Time for some ski making

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Coolwhip

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Re: Time for some ski making

Postby Coolwhip » Sun Mar 04, 2018 2:54 pm

I'm watching this thread with interest. I've got a makers space nearby, and might even muster the will to make something this summer. One of the cool things about making your own skis, is you can make a basic pair with really limited equipment. Here's a guy who used fairly primitive bushcraft skills: Make your own Traditional Wooden Skis. Or, with sufficient skills and equipment you could make some laminated skis that come close to having the strength/functionality of modern skis (like this project: Wooden Ski Construction).

Edges were mentioned earlier on in the discussion, and I think if you're making something for downhill, metal edges are the way to go. Snow is pretty abrasive and all my old all-wood skis that were used for downhill have rounded edges to some extent. I guess this should be obvious, since all modern downhill skis have metal edges, but they were a valued addition to old skis too. I have some old Bonna skis with 3/4 edges made up of 6" segments attached with screws. It seems like that wouldn't be too bad to make, except maybe for the interlocking ends:
Edges_01.jpg

Edges_02.jpg


I'd like to try making some laminated/splitkein style skis, but I can also imagine myself struggling with strips of sticky wood and clamps and forms... I haven't seen a step-by-step set of images or video that really shows the gluing up stage. During commercial production, it seems like hydraulic presses were used, or elaborate screw-type presses, so I get the impression it's a tricky part of the process, especially if a lot of strips are used for a ski. Would love for someone else to go first and document the process. ;)

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Re: Time for some ski making

Postby Askel » Sun Mar 04, 2018 8:54 pm

So these guys are in your neighborhood: https://www.skishaggys.com/

It's my understanding they do all their own manufacturing. There's some serious ski building knowledge and tooling that might be a couple beers away. :D

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Coolwhip

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Re: Time for some ski making

Postby Coolwhip » Mon Mar 05, 2018 10:00 am

If you're interested in making some modern composite skis, there's this place too: Thoroughbred Skis. Probably lots of other "boutique" ski makers offer at least a factory tour.

Even though I mostly ski on modern skis made up of plastic, metal, and whatever... making them myself doesn't interest me that much. Wood does though, maybe because there's a sort of re-enactment of history happening, or because wood is appealing on its own, or because they would be obviously handmade, or because skiing them might be more challenging. All of the above? Why do people make cedar or even birchbark canoes? Probably the same sort of impulse.

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Woodserson

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Re: Time for some ski making

Postby Woodserson » Mon Mar 05, 2018 11:25 am

Coolwhip wrote:Wood does though, maybe because there's a sort of re-enactment of history happening, or because wood is appealing on its own, or because they would be obviously handmade, or because skiing them might be more challenging. All of the above? Why do people make cedar or even birchbark canoes? Probably the same sort of impulse.


Wooden boats get me through the ski seasons. One can choose a very specific design that outperforms anything available on the standard commercial market for a fraction of the cost (but you have to build it, so exclude labor). The ABS plastic kayaks and Royalex canoes that are punched out of a mold for $10 and sold for $1500 at Dicks and Cabelas don't hold a candle to a nice kit boat in terms of performance. And there's the satisfaction of building it yourself. And wood feels right and it sounds right in the water.

My wood cross country skis are incredibly smooth and quiet-- much more so than my modern XC skis. They may be a tad heavier but they are less fatiguing over the course of a long day.

As far as birchbark canoes... they are a dream wrapped inside a dream to paddle...

This is me (but not my boat):

10213191325_3b01b5f789_o.jpg

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Coolwhip

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Re: Time for some ski making

Postby Coolwhip » Mon Mar 05, 2018 3:25 pm

That birchbark canoe is beautiful, but I think it is primarily aesthetics and sentiment that makes it better than other canoes.

Woodserson wrote:The ABS plastic kayaks and Royalex canoes that are punched out of a mold for $10 and sold for $1500 at Dicks and Cabelas don't hold a candle to a nice kit boat in terms of performance.

Well, that depends doesn't it? If you want a canoe that can shrug off hard rock hits like they're nothing - Royalex is great. A few years back people were bemoaning the decision to phase out production and weren't sure at all that fiberglass, kevlar and carbon composites could take their place. They needed some reassurance: LIFE AFTER ROYALEX. There are people who will probably really miss Royalex.

I have a wood canoe myself - an old canvas-covered cedar canoe. It leaks a bit, is somewhat slow, and gets gradually heavier the longer it's in the water. I still like it a lot, but I don't harbor any illusions about it having functional superiority over other canoes.

Anyway, I think it's like that with skis too. They appeal to me despite their shortcomings. That, and I suppose like most people who would even consider telemarking, I don't prize efficiency over... anything really. :lol:

Just last week I bought a pair of Bonna 2400s from someone who had put Chili bindings on them. It seemed like a poor ski/binding match, but the seller said that some years ago they replaced the 3 pins that were on their skis with what was then the telemark binding of choice. It made sense to them at the time. In a more general way, that's what you're getting with old wood skis - they're what made sense at the time. If you're making your own all-wood skis you're stuck with some of the same design limitations as they had in the old days: skis more prone to breakage and wear, less damp skis, skis with less ability to rebound from flexing, less torsionally rigid skis.

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t-$

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Re: Time for some ski making

Postby t-$ » Mon Mar 05, 2018 4:06 pm

interesting points being made, and i think they are all pretty spot on. it seems like there are some positives to all-wood skis, but i think it is a stretch to say that their performance is superior to modern skis. not sure if anyone even made that specific claim, but yeah, unless i nail these and get really lucky on design and construction, they are probably gonna ski "much differently" than the modern skis i am used to. and for me, like others have said, that's kinda the point. and buying handmade wood skis is way out of my price-range, so i might as well make my own with my own custom finish and art. that's a win-win!!

and wooden boats are beautiful....neighbors got a 57 cris craft, and that thing is a gem. yeah, it's a ton of maintenance work, it sux down gas, and it doesn't go as fast as it's modern counterparts. but it's absolutely an awesome boat and turns heads all day, all summer. he doesn't own it to turn heads, he owns it cause he likes fiddling with the maintenance, he likes fiddling with old engines, and he likes the way it sounds. which i do too, cause you know he's rolling by long before you see him. i'm sure he likes that it gets a lot of attention too, lets not kid ourselves :D

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Coolwhip

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Re: Time for some ski making

Postby Coolwhip » Mon Mar 05, 2018 7:23 pm

t-$ wrote:...they are probably gonna ski "much differently" than the modern skis i am used to.

I saw an interesting doc recently where they set out to test present day's athletes' performance on old equipment: Champions vs. Legends. For the skiing segment, a young world-class downhiller (Manuel Feller) was compared with a retired legend (Marc Girardelli) on straight and modern downhill racing skis. The young guy had a pretty rocky adjustment to the straight skis, but he got down the hill alright. Giardelli is old and carrying a lot of extra weight compared with when he competed but it hasn't seemed to slow him down all that much. The most surprising bit though, was the hockey segment comparing Shea Weber's slap shot with Bobby Hull's. Weber normally uses a custom-made carbon fiber hockey stick, while Hull used a wooden stick that he bent by sticking the blade under a door and pulling up. Hull must have been a monster to get what he did out of the old-school equipment. That's another reason to check out retro gear, I guess... how do we compare with the people who came before?
Last edited by Coolwhip on Mon Mar 05, 2018 9:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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lowangle al

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Re: Time for some ski making

Postby lowangle al » Mon Mar 05, 2018 8:05 pm

Woods you lucky bastard, I'd love to paddle a birch bark canoe. People still make them and you can buy one for 8 or 10 grand.

Coolwhip, glad to hear we have another canoe guy here. I have three wood canvas canoes and I like the way they paddle compared with modern boats with the same hull design. Their heavier weight makes them less affected by wind for sure and it may add momentum for glide, especially on a large boat with a shallow draft. That being said I would take a lighter modern boat on a trip that required portaging or much whitewater.

What make and model is your boat Coolwhip? I've never recanvassed one but I hear the materials cost about 400 bucks to do it yourself.

If I ever do make a pair of skis it won't be because I think I can make a better pair than what's available, I would just hope they would be functional.

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Coolwhip

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Re: Time for some ski making

Postby Coolwhip » Mon Mar 05, 2018 9:19 pm

That's right! There was a canoe thread a while ago. I remember seeing your Old Town canoes - really nice boats.

lowangle al wrote:What make and model is your boat Coolwhip? I've never recanvassed one but I hear the materials cost about 400 bucks to do it yourself.

Mine is a Canadian Canoe Co. product - not sure of the model, but it's a 15' made sometime in the 1950's. I've never recanvassed it, but I did strip the old paint, coat the canvas with linseed oil and repaint it once.

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Re: Time for some ski making

Postby fisheater » Tue Mar 06, 2018 10:30 pm

My time to build a canoe is coming near. It will be a strip canoe, wood and glass. It will be decked as well. I like to fish on the Great Lakes, being decked will help with the wind. It will have a bit of rocker also, not a lot, 1 1/2"-2". The hull will be a Winter's Kite, the deck will be a head scratcher. The reason to build it is what I can buy would be a Wenonah Canak. The Canak has no rocker as does my Royalex Solo Plus. I won't pay around 3k for a Great Lakes boat with no rocker.
As far as Royalex I love it. The shore of Lake Huron on the Michigan shore is all cobble stone. When I am coming in on 3 foot peaked rollers, I am just trying to surf in 90 degrees to the waves. My canoes need to handle some rough landings. I will probably be the first guy to build a cedar strip canoe and put big yellow skis plates on it.
I would like to paddle a canvas canoe sometime, just to see where things have evolved from. I thought they were pretty light, well at least new? Maybe I didn't remember that correctly?


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