FAQs and General Info
One of life’s simple pleasures is getting out for skate skiing, touring or making turns on a warming bluebird day, with an inch or so of wet sweet corn on firm crust or solid base. Spring & summer predawn hikes on crust to harvest morning corn is right up there.
The best corn comes after a freeze of transformed, wet snow from the day before. The snow is no longer flakes or crystals, but saturated ice ‘kernels’ known as frozen corn. Depending on timing, aspect and other factors, this can start out like a coral reef, a very abrasive crust, sun-cupped, or ‘icy’, among other consistencies. As it melts and transforms again to wet corn, how do you prepare your boards to perform well all day in these variable conditions?
If you wax with a warmer & softer wax for the warmer, wet conditions, you can easily wear off the wax on highly abrasive, colder snows, while you wait for conditions to moisten and soften (or not). If you wax with cold wax, you may miss out on the best glide and enjoyment when it becomes prime time.
One option is to simply wait until conditions soften and you hit it when the conditions are best and wax accordingly. This may be easier said than done for some and as the unreliable weather can change, this plan may backfire.
We’ve found the best balance between ideal wax temperatures for glide and abrasive snows is to start with an aggressive base structure, wax with a very durable mid and broad temperature base liquid or solid wax like Briko-Maplus Race Base Medium, and top it with a warm temp Low Fluoros like Briko-Maplus Universal Hot or LP2 or Toko Dibloc LF.
The base structure doesn’t seem to matter relative to the coarse, frozen snow, but makes a huge difference when the snow becomes saturated by channeling water and reducing suction. The durable base wax provides a longer and better protection for the bases and runs very well in a wide range of condition if the softer wax wears off. Depending on how the day goes, the LF wax may be perfect for the entire day and will provide an extra bump in glide.
Additionally, since it is a softer wax, it can easily be reapplied if desired or necessary by crayoning/rubbing on solids, wiping on cream/paste or liquids, or spraying (most convenient and durable option) high-melt waxes and then corking and polishing with a brush.
(Minor revisions & updated links 3/26/13)Continue Reading »
(Updated 11/2/12: Revised instruction and NEW instruction videos at the bottom of the page)
A ski base must be flat for optimum ski performance. The SkiVisions Base Flattener is a powerful planing tool designed to quickly flatten and structure a ski base with a minimum of expertise, effort and potential for error. (Patent # 4,884,343)
Is base flattening and structuring with the SkiVisions Base Flattener expensive? NO! It is true that you have to make the initial capital investment in the tool and inserts, but thereafter all inserts are re-sharpenable an infinite number of times and RARELY need replacement. We show you how.
What is unique about the SkiVisions Base Flattener? It is the only effective hand tool ever produced that provides a superior alternative to stone grinding or flat filing.
Why is this uniqueness important?
- Flat bases are a critical element for properly tuned skis
- Convex (base high) bases are rounded and the edges will act dull
- Concave (edge high) bases will make the edges grabby
How is the uniqueness accomplished?
The Base Flattener is a large and powerful planing tool that can eat either plastic alone or plastic and edge metal, depending on the blade used.
The Ruby Stone Blades (see description below) are 6 inches long and come in medium and coarse grits for different structures cut into the base plastic while you are flattening it. The Ruby Stone Blades require no skill to use. Since they cannot cut metal to any significant degree, you cannot cause problems that aren’t easily corrected.
The steel blade requires some skill and care when using it, but it is a powerful blade that can slice through steel and plastic on ski bases simultaneously and can be re-sharpened an infinite number of times (see “Stone/Steel Inserts Maintenance). However, we now prefer using the File Base Flattener on metal edges and just use the steel blade for final finish on the p-tex.
How to use the Base Flattener
The Base Flattener is a push tool which means you push it down the ski base from behind the tool.
The Base Flattener is pushed in the tip to tail direction only. Use only light pressure with the steel blade, moderate pressure with the Ruby Stone Blades. Use overlapping strokes and pull the tool back between strokes. The primary pressure is applied with your back hand on the large hump. The front hand on the small hump is primarily there to guide and control the tool.
Look at the picture to the right closely and you will notice that the stone blade is lifted off the ski base, yet the front black glide bar is still on the ski. We recommend that when you are pulling the Base Flattener back in the backstroke that you leave the front of the tool on the ski base, but that you pick up the back of the tool slightly so that the blade does not touch the ski base at all during the backstroke phase.
You will not make hairs on your base if you make sure that the blade is not touching the base on the backstroke. You will make base hairs if you pressure the tool on the backstroke. DON’T PRESSURE THE BACKSTROKE!
The Ruby Stone Blades only cut base plastic when the grit is exposed, the grit gets quickly clogged with base plastic and the stone needs to be cleaned frequently by brushing with the brass brush which comes with the Base Flattener. Always clean the wax from your base with wax remover before using the Ruby Stone Blade as wax will clog the grit more readly than will polyethylene.
The 6 Inch Ruby Stone Blades
The Ruby Stone Blades are completely different from the old stone blades. They are sharper, more powerful, easier to use, produce far better results, leave an incredibly clean and hair free base, and can be re-sharpened numerous times, which re-sharpening returns them to near new performance. If they are sharpened so many times they no longer fit in the tool, folded paper shims can be made so they can still be used. They have a very long useable life.
The Ruby Stone Blades come in medium and coarse. The tool comes standard with the medium grit blade, the coarse blades are accessories. Which blade is best for you? See Base Structuring Decisions below, which also describes varying the amount of structure each blade imparts on the ski base based on the amount of pressure applied to the Base Flattener. Also, note the lines at each side of the stone. They are critical to how the blade is positioned in the Base Flattener and how it is re-sharpened according to the instructions below. (See Stone/Steel Inserts Maintenance)
The coarse blade is primarily used for efficiently removing plastic from a convex (base high) base. It is a very aggressive blade and should be followed with the steel blade to de-structure the base.
The new Ruby Stone Blades are aluminum oxide stones, the highest quality aluminum oxide grit there is, and they have two unique characteristics that make them particularly effective. First the grit is much sharper than standard aluminum oxide so they cut more rapidly. Second, the grit fractures to new sharp points, much like the diamond grit on a fine diamond file, so that when the Ruby Stones are re-sharpened, their performance remains consistent with (although not quite as sharp) as a brand new stone, the sharp new points being replenished every time it is sharpened. They take only minutes to re-sharpen, which also re-flattens them, so doing it frequently really pays. They are, quite frankly, the best of all worlds.
The Ruby Stone Blades give skis better performance than stone grinding. Why? One of the important aspects of sintered polyethylene bases is that they are porous. The porosity naturally allows the base to absorb more ski wax, and it helps reduce surface tension thereby increasing glide. Because a Ruby Stone cuts the polyethylene so cleanly, the pores are left open. Stone grinding, on the other hand, causes the polyethylene to move laterally (smear or creep) on the base due to the speed and pressure of the stone, resulting in the pores getting partially covered up with plastic “creep”.
Using the Ruby Stones is a “no-brainer” approach to base flattening and structuring. Just keep them off the metal edges, which cause them to wear excessively. You can feel when the stone is on the metal edge, use the steel blade or the SkiVisions Ski Sharp to bevel the edge before continuing with the Ruby Stone, or better yet, use the File Base Flattener to bring the steel edge flush to the base.
Also, when the ski is convex (base high), always flatten it with the Ruby Stones, never the steel blade, the steel blade is for concave skis when you want to take down metal, or the File Base Flattener. The coarse stone blade is the most efficient and effective insert when taking down a base high convex base.
Always clean the wax off your base with wax remover before using the Ruby Stones, wax will clog the grit.
Base Structuring Decisions
What is structure on a ski base? It is the process of roughening it to reduce surface tension. If your base is very smooth, surface tension, simply put, is suction from a lack of air between the base and the snow, which slows its glide. Very smooth bases tend to be very slow bases.
As a general rule, you want to use the coarsest structure to minimize surface tension because rougher surfaces have less surface tension. However, it isn’t that simple. New snow crystals are sharp and will dig into a coarse structure causing considerable drag. The rules need to be followed:
1. In new, cold snow the structure needs to be fine. The newer and colder the snow, the finer the structure.
2. As snow gets older, the crystal points start breaking down, so you can then go to a medium structure.
3. As snow goes through multiple freeze and thaw cycles the crystals lose their sharpmess and so a coarse structure works best.
A simple rule to follow is to use medium stones in early and mid-winter, medium and coarse structures in late winter and early spring. If the medium structure is too coarse for very cold fresh snow, just de-structure with the steel blade. (See Tuning Routines)
Using your true bar
A true bar is a critical, must have ski tuning tool, it is used to inspect ski base flatness. They are easy to use but you must have a strong background light to “read” the base. We like inexpensive drafting lamps where the light can be focused at the tip. Tip the true bar up on edge as seen in the picture when reading base flatness.
As long as you have a decent true bar and a strong background light, reading your base is very simple and obvious.
If a ski is flat, there will be a solid, unwavering light band across the width of the base. It will be very obvious that is it flat.
If the ski is concave, there will be a greater amount of light coming through at the center of the base than at the ski edges (“edge high”). This will be very obvious.
If the ski is convex so that the base in the center of the ski is higher than the edges (“base high”), the light band will be more narrow at the center of the base, wider over the edges. The Ruby Stone Blade is used to correct the convexity.
Keep in mind that you can also observe your base flatness just by the structure pattern. If it is consistent the entire base, it is flat. Inconsistencies disclose high or low spots and are generally easy to see.
It is common for ski bases to have waves on them, and stone grinding will not remove them because the stone rides up and down with the waves. The waves have to be cut off from an angle. Also, they cannot be seen. If you use the Base Flattener at an angle as shown in the picture, you will find there is more drag in certain spots than others. Those spots with extra drag are base waves. As you continue to make additional passes on the base you will find the drag at that point becomes progressively less and that finally it disappears, the wave is removed.
Skip marks can ONLY be put in the base with the steel blades, NEVER the Ruby Stone Blades. Skip marks are caused by
- pushing the tool down the base with too much speed
- pushing on the tool with excessive pressure
- using a blade that is too dull, it needs sharpening
- The base is too smooth and slick, roughen it with the Ruby Stone
- Trying to do too much work too quickly
- you have a rock hardened/damaged edge section next to the mark
You won’t put in skip marks if you keep the blade nice and sharp and use the tool with a lighter touch, letting the tool do the job rather than over-muscling it. If you have a rock hardened/damaged section it needs to be polished out with the Ski Sharp Stones before flattening with the steel blade.
If you do put in skip marks, they won’t damage the performance of your skis. They just don’t look very good. To remove, angle the Base Flattener and use the Ruby Stones, the angle used coming from the opposite angle as the skip marks in the base, they have to be cut off from a cross-angle.
Due to the curvature of the ski at tip and sometimes at tail (flip tail skis) using the Ruby Stone Blade by hand can sometime work better than in the Base Flattener. Just keep the blade up on edge and follow the contour of the base to get a uniform structure across the width.
If your ski is very concave it is best to use the File Base Flattener, the steel blade is best kept for fine detail work rather than using it for heavy work.
It is VERY IMPORTANT to polish off the burr that is left whenever you work on metal ski edges, a burr makes the skis over-sharp and dangerous. We recommend the SkiVisions Ski Sharp for such purpose, or you can polish the edges by hand with a stone.
The steel blade falls from the tool when the retaining screws are loosened. It is sharp and heavy and should be done over your bench carefully.
Maintain a firm grip on the tool when running it off the tail of the ski so you don’t drop it.
Keep your fingers on the tool and out of the way of the sharp metal ski edges. Your ski must be held in a ski vise when using the Base Flattener.
(Note: reprinted from SkiVisions with permission.)
The following videos relate to using the Base Flattener and maintaining the cutting inserts:
SkiVisions Flattening bases with the Base Flattener Part 1
SkiVisions Flattening bases with the Base Flattener Part 2
SkiVisions Maintaining Cutting Inserts, Base Flattener Stones, HS Steel Bar & Files
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For all intents and purposes, regarding materials, tools, screws and installation procedures, Binding Freedom & Quiver Killer stainless steel threaded inserts are virtually interchangeable.
(Click on the adjacent images to enlarge.)
The main difference between the two is that the Binding Freedom inserts have a notch across the top. This allows for the use of a slotted driver or Binding Freedom’s 3 in 1 Installation Tool. This slot also allows for the removal of the insert without ruining the interior threads while using an extraction tool with reverse threads.
Stuff happens and occasionally you may need to remove an errant insert so always order more than you think you need…just in case. It is also possible that the slot in the BF insert can also get stripped or compromised and an extractor may become necessary. A jam nut in conjunction with a threaded installation tool or shoulder screw can also be used for installation and extraction for both inserts.
Dimensions: Both Quiver Killer and Binding Freedom inserts are nominally 9mm length x 8mm (5/16″) diameter. The actual diameters for both average 7.85 mm. The lengths QK inserts average 8.55 mm & the BF inserts average 9.15. This is a minor 0.6 mm average difference which may be important for some but inconsequential for most. A little deeper hole will fill with epoxy to nullify any voids.
Both have the same outer (same tap & handle) and inner threads. The inner threads accept M5 x 0.8mm pitch machine screws. The pitch indicates the travel distance of the screw for each revolution. Both inserts are within 0.2mm of the same effective average screw depth of over 6 revolutions (QK=6.5 and BF=6.25) which is around 5mm screw length engagement inside the inserts.
General Binding Insert Installation Tips:
- Practice on old skis or scrap wood before attempting on your current skis.
- It is highly recommended that you redrill existing holes for binding inserts after testing the binding location and skis with a conventional alpine binding mount.
- Even though existing holes may have been fine for alpine or telemark mounts, does not necessarily mean they are free from accuracy errors. Alpine screws can be off a little bit and work fine. The tolerances for threaded inserts are less and be sure to double check existing holes before blindly drilling away. You can use a paper binding template with the holes punched out as a quick gauge.
- Only attempt installations when you have time, focus and mojo. If you are pressed for time, tired, distracted, inebriated, among other factors, errors are more likely to occur.
- Despite all of the care in the world, you can still be off just enough to create a problem once the epoxy sets. We recommend that you ‘lightly’ install your bindings with appropriate screws to align the binding holes with the inserts while the epoxy cures. It is possible to ‘tweak’ the installed insert location just enough if there are slight errors. Double check the overall alignment.
- Finding Your Ski’s Centerline
- Paper Ski Binding Templates
- Drill and Tap Guides for Hand Drilling
- Drilling Skis to Mount Bindings
- Stainless Steel Screws for Threaded Inserts
Drilling Holes: 1/4″ (0.2500″) or F (0.2570″)? Some recommend using a 7/1000″ larger ‘F’ drill bit while others prefer the more standard 1/4″ drill bit which fit in our standard drill guides to assure vertical and accurate drilling. The F bit fits the Binding Freedom guide block better.We consider 7/1000″ well within the reasonable margin of error so either will work. The SVST stepped drill bits measure 1/4″ (with 5/16″ shank), as do our straight jobber or brad tip bits. A brad tip bit is very accurate for initial hole drilling, but not recommended for re-drilling existing holes.
Tapping: After the holes are accurately drilled, carefully tapping the holes to create interior threads for the inserts is required. The inserts are not self-tapping like wood and alpine screws (though some alpine screw installations require tapping (some tap their ski binding holes, regardless). Using a drill/tap guide with a stop collar or other visual aid is recommended. You want to be assured that you tap vertically and do not continue to tap a hole after the tap hits the bottom. It will strip the threads if the tap stops at the hole bottom and the tap keeps rotating.
Epoxy: Generally, a longer curing epoxy is best for more strength. Either the Hardman General Purpose Epoxy (Blue) or the higher strength, Hardman Very High Peel Strength Epoxy (Orange) work well. The General Purpose is a light amber color and finishes clean and hard. The Very High Peel Strength finishes flexible and gray. Be sure to clean the inserts to free them of any oils or other material that may affect the bonding of the epoxy. A bike or chain degreaser is a good option. After filling the holes with mixed two-part epoxy, use a tooth pick to remove bubbles and coat all surfaces in the tapped holes.
Installing Inserts: The installation of threaded stainless steel binding inserts can be accomplished by hand with a dedicated insert installation tool and tap handle or a threaded shoulder screw, hex bit, driver and jam nut. The Binding Freedom inserts can also be installed with their dedicated 3 in 1 tool. After installing an insert with the threaded options and you are backing out the tool, you may feel the insert also backing out. A quick counterclockwise rotation of a driver or tap handle usually releases the tool and leaves the insert in place. If not, utilizing a jam nut and wrench in a clockwise direction while backing out will hold the insert.
For extractions, as mentioned previously, the Binding Freedom 3 in 1 tool can be used with the slot of the BF insert. A jam nut locked to the insert with a wrench with the threaded tool can be used. If that does not work, a reverse threaded extractor may be required. This may or may not damage the threads. Heating the insert with a soldering iron often softens cured epoxy enough to facilitate the extraction.
Be sure the inserts are installed flush or just below the top sheet. If you find later that one or more is just ‘proud’ of the top sheet, it can be filed or ground flush.
Screws: Flat, Button & Pan head stainless steel screws are typically used with the inserts to replace the original alpine screws. See the Stainless Steel Screws for Threaded Inserts post for more information.
Threadlockers: Loctite and Vibra-Tite VC-3 are recommended threadlockers that must be applied to the screws and let cure before screw installation. There have been issues with Loctitie and some plastic parts on some bindings. Generally, it is not a problem, but Vibra-Tite does not create these problems and is generally given the edge as the better of the two options.
Periodically reapplication of a threadlocker will be necessary if bindings and screws are frequently removed and reinstalled into others for binding swaps. Not much is needed, but be assured that the screws do not work themselves out.
If you have questions or wish to post a comment, please do so below.Continue Reading »
While skiing or riding challenging terrain or sparse snow coverage, it’s inevitable that your bases will get dinged. Core shots need to be sealed and protected, Gouges need to be filled to keep your bases running smooth.
The days of burning ptex candles are over. A weld is a far superior repair option. The use of a soldering iron and base welding materials is a quick and effective option for the DIYer.
Base repair tools and supplies can be found here.
(Note select the ‘HQ’ icon for Higher Quality video.)Continue Reading »
After performing side edge sharpening and polishing, a hanging burr can be formed which may feel like a razor sharp corner. This can create hooking of the edge and unexpected edge action. Removing the burr is necessary and and easy final edge tuning step.
By placing a hard stone on the base edge, and run along it, the burr can be knocked off and the edge corner polished smooth. A rubber abrasive (dressing, grinding rubber or gummi stone can follow to smooth the sharp corner further.Continue Reading »
The common question regarding the screws needed for stainless steel inserts (Binding Freedom & Quiver Killers have the same threads) and particular bindings hopefully can be answered here. It is impossible for us to remain on top of every screw for every binding and there are variables that can be at play depending on your particular set of circumstances (ie, insert installation depth, shims, binding thickness, etc).
Measuring your binding thickness and adding that to your insert depth is your best guide.
Ordering more screws than you think you’ll need is always a good idea. Also, you can always reduce the length of screws that are a little long. If in doubt, erring towards longer screws with the possibility of minor modifications by grinding or filing allows some flexibility.
Binding Freedom has a Screw Length Chart that will be updated from time to time, along with the following screw measuring tips and images.
Tips on Measuring your bindings for screw lengths
Flathead and Smallhead screws are measured as the total length of the screw, while Buttonhead screws are measured as the length of just the threadsFasteners should protrude 4mm MIN and 6mm MAX into a threaded insert. To determine the idea fastener length, press an existing screw into the binding hole. Make sure it has bottomed out in its hole. Measure how far it protrudes below the base of the binding.Measure the screw itself as well. Subtract the protrusion length from the length of the screw. Add 5mm to that length. Find the closest size fastener that is within 1mm of that number. In this example, 13mm – 9mm + 5mm = 9mm. Either an 8mm or 10mm flathead would be appropriate for this binding.
This is your fastener guide.
You will find 5 fasteners enclosed to help you determine the proper M5 fasteners to secure your bindings to your installed Quiver Killer binding inserts:
• 10 mm pan head
• 8 mm flat head
• 10 mm flat head
• 12 mm flat head
• 16 mm flat head
1. Determine the correct head type. This is the easy part. It should be obvious what fits into your bindings best,
the flat or pan head. Note that your bindings may require more than one head type, so try all the holes.
2. Determine the correct length. We like to use what I call the revolution method:
a) Install your Quiver Killers into your skis*.
*you can also install an insert into a scrap piece of wood if you’d like to determine your correct fasteners before mounting your skis.
b) Without your bindings, take the appropriate headed fastener and screw it all the way to the bottom of the insert, counting how many revolutions it takes to hit the bottom. Remove the fastener and now use it to secure your binding to the Quiver Killer. Again count how many revolutions you get:
• If it stops before 3 revolutions, you need a longer fastener.
• If it stops at the same number as your ‘without binding’ test, it’s too long! This is the
worst. A fastener that is too long will tighten to the bottom of the insert and not secure your binding to the ski. You need a shorter fastener.
• If it stops between these two lengths , this is probably the correct fastener. We strive for between 3-5 revolutions.
c) Math: The M5 thread has a 0.8mm pitch. That means for every revolution the fastener moves 0.8mm. How to use this information:
• your fastener is too short: add 0.8mm for every extra revolution you would like to add. For instance, if you only got 2 revolutions with your 8mm flat head fastener, you’d like to add about 2.5 more revolutions (2.5×0.8mm =2mm) so add 2mm to the length of the fastener: a 10mm flat head is the correct fastener.
d) Repeat. It is likely that you will need more than one fastener length for your bindings even if the head type is the same, so again check every hole.
Note: please realize that when ordering your fasteners, the length of socket and pan head fasteners refer to only the thread, while the length of flat head fasteners refer to the entire fastener.
Check the download section of our website for the ever expanding chart of which fasteners (shown below) to try with your bindings.
Puder Luder, LLC • Denver Colorado • 720 291 9563 www.quiverkiller.comContinue Reading »