You consider yourself a rustic outdoor enthusiast, and now you want to know how to make wooden skis like they used to use in the old days. Lucky for you, this process is fairly straightforward and only takes a couple days to complete! So go out, get yourself some long birch pieces, and read on to find out how to make a pair of wooden skis.
- Cut your wood to size. The first step in making wooden skis is of course cutting the wood you’re going to use for your planks. This doesn’t necessarily have to be done to any exact specifications, as you’ll be refining your skis later, but try to get your planks as close to a normal ski size as possible. Birch is always a good material to make wooden skis out of, and is recommended by many hard-core traditional ski enthusiasts out there.
- Soak and mold your planks. Proper wooden ski making calls to soak the wooden planks in hot water before sticking them in a mold. A good hot water soaking will make the cells in the wood a little more elastic, therefore making the overall molding process a little easier to complete. Once you’ve let your pieces soak for a few hours, it’s time to insert them in the mold. A mold can be constructed from two pieces of 10” lumber and at least four pieces of 12” 2X4 cuts. Use the 10” pieces as the sides of your mold-almost as if you were making a box-and three of 2X4 cuts to hold your birch planks in place. The fourth piece of 2X4 will be placed underneath the planks so as to create the arch in the tip of your skis. Once your mold is made and your skis are in the mold, let the whole thing sit for about twelve hours before taking the planks out.
- Clean up your skis. The next step in making wooden skis is to shape the tips of your birch planks into something resembling the point of a traditional ski. The easiest way to do this is to use a band saw, but axes and drawknives will work just fine if you’re truly the rustic type. Once you’ve created the point and cleaned up the edges, seal the skis with a layer of Pin Tar to prevent moisture from entering the birch wood.
- Add your bindings. Finally, once your birch plank becomes a true to form ski, the last step in making wooden skis is to add bindings. You can either drill holes for a modern binding, or go with an old school traditional leather approach. Leather bindings can be constructed simply by making a strap to go over the toe of your foot and a thinner leather cord to fit along your heel.
There you have it, you’ve just made a pair of wooden skis by hand! It’s kind of hard to believe that this fairly simple process has been used for thousands of years to make wooden skis. In fact, even modern fiberglass skis still use a variant of this straightforward construction style. But hey, enough reading, it’s time to take your hand made beauties out and hit the snow!