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Ski workshop | The removable binding

Binding changes made easy

by Knut Pohl 12/17/2011
Quickly changing or removing bindings is only possible with inserts. Here you can find out how to equip your skis with them.

Detachable binding? So a binding that can be removed? This immediately raises a question: Why the hell?

There are several advantages: Easy disassembly for transportation, e.g. for air travel; the multiple use of expensive bindings on several skis; but also - if you are willing to drill several sets of holes - the possibility of using several mounting points or switching between alpine and touring bindings on the same ski. Admittedly, this is quite a niche application for snow junkies and tech nerds. But aren't we all a bit like that?

But how can a removable binding be realized? Quite simply by adding inserts for the desired binding to your beloved slats. Similar methods are used in specialist stores when binding screws have been torn out. There are various ways of doing this. The simplest option is to use drive-in inserts, although these do not inspire much confidence. There are inserts from the snowboard sector that are used on the base side, but this makes installation relatively time-consuming. Screw-in nuts have proven to be the most practical solution, of which we would like to present two systems to you here.

In principle, inserting binding inserts is not rocket science, but it does require precise work and manual dexterity. In any case, it is advisable if you already have experience with assembling bindings yourself. It can be helpful if - as in this case - the desired binding has already been successfully mounted normally, but if you work properly, direct reassembly with inserts is not a problem. If in doubt, simply carry out a test assembly on a piece of wood first.

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The all-round carefree package from Binding Freedom (suitable for kitchen tables)

Jon has now built up a business from an idea developed in the TetonGravitiyResearch forum and offers almost everything to do with insert assembly on (even repair kits should you mess up the assembly or tear out the inserts). Shipping is quick and easy and installation is simple thanks to the useful tools. The system is particularly effective with existing holes for normal binding screws.

Before starting, the inserts are first degreased using acetone, otherwise there'll be unpleasant surprises later. Now use the narrow mandrel of the 3-in-1 tool to place the guide block in the middle over the old holes and fix it in place with a clamp (see image on the right & gallery image 1, below). A 9.5 mm deep hole is then drilled using the insert drill with height stop (see gallery image 2, below). Then use the thick end of the 3-in-1 tool to center the large hole of the guide block (gallery image 3, below) and prepare the thread for the inserts using a thread cutter (gallery image 4, below).

Now the drill holes should be deburred (see gallery image 5, below), blown out and tapped out so that they are free of dust and residue. Now it is time to mix the 2-component epoxy adhesive (gallery image 6, below). Mother's ceramic hob is the ideal base for mounting the kitchen table: any residue can simply be scraped off. The adhesive used should be 24-hour epoxy; in this case, Uhu Endfest 300 was used. Now spread the epoxy into the holes with a match or toothpick (gallery image 7, below). Two to three drops are enough, after all, the insert should be well wetted, but nothing should push out during installation. Then put the guide block back into position (you can do without it) and screw in the inserts using the 3-in-1 tool (gallery image 8 & 9, below). It is helpful to apply pressure from above with the tap handle while screwing in the insert with the help of a wrench.

Now just place the ski in a warm corner next to the heater at least overnight so that the resin can harden properly and the ski is ready to be bound again and again.


The Binding Freedom System offers everything you need for insert installation and makes it a simple matter. One small disadvantage is the small size of the external thread. It is relatively easy to create a spinning insert by sloppy tapping or over-motivated use of force. However, with a little care and average manual skill, the path to flexibility in binding use is clear.

Of course, this comes at a price. The most serious disadvantage, however, is the American lack of understanding of the metric system. The inserts have a 5-16/18 thread and require corresponding tools. Just finding a suitable hexagon socket to adjust the height stop of the F-drill (metric 6.5 mm will do) can be an adventure. Fortunately, Torx is also hexagonal. Fortunately, the internal thread is metric (M5), making it easy to find the right binding screws. However, these are also available to order for selected bindings in a pre-sorted set.

This means that you are pretty much committing to this investment and will only be able to install and want to use the inserts sold by Binding Freedom.

The budget alternative using RAMPA sockets (workshop-compatible)

The installation of screw-in sockets as inserts has long been popular in ski hobbyist circles. It requires significantly more intellectual and manual work, but is much cheaper. Here, type C sockets from RAMPA with a length and outer diameter of 8 mm and an M5 internal thread have proven their worth.

Before you can get started, you need to do a little DIY to make the necessary tools (see picture on the left). A simple tool for setting the inserts consists of a screw that can be easily clamped in a drill chuck and one or two nuts to lock the insert. However, as this can be used to unscrew the socket, a tool for screwing in the socket is recommended. You can either modify a 7 mm wide screwdriver for this purpose, or you can file a nut so that a ridge remains in the middle that engages in the socket slots, and screw it onto a screw of which the first turns of the thread have been filed round. Once you're ready, you're ready to go.

First of all, of course, you need to drill again for assembly. This is done with a 6.5 mm drill bit (see picture on the right). It doesn't matter whether existing holes are drilled out or new holes are drilled directly. The only important thing is to drill straight holes with a depth of 9-9.5 mm. Of course, they should also be positioned precisely in the right place. A stationary drill with an adjustable height stop is best suited for this. If you are working freehand, you should have the necessary dexterity. Or make your own drilling jig.

After this, the drill holes are deburred and slightly countersunk (see gallery image 1, below). Now you could of course fit the sleeves directly (see below), but it is easier to control this in two steps. One sleeve is screwed onto a screw with the slots facing downwards and firmly locked with nuts. The first mm of the internal thread should be exposed at least up to the height of the slot. The screw is now clamped in the chuck of a hand drill. This should be able to run very slowly and have a reverse gear. This tool is now used to cut the thread for the sockets in the drill holes (gallery image 2, below). The drill holes are then blown out cleanly (gallery image 3, below) and the actual setting of the inserts can begin.

First of all, 24h epoxy is mixed. The L-resin & hardener combination from R&G has proven itself here, as the epoxy is very fluid. It has also proved useful to heat the resin directly before use. This increases the fluidity but reduces the processing time. The resin is now applied to the drill holes - preferably with a syringe and needle (gallery image 4, below). Make sure that the hole walls, and especially the base, are cleanly wetted, but that the hole is not filled with epoxy resin. Now wait a few minutes to give the resin time to soak into the wood. Little liquid resin should remain in the hole. Excess resin can be removed with cotton buds. This is important as the RAMPA sockets are open at both ends and resin can therefore be pressed into the internal thread.

Now screw in the sockets using the tool you have made yourself (gallery image 5 & 6, below). They should be flush with the topsheet of the ski and there should be no noticeable bumps. If resin has penetrated the internal thread, it can be temporarily removed by screwing a screw in again and again and then wiping it off (preferably with acetone). You can also cut the thread free with a thread cutter after it has hardened, and now you just need to allow the epoxy to harden. This is best done in a warm place next to the heater.

Theoretically, the sockets can also be installed in one step. To do this, the holes are filled with resin directly after drilling and deburring and then the sleeve is drilled in as for tapping. Once the sleeve is fully screwed in, the nuts on the screw are loosened and the screw is then unscrewed. However, the two-step method offers more safety and control.


Setting binding gaskets using RAMPA sockets is inexpensive, but requires a certain amount of manual skill and a well-equipped workshop. Furthermore, with their opening at the bottom, the sleeves have a weak point through which water could penetrate into the core if the bonding is not carried out properly. On the other hand, the thread is well developed and holds well in the wood.

In addition, the investment costs are limited, replacement is easy and, with practice, setting the inserts is not rocket science. The costs are affordable even if you don't plan to equip many skis with inserts.


Alternatives are unfortunately rare. Drive-in nuts, which are inserted on the topsheet side, are ruled out due to justified doubts about their strength, especially when it comes to tearing out. Inserts installed on the base side are certainly durable, but are very complicated to install and require additional base work. Specialized ski repair shops offer screw-in inserts made of brass. However, these have no advantages over RAMPA sockets, are usually more expensive and are designed for binding screws instead of machine threads. This means that repeated installation is only recommended to a limited extent.

The mounting plates from Binding Freedom are an alternative worth mentioning. These are aluminum plates that are normally screwed onto the ski and usually fit two specific binding types (an alpine binding and a touring binding). No more manual skill is required than for simple binding mounting and you don't have to drill a lot of holes in the ski. The disadvantage is the slightly increased weight due to the plate and the increased standing height. In addition, the available binding compositions are limited.

Installing the binding

Once you have the right machine screws, mounting the binding is not rocket science. Screws are available from well-stocked hardware stores (or as a complete binding-specific set from Binding Freedom). They should have the same head shape as the original binding screws, but be 1-3 mm shorter.

For assembly, apply a little screw adhesive for removable connections (gallery image 7, above) and then hand-tighten the screws (gallery image 8, above). Now you have a ski with a binding that you can remove at any time (gallery image 9, above). Or where you can change the binding type - provided you have the appropriate inserts (gallery image 10, above).

Sources of supply

Binding Freedom inserts, installation tools, binding screws or mounting plates:

RAMPA sleeves: In larger quantities directly from RAMPA or in smaller quantities from Pfahl Verbindungstechnik

Werkkeuge zur Skimontage und Zubehör: Ski-Man, Ski-Man Schweiz, Reichmann, Maislinger-Snoli

To the article Binding assembly (here you can also find the drilling templates)


Photo gallery

This article has been automatically translated by DeepL with subsequent editing. If you notice any spelling or grammatical errors or if the translation has lost its meaning, please write an e-mail to the editors.

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