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Project Pallet
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bigKam
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Joined: 01 Feb 2005
Posts: 540
Location: Reno, kNevada

PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2007 8:55 am    Post subject: Project Pallet Reply with quote

Last month I purchased a bandsaw and to save on shipping cost I had it delivered to a local freight center. (This is a nice option if it's available from the vendor -- it cost me nothing to have it shipped to the center!) When it arrived I got a phone call from the center telling me I had to go pick it up. When I arrived, the saw was in two pieces: one box and the main piece nicely wrapped on a pallet -- total weight: ~300 lbs. The person working at the center was kind enough to use a forklift to load the pallet into my pickup. "Keep the pallet!" he said.

At home I quickly assembled the saw in the garage, and it works beautifully. I recyled as much of the packaging as possible, but there was the question about what to do with the pallet. I suppose I could have returned it, or broken it up into pieces and added it to my firewood pile. Without much thought I just leaned it up against the fence to be dealt with later. The pallet sat for a few weeks, and finally I needed to dispose/recycle it. Then in my head a few neurons fired, bzzzz, bzzz, and an image materialized:



Why not? No reason not to try. Some of the wood looks okay, maybe with a little tender love and care... With all the discussion about different woods used in skis/snowboards on our very own forum, as well as on TTips.com and others, it seemed like a good idea to experience first hand if it "wood" make much of a difference. G-man is playing with pine, others have tried fir, poplar, and of course, the famous maple. I've recently gravitated toward wood with knots.

Enter the Project Pallet.

Keep in mind that the pallet has an interesting history, for example, read this entry from WikiPedia and also this little note. My favorite lines from WikiPedia are:

"The cheapest pallets are made of softwood and are often considered as expendable, to be discarded as trash, along with other wrapping elements, upon reaching destination. These pallets are of a very simple construction which permits lifting from one of two opposite positions only. Slightly more complex hardwood pallets and most plastic pallets and metal pallets can be lifted from all four sides."

The pallet I have is the slightly more complex hardwood version because it can be lifted using forklift prongs from four sides. But there's visual evidence that at one point in its life, parts of it broke off and someone patched it up with parts from another, lower-quality pallet. I'm not a wood expert so I cannot confirm 100% the exact species, but it appears to be a mix of pine, cedar, and maybe maple..?

Now making a pair skis using pallet wood isn't a completely crazy idea. In fact, people have recycled pallets to create some very useful structures -- take for instance this nice shed. Oh, the dog house at the bottom of that page is unique -- kudos to the inventor!

If you still think I'm crazy, then let me ease your mind by saying I'm doing my part by recycling, and also through this experience it'll add to the body of knowledge in terms of what "wood" one should use or not use for skis/snowboards. Very Happy. Somebody has to do it...

Let's get started. First thing I did was take a hammer and pry bar and separated enough pieces to create core blanks. It was a more difficult task than expected. The nails that fasten the pieces together are specially designed to stay put (screw-like). Some of the pieces were severely split, and using the hammer and pry bar didn't help matters. I got enough pieces to work with in about 40 minutes -- oh, it looks like one standard size pallet has enough material for two pairs of skis. The next step was to run the pieces through the planer. I had to make sure that all the nails were out -- some pieces had bits of old nails embedded within, so I had to comb over the wood very carefully. Here's what the planks looked like after I cleaned them up:


Every plank was split to some degree. I did my best to rip them into 1.5" strips. Since the longest piece was 3-feet, I had to creatively stitch the pieces together to form a core blank that was 6-feet long. The trick was to distribute the areas of discontinuity when the pieces were glued together -- not too bad:




After the glue dried, I planed the blank on both sides, then split lengthwise to create two symmetric core blanks, 12mm thick. Here's what they look like after the planer:



The Project Pallet skis will sport the same shape as the Kaweah. I will add rubber for damping and also some metal. I expect the skis to be done by mid-May because I have a backcountry trip planned to "break" them in....

Stay tuned for more...
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Last edited by bigKam on Sun Apr 15, 2007 10:38 am; edited 1 time in total
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G-man



Joined: 25 Mar 2006
Posts: 599
Location: northern sierra nevada

PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2007 9:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey bigKam, what a hoot! I think your latest core will work just fine. If it does, in fact, hold up well, it will sure debunk a lot of prior thoughts and myths about how important the core material is. The little gaps in the wood strips may even act as vibration continuity breaks that will disrupt vibration pathways and improve damping Very Happy . Maybe you should patent it Idea .

I have a pair of K2 She's Piste that I got real cheap from REI a few years ago (180's and they couldn't sell them). There are areas in the top sheet where there are no graphics, and because the top sheet material is truly clear, the core can be readily visualized. The core exhibits many knots and has some fairly large areas of wood filler. They were my favorite ski for a couple of years, so they have a lot of days on them They've held up very well.

Great recycle of a material that has spent much of its days traveling the world.

G-man
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bigKam
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Location: Reno, kNevada

PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2007 10:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

i agree -- it should work just fine. what's fun about building skis is there's a story with each design. and with each design, we learn something new.

i have several projects in the works related to skis, and others waiting to materialize. so many ideas and so little time. i need more hands.
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plywood



Joined: 13 Oct 2006
Posts: 499
Location: wilen, switzerland

PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2007 1:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

haha how sick and wicked is this?!

kam, i admire you for such ideas. this is just so out of line!

well, i think that wood definately has an effect on how a ski rides. at least with a horizontal construction. on my latest pair i even could feel the influence that wood has on a ski: in tip and tail the woodcore is just 3mm thick. which means that there are 3 layers of 1mm veneer. the veneer i used had some bigger grains....or the year rings cut lenghtwise, i hope you know what i want to describe. so in the tip and tail region these stripes of harder parts of the wood made a little turn to an edge. because i used 3 layers i could not fully level things out by just putting the next layer in the opposite direction.

now on the finished ski you can really feel this. if you push down one side of the forward part of the ski it bends/winds the ski torsionally more than on the other side. but it`s the same on both skis, so it`s not a big deal Very Happy
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SCHÜSS



Joined: 25 Mar 2006
Posts: 99
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2007 11:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wow you were right when you said i may drop dead with your wood selection!

haha its amazing how good it looks after cleaning it up and planing it. i think the cleaned up wood from that rusty old pallet can give the best of woods a run for their money!

after i finish the 'Gamma SL', im thinking of using wood from a good old aussie gum tree:D

still buffed on the thought of using a pallet. simply awesom kam

schuss
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RoboGeek



Joined: 17 Jan 2007
Posts: 239
Location: Middle of a cornfield...

PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2007 5:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

wow..
with all the old barns around here.. hmmmm
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powdercow



Joined: 31 Jul 2006
Posts: 75
Location: Orem, Utah

PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2007 2:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am really amped on the experimenting that is going on around here lately. Between shuss and his umpteen layers of composite and Kam and his junk wood we stand to learn a lot.

So if the "pallets" ski well do we take it as proof that core material doesn't matter, or just there there are source of good wood that we might have never thought of? I think to truely prove the core theory I need to build some skis from the cardboard I have laying around Very Happy .

It is also fun to see how others set deadlines for their skis. I have promised myself that my next pair will be out before snowbird closes at the end of the month.

Excited to see how these turn out.
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bigKam
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Location: Reno, kNevada

PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2007 7:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

more photos of nice wood (forgot to post these earlier):



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Greg



Joined: 26 May 2005
Posts: 225
Location: Sweden but home is NW Washington

PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2007 7:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That is great to see! I remember seeing a pair of K2's (I think it was K2) that had finger jointed strips of wood, so this method should be just fine.

As for pallets, from my experience working in a lumber yard and warehouse for a while, the hardwood pallets usually have pretty good quality wood. In fact, in the industry, they are treated as a valuable commodity. For example, when a warehouse receives a shipment of 40 pallets of food, the truck driver won't leave until he has 40 decent condition empty pallets on his truck and pretty much every warehouse has a large number of pallets specifically for this purpose. Where I worked, we had a pile for good pallets and one for bad pallets, and there was a guy who would come around every month or so and pick up the broken pallets, then sell back an equal number for a discounted price.

As for your pallet, it is a pretty typical of one that has seen a few repairs, and that is probably why they weren't too worried about letting you keep it. As to the type of wood you got in that pallet. It looks like there is some oak mixed into the lot as well which is pretty expensive and nice strong wood (a bit heavy though).
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SCHÜSS



Joined: 25 Mar 2006
Posts: 99
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2007 6:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kam you were talking about my Tasmanian maple/oak before. Here are some pics of the tasi wood with red ptex sidewalls attached. Flex pattern is great







Cost is about $50 Australian dollars for 3.6m worth in 19mmx19mm strips. (thats for 7strips)
So thats about $41USD for a pair of skis

schuss
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SCHÜSS



Joined: 25 Mar 2006
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Location: Australia

PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2007 7:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh and for any one that is wondering whats so special about tasmania or where it is?, here is your answers!

Although im sure this wood comes from a pantation now, i think in the olden days the eucalyptus trees this wood is from, ( i cant remember the exact name for it) but the species grew up to like 200feet high or something. second highest in the world any way. so it was pretty special getting something from a huge ass tree. nowadays its "conserve the rainforrests" so we have plantations, which also make this wood widely available throughout aus and used for many many things. Its def not the cheapest but not that exspensive either.



schuss
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RoboGeek



Joined: 17 Jan 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2007 10:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

and the cool thing is you get to name them the Tasmanian devils.. Wink
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bigKam
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Location: Reno, kNevada

PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2007 10:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

SCHUSS:

your home mountain looks impressive. how much vertical?

any skiable mtns. on Tas?

i have a few colleagues in Aus. maybe i'll come visit them and visit your home mountain, then take some Tas. wood home...
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SCHÜSS



Joined: 25 Mar 2006
Posts: 99
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2007 6:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thredbo has about 700m vertical, longest run is 5.9km.

Average snowfall is about 6m but we only get a base average of around 2m. Although in the last 5years we have only got around 1.7m depth on average. Oh and last year was the worst season on record with 89cm depth.. lol usually that would be very bad but thanks to the largest snowmaking system in the southerm hemi thredders can push 350,000 cubic meters of snow a season makin it actually pretty damn decent.

Haha enough of braggin and advertising thredbo (i just love the place).

If your actually keen to see some more ill send you a vid or something?

In tasi there are ski resorts, Ben lomond for eg. But think very small vertical, small lifts (they may even only have t-bars) and small snowdepth but very prettyfull.

Perisher blue is our biggest ski resort just 30km away from thredders with 57lifts including a 8seater and an underground train to get you there but it only has 400m vert so its very spread out and short. i much rather thredbo as it has an austrian style village and is actually a mountain.

here are some random pics for you:



thredbo


Perisher blue








Mt Hotham, Victoria, Australia. This is another of our major mountains, has about 450 vert. pretty tho.













Ben Lomond in Tasi Sorry couldnt find too much about



So there you go. Haha i feel like i am advertising the place! nah i just wanted to show you we do have snow:)

schuss
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bigKam
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Location: Reno, kNevada

PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2007 8:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

more update -- pallet-core skis are done, pressed using Kublai with heat:



same shape as the Kaweah, but core is 11mm thick, therefore stiffer. used full-length .016" thick sheet of aluminum underneath graphic layer. i enjoy rubber in my skis because it makes them damp. this time, 85% of the tips have rubber, and i also strategically placed thin strips and 2mm thick rubber to damp out the 1st and 2nd mode of vibration. i estimated the location based on geometry. used white p-tex sidewalls -- flame treated them for bonding. oh yeah, base is green, so they should ski nicely Very Happy.
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