How We Make Snowshoes

To make a high quality product, you need high quality materials. There are no exceptions here. There are several methods to accomplish each step in making snowshoes, more or less geared towards the equipment available. Without getting into too many details, here’s how goes:

Choosing the Wood
We use exclusively ash, as it is the traditional and best wood to make snowshoes, but other hardwoods can be used as well. The grain needs to be exceptionally strait throughout the board’s length, totally depleted from large knots, and only the sapwood or outer growth rings of the tree are used. These characteristics can be hard to find especially in ash but are crucial if you want to bend the wood without cracking or breaking it.
The pieces are cut to size on a table saw and planned down to the right size.
Shaping the Tips
The pieces are cut to size and shaped. Some areas are thinned out to facilitate bending.
The rough edges are sanded before steaming.
This is where all the magic happens. When Ash is steamed, it becomes pliable enough so that you can bend it to a desired shape. Once cooled, it retains the shape.
The pieces are bent to shape on a mould and left to cool and dry.
We make front and rear crossbars and mortise them in the frame stock. The frame is fastened with heavy duty hand peened copper rivets. All joints are glued.
Each snowshoe is meticulously sanded to a smooth finish.
Each snowshoe is hand laced using tubular nylon lace. We use nylon lace as opposed to the traditional rawhide since it is stronger, lighter, more durable, comes in longer lengths, and is not affected by moisture.
When we are satisfied with the way the lacing looks, we brush on heavy coats of varnish to completely soak the lacing and bond everything together.

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