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A couple of winters ago we had an abnormal amount of snow here in Massachusetts. I needed snow shoes in a hurry to get to the back yard of my wife's mother's house to clear the snow from the flat roof on the back of the house that was leaking from ice dams. Couldn't find any snow shoes in stores so I checked the internet for homemade ideas. The quickest and simplest were made from plywood. I found sites that recommended sizes based on body weight. The trickiest part were the bindings but I found plans for making bindings that you could put on and take off without having to take off my gloves to tie them. They did work but were kind of rudimentary. I volunteered to make a pair for my niece who recently bought a cabin up in snow country. From additional reading I know that my design needs improvement, e.g. holes in front of the toes to allow the foot to pivot, maybe cleats on the bottom for better traction, additional holes in the plywood to decrease the weight. I've seen designs that use pvc pipe, etc. But, I would like to stick with the plywood. There are lots or articles on the subject but they each have their own perspective. I'm hoping that there is info that gives the basics such as best size and shape, best position for the foot, etc. Anybody have any thoughts on this?
 

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go native...
make them out of willow...
proven design...
been in use a bazillion years...
lasts long time..
light weight...
carry weight adjustable...
snow conditions variable...
one day project if you take your time...
 

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I have Iversons, which a little pricey. No willow. I went with neoprene bindings on traditional wood frame. If she really is is in real snow country, you need to go big. The 30" aluminum are not made for deep snow, more for hard packed and icy. Not for powder. Mine are 40 some inches.

Willow is probably quaint, but I wouldn't bother if you want to use them over and over.
 

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Where do I get the willow?
most any stream bed...
yellow or golden willow shrub would be a good choice... but not pussy or weeping...
make bows and arrows too...
 

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I think it depends on the part of the country.

Do you want to give something that you will be fixing every year? Indians around here used leather bindings.

Willow ones probably look cool on the wall though, or fine if you got lots of free time.
 

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These are the ones I used in my younger days when I made a living hiking up and down mountain sides cutting trees down. If you need to turn or turn around they need to be short and wide. The traditional cross country ones were very long and narrow which made them very hard to turn around on. The webbing is virtually indestructible so that might be an option. Any the picture may give you some extra ideas.
 

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rawhide.. leather boot laces, Tandy leather, old belts, nylon strapping, hobby shops...
 

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If you decide you want to buy instead, here is a good place to start.
Snowshoes | Sportsman's Guide

Me, almost everything I make is from plywood. Do love plywood. So, I'd make my own. First thing I'd do is discount about 90% of everything on utube. Then I'd decide on what design I wanted - I'd most likely research hard back books if I could find any. But anything in print I figure would likely be better than utube. I'd probably make a frame of a couple of layers of 1/2" plywood - because that's what I have on hand. Instead of webbing, I'd go with 1/4" or 1/8" plywood, on the bottom, and some frames running from side to side on the outer frame, to supply stiffness and strength. I'd likely drill holes too, for more lightness. Not guaranteeing it, but don't see why it wouldn't work, and be plenty easy to keep changing designs until you get one that works for the snow you have. And you'd have some for different types of snow too. Seems like I recall the Boy Scout handbook having something on snowshoes, possibly making them to. Or you could just make some real short, and real skis, that'd probably work too.

Hah. What better place to research snowshoes than here? http://www.snowshoemag.com/2012/11/25/the-morphology-of-snowshoes/
 

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Jim, I have no good advice for you, but I look forward to seeing what you build. I have some old MSRs which I used twice this winter. They're not great, but generally work well enough for snowshoeing in New Mexico. I'd listen to the Canadians :smile

Whenever I snowshoe, I inevitably wonder why I didn't bring skis, instead.

A flat roof in Mass? That doesn't sound like a good idea. It's bad enough in NM.
 

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Back in the 70s, I took a little walk with the US Army from South Germany up into the Swiss Mountains and down the other side. We carried both Snow shoes and cross country Ski's. We walked for three days to the top and camped each night in the snow. It was 16 feet deep at the top. We dug down into the snow to set our pup tents below the wind level and had to dig out each morning. Do to the new snow each night, we wore our snow shoes just about all the time when out of the tents.
From the top, we skied down to a pickup point and were trucked back into Germany.
We ran patrols daily around guarded sites on snow shoes and ski's.
I had just about forgotten this time of my life until this article came up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Jim, I have no good advice for you, but I look forward to seeing what you build. I have some old MSRs which I used twice this winter. They're not great, but generally work well enough for snowshoeing in New Mexico. I'd listen to the Canadians :smile

Whenever I snowshoe, I inevitably wonder why I didn't bring skis, instead.

A flat roof in Mass? That doesn't sound like a good idea. It's bad enough in NM.
Slight pitch to the roof. There are a flat roofs in MA....e.g. warehouses, old triple decker houses that have been standing for years.
Where are you in NM? Santa Fe is our favorite vacation spot.
 

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If you decide you want to buy instead, here is a good place to start.
Snowshoes | Sportsman's Guide

rl]
I got my Iversons from Sportsman guide. They get some good deals

I got the 10x46". Which are great in deep snow. The aluminum 30" sucked. With those I would go a short distance, and be pooped. The big ones, I was walking all over the woods.

I went with neoprene bindings, less to maintain. The year we go 4 feet of snow a few days before deer season, I was sure glad I had them. Lots of guys were not getting out in the woods. Pulled ice fishing sled behind me, with my gear.
https://www.iversonssnowshoes.com/product/10x40-cross-country-neoprene/

I've been tempted to get those military surplus ones, based on prices. Just not sure about going small.
 

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Slight pitch to the roof. There are a flat roofs in MA....e.g. warehouses, old triple decker houses that have been standing for years.
Where are you in NM? Santa Fe is our favorite vacation spot.
About a 45 min. drive from Santa Fe (in Los Alamos). In fact, I went to concert last night in Santa Fe...Bela Fleck :smile:

I have a flat room on my house, and although it fits the style of the house, it's a maintenance headache :frown:
 
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