Frequently Asked Questions
Homemade SnowshoesQ: Are they one size fits all or do have a size for an adult?
A: We use the same size for Scouts (11-18) and adults.
There is some adjustability designed in:
Q: Will these snowshoes accommodate a boot that is 12.5" in length?
A: Yes - See above answer.
Q: What is the approximate cost per pair?
When I was buying the supplies "in bulk" several years ago and getting the aluminum for the foot plates donated, they were costing about $15/pair. A couple years ago, buying smaller quantities of supplies and paying $4 for the set of metal parts, they ran about $23/pair.
Q: Are the snowshoes fairly durable, or does the PVC tend to break after a while?
We made one pair out of schedule 80 (grey) pvc for a very large leader, and it worked great, but it was quite a bit heavier.
I've worn mine on 40 campouts and many hikes over the past 14 years. I'm careful to wear them only on snow and not on hard surfaces (ie like parking lots or hard-packed trails) because the heel plates get bent (but I can fix that with a pair of pliers). The cord is getting a bit frayed on the bottom, so I should replace that one of these years.
Note - if you try to use a regular drill bit to drill the hole for the rods, it can catch and chip/crack the frame at the hole, greatly reducing the strength and making it likely to break at that point.
Q: Did you make your own foot and heel pieces / spikes, or did you have them fabricated?
We have also had local metal fabrication shops do them. One was a big supporter of Scouting and did them for free one year. Another shop gave us a great deal which worked out to about $3 per pair. I checked with them in 2010 about getting some made for resale at cost to other Troops, and they gave me a quote of $11.50/pair if I'd buy 100 sets (pretty expensive investment - I decided not to do that).
If you do your own, you definitely want to use the right tools - sheet metal punches and breaks (for bending). It would be a huge amount of work with a hacksaw, drill, bench vise, etc.
If anyone comes across a shop which would be willing to supply them at a reasonable price, please let me know and we'll publish their contact info.
Q: I can't find the deck material (Deck - .06" HDPE) around here (Montana, Utah, ...) Where do you buy it?
We got 18-20 pieces (for 9-10 pair of snowshoes) out of each 4x8 sheet.
Q: I don't think the scale came out right when I printed the various plans. What are the actual sizes of the snowshoes, webbing, frame bending form?
The finished showshoe is 29" long. The decking is 26 3/4" long.
On the webbing plan, the top-left piece is an even 8 inches long.
Q: The decking appears to taper toward the back, but the frame form gets wider?
Q: Do you have to-scale template for the decking material?
Q: Does this size snow shoe work well in light powder for adults, say 220 lbs or so, or would you recommend making them slightly longer?
I designed these as a cross between the even rounder bearpaw style and the long ones. I chose a tradeoff which is usable by younger scouts 11-12 years old, but which would still work as they grew. We went for the larger surface area just so we could do winter backpacking here in Colorado where we also get deep powdery snow. Note - we also often use sleds for hauling our gear when winter camping so we don't have the full weight of the heavier gear in our backpacks.
The size should be fine for Varsity scouts and most adults. Larger adults in deeper lighter snow may want/need more area. In the deepest snow, someone else may need to break trail. Have the heavier adults rent snowshoes to determine how big they need before deciding. If you do decide to rework the plans to make them longer or wider, let me know how it works out.
Q: Do you have a plan for smaller version?
Q: It takes two 10' lengths of pipe per pair. That is a lot of waste?
Someone asked about making a smaller version (so they could get 2 snowshoes out of a 10' piece of PVC). I suggested that he could try scaling the plans to 90% of the original size (or shortening the sides by 3") and shifting the location of the foot support rod forward a little. I have not heard if he tried it or how it turned out.
Q: Pipe - did you ever use grey electrical conduit?
We used the heavier grey conduit one time for extra strength for a pair for an adult leader who weighed about 250. Note - We had to fill it with hot sand, wait a couple minutes, dump that out and fill it again with more hot sand to heat it enough to bend it.
Q: Have you considered aluminum frames?
Q: Have you tried an electrician's "hot box" for heating/bending the frames?
Q: Is the webbing flat or tubular and is it nylon, poly?
Q: Would you consider selling "kits" that had all of the parts to assemble these snowshoes?
Q: Is it possible to purchase a sample pair from your troop?
Last Updated Friday, 20-Dec-2013 19:51:34 CST