I had some of this posted in the Doodlebug thread, but because I know A) some might not read that thread, and B) because that thread is multiple parts, I decided to move the refurbishing of my front skis to one single thread to make it easier for all to see.
I am sorry for those that have slow connections, I tried to resize all the pictures, but you may not get them all to load in a timely manner--again, my apologies.
In June I purchased these awesome looking homemade front skis at a swap meet for a song. Pure dumb luck that I stumbled on them (I am still sorry Ron).
They were in fair shape save for the wood, and seem to have all the right attributes built on them in the right places to make a working ski---this I learned after talking to Zac from the doodlebug thread about it.
So about a month ago, Zac called me and said he had a free day. He wanted me to come up so we could make new wood for the skis. We discussed this a little, and to be honest, I had no idea what to expect. He had mention steam bending, which neither one of us had done. This should be interesting........
We cut lots of wood, built forms, cut the wood for the skis, and built a box to steam the wood in. He was able to procure a industrial steamer from a contractor neighbor. It pays to have the right connections. So after about 4 hours of work, we were ready to steam the wood. It was left in for a bit more than an hour.
So we decided it was time, no turning back now. We pulled a piece of wood, and quickly set to work. We laid it on the form and screwed it down in a few key places. This is the only part that may have been bettered by some more planning as it obviously left unwanted holes in the wood--not so much of a problem for doodlebug quality. The plus side was because the wood was so wet, the screws went in like butter.
Zac grabbed a very large and very old pipe wrench out and with the aid of some scrap wood, put his weight on it and pulled the wood over the forms we had made---and screwed to the top of his steel bench. I then screwed the wood to the forms on the ends and added clamps. The ends would be cut off later. The would was cut overly long to aid in bending---simple leverage. It was like dealing with 5 minute epoxy as a flurry of activity was happening in a short amount of time.
Obviously there were tons of clamps involved in all of this. Good thing Zac's father donated a lot of these to the cause--well, we borrowed them irregardless for the day---just like any good son and his friend would do.
Once both pieces had sat for a bit---maybe an hour or so, we removed the clamps and studied our handiwork. I let these sit on the molds for about two weeks before I had a chance to remove them.
I finally had a chance to start on getting things going again. First step was to remove the nine million screws that held all this together. That necessitated using a cut off wheel on my grinder. I cut the ends of the screws , and continuing down through the nuts, cutting them in half. After some hammering, chiseling and prying, all the old wood came off.
Box of old, scrap, rotted wood. I wish I could have saved something, but all of it is soft and crumbly.
I test fitted and carefully measured and cut the ends off and tapered the front according the skis and old wood. I cut the tapered ends not even, just like the originals.
Stand back and realize the awesomeness that this will be when finished---of course thanks in a large part to Zac.
I know Zac wanted to see how the curves match, so here you go. They came out pretty good for this ski, I would imagine the other will be similar.
Just kidding. Chad - it looks fantastic!
Thats the spirit.....
If you need it, learn it and post it for those who may follow! Send pix of the snow a flyin!
Chad, looks real good. Keep us posted. I assume that the hubs are just stock wood wheel hubs with the flanges cut off. ?? Then pipe supports welded to them .?? What are the "attributes" you speak of. I may want to build a set for myself. anyway nice work ... Donnie Brown ...
I am caught up on this topic for the moment, but will continue to the end as I proceed.
LOL, I know Ron, it hurts a bit. But you do the same to me sometimes. It's all good though. Just like how I copy (I mean borrow ideas) from you, you'll have to start doing the same, LOL. BTW, I want to keep the "old" feel to these, I may be calling on you for advice.
Russell, That is my intention. Show that with the right help, that it can be done, and show or at least tell how I / we did it.
Donnie, yes, wood hubs with the flanges cut off, and supports welded on. The attributes are setting the spindle about 2/3 back from the front. Also to have curves at each end, and having a skeg on the bottom that starts approximately 1/3 back from the front.
If these actually work, I will provide dimensions---or if you want to beat me to it for an untested item, I can get those measurements sooner. These can be easily duplicated, but there is only one set of originals---and as Ron put it previously elsewhere, of doodlebug worthiness.
Will be interesting to see how they perform in the snow. I remember reading somewhere that the wood portion of the Ossippee kits was designed to plane the snow away from the ski and keep it from building up on top.
There was a homemade set on Craigslist recently - but they were more like runners you'd see on a sleigh. Really heavy looking. They had a similar construction on the top with the pipe stock and hubs. But it was an antique shop in NH that had them listed and they attached a 4-figure asking price to them.
Ron, I think they had those listed on Ebay too. I know I saw them some where myself. I don't think they would work well, if at all.
These are much more like an older motorized snowmobile of the 60's/70's. They may get snow on top, but the should also have enough surface area to stay on top of the snow. Of course like anything ski related, a prepped surface will give better results.
I hope after all this they will be fine, the saving grace is I don't have much in them, other than a lot of time so far--and to finish them too.
I bought a spare set of front bearings from a member for the skis, but the Post Office delivered me an empty box today---how thoughtful of them. According to them, 202 billion pieces of mail each year, but a 5 lb package in one of their Flat Rate boxes (which are pretty durable in my opinion), somehow gets squashed and poof--no bearings. Back to the drawing board.....
Disassembled the other ski tonight. The wood fits this one a little better. The metal on both need to be slightly tweaked in my opinion, so I'll get to them later.
I also did some test pieces of finishing. I think it needs to have a weathered--or slightly weathered look. So hopefully through some test scraps I can nail it. Thank You Ron for your help on this.
Been testing different finishes. Been leaning towards a weathered look and I was having some issues. I think I have it ironed out now, and hopefully this weekend I can get the wood in the finishing stage of the project. Also have to do some minor repairs to fill two holes on the supports, I just want to keep water out of those areas.
(Message edited by Chad_Marchees on October 09, 2015)
Started the finishing on the wood today. It is really hard to capture the staining in a picture. It looks pretty good actually I think in person. I did some distressing of the wood too, but it is to hard to pickup that small of a detail in this pic. I wish I could get the darker stains to pickup the actual grain a little more but then it washes out the grey and white washes I used and turns the whole board darker.
I may just lightly sand these a little more, I like it that some of the natural wood is still showing. Ultimately these will be satin spar finished to protect them in the wet snow. I know it will take some of the weathering effect away, but I don't want rotted wood and have to do this again.
Chad, you can weather proof them with linseed oil, once the stain cures completely.
Chad, have you ever used Quik-Poly.?? It is a great product, it soaks very deep into the wood and when it hardens it is almost like turning the outer 1/16 to 1/8 inch of the wood to fiberglass. If you wipe all the excess off just before it "kicks/hardens" then it look similar to a varnish finish. Langs sells it, and one kit will be more than enough for what you are doing and still have some left for something else. If you get some, do a small test of it to get a feel of how fast it sets up. It will work great over your grey staining you already have. On a board like you have I would mix up enough to cover the board with a good "wet" coat. I would pour the quick-poly into a small plastic tub or pan like hospitals use or similar. Then with the board standing on end and sitting in the quick-poly (soaking the end grain) I would very quickly and sloppy paint the quick-poly onto the board. Then turn the other end into the tub to soak its end grain while re-painting the board. Just as soon as you see the remaining quick poly start to "kick/harden" in the pan, wipe the board clean. You have about 15 seconds from the time the stuff in the pan starts to harden, till the stuff on the board hardens. You must work quick and have a helper helps. It also is a little "slower" in a colder room. It would be (in my opinion, for what little its worth) the perfect choice for the wood on skies. Looking good ...
Chad, Thanks for the pictures, I am glad things have turned out well, it will be exciting to see how they do once there is some snow.
Donnie, sounds like the quik-Poly is similar to or a variant of Polyester resin but thin enough to soak into wood. The kick would be when the cross linking of the molecules really starts to lock the stuff together.
These will flex in use will poly or epoxy type resin be flexible enough in the cold? Linseed oil won't present any possible flex issues
I need to get one of the pairs that I made back from my father in law for this winter, or make another pair.
Going to do a little thread hijacking on Chad regarding skis...
I didn't think that I would ever find a set of the real things.
They were obviously used a fair bit, slightly odd wear on the metal along the inside edges but the wood is in great shape. With some work on they should be great. I also got the better part of a new (I use the term very loosely)engine a hand crank coil tester and got to know a great guy -not too bad. Now of course I need to find some tracks and time.
Holy COW!!!, Great Find!!!
So now what we need are some measurements---blueprints if you will, and lots of pictures. Maybe some pics with the measurements overlaid onto them so it becomes a good reference. I am curious about the bottom of them--and the skegging.
And you know Ron is probably having a coronary right about now. I admit, I am jealous too being it is an original set.
When Ron gets out of the hospital he will comment.. but to his credit he has some very nice stuff and it has all been gone through very well, so he has little to actually be envious of. I need to see what my father in law is doing with the skis I built, there may still be a pair in his future (and they are ready to use unlike yours or mine). I laughed at myself after getting home,the biggest thing I really paid for was a brass placard and maybe dimensions. I think these will get the metal replaced before going into service again at least I have a great pattern to work from. The wood is perfectly solid, but I am considering what to do with the cracks, fill them with epoxy so water stays out? leave them be since they were likely there after the first season? For now the answer will be to leave them alone but I need to consider long term a little.
Dimensions/ images will be coming when they are taken apart the Skegs are different from the last set I saw, I now believe that through the years skegs varied in how they were set up and/or the skegs were routinely damaged in use and replaced or if half remained they were run as-is. One of these skis has a full skeg the other starts at the middle but has evidence of a full skeg (they were riveted on). I suppose I should ask one of the actual experts; Brian Moriarty or Bob McDonald.
Unfortunately, Bob McDonald passed away.
I was going to mention that about Bob, but I see Steve beat me to it. Could this be the time to start where Bob left off? I believe some members of our club have been busy on the driveline side of things for Snowmobiles
I was wondering about the cracks in the wood. They look quite expansive. Is it possible that the worn area on the metal is due to the camber of the front axle? Obviously being worn it was used on hard surfaces. I have been thinking of a way to introduce a ski wheel in the setup for transportation and general moving around.
They had ski/wheel combos I am not particularly interested. That is very sad to hear about Bob
Finished up the coats of linseed oil on the wood and strut/hub assembly. The wood now has 4 coats, 2 on the struts.
Next up is to do the ski bottoms.
See the last image in the post below for the ski with wheel combo knuckle:
Zach, I was more talking about some type of dolly for the ski, just something to make moving on a hard surface easier without tearing up the metal.
Started coating the ski bases tonight. Hoping by Thanksgiving this will be altogether ready to go.
Back on track, for a little bit. I aged some hardware in a bath of white vinegar and salt, followed by a bath of hydrogen peroxide. All 10-32 slot head machine screws and square nuts, just as what was used originally. The unfortunate part was I miscalculated for some of the screws. I need to see if I can find some we bit longer screws.
However, I spent a couple hours over two nights doing what I could. I have one as far as I can get it until I can get longer hardware. Looking pretty good in my opinion. You might notice one deviation from what I had originally, is that I had to add a couple of spacers so the T won't have a nose down stance. I hope it is enough, it should be close.
Chad - how long did you soak that hardware?
Ron, I left it in the white vinegar/salt for about 5 or 6 days----it does not need to be in there that long, I just did not have time to get back to it. It essentially just removes the zinc finish and cleans the bolts. When they become a dull silver/grey finish, almost looking like a light media blasted steel part, they are ready.
The peroxide part I experimented and left it for a day, but results can be had instantly to a half hour as I have found on other items. The bucket was still full of "foam" from the peroxide the next day leading me to believe it was still active.
The best part is all the chemicals are safe, easily diluted in water and down the sink they go.
Moving along before the end of the year.
I started by drilling the spacers for the longer bolts.
Then it was just a matter of attaching the A-frame back on, massaging the screw holes as needed and putting on the square nuts and washers.
The last thing I decided to try out was adding a couple coats of wax to the bottoms. I just put on some good old Johnson paste wax. I will get a few coats on there and that should help it slide along.
All done except for mounting them up and giving it a try.
Trying to keep up with Chad so I am ready. We have enough snow to cover everything on the ground here but not much more. Yesterday one of my little girls was asking to go out for a ride, she will have to wait a bit longer....
So here is what I have been doing; I could have run the Snowmobile skis as I found them but the outer edges have seen many years of hard use I assume from delivering mail and hitting the edge of pavement? I am replacing the bottoms and will pretty much leave the wood alone(there are good sized cracks in the thick part but from what I can tell the cracks have been there pretty much forever just like cracks in a barn beam). A few weeks back I cut up some large pieces of hard maple (heavy even with two people on the band saw). I ordered some pretty serious hardware from Fastenal and yesterday bolted everything together. Today I did a great deal of wrench turning as the maple creaked and crushed:
The bottoms of the original skis are at just about 7-8 degrees. My clamping caul is at a 10 degree angle to account for some spring back in the metal, next time I will pre-bend the "V" in the ski to 10 degrees so the metal can flatten some during the second forming process it was somewhat less this time, otherwise things fit acceptably:
Here is a shot with new, old and wood for comparison.
I have not tried to make the dimples in the bottom for the plow bolts, but I have a plan involving a sacrificial plow bolt, metal backing plate with the female side of the dimple and lots of pressure.
A messy workshop is a well used workshop right? -That's my excuse anyhow.
Again a nod to Chad since I am encroaching on his re-build thread -I just don't see the point in running a separate thread... (Maybe we will see how Jim does his doodlebug skis on here too in time!)
Zachary, I am really enjoying watching your workmanship and it's good to see Chad's post back on the top again, but you should start your own post because some Snowmobile / Ossipee Guys may not get to see it "hidden" in this post.
My comment is meant with the greatest of respect to both of you!! It is great that you share your ingenuity to help inspire others to get more T's in the snow. Russ
Original skis made by Ford ! (Can't resist looking can you ?
I finally came up with something cheap for my low budget
Ski doodle . Hey at least everyone will get a good laugh
In 2016 I like to call it repurposing .
Love it Jim. Made by ford! I bet they work great. come to think of it there are a number of bumpers out there that would work well.