As our klondike derby date drew nearer, i was looking for a project for our scouts to make so they could have some fun in the snow. At first, i thought about snow shoes, but they are still a lot of work to move around in and you really need a lot of snow for them to be worth while, so, i came up with this idea. My goal was to outfit the group with cross country skis for < $5 per boy. I sent home a note asking for broomsticks and depending on how many i get donated, I'll be real close to that figure.
This is still in the prototype phase, but, i've got 2 pairs made and i think i've pretty much decided on the design....
Material list (per ski pair): 1 Vinyl gutter (ski bottoms) 6 drywall screws (to mount 1x4 to gutter) 2 broom sticks (ski poles) 2 butter dish tops (round ones 3-4 inches in diameter, to be used on the poles) 2 small screw eyes (for use on the poles) 1x4x8foot (for cost reasons, buy at least 8 footers and cut them to length) 2 hinges (1 1/2 to 2 1/2 inch wide) 2 feet velcro (hook-65) (sew on model, no adhesive needed) 2 feet velcro (loop-1000) (sew on model, no adhesive needed)
How to prepare the gutter: 1) Cut the gutter into two 5 foot sections, (you can make longer if you want, but then the cost goes up a lot as you'll need 2 gutters/boy) 2) Cut the edges down to 1 inch (this way it doesn't look like a gutter anymore and holds less snow) 3) trim the edge completely off of 4 inches at the front of each ski and round off the center part (like a ski) 4) Heat the front tips with a hair dryer and curve them upward (just like a ski) (Wear work gloves so you don't burn yourself)
Preparing the wood: 1) Cut two 3 foot sections and two 1 foot sections from the 1x4. 2) using a table saw, rip a 15 degree angle to the 2 3 foot long 1x4's edges (this will allow it to fit inside the gutter). Note: Your angle may vary, mine is 15 degrees.
Putting the skis together: 1) Determine the balancing point of each ski and mark it with a pencil. 2) Attach hinges to one end of the 1 foot pieces of wood. 3) Determine the balancing point of the 1 foot pieces and mark them. 4) Lining up the balancing points screw the hinges to the 3 foot piece of wood (mounted to the gutter). 5) Mount the 2 3 foot sections into the gutter at the front, rear, and the middle with wood or drywall screws. Only screw in from the sides, there should be no screws thru the bottom of the ski (this way, you'll never be blamed for a kid tearing up his parents hardwood floor). 6) Staple the Velcro to the 1 foot section of wood (mounted on the hinge on top of the 3 foot section and gutter). 7) Using a belt sander, roughen the area directly under the foot plate by touching the sander to the vinyl at an angle away from the front \________________________ \ <- sander angle
Putting the poles together: 1) If your poles are 1" diameter, drill a 7/8" hole in the center of the two butter dish tops. 2) score the pole 2 inches from the bottom all the way around 3) Twist the butter dish over the pole till it rests in the scored grove. 4) Attach an screw eye to the top of the pole, and run a small piece of rope thru it.
No one will win a cross country race with these, but i hope the kids will have fun with them (I'll cut down the vinyl sides and rip the 1x4 before they arrive, the rest, they should be able to handle). I've done some testing, the hook-65/loop-1000 is rated to hold 3-5 pounds per inch connected, so you can have enough grip to hold the skis on tight, yet release when you fall over so you don't break your ankle. So far, my son and i have been testing them and they seem to work ok. If anyone sees and problems, please email me (I don't want to have 15 kids in casts for the next 8 weeks.....) I'm a software engineer myself, so there may be something i'm missing here. IF YOU SEE IT, LET ME KNOW. Also, there are several different ways you can mount the foot to the ski, i also have one pair without the 1x4x3 piece but it's not as rigid as i would have liked it to be.
/ / <- foot piece (on hinge) ______________ <- 1x4x3 (to provide stiffness) \________________________ <- vinyl gutter
P.S. Vinyl on snow is very VERY slipper. Be sure to roughen the bottom else you'll never get anywhere....