Thursday, September 9, 2010

Where's the snow???

I know it's only the begining of September, and as far as I'm concerned summer lasts until November but I just finished building a pair of traditional snowshoes and I'm dying to try them out. My first pair of snowshoes were the new style with aluminum frames and Olefin decking. I like them but the problem is they are very loud. The deck material produces a defening crunch on the snow reducing any chance of seeing wildlife. A number of people that I snowshoe with use the traditional wooden / rawhide style of which are much quieter which is why I've decided to go that route. Another reason I chose to use wood as the material of choice is that I'm trying to, somewhat, revert back to more traditional materials. I'm trying to come up with a blend of new and old, low tech and high tech. Some of the materials of old perform just as well as the new space aged materials so I see no reason to use them.

Using Gilpatricks book Building Snowshoes as a reference, I chose the Ojibway design mainly for its simplicity in the construction. Unlike many Ojibway snowshoes which are symmetrical I've decided to make mine asymmetric with the widest point forward of center. They measure 62" X 12". The filling for the main body is 3/8" nylon webbing. For the toe and heal sections I used 1/8" nylon cord. Three coats of Spar Varnish was applied to seal the wood and filling. As for the bindings, I'm not sure what I'm going to do. For now I'm thinking about just using lamp wick but am concerned that it will not hold my foot secure. I am seriously considering the MM 103-U binding from American Mountain Man. Or may make my own.

The form

Frame strips soaking in water for a couple of days

Frame strips steaming or 2 to 3 hours

Frame bent on the form

Near disaster when one frame strip split (I repaired it with epoxy)

Repaired split

Cross braces

Mortis and tenon joins the cross braces to the frame

Finished snowshoes 62" X 12"

1 comment:


Great Job! I built my box, or last, a year ago and failed at using the natural moisture of the green wood to form the frame. I've just started again with a pressure treated lumber frame. I've had some splitting, perhaps too much to bare my weight. But i'll finish them and note my flaws. Again, great job! Really!