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How to Make Homemade Wooden Snowshoes
This is simple a how to guide to make your own wooden snowshoes at home. These snowshoes are fun, functional and economic. You will only need basic tools and materials.
4 pieces of 1/2"x6"x36" pine or spruce
4 pieces of 1"x5/8"x12" hardwood strips
8' 10 gauge aluminum or copper wire
10' 1/4" nylon cord
drill with a 1/8"and 3/8" wood bit
jigsaw or handsaw
large vessel for boiling water
Step one: Bending the wood
You will need to bend the ends of the 1/2"x6"x36" planks by boiling them then clamping them in the desired shape. Prepare a boiling pot of water 10" deep or deeper, and put the ends of the planks in. Allow them to boil for about an hour. When they are finished, immediately clamp them by placing them on the bench with the 2" wood block under the front and the 1"x4" block on top 8" from the front. Slowly tighten the 1"x4" block to the bench with the c-clamp, bending the plank. This will eventually be the "toe" of the snowshoe. Allow the boards to dry completely, this should take a few days.
Step two: Shaping the wood
When the wood is dry, take off the clamps. Two planks will end up side by side to make one shoe, so place them together in pairs. Using a pencil draw out your snowshoes, using the full width and length in the middle, but otherwise however you desire. On each shoe, centered right behind the bend, draw a 4"x3" toe hole. Make marks for two 3/8" drill holes on each side of the toe hole; these holes will be used to tie on your snowshoe. Now use the jigsaw to cut out the snowshoes.
Step 3: Binding the sides together
You will be using the hardwood strips to hold the two sides of each snowshoe together. One will go across the bend of the shoe while the other will go across the back, right behind where your heel will be. Once you see where the strips will go cut them to length and draw their pattern on the wood. Using the 1/8 " drill bit, drill a series of holes outside this pattern, then use these holes to lace the wood strips onto the planks using the aluminum or copper wire. Lace the strips as tightly as possible and tie them off around the strips at the ends.
Step 4: Finishing the snowshoes
Sand the shoes top and bottom, and then use a brush to apply varnish to the top and bottom. Allow the varnish to dry then apply another coat. When the snowshoes have dried again, place your foot between the wood strips and run the nylon cord through the 3/8" holes beside the toe hole. Use the nylon cord to tie the snowshoes to your shoes and legs.
Now go out and enjoy the new snowshoes you made!
Dan Beard, Chippewa Wooden Snowshoes
Ben Hunt, Simple Wooden Snowshoes
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