Without the space or money for a proper drill press, I was driven to drill snowboard insert hole arrays by hand. Even if I had a proper drill press, finagling a blank wood core around to align it would still prove to be a problem for me given the space (messy space) in my basement. So the challenge is consistently drilling the correctly aligned 2cm x 4cm hole pattern seen on nearly all snowboards… if we ignore whatever wild new binding configuration Burton is coming up with that year.
I knew I needed one, because steady-handed as I may be, my insert holes were not coming out aligned. The solution fell in my lap when I decided swallow my pride and go go to a local woodworking shop to tell them about my problem.
“You’re talking about a drill mate!” said the helpful man. Lo and behold, the exact tool I was looking for had existed all this time.
Once I had my drill mate, the hole drilling jig was a simple design. Two sheets of plywood. The top of which sports two pegs, and the drill mate is mounted to it in such a way that it will drill a hole 2cm away from the center point between the pegs. The bottom sheet has a series of holes. Each pair is spaced 2cm away from the next, and drilled such that the top pegs will slide right in. I should note that these small pieces of plywood lend themselves nicely to being worked on a drill press. After a visit to Dad’s garage to use his press, I had precise holes in my jig.
What we are left with is a jig that, when aligned to the center of the snowboard core, will produce that industry standard hole pattern. The drill mate also features a depth stopper. This allows me to swap in a forstner bit and counter-bore the holes so they are ready to receive binding inserts.
All it takes is one pass down the line to drill a set of holes 2cm off center, turn the drill master 180°, and another pass down the other side. Then again with the forstner bit to countersink and you’re done. Now the alignment effort only has to happen twice, one for each hole array, instead of once, painstakingly, per each individual hole.
The first board I made using this tool received a pair of bindings no problem!