Aug 15 2012

Technique: Removing tough screws

Replacing the bindings on your skis with a different pair is not all that uncommon, but it usually requires more effort than just unscrewing the screws. If the bindings were mounted properly, glue was used to seal out water and prevent the screw from vibrating loose. With good glue, it will not only prevent vibrating loose, it will also do a darn good job of preventing you from even loosening it at all without striping the head.

There are two ways to overcome this.

Heat the head of a stiff-necked screw with a soldering iron to loosen the glues’ grip on the threads.

One is to use an impact wrench with a posi-drive bit. In my experience this works, but only rarely because few people own an impact wrench. You can try to twist while smacking a regular posi-drive screwdriver with a hammer, but this usually only damages the screwdriver handle, and sometimes the handler.

The more reliable way is to heat the head of the screw with a soldering iron. Usually you need to hold the tip on the head of the screw for at least 30 seconds; that depends on how hot the iron is, and how well it conducts heat to the screw. You will still need to apply a fair amount of pressure when trying to twist ‘er loose, but once you break the bond the screw will come out easily. If 30 seconds doesn’t do it, quickly heat the screw another 30 and that should do it. If it doesn’t, find an impact wrench. ;)

Got another trick you use? Please share below.

© 2012

  • light_skier

    A drill press is an excellent tool for helping remove tough screws and installing them.
    Put bit in chuck, loosen belt and turn screws with chuck while maintaining pressure with quill. I always install the screws with a drill press, or actually in my case a milling machine. This makes sure they are going in straight and not wobbling, to provide a solid mount. Heck the 49 dollar harbor freight ones work fine and are a handy tool to have around.

  • teletilyouresmelly

    Another way to heat the screw (and thus the epoxy) besides a soldering iron is the upside down drill bit trick- take a bit that is smaller than the inside of the screw head flanges, put it in the drill upside down, and run the drill pressing the bottom of the spinning  bit fairly hard inside the screw, heating it up with friction.  Takes 30-60 seconds.

  • Herb Manning

    Epoxy should never be used for normal ski binding mounts. It harms the ski by permanently fusing the screw threads to the core material, thus requiring “trickery” in order to loosen the screws like impact drivers, soldering irons, etc..
    Instead, use regular binding glue. It seals the hole, reduces vibration, holds tight, and can be removed without the possibility of damaging the old screw holes.
    The binding screw threads themselves are what is actually securing the binding to the ski, not the glue.

  • Sn0wman

    What do you do about the remaing glue in the hole? I’m having issues with the new screws going all the way in now.

  • Herb Manning

    Drill it out with a 3.5 X 9.5 ski bit.