"Dedicated to the preservation and enjoyment of skiing with wooden skis"


Tell me about the different types of wooden skis

    The earlier composition of wooden skis was solid wood. Later in their production, wooden skis were being made with laminated wood, making them stronger. Wooden skis had lignastone edges, metal edges or just had the wooden edges from the ski. Some wooden skis were manufactured with a P-Tex or ebonite coating on the base. Both of these base types eliminated the need for pine tar. Wooden skis typically have hickory or birch bottoms.

    Click Here for details on wooden ski characteristics

What is Lignostone?

    Lignostone is a densified wood (plasticised, compressed beechwood) used for the edges of skis, gun stocks and the heels on some women's shoes.

Where can I find a piece of lignastone to repair my base edges?

    The best place to find lignastone is from another ski. Use a salvaged ski and strip the lignastone from the edge.

How do I attach the lignastone to my ski base, while repairing it?

    Clean the surface well, and remove any excess, old glue. Sand lightly. Use a two-part epoxy glue and clamp well until dry.

What is pine tar used for?

    Pine tar is used to seal the bare wooden base of the ski to prevent moisture from entering.

How do you apply the pine tar?

  1. In a well ventilated area using a small brush, apply an even coat of pine tar to the entire base of the ski.
  2. Use a hot air gun or a propane torch with a flare tip to heat the pine tar until it bubbles.
  3. Extra caution needs to be taken to avoid burning the ski base.
  4. After the pine tar has bubbled, gently re-heat the base and wipe off the excess pine tar with a clean cloth or fiberlene. Work on small sections of the ski at a time.
  5. Before the base wax can be applied, wipe off any excess pine tar that may not have come off in the previous step. Using a clean cloth, wipe the warm base with extra effort until no more pine tar shows on the cloth.
  6. Let the base cool before applying the glide wax.

Does the glide wax go on the entire length of the ski?

    Yes. The glide wax for wooden skis is actually a COLD TEMPERATURE KICK WAX like Polar or Special Green. Apply it by rubbing the wax stick onto the base, applying a thin layer throughout the whole ski, including the groove. Using a wax cork, rub the cork over the wax until it smoothes the wax into a shiny surface. Apply another thin layer and repeat the cork process. You may need to apply up to three thin layers of wax.

Where do you apply the kick wax?

    Generally the kick wax is applied to the base of the ski from the heel of your boot to about 8" past the toe of your boot. If you are not getting good kick, either apply a warmer temperature wax or extend the kick zone longer.

My wooden skis have lost their camber. How can I restore that?

    You may be able to use heat and humidity to soften and bend your wooden skis if the bottoms or tops are bare wood. If they are not bare wood, you may need to clamp them for an extended period of time.

    Before you start, remove all wax from the base. Lightly sand the base to open up the pores of the wood. Prepare two wooden blocks that will be placed under the binding of the ski. These blocks should be thick enough to be slightly higher than the desired camber of your skis. Also, prepare two sets of clamps to clamp the tip and tail of the ski.

    For bare wood skis: Soak them in boiling hot water (use an old rain gutter) or dampen the bottoms and put the individual skis into a heated sauna, preferably on the top shelf or towards the ceiling. Leave them in the sauna for at least 3-4 hours. Remove the skis, clamp the tips and tails together with the bases together, then insert the wooden blocks under foot area of the ski. Leave clamped and blocked for 2-3 days. You may now re-apply the pine tar and wax. If this doesn't work, you may need to clamp and block them as indicated below.

    For finished skis: The only way to improve the camber is to clamp and block them for an extended period of time such as during the Spring, Summer and Fall. The blocks below the foot should provide greater camber than what is needed. This clamping and blocking process will stretch the fibers of the wood.

What is the best way to store wooden skis?

    You must store your wooden skis with the tips and tails bound together with ski ties or twine. The bases of both skis will be against each other. A block of wood is then inserted underneath the binding or kick area of the ski. The block should be slightly higher than the camber of the ski.

How can I make my own wooden skis?

    Detailed articles on "How to make your own skis" were in issue #31 of Fine Woodworking Magazine in the November/December 1981 issue. Copies can be seen for sale occasionally on ebay.

    North House Folk School in Grand Marais, MN also offers a wooden ski making class. www.northhouse.org


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© Copyright 2011, Greg Fangel, www.woodenskis.com