Today’s project is building new bindings for my ~20 year old Atlas snowshoes. They haven’t seen much use for a few years now, and when I got them out for an upcoming weekend trip I realized the main binding part was broken in several places. Apparently the plastic used to make the main binding piece wasn’t meant to last this long.
There were a few places where the binding had failed completely and several areas with cracks that wouldn't hold under any kind of force. Unfortunately, Atlas also doesn’t sell replacement parts, and it's not worth mailing them across the country for repair, so it was either toss the shoes or make something new.
Working with just the left side, so i could use the right as a reference, i drilled out the rivets holding the binding and webbing together. They're just soft aluminum, and easy to drill out.
With the pieces apart, i could lay out the main binding part and map out how to rebuild it with something else. Here are the main parts laid out as best i could. Everything seemed to be in perfectly good shape other than the main plastic piece of the bindings.
I have some Dunlop strap left over from rebuilding my car seats a couple of years ago, and figured it would make a good replacement since it's just rubber-coated webbing, both pliable in the cold and reinforced for strength.
I had to buy a larger rivet setter and large (3/8” and 1/4”) rivets, but I spent maybe $15 total on parts and the riveter was only $20 at Harbor Freight. I laid out the straps to replace the attachment points and trimmed them to fit the hardware, then did some test fitting. I punched the holes with the largest setting on my leather punch.
The bindings wrap back and forth in a pattern that only makes sense when you have another one for reference. The other shoe is a mirror image, which slowed me down some, but in the end I got it laid out and riveted together.
This shows the left shoe done and the right one not yet started. The pieces aren't a 1:1 match, but as close as i could get with this webbing and minimizing the number of pieces and rivets.
They seems to be working well, the bindings still fit my boot and flex just like the originals since i'm using the same attachment points and hinge. At the rate i use them, this should last a good few years.