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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 Materials

The structure of a typical sandwich construction ski is illustrated below.  

 

Materials list:
  Wood  A typical core is composed of vertically laminated strips of wood.   Wood not only provides for a livelier feel but is more durable compared to other core materials such as foam.    The amount of wood you will need should be approximately 1.5 times the combined width of a pair of skis.    Depending on the type of wood and grade, the price can range from $30 to $50.     

 

  Composites  Composites are fabrics (fiberglass, Kelvar, carbon fiber) that provide extra support to the wood core.   A minimum of two layers are used, one above and one below the core.   When combined with epoxy, composites cure to form a material that is very strong along the direction of its fibers.   Therefore using composites with fibers running in several directions is ideal.   For the layup, each composite layer should overlap the entire ski by several inches.   The excess will be trimmed off after the ski is pressed.  Composites can be found at most marine suppliers and range from $5 to $20 per yard.  

 

 

 

Top-sheet Material  Common top-sheet materials include polyethylene, P-Tex, or any durable plastic that will bond well to epoxy.   They mainly serve as a platform for the graphics and as protection of the ski's epoxy from UV radiation.   As with the composites, the top-sheet material should be large enough to overlap the ski's edges.   Top-sheet materials can be found at most plastics dealers and average $20 for a pair of skis.   

 

  Base Material  Base materials are thin sheets of plastic made from sintered or extruded UHMWPE (ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene).   They are specifically designed for wax absorption and epoxy bonding with a rough texture on one side.   The amount of base material to create a pair of skis approximately costs $20.  

 

  Edges  Edges are made out of steel and allow your ski to carve a turn.   They come with "teeth" which act as the main source of attachment to the base via epoxy.   The total cost for edge material is under $10. 

 

  Sidewall Material  Sidewalls are traditionally constructed out of ABS plastic or P-Tex.   Strips of the material are attached to the core to protect the wood from moisture and impacts.   Materials can be found at most plastics suppliers and should cost no more than $20.  

 

  Tip Spacer Material  Tip spacers are just an extension of the sidewalls.   They act as bumpers of the ski to protect the core from collisions with trees, rocks, and other skiers.    The same materials for sidewalls are use for tip spacers. 

 

 

Inserts Inserts are an optional item.   They allow for easy and secure binding mounting.   Inserts have proven themselves to be much stronger than traditional binding screws.   They average 20-50 a piece.    

 

  Rubber Strips  To enhance the damping of a ski, rubber strips are often placed along the edges of the ski.   They absorb vibrations and reduce the likelihood of ski delamination.   Rubber is also an optional material.  Other damping materials include cork, softer woods, and metal. 

 

  Epoxy  Epoxy is the main ingredient that holds all the above materials  together.   Epoxies are composed of two separate parts - resins and hardeners, or catalysts.   These parts are mixed together to form an adhesive that is extremely strong and durable.   Marine epoxy is commonly used for ski construction which ranges $75-$100 for a gallon system. 

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