I am new to the whole ski race scene, so I cannot justify spending hundreds of dollars on gear. Specifically guards which seem to be just expensive pieces of plastic. So I made my own shin guards and pole guards. I looked on the internet to see if this had ever been done before and I couldn't find anything. I would like kind of list off the steps I took to make these. I just made them this summer, so they haven't been tested, however I believe they will do the trick.
The Shin Guards
I made these out of sheet metal I got off some old air duct that was being thrown out, and a bit of foam sheet. Additionally there are some straps to hold the guard on.
I cut out the basic shape first by drawing on the metal with a sharpie, making sure it was as tall as my shin. I then used Tin snips to cut out the shape.
I drilled about 4 holes in a line on each corner of the guard. This would be a rough cut for the strap slots. These rough "slots" were then smoothed out after quite a bit of grinding down using a hand file.
I put a slight bend in the sheet of metal, so it would fit to my leg a little better.
After I was happy with the metal part I traced the shape of the metal onto some foam. I then cut the foam to that shape.
You need to make sure you cut little squares out were the strap slots are so that the straps can go through.
I spread epoxy onto the foam and pressed it to the metal so it was nicely aligned. To keep it in this position while the glue cured I placed a towel down on top of the foam and then laid a few bricks on top of that.
I sprayed a few coats of clear coat down on top of the metal to keep it from rusting. You could easily paint it black, white, or whatever or even put duct tape all over them, I personally like the “sick” tin man look.
The last step is to put straps through the slots and connect them so they can be tightened around your leg. I used some adjustable straps, but Velcro straps would do the trick as well.
My main concern with these is that after hitting a gate, I fear the metal might dent in and press hard against your shin. And because it is metal it would stay bent and continually press against your leg, which could hurt. I guess I will see this winter.
The Pole Guards
These were made out of a piece of scrap plastic from a cheap “Sterilite” storage bin I found in my neighbor's recycle, and some screws and nuts. I believe other plastic could work as well. Originally I was planning on using a 5 gallon bucket, which I believe would work.
I cut out a shape that kind of looks like an old oil lamp using Tin Snips. A pair of really sturdy scissors could probably do the trick as well.
My main issue with cutting the plastic was the fact that the plastic is quite brittle. While I was cutting it cracked easily. The crack would reach part of the plastic I wanted to keep, and I would need to restart. However If you go slow and put as little stress on the plastic as possible it shouldn’t be a problem.
The bottom rectangular part of the design wraps around the shaft of the pole and is pinched on by 2 screws. From there the guard bends until the top of the guard touches the top of the pole. The rounded part between becomes a sort of bowl shape and bulges out to make room for your hand.
To make the plastic form in this shape, I warmed it using a heat gun. I was sure to wear leather gloves and slowly heated then bent the plastic into the desired shape.
These certainly didn’t come out perfect shapes, but in function, I think they will work just right. If you take your time you can get some pretty slick looking shapes.
After the rough shape is bent, I drilled 2 holes through the plastic on the bottom now folded rectangular part that wraps around the shaft of the pole. I drilled both holes just big enough to accommodate 2 screws with nuts, the screws go through the plastic to the other side where it meets the nut. Tightening the nut onto the screw pinches the guard onto the shaft making it really snug.
I also drilled a hole centered on the top part of the guard. A longer wood screw goes through this hole and into the grip of the pole. I used a 3 inch deck screw. It also wouldn’t hurt to pre drill the handle with a tiny hole so the screw goes into the grip nicely.
This creates a solid attachment of the guard to the pole I also painted these black because I have black poles, and I think it looks rad.
Hope this helps somebody out there!