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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.



Finishing

Overview  After the skis have been pressed, they need to be detailed to look their best and become functional.  Below are a few steps that you should consider to finish your skis.
 



Trimming 
After pressing, skis have a lot of excess materials (such as fiberglass, sidewalls, topsheet, etc.) that hang over the edges, for example:

Removing the excess material, or flashing, is accomplished with a jig or band saw, for example:

Simply flip over the ski, clamp it down securely and trim.  Depending on the sidewall material, a smoother cut can be made by using a saw blade designed for cutting thin metals.  Try to stay as close to the ski's metal edge as possible and take extra care around the tip and tail.  Hazardous dust can be created during the trimming process and we recommend that you wear some type of mask to avoid inhaling dust particles.  Also, be sure to wear proper eye protection and long-sleeved clothing to prevent irritation from the fiberglass dust.

After trimming the perimeter of the ski, the next step is cleaning up the sidewalls and doing the final detail work.
 



Sidewalls  After trimming the excess material from the edges, the sidewall material should be well exposed, but often times rough in appearance. You can leave the sidewalls as is, or for a more professional look, bevel them at an angle similar to manufactured skis.   There is claim that beveled sidewalls reduce weight, affect edge response, etc., but it's debatable (except for the reduce weight claim).  If anything, touching up the sidewalls makes the ski's appearance look more professional.

It's relatively easy to put a bevel on the sidewall using a router.  A bit with a ball bearing above an angled cutter or even a dovetail bit will be suitable for the job.

Simply follow the edge of the ski (flipped over and clamped down) to bevel at a constant angle around the perimeter of the ski's sidewall.  Any rough spots can be detailed afterwards by using a sander.

Beveling sidewalls.  Note the ski is camped to a table upside down.  The ball bearing of the router bit rides against the ski's metal edge.

 


Inserts   The core's inserts need to be drilled out.   Inserts are only visible if the top sheet is clear or if the locations are pre-drilled through the topsheet.   Otherwise, the inserts can only be found through careful measurements made before and after lay up or if the inserts were fabricated with magnetized caps.  The magnetized caps allow you to find the insert locations by using some metal filings as shown.

The insert locations are marked by the more dense area of metal filings.   Using magnetized caps are the easiest and most foolproof method of finding the inserts. 

Once the inserts are found, center punch each location and drill a small pilot hole through each insert as shown.

Next, use a drill bit slightly larger than the insert diameter to expose the threads and countersink the hole at the same time.

Clean up the holes and use an appropriate screw to test for fit. 



 



Base Grind  
The final step in the finishing process having the skis tuned.   The process involves grinding the base flat, sharpening the edge and, of course, wax the base.   You can tune the skis yourself or even skip this step all together but we highly recommend having your local shop do the work.   If you choose to skip the tune, at least clean your base with some base cleaner and structure it with fine grit sand paper or wire brush.  Then wax them and you're done! 

NOTE If the bases were not covered with tape during the pressing process, they will be covered with epoxy.   The epoxy can be a pain to remove, so avoid this complication by covering the base material with tape or masking film to keep the epoxy from sticking to the underside during the pressing phase.

 



Cure Time 
Something worth mentioning is the cure time.   Depending on the type and the temperature of the surrounding environment, epoxies can take up to a week to reach its full cure .   Please read the specifications for your epoxy and wait until your skis cure.   Otherwise your skis could delaminate in a matter of hours or days if you take them out too soon.   This also goes for slapping on your bindings and cranking down on the inserts.  Be patient.

Ta-dah!  You're skis are done and ready for bindings, and then a test ride...!

  

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