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SAFETY FIRST!
(please read)

OVERVIEW
  terminology

EQUIPMENT
  a. required tools
  b. ski press
      - press frame
      - mold
      - bladder
  c. core profiler
  d. edge bender

SKI
CONSTRUCTION
 
a. materials
  b. graphics
  c. ski design
  d. template
  e. base
     edge bending
  f. wood core
     - lamination
     - sidewalls
     - profiling
     - tipspacers
     - inserts
 g. composites
 h. topsheet

LAYUP
 a. preparation
 b. layup

FINISHING

TESTING

VIDEOS
Free Video: Intro to Ski Building (30MB).  Get an overview of the process.



Required Tools

A list of required tools for building skis are presented below.  Some of these tools you may already own, say for example, a drill and a jig saw.  Others, however, like a table saw or an air compressor or even an electric planer are more specialized, and you may have to purchase them.  All of the tools shown below can be purchased from your local hardware store.  But if you're on a budget, try borrowing these tools from someone you know. 

Note Most of the items below are power tools and require special training to operate them.  Please read a tool's operating manual or seek professional assistance to properly operate a particular tool.  Always work in a well lit and ventilated area.  Also, wear safety goggles at all times and be sure to read our note about safety.

Tools list:
Safety glasses  Eye protection is very important, so make sure you wear them at all times.  Safety glasses as shown on the left are mandatory and should be worn at all times during the ski building process.  Additionally, wear an appropriate mask to minimize toxic fumes and inhaling harmful debris.
Router  A router is a power tool used for removing/shaping materials, such as wood or plastic.  In our application, a router is used to cut contours, create templates, and to plane a surface.  For example, a router is used to "profile" the vertical contours of the ski mold, and it is used to shape and profile the ski's wood core.
Drill and drill bits  This tool is used to drill holes and also, to aid in installing screws. Have in hand a collection of drill bits that range in diameter from 1/16" to 3/4".

 

Sanders  A sander is used to smooth rough surfaces and in our application, it is used to smooth out the wood cores for the skis. Also, an electric sander will come in handy for smoothing the surfaces of the mold.  We use an electric belt sander (shown to the left) for most of our sanding operations.
Jig saw  A jig saw is used to cut curves in wood or plastic.  In our application, it is used to trim away excess material during the finishing process.
Table saw  A table saw is used for ripping wood and cutting wood with relatively straight edges.  A table saw is used to cut strips of wood for the skis' core and also aids in building the mold for the ski press.
Torch  A torch is used to heat edge material so that it can be bent more easily. If you have an edge bender (a device designed to bend the steel ski edges) then a torch is not necessary.  Please exercise caution when using a torch and work outdoors only and in an area with good ventilation.  Wearing a flame-retardant suit is also a good idea.
Clamps  Clamps are used to clamp together wood or other materials during the gluing process, or they can be used to hold materials in place during cutting.   A wide assortment of clamps will make the ski construction process much easier.   

Air compressor An air compressor is used to inflate and maintain the pressure within the bladder of the ski press.  The compressor of choice should be one that can deliver up to 100 psi of pressure.  Additionally, the compressor should have a regulator to regulate the pressure of the bladder at a desired value.  For instance, during the ski pressing process, the compressor should be able to maintain constant bladder pressure for several hours until the epoxy cures.

Electric planer (optional)  A planer is used to remove material to produce a very flat and smooth surface.  A planer is handy for profiling the wood core for a ski.

An alternative to an electric planer (shown on the left) is a small handheld planer.  A handheld planer is not as efficient as an electric planer, but they are more affordable.

 

Other tools that are needed include: screw drivers, utility knives for cutting ski materials, scissors, markers, pliers, a straight edge, and a hammer.

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