut the rolls in half, the 5 1/2″ (140mm) sections are a handier size and fit the width of skis and scrapers nicer.

Using heat from a temperature controlled waxing iron is one method used to reduce scraping and mess since excess wax can be absorbed. Couple that with crayoning, and you can get down to little or no scraping, depending on preferences. This also can be very helpful or desirable if you don’t have time or energy to deal with extra scraping and brushing required for hard waxes.

You could argue that it may be best to let the skis or snowboards cool so the wax hardens. Then when you reheat and use the fiberlene/wax removal approach, you might be more likely to draw the top layer of liquified wax.

This also can be used in lieu of hot scraping where theoretically, old wax, dirt and gradoo can be drawn off versus using base cleaners.

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The Cinch Ski & Snowboard Vise

The Cinch Ski & Snowboard Vise is the most versatile board securing device on the market. No longer do you need to be concerned with side clamping problems relative to various shaped sidewalls and widths of skis (ie, fat skis) or snowboards. You can also secure multiple skis to streamline waxing, cleaning and repair tasks. Though designed to integrate with the Tools4Boards Terminator portable tuning stand, they can be mounted with their included clamps to virtually any typical bench or table.

Additionally, the vise can be clamped or bolted with knobs variety of work surface for easy repositioning in line with the board or rotated from inline to perpendicular.

The lasso clamp coupled with the skidproof board supports will provide years of easy and quick fastening of your boards to expedite accurate tuning, repair and waxing tasks. They also offer enough friction to perform many tasks without securing the ski or snowboard with the lasso clamp.

Your ‘one-size-fits all’ solution for securing all skis (including wide skis) and snowboards. The Cinch vise with included Lasso Clamp can conform to any binding type and secure any ski (including alpine, AT, Telemark, XC/Classic /Touring, NNN/SNS & skate), along with snowboards and splitboards.

There is also a side lever clamp for side edge work on snowboards and fat skis if the pad and clips aren’t enough.

Please check out a review by Lou Dawson at Wildsnow Backcountry Skiing blog and a unique method of using the mounting versatility of the Cinch.

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News: Terminator Tuning Stands Ship

After much anticipation, The Tools4Boards Terminator ski & snowboard portable tuning stands are heading our way.

Made from anodized, extruded aluminum rails and modular system for easy sliding and adjustments of T4B (with included knobs) and other vises. With foldable tube steel legs for easy transport & storage. Makes vise location adjustments fast and convenient on a solid, lightweight, foldable, and transportable base. Move around the house, shop, take on trips or get optimal flexibility and efficiency for final waxing and fine tuning at the start line!

Designed to integrate very nicely with the Tools4Boards vises: Cinch, CordLoc, Retractor, BoardLoc & Pro 500, the stand works very well with conventional vises with an additional block.

The ability for the stand to accept bolts and knobs and other attachments of accessories, along with several vises via the knobs provide unlimited possibilities and expedites the tuning, waxing and other board maintenance tasks.

(Keep watching for future accessory offerings.)

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