Accuracy for hand drilled holes, not only with location, but also depth and vertical alignment are easily assured with drill and tap guides. In softer materials (ie, skis and snowboards) and using coarse threaded, alpine binding screws allow for minor adjustments and are a bit more forgiving than the accuracy required when drilling and tapping for screw inserts. Guides are still a good idea when drilling your precious boards for ANY binding mounts.
In addition to guides and correctly sized drill bits, drill bit and tap stops assure the proper depth of the drill hole and can also be used to make sure you do not strip the threads while tapping for screw or insert threads. Stepped drill bits (vs straight) offer a shoulder which can work as a ‘stop’ for experienced techs, but properly used bit stops are cheap insurance to help you avoid drilling through your ski or snowboard and can expedite the process.
Drill and tap guides can be used by simply holding them in place, but clamping is also a good idea, especially if you are less familiar or less confident about the procedure. Practice drill and tapping using the guides by hand and with clamps on scrap material before ‘learning by trial and error’ on your skis or snowboard.
Sometimes drill guides are described as ‘jigs’. This may cause confusion for some since binding jigs are made with set hole patterns for specific bindings. Guides need to be accurately placed using templates or other form of hole layout, are more versatile and have unlimited applications, including some with V-grooves that can be used on round materials (pipes, ski poles, bike tubing, etc) and corners.
Typical stepped alpine binding and insert mounting drill bits have a 5/16″ diameter shaft and the tips are milled at different diameters and lengths depending on the screw or insert application. The diameters required for alpine AB tap or insert taps are different than the 5/16′ drill bit.
The Big Gator Tool V-Drill Guide offers 17 hole diameters in it’s v-grooved, metal base. The holes are a touch generous for perfectly aligned tapping, but work well enough for binding inserts and screws. Stops can be used on all taps and drills.