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Verducci V-Tec Speed Skate Boot Stripped Threads Repair and Bolt Removal

roadskater's picture

OK with the Tour to Tanglewood only ten days away, I'm having troubles with the bolts and mounts of my Verducci V-Tec speed skating boots. Great skate boots and I love them so much I want to keep them going. These are semi-customs fitted by Doug Fessenden from Empire Speed several years ago and I keep coming back to them because they're super.

I've had several problems with the mounting system of course, as is often the case with various boot and frame setups.

First, I've gotten the 4mm Allen head bolts stuck in the blocks before, with various amounts of luck in extracting using a couple of different methods. I got one out one time by using a screw extractor kit (easy-out is a bit optimistic). Another time it didn't work and remnants of that remain. I know believe the best method of extraction is to use a Dremel or similar rotary cutter to fashion a flat head screw slot. I have heard of some who glued an inexpensive Allen wrench to the bolt and succeeded in getting it out that way.

Anyway, after the last easy-not-out fiasco, I started using the right side bolt receiver (looking from below), but on switching back to my 3x100+84 from the 5x84 I've worn all summer, I heard a loud "POP" and knew the threads were toast.

The left bolt receiver is fine but won't let me position the frame properly, which is why it's fine of course, so I need to consider other options, including helicoil inserts.

Craig gave me a link to a video that shows the process of installing thread inserts...


So here are some questions:

  • Does anyone here know the technical measurements that describe the bolt, including threads, for the bolts used with the Verducci V-Tec boot?
  • Does anyone here have experience with using helicoil inserts on Verducci V-Tecs or other projects?
  • Do you know if the mounting block on the front of the Verducci V-Tec normally would move at all? Mine moves away from the bottom of the boot, not side to side; I assumed this was OK if bolted down.
  • Do you know of brands that are good or brands to avoid for thread insert kits?
  • Where did you get your thread insert kit?
  • Can this be done without a drill press?

Thanks in advance for any help you can give, and please post details here if possible so others can learn from your experience.


roadskater's picture

Follow Up: Using a Dremel Tool to Remove a Stuck Bolt

OK I have heard and said enough about using reverse drill bit sets and sadistically named "easy outs" to get bolts out of speed skate boots. I have been a fool, putting my thumb on the table over and over again putting my thumb on the edge of the table and wondering what it would feel like if I hit it with a hammer again, metaphorically, of course.

I did it again with this latest speed skate boot repair saga! I not only stripped a couple of bolt receivers in my boots, perhaps by using hardened bolts to hold my frames to the mounting blocks (opinions?), I also managed to get YET ANOTHER bolt stuck in the mounting blocks on the OTHER SKATE! Arrgh!

So I asked my dad one night rather late would he like to drop in on the local WallOfChinaMart and he said, sure, though it was past his bedtime even when adjusted for me being there visiting. He had a recommendation to write for a student hoping for entry to Campbell University, and a sermon to work on as well, so he waited as I went in to WallOfChinaMart to look at tools. Some of this is described in an earlier post above.

I came out with a B&D Dremel Tool copy and some Heavy Duty Cut-Off Discs, and when dad saw the stuff he said, oh yeah your cousin's husband has one of those.

Well, I had come out of WallOfChinaMart with a handful of stuff and I wanted to use it, so when we got home I tried drilling and easy outing (using a screw extractor to remove a bolt; you drill a hole in the head of the bolt, then tap in a screw extractor, which HOPEFULLY grips the hole in the bolt and lets you remove it) for about an hour while I let the caffeine wear off a bit.

This was all useless fumbling and hacking in the night, only good for frustration and anger release, if that. And I did all of this because I didn't want to open that new Dremelish tool if there was one next door sleeping.  

So the next day I borrowed Jerry's Dremel and he said, "Just let the tool do the work; You don't need to use any force." This turned out to be sage advice.

Now as with anything I ever say anywhere if you decide to do it you're on your own. If you listen to me you're already not very smart, and I'm poor, so you won't get any money if you take me to court because of what you got yourself into! Having said all of that, here's what I did, and Craig's the one that showed me this before, so credit there for ye my Tanglewood buddy.

Just get the Dremel, put on the mandrel, put on a heavy duty cut-off disc, get the disc positioned properly inside your skate frame, and (after donning eye protection and connecting the Dremel to power) VERY CAREFULLY and GENTLY use the cut-off disc to CREATE A FLAT-HEAD SCREW SLOT.

DO NOT GO TOO FAR TOO FAST (I bet Tim remembers the guy who had a band named by the last four words...I can't imagine why he used to come hear me play, as his music was so different, but it was a compliment). STOP and CHECK YOUR WORK as you go. Get a BIG OL' NASTY FLAT-HEAD SCREWDRIVER (the kind that has paint on the business end because you thought it was a better paint-stirrer than screwdriver) and CRANK THAT SUCKER OUT of the skate boot.

Honestly, I probably spent an hour the night before deciding that easy outs were not going to be that easy after all. This Dremel method too LITERALLY TWO MINUTES of actual work time. AMAZING.

Now it should be said that not everyone can use this method in every situation, as when you can't get into your frame with the cutoff tool. I still think a variation on this method would work, perhaps using a hacksaw blade to create a flat head slot.

Remember the Dremel will EAT YOUR SKATE FRAME ALIVE if you goof and are not careful, and it will HAVE YOUR SKATE BOOT FOR LUNCH if you get really careless. Above all, make sure the boot and frame are being held very securely and that you go GENTLY with pressure on the cut-off disc. YOU WILL SEE SPARKS so be prepared for that.

But this is the true easy out for a stuck skate bolt. Hmm. Can I get a Dremelike in my skate bag with all the other stuff?



roadskater's picture

Follow-Up: Speed Skate Thread Repair Using Thread Inserts

OK the Tour to Tanglewood skating is over for 2006 and it is a good time to follow up on my earlier Verducci V-Tec speed skating boot repair project. I repaired the threads on my speed skates using thread inserts (mine were made by HeliCoil) sized 6 mm x 1.0.

  • I should have tried all of these steps with the boot more in an upright position, as some particles have become lodged between the footbed and bottom of the boot. The footbed work is so nice I hate to disturb it, and I have been able to remove most of this drilled out waste carbon and aluminum, but had I recommend this in my hindsight to improve your foresight. I will eventually remove the footbed and reinstall it, but likely only after this roadskating season is over. We shall see.
  • Be careful not to make the insert go in further than it needs to. I SHOULD NOT HAVE tested the threads with a 6 mm bolt WITHOUT THE FRAME IN PLACE. This drove the HeliCoil thread insert further in than I had wished, and I did not find a good way to retrieve it back without removing the whole thread insert and starting again with a new one.
  • Use some spray lube or other drilling lube to make things go a bit easier, and especially when threading the new insert into the new threads made.

Here are the basic steps:

  1. First I used the 1/4" drill bit recommended to remove all the old threads. If the drill bit is not included in the kit, make sure it says what drill bit size to use or don't buy that kit; get another one that explains it all. I used HeliCoil brand and was satisfied but there were basically no instructions. I found another brand at AutoZone that looked like it had a better tool with a slot in the end rather than a ridge. I did not buy that kit, however, just to get the tool. That brand was OEM or something similar, which is an ironic brand name, to me.
  2. Next, I made new threads in this 1/4" hole. The cool think about these thread inserts is the OUTSIDE of the spring like thread insert is the size of a 1/4" bolt (on my size) and the INSIDE is the correct size for a 6 mm x 1.0 speed skate bolt! Someone had a good day at the office when they thought of this many years ago!
  3. Next, I carefully screwed in the thread insert using some spray lubricant to make this job go a bit better. I broke off the "tang" in the end of the thread insert with the boot in an upright position so the tang would fall out of the boot.
  4. All that is left after this is to give the new threads a try by spraying some lube on a 6 mm bolt and reassembling the skate boot and frame THE NORMAL WAY, threading it in to see if your handiwork is good. As noted above, don't just thread a 6 mm bolt in all the way without the frame as this may drive the HeliCoil thread insert in too far, resulting in the HeliCoil extending into the footbed where it will cause you pain underfoot!

My results have been very good. They would be excellent had I known what I know now, I believe, especially:

  • As much as possible drill in such a way that the waste carbon and aluminum will drop out of the boot due to gravity.
  • Put the skate frame in place to test the threads rather than driving a 6 mm bolt in without the frame, as the latter can drive the thread insert in too far for underfoot comfort.

After some work I reduced the amount of waste underfoot, and am using an additional washer to pull the bolt out a bit, away from my heel. It turns out that I solved the thread insert problem (inserted a bit too far) sufficiently by removing the "tang" that helps install the insert, but I can feel the bolt itself, so I need to look for a SLIGHTLY shorter bolt, or learn how to use a die to cut the end perhaps?

I have skated 35+ 35 + 48 + 42 = 160 miles on these boots, including adjusting and even changing frames, and am very happy with the results. I only worked on the right boot, and I inserted threads on the front and back. These feel completely secure and if anything better than the original, now often used, threads. I never was able to repair the center bolt receiver, and will likely abandon that idea at least for the season, as I have "worked" on it too often too incorrectly. I think it best to silicone that hole to keep out the rain and forget about it!

I hope this helps. Remember that many auto mechanics are very familiar with this process, and can give some good advice even if they decide or you decide they will not make the repair.

roadskater's picture

Get a T-Handle Too

Hi. Another tip. It is probably worth getting a T-Handle that is made to use with tap bits so you can do the thread tapping by hand. I actually used a drill to do this step, but it was freaky and I think doing it by hand is likely better. I acted on advice from the person in the store, but they're not mechanics, they just play them on television. I welcome other opinions on this.


To get a T-Handle, I purchased a tap kit later after my repair was done. I wonder if I should have bought the dies as well? Any thoughts?


Another thought is I wonder if I had just bought a 6 mm tap, could I perhaps have repaired the threads enough without this other process. I think the answer is no, and that I am better off with the thread inserts, but I have bought a 6 mm tap to keep on hand in my skate kit.


Good luck! As my cousin said, "They're no good to you if you don't try to fix them, right?" That's what gave me the guts to try this repair.


timv's picture

Helical Thread Inserts

I've been surprisingly lucky with threads in aluminum parts, considering how much I've had to deal with them. So what I know about removing stuck and broken bolts and replacing threads is mostly second-hand. But a few thoughts:


"Heli-Coil" is the original and best known brand of thread insert. Still a safe choice. From my racecar days I recall that some mechanics just went ahead and installed stainless steel inserts in all the threaded holes in new aluminum parts, rather than waiting for them to fail. Better to spend time doing it in the shop when you have time to spare than to kill a thread at the track and have to remove the stuck bolt, re-drill and re-tap the hole and install the insert while you're trying to get the car out on the track and the clock is ticking. The same logic might apply to inline skate events too, I think.


This article looks like a decent guide to replacing damage threads in soft alloys.


A quality industrial supplier such as Automotive Fasterners is a good place to go. I've been buying from their location on S. Elm St. in Greensboro for many decades. They sell to the public and only grumble a little when a non-pro comes in and wants two of this and three of that. Better auto parts stores (where real mechanics go) would be another possibility.


McMaster-Carr is a great online resource. They have many varieties of thread inserts. (Search for "helical insert" in the "Find Products" tab.) They also have a very good selection of left-handed drill bits, which often do as well or better than an "Easy Out" for removing the stubs of broken bolts. Ya gotta drill a hole to get started anyway.


roadskater's picture

6 mm x 1 Periwinkle and Black is a Trademark of Roadskater.net

Thanks, Tim, for your post. I agree that Automotive Fasteners on South Elm-Eugene in Greensboro is the best. I get those long-T-handled 4 mm Allen wrenches from there. Time for a new one!

The right HeliCoil set is M6x1 or part 5546-6. The right drill bit size for this is 1/4 (.250) inches. Go figure!

The package has a blue banner at the top to indicate it is a metric size kit. I found them for ~$30 at Advance Auto, ~$36-38 at NAPA, and $40 at O'Reilley's. Thank my goodies they didn't have the right size at the first place I went. The guys at AutoZone had them in another brand but I wanted to pay more for the fake reassurance of higher quality. Made in China and USA. Hmm. That's some serious work sharing, Amigos!

So I repaired the left front hole and messed with the center one enough to spook me. I think that puppy's a goner.

Laugh at my crying when I say the back bolt receiver has stripped as well it seems. I may be using bolts that are too hardened? I know I'm not any stronger than my usual weak self.

I fear the carbon may not be for long on that back block as well. I received some info from Mims and from Bruce B in ATL and Mims had an auto mechanic work on his. I went by a mechanic's shop here on the way to the stores to get his vibe, and while his vibe was good, he had loaned his parts, now in disarray. But the gent helped me understand a bit and to feel less spooky about it all.

My cousin said, "Well that boot is no good to you anyway if you don't fix it, right?" So that is one point. Of course my version of "fixing" is sometimes called "damaging" by others.

So after all of this plethora of challenges I went out for solace to the Wal-Mart and I bought some tools I don't know if I'll use. Among them a rotary Dremelike by B&D who claim on the side of their box:

Orange and Black are trademarks of [you know who]

Well I can think of new words represented by the B and D I can tell you. Is it too late for me to trademark Periwinkle and Black? Just in case:

Periwinkle and Black are trademarks of Roadskater.net!

OK I feel better. Now, tomorrow, I'll try to ruin the boots again. Not sure if I'll use the new tool to cut a slot in the head of that bolt or not.

I didn't buy JB Weld and a cheap 4 mm as was considered a possibility earlier. I've heard this works. JB the wrench to the bolt, sleep many hours, crank it out.

Regarding reverse drill bits and easy outs I bought both from the Harbor Freight guys or whatever that is. Worked once and not the second time.

I think I'll go for slotting the head first, then follow with easy out, then if that doesn't work, JB the Easy Out, and if not that, Toad the Wet Sprocket, and if not that Birthday the Bonfire!

Not sure of my coordinates on the morrow but if they don't change, thanks for the willingness and information, Craig and Tim.

I have yet to check to see if I have one good Verducci and one good Mogema! Ha! Now there's a sight! I had earlier pondered one 5x84 and one 3x100+84 as the "real" test of the difference in frames. I have a vague backup plan beyond these random ideas, but will need to test that one soon as T2T looms and all of this is not helping my last days to train before "tapering," ha!


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