The Pack Report

How To Craft Your Own Snowshoes

How to Craft Your Own Snowshoes

Anyone who enjoys being outdoors during the wintertime could probably tell you how much work it is to trek through multiple feet of snow. Having a pair of snowshoes will make your trek quicker and easier, as well as preventing your boots from being filled with snow. Homemade snowshoes are a great alternative to the typical store-bought pair because they can be personalized to your liking, and much more sentimental.

There are two ways to make a homemade pair of snowshoes – you can either purchase a set that has the frame already prepared and just needs to be laced/weaved, or you can make them from scratch.

Making your own set of snowshoes is easier than it may seem, just follow these steps and soon you will have your own homemade and personalized pair.

To make snowshoes from scratch you will need-

  • Ash Lumber – At least 7ft long & 1in thick, smooth, and knot-free. This will be used to make the frames.
  • Scrap Wood
  • Neoprene to be used for the lacing
  • Paper or newspaper – for tracing your pattern
  • Wood Glue
  • Clamps
  • 150 Grit sandpaper
  • Axe or knife for cutting
  • Varnish

Making the Frame

  1. Smooth and round your Ash Lumber pieces to the shape of your liking. An axe similar to Duluth Packs Swedish Carving Axe will make this process much easier.
  2. Bend your Ash Lumber into the shape you would like your snowshoe frames to be. Add wood glue where the two pieces will connect (circled in the picture below) and clamp them tight. Let sit for a couple of days to allow the glue to dry.
  3. Once the glue has dried, you will need to make the crossbars, which are used for support. To do so, you need to cut two pieces of Ash that will span across the width of the frame (shown in the picture below). To insert, cut a hole in each side of the frame big enough for the crossbar to fit into. You can add wood glue to secure them.
  4. When all the pieces are together and the glue has dried, use a piece of 150 grit sandpaper and sand all areas of the frame making sure that the wood is smooth to the touch.

Lacing and Webbing

  1. The first thing you will need is a pattern of your choice for the lacing. Many different options work, but here is one that is simple and easy to follow along with.
  2. Make your marks on the frame of the snowshoe in pencil so that they can be easily erased when you are done. These marks need to be measured in the right places and can be labeled with numbers so you know the correct order to follow.
  3. Cut nine, 10-foot-long strings of neoprene to be used for lacing. We would suggest the Knobleman Buck Knife for help with all of the necessary cuts.
  4. Assemble the lacing following the pattern you chose earlier. This may take multiple different tries until you can perfect it.

Finishing

  1. Varnish is a great way to fix your snowshoe frames together with the neoprene lacing. This will make them completely weatherproof and make sure that the lacing will not come undone.
  2. The varnish will be very smelly, so make sure you wear the correct personal protective equipment to ensure you aren’t breathing in toxic fumes.
  3. Hang your snowshoes over a tarp so that the extra varnish can run off of them evenly, and be easily cleaned up.

Bindings

You can choose any type of binding you would like to add to your new snowshoes. There are many, many different types, but here is a good website that will help you choose the right ones for you.

Although making homemade snowshoes will take a lot of time and patience, having your own set that has been made by you and nobody else has is worth it.

To learn more about the history of snowshoeing, refer back to our blog post.

Happy adventuring, friends!