Monday, December 19, 2005

Making snowshoes

We spent the day (Sunday) making snowshoes. Our patrol group of Boy Scouts and parents assembled early on a clear, brisk morning to begin work. We started by heating gray PVC pipe over propane burners to form the snowshoe frames. The careful application of heat and some clever forms created the shapes needed out of the straight lengths of pipe. Some jigs guided the drilling of about 50 holes per shoe, then some simple assembly formed the empty frames. After lunch, we retreated to the warmth of the basement where the real work began - string and weaving the platform within the frame. The picture to the right shows the final fitting of the binding that holds the boot.


None of the operations is terribly dangerous or difficult, but neither is any of them easy. Overheating of the tubing makes for bizarre shapes and flattened plastic instead of the gentle curves of rounded tubing, and extreme overheating will burn the gray to a peeling brown. The challenge of getting the heat just right keeps the kids focussed. The drilling isn't hard because the templates are so good, but several participants had to interrupt their weaving to go back outside to find a missing hole or two (so to speak). The real challenge is the weaving of the ropes. An error in the over-and-under pattern can only be repaired by removing the work since the error, then redoing it all. I joke that I made 15 snowshoes yesterday but only finished two. But the 11-year-olds will be proud to be out on the trail this winter on snowshoes of their own construction. Here's a (nearly) finished snowshoe to the left. A rubber binding triangle will be attached to hold the sole of the shoe over the yellow braid while the white braid helps provide the "float" over the snow. The bar in the Scout's hand is where the ball of the foot goes; it is PVC over a steel rod to transfer the weight of the snowshoer to the frame.

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

13 comments:

Scouter Gord said...

This looks like a great activity for our Cub Pack in ALberta, Canada. Do you have plans?

Please contact me - Scouter Gord at http://www.2nd-st-albert-scouts.org/contact.html

homeschool said...

Thanks for your great instructions. I appreciate you taking the time to write them out. This will be a great homeschooling project.
Thank you much!

mojet58 said...

How have these held up?

This is something I would like to have our patrol do as a group this winter. Could you pass along the details?


thank you for your help.

newfie scouter said...

this looks like an excellent project to do with our kids before we go on a ice fishing trip, can you send me the instructions on this,

thanks.

Amanda Sue said...

I am very interested in your snowshoes. They look great, but I still have some questions - especially about the binding of the boot onto the snowshoe. I just need more info or more pictures. Plesase get a hold of me at: mmmsb@q.com Thank you for sharing this info!!

mojet58 said...

Newfie, Amanda Sue,
I don't think he is using this blog any longer - or doesn't care to answer. In any case I found another plan for snowshoes which I am in the middle of building now. Contact me here
mojet58 at hotmail.com and I can share with you what I have found.
YIS, Mojet

atul said...

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ATUL BRAND - PVC Pipe, PVC Conduit Pipes said...

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Tim said...

I am also interested in the plans that you used. I think that my organization would like to use your plan as well. Do you think you can e-mail them to me at tjschwartz7@gmail.com?

Tim said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carl Zobel said...

I would love to make a pair. Please email plans to me at:
carlzobel@gmail.com

Andy Groesbeck said...

IF you could also send me plans at billiam720@gmail.com

Tyrell Simpson said...

Can you send me the plans also.
lttl_juice@yahoo.com
Thanks a lot!!!