Pretty much ever since reading iggyskier's first big thread on ON3P last year I have wanted to try my hand at making home built skis. I had no desire to try to make a business out of it... I just wanted to be able to do it. Finally this spring my brothers need of a wedding present (about 4 months to late) was the final motivation that I needed to buck up and do it.
I'll try to go throught the process a bit step by step and explain some of the difficulties I had to help any other aspiring ski builders that there are out there.
This first picture is of the ribs to my mold, they are made of 1/2" MDF. I built them by tracing a template and cutting them all out seperatly with a jig saw. I then bolted them together and sanded them till they were all flush. (Hint: I could have easily saved myself hours of work by just buying a flush trim bit for the router and cutting them all out perfectly and quickly using that with my template.)
Next I put all my ribs together using 2x4 scrap to form my mold frame. The only little problem i had here was that some of my 2x was not perfectly square. Luckily I also ran dowel the whole width which kept things aligned really well.
Once I had the mold frame completed I stapled a sheet of 1/4" masonite to the top of it. Then I used contact cement to attach a sheet of aluminum flashing to the mold so it would be airtight.
This is a picture of the template which I created using SnoCAD (available on grafsnowboards.com). Once cutting out the template I traced it onto of piece of mdf. I then cut out one half of the ski. Once sanding the half template to perfection I used a flush router bit to transfer it to another board and then flipped the template on the same board to create a perfectly symetrical full template.
This is one of my cores as I was laminating it. I used pine with red oak stringers. I then planed the board and used a router bridge to profile the core. Sorry I didn't have my camera for this so I can't show it.
This is the way I attached my valve to the mold. Unfortunately it ended up being a little leaky and I couldn't quite pull as much of a vacuum as I would have liked, so next time I will have to do something a little different.
This is most of the materials that I used. The edges were a pain in the butt to bend. next time I will probably try to get some kind of tool to help... or at least a pair of gloves.
This is my homemade router table with the base hot glued to my template so I could cut it out.
A cheap package of multi colored clamps from Menards goes a long way when attaching the edges. We used super glue to attach them before we pressed the skis.
Here are a few pictures of the layup itself. They include putting on the VDS and wetting out the fiberglass.
It was all hands on deck for the pressing itself. A big problem we had was one of the top sheets slid as we applied the vacuum. We were able to get it back in place but at the same time without realizing it we shifted on entire ski forward about hlaf an inch. It is barely noticable in the final ski, but the shape is a hair different.
Unfortunately the vaccum was a tad leaky and I was only able to maintain about 18" of vacuum as opposed to the 24" or so that I should have been able to get. But so far as I can tell they still pressed pretty well.
This is as far as I currently have pictures of. Since these I have trimmed the flashing and given them slightly slanted sidewalls. I should be able to get pictures up of the final product in the next day or two. Now all there is is to wait for my brother to take them out and see how they preform.
Vital Stats (Estimated... I need to get the true measurements as well):
Name: The Wedding Crashers
Appx 25cm rocker in front and 15cm in rear
All in all this was one of the most fun and rewarding things I've done in a long while. It took way more time and money than I expected but it was totally worth it. I learned about 1000 new skills just from this one project. If anyone has any questions let me know I am more than happy to provide further detail on any part of this. And now its time to start the snowboard for my sister-in-law!
I need to give huge props to skibuilders.com and grafsnowboards.com, I spent hours on their forums just searching trying to figure out how to get this project done.
P.S. (especially for iggyskier)
- I am now entering my senior year as a marketing major and have a pretty good knowledge of ski building, so if on3p is ever looking to start a marketing/pr department...... ;-)
"There's nothing like a mountain, the shimmering snow, the sunshine, and the crisp air to wake you up out of a funk and remind you that life is awesome!"