Homemade PVC Snowshoes

Homemade PVC Snowshoes
A popular winter Scouting project is building homemade PVC snowshoes. Most of the plans, including those that appeared in the 1998 issue of Boys Life, use an Ojibwa-style design that requires complicated bending jigs. The bear paw style of snowshoe is oval in shape, offers maneuverability in the woods and is easy to build with PVC pipe. The jig is built from plywood and nails. Most of the steps can be completed by a youth with adult supervision.

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Plywood 2"x4" board Saw Pencil Nails Stove Teakettle PVC pipe Pipe coupling PVC glue PVC fabric Cordage Homemade rubber snowshoe binding
  • Plywood
  • 2"x4" board
  • Saw
  • Pencil
  • Nails
  • Stove
  • Teakettle
  • PVC pipe
  • Pipe coupling
  • PVC glue
  • PVC fabric
  • Cordage
  • Homemade rubber snowshoe binding
Step 1
Cut a piece of plywood longer and wider than the finished snowshoe will be. Snowshoes that are eight inches wide and 22 inches long work for people who weigh up to 200 pounds. For heavier people or softer snow, add six to 12 inches to the length. This plywood serves as the bending form.
Step 2
Cut a 2"x4" board on a diagonal. You'll end up with a wedge. At one end of the plywood, nail the wedge across its width. This wedge forces the toe of the snowshoe to bend upward.
Step 3
Draw the shape of the bear paw snowshoe onto the bending form. Each end of the snowshoe is a circle. The sides are straight lines. Along this line, pound two rows of nails. The PVC pipe of the snowshoe frame will be placed between the rows, so make them wide enough to snugly hold the pipe. The nails must be proud of the surface, so the PVC can be bend up against them.
Step 4
Heat a teakettle full of water to boiling and insert the PVC piping into the kettle, so steam flows through the PVC. When the PVC is flexible, remove it from the heat and bend it around the nails on the form. Start your bend along a straight edge to make joining with a coupling easier.
Step 5
Wait for the PVC to cool, and then glue the two ends of pipe together.
Step 6
Cut the PVC fabric 1/2 inch narrower than the inside of the snowshoe. At every inch poke a hole through the fabric. The hole should be 1/2 inch away from the edge.
Step 7
Using cordage, tie the PVC fabric to the PVC pipe snowshoe frame.
Step 8
Attach a homemade rubber snowshoe binding.

Tips & Warnings

 
Nylon-reinforced PVC fabric is stronger. Ask for 18-ounce Coverligh PVC. To find fabric PVC, check your local awning or sign shops. PVC fabric is easily repaired and reinforced by HH-66 vinyl contact cement.
 
Nylon-reinforced PVC fabric is stronger. Ask for 18-ounce Coverligh PVC.
 
To find fabric PVC, check your local awning or sign shops.
 
PVC fabric is easily repaired and reinforced by HH-66 vinyl contact cement.
 
When heated, the PVC may cause burns; be sure to wear protective clothing and gloves. Boiling water can cause burns.
 
When heated, the PVC may cause burns; be sure to wear protective clothing and gloves.
 
Boiling water can cause burns.

Article Written By Bryan Hansel

Bryan Hansel is a freelance photographer and kayaking guide who began writing in 1993. His outdoors articles appear on various websites. Hansel holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and religion from the University of Iowa.

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