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(please read)


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

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

 a. preparation
 b. layup



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

Base Preparation

Overview  The steel edges on skis are heat tempered to create a very hard and durable steel edge.  While this is great for durability, it also makes bending and working with the edges difficult.

The edges for the ski can be bent by two methods: (1) hand or (2) edge bender.  The idea is to bend the edges to fit the base material perfectly without any gaps.

Bending Edges by Hand
  One way to bend the edges is to heat the steel.  Notice that heating the metal destroys the temper, but it makes the edge easy to bend with pliers.  It is not recommended to heat other parts of the edge except for the areas near the tip and tail of the ski. Also, by removing the temper with heat, the metal edge becomes more susceptible to damage by rock hits.

Step 1:  Heat Up Edges  Start the edge bending process by first heating the metal edge to destroy the temper.  When heating the edge the metal should reach a bright glowing orange before you move onto the next portion.  You will only need to heat the portion of the edges that wrap around the tips and tails.  The sections near the middle portion of the ski underneath the boot are straight enough that the edges do not need to be bent and will hold its place when the epoxy is poured in during layup.  

Step 2:  Cool the Edges  Let the edges cool down gradually until they reach room temperature.  Do not accelerate to the cooling process by quenching the heated edges in water or any other coolant as this will actually harden the metal making it even more difficult to bend by hand.

Step 3:  Bend Edges  Using pliers and your finger tips slowly bend the edges to fit the curvatures around the tips and tails.  You'll find that the edges are relatively easy to bend.  However, tight curves can be frustrating and a little painful on your fingers.   Make small bends at a time while constantly checking the edge curvature to the shape of the ski base.


Bending Edges with an Edge Bender
The best way of bending edges is with an edge bender.  For example, our edge bender shown below is custom made and consists of a steel wheel and a lever with a bearing. The edge sits on the wheel with the teeth pointing in and the lever forces the edge to follow the radius of the wheel.

Step 1:  Bend the Edges  With and edge bender there is no need to heat up the edges as when bending by hand.  This allows your edge to keep its strength in the tips and tails.  As previously mentioned, make small bends at time while constantly comparing the edge curvature to the base material.

Step 2:  Finishing with the Details   An edge bender does not allow you to make extremely tight curves as found in sharp ski tips.  These portions can be made by bending with pliers.



Attaching Edges to Base Material  After the edges are bent to contour the perimeter of the ski base material, the next step is to temporarily attach the edge to the base.  This can be done using Super Glue and clamps. 

Step 1:  Glue Edges Into Place  Use Super Glue to tack the edges onto the rough side of the base material.  We recommend using the gel form of glue as it is easier to handle and creates less mess.  Place small drops of glue 10-15 cm apart in the straight sections of the ski (underneath the binding area).  Use some alligator clamps to keep the edges in place until the adhesive has cured.

Step 2:  Tips and Tails  Near the tip and tail you may want to glue every 3-5 cm.   More glue is required in these areas because more stress is placed onto the tips and tails when the ski press forces them into the mold.  There is a greater likelihood of the edges separating from the base near these portions so additional glue is used to prevent this from happening.

Please note that Super Glue is use to only temporarily hold the edges in place during layup.   There is no need to apply Super Glue to every tooth of the ski's edge.  The epoxy used for the layup will actually seep into between the edges and base material to provide a much stronger bond capable of withstanding forces generated during skiing.


Optional Step  An optional step that can be done to prepare the skis bases is to protect them from adhereing to epoxy during layup.   Removing cured epoxy from a ski base can be a time consuming and frustrating process.  This step reduces the likelihood that epoxy cure onto the ski's base.

Step 1:  Cover Base with Tape  Before you begin try to remove as much dust and particles from the base material as possible.  A vacuum, blow dryer, or even a damp cloth will remove most of the debris.  After the base is clean, cover the base with some low adhesive tape.   Cheap, clear packing tape available at discount stores works well for this application.  You can even use masking film (the blue plastic found on new refrigderators) if available.

Step 2:  Trim Off Excess Tape  Use a sharp razor blade to trim the excess tape from the perimeter of the ski's edges as shown.

Step 3:  Trace Edge/Base Border  Next, use the same razor to trace the border created by the ski's metal edge and base material.

This enables the epoxy to flow through the cracks and onto the tape covering the base.  If this step were ignored, the tape would hold back the epoxy and most likely the epoxy would find it's way in between the tape and base material.  This crack simply allows the epoxy to flow elsewhere. 

Once you have finished with the bases, the construction of the wood cores is next.

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