DIY Ski Vise




Introduction: DIY Ski Vise

About: Software Developer, like to work with electronics, embedded systems, robots etc.

Over the Christmas break the wife and I went up to Mammoth Lakes Ski resort for some local skiing. For the last several years I have been, on and off, performing ski tune-ups, waxing and cleaning up the ski edges.  I had purchased some basic equipment, files, wax, hone stones, wax scraper etc.  But the ski vices are outrageously expensive, and I always attempted to perform the tune up without a vice.

This year one of the local ski shops put on a ski tune-up seminar and I attended.  I  learned so much about the proper technique that I got really jazzed about doing tune-ups again.  

I just could not force my self to pay anywhere from $100.00 to $250.00 for a set of ski vises.  I did some searching on the web and found some folks who made their own ski vises.  Most of the DIY still required a lot of work or required the purchase of several adjustable wood working vices.  

I wanted a somewhat quick solution that I did not have to do a lot of work on,  or spend a lot of money.  I have too many electronics projects that I would rather spend my time on. ;-)

So after looking at several designs I took a bit of everything I saw out on the web and decided to combine these techniques in a way that would be cheap and easy to complete.

I put together a set of ski vises for around $20.00 and assembled the vice in one evening.

Are you ready to create some saw dust?

Here we go.

Step 1: Pick Up Your Parts

I went to the local home improvement store and picked up the following items:

Head over to the location where the friendly employees cut wood for customers and look in the scrap bin.  I was able to locate
a 4' length of 2" x 8" pine.

I had the nice man cut the 2 x 8 into 6" pieces.   This way you will have some spares in case you split the wood when performing the cutting or drilling.

I picked up the following hardware items"

4 3" wood screws,  
2 5/16 eye bolts with 4" shank
2 large 5/16" washers
2 1/4" spring links, looks like small carabiners
2 3" deep throat c clamps
Small section of gray carpet. 

I have  a hot glue gun and hot glue sticks
I had a pre-made bungie cord with two hooks.

Time to get to work.

Step 2: Cutting and Drilling, Hot Gluing

I am lucky, I have a small 6 inch ban saw.  I can easily cut the ski slots in the wood.  I measured the center of the wood and cut a slot that was 3/4" wide and 2.5" deep in two pieces of wood.

If you do not have a ban saw you can use a saber saw, chop saw or even a hand saw.

Drill two holes in the corners of the slot so you can turn the blade of the saw to cut out the bottom of the slot.

Take another piece of 6" cut wood and mark the location of two holes, one in each corner of the wood.  See image.

Pre-drill slightly smaller holes than the size of the screws.  If you do not, you will split the wood when you attempt to screw the screws into the wood.

Once you drill the holes into the bottom piece of wood, use these as a guide to drill the holes into the top piece of wood, with the slot.

Screw the bottom section of wood to the top section of wood.

Drill the 5/16" hole, just under the slot. in the top piece of wood.

Cut some of your carpet into 1  1/2" strips and lay the carpet into the slot and wrap the carpet to fit the top of the wood.  Mark the proper length of the carpet and cut it to size.

Heat up your hot glue gun.  Flip the carpet and apply some hot glue to the back of the carpet.  Spread evenly and do not apply too much as the hot glue will ouse out.  You do not want any hot glue on the carpet side of the carpet strip.

Repeat this operation over for each side of the slot and top of the wood.  Cut a small strip of carpet for the bottom of the slot.

I did not glue this strip, I just forced the strip into the bottom of the slot.

Assemble the eye bolt and two large washers into the hole you drilled.  Place the eye bolt on the flush side of the wood, as pictured.

You are almost done with the vice. 

Step 3: Wrapping Up the Vice

I made the mistake of buying 2" deep throated C Clamps.  So In order have enough room to clamp the vice to various size tables I decided to route slots into the bottom section of wood.

I took the pre-made bungie cord I had and cut the metal wire that holds the loop at each end of the bungie cord.

I removed the hooks, the hooks are too large to fit through the ski bindings.

I put larger loops into each end of the bungie cord and used stainless steel safety wire to fix the loop.

I then can easily loop  each end of the bungie cord into the spring link clips after running the bungie cord through the ski bindings.

Lets now fit the skis to the vise.

Step 4: Fitting the Skis to the Vice - Vertical

One of the cool features of a ski vise is that you can mount the skis vertically for edge tuning and then mount the skis horizontally for base edge tuning and waxing.

In the images below, you can see that I mounted skis in the ski vise so the entire length of the ski is supported.  It is very important then the ski holds this postion as you hone and file the edges of the ski.  You are attempting to remove any burrs nicks and gouges from the edges of the skis while maintaining the ski edge angle of 87 to 89 degrees, usually one angle depending on your skiing style.

Future modification,  The  bungie cord does an ok job of holding the ski,  But I want to try a different method to attempt to hold the ski a bit more firmly with less movement.

Step 5: Fitting the Skis to the Vice - Horizontally

By laying the skis flat on the carpeted tops of the vise.  The bottom of the ski's can now be serviced and waxed.

The bungie cord only does an ok job at holding the skis from moving.  In the future I plan on possibly mounting a piece of wood in the ski's binding to hold the ski in a more secure manner.  

But for the time being this solution will work.

In one of the images, the ski brakes are in the up position.  Normally you would attach a rubber band, that looks like a vacuum cleaner belt to hold the ski brakes in the down postion.

Not bad for an evening of work.  

Vise is done,  just in time for tuning as we are heading back up to the ski resort at the end of January.

The vises are small enough that I can take them with me to the hotel and tune up the skis after each day of skiing.

Pretty quick solution for around $20.00.

Happy skiing,  I am going back to work on more electronics projects now.  Just the way I like it.

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6 years ago

Joe, this is a great money saving idea and it is so easy to build that anyone can do it. It took me an hour to put it together and it works like a charm. The only difference is that instead of using felt/carpet I sprayed it with rubber. I thought it would be better, because it won't scratch the skis and will prevent the skis from sliding. Thank you for sharing.


Reply 6 years ago

Thanks b0ggl for the reply. I like the idea of the spray rubber. I had some carpet laying around so I used that. I agree the spray rubber would be much better to keep the skis from sliding,



6 years ago on Step 5

You can make this a self contained portable vice/bench by mounting the two vertical "vices" to a single 2x6 of proper length for mounting the skis to make a bench. Cut two more 8" pieces of 2x6 and drill two 3/4" holes in each of the 8" pieces at a slight angle. Glue and screw the 8" pieces to the bottom and ends of the bench. Get a 10' piece of 3/4" steel electric conduit, cut 4 30" legs and put a 3/4" rubber foot on each leg. Simply insert the legs into the holes you drilled into the end pieces and it's ready to go and you can take it anywhere and not have to find a table or bench to clamp to.

Cool instructable.
You probably want to spell it "vise," not "vice," though.


Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

Thanks for the proof read.



9 years ago on Introduction

If I could suggest...
I would go to your local bike repair shop and ask for a used bicycle inner tube that is going to be thrown away (Why not recycle? =) Right?). Take said bicycle inner tube, and slice it down the middle making a wide flat band of rubber. Cut this new rubber strip at 8 inches long, and glue it down to the top of the vice instead of carpeting. May have a better grip at holding the ski steady without marring the surface of your precious skis! Then to add to that, Use 2 smaller and tougher bungees with a cord loop (1 to the toe binding and 1 to the heel such as in this image And last but not least, maybe some of that rubber underneath the wood so it grips the surface much better when clamped down! Just food for thought! Great job on this instructable!


9 years ago on Introduction

Excellent solution. Those vices are expensive. I will have to make a set for myself.


Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

Thanks Toxictom for the feedback