restoring traditional wooden snowshoes

Discussion in 'DIY (Do It Yourself)' started by Bushman5, Jan 11, 2019.

  1. Bushman5

    Bushman5 Member

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    picked up my Dad and Moms old trad snowshoes from Mom's.

    Both Canadian Made, Dads were made by FABER (Quebec!) almost 50 years ago. FABER has been making handmade wood snowshoes since 1870, then in the latter years they make modern snowshoes.

    A massive 16" WIDE x 39" long bear paw style. These are the Faber SPORT, and the design has not changed since 1870. Also known as Huron, Michigan, Algonquin, or Maine style snowshoes

    Moms were made by another company, Canadian Lacrosse MFG and they were aluminum framed, rawhide laced. 10" wide x 22" long. They bought them long before i was born that I know. When i was a kid, Dads snowshoes towered over me....LOl....so i wore Moms and they were HUGE to me.

    Nowadays I can fit into a 5' long x 12 - 16" wide trad snowshoe (on order)

    Pics will be updated as I take them)


    these have not been used since i was a teen. The rawhide is BONE DRY, the varnish has long gone, the frames (ASH wood) are 100% fine, but need spar varnish). Not a single cut rawhide lace. The bindings are rope....tossed those, I have new leather bindings. These are 16" WIDE X 39" long. You want to talk about walking bowlegged after a slog thru the deep powder with these? yea...BOW LEGGED.....o_O frikking 16" WIDE......(but maximum flotation in soft snow! )
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    Stopped by the paint store and got a gallon tin of oil based marine spar varnish (freaking $100!!!!!) and some brushes and brush cleaner.

    I'll start with Dad's bearpaws, as they are the ones i'll restore first.

    Laying them out on the 50+ year old kitchen table that Dad made before I was born. That table has seen hundreds of thousands of meals on it. Then it got relegated to a shop table. I have had a 1500 LB diesel engine (buddies) on that table while he rebuilt it. Tough table. I have carved in that table, put hot metal on that table, cut notches with my knives into it......put hot cast iron pans onto it and of course my old BushCat (Lumpy) managed to remove 3/4's of the legs with his massive claws. One day I'll take a lot of pics of the table and then pics of the Restoration process. Lets just say that when the Big One hits BC , I'm going under that table.


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    Of course a certain PipSqueak Kitty had to investigate....he LOVED the Badger fur brush...Nom Nom nom......LOL! :D

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    after a half hour of dabbing (no NOT that kind of dabbing :rolleyes: ), brushing etc spar varnish, the THIRSTY old dried out rawhide started to absorb it, I find it fascinating that in the 40+ years these snowshoes were not in use, so much in the world has changed.......yet these have not except dried out. Yet after a few coats of spar varnish, these snowshoes will live on, experiencing new snow and new wilderness places to explore.

    got the topside FIRST varnish done....going to let it dry and then flip them and do the undersides. This will repeat several times with multiple coats of spar varnish, then a final coat of spar varnish followed by a week of curing. Then I will start on Moms snowshoes.


    what a difference even one soaking of varnish does. (my old neighbor Geoff, in the Kootenays BC Canada, would take his snowshoes (multiple pairs) every fall and SOAK them in a plastic tub filled with spar varnish. After a week of soaking, he would pull them out, brush the excess off and hang to dry in his cabin for several weeks before the hard winters in the Kootenays.


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    ongoing thread. pics updated as they are taken.

    Thanks for dropping into the Esee Forum and sharing the campfire!

    :cool:
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2019
  2. Bushman5

    Bushman5 Member

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    Moms snowshoes are very special ......made with split rawhide sheet......an entire half of rawhide,scored into triangles and stretched .

    10" x 29" with an aluminum tube frame. Made by the Canadian Lacrosse MFG.

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    deck detail - rawhide sheet cut and stretch, then laced to the frame.

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    these were pretty dry like the bear paws. That rawhide just kept soaking up spar varnish. Stacked them while dabbing/brushing varnish on so any drips would hit the next snowshoe. At the end I brushed them all then hung to dry.

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    the bear paws. Look brand new!

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    the rawhide lacing turns translucent when it is fully soaked. I also noticed that the rawhide TIGHTENED up after soaking up all the varnish. Would have thought it would get looser.....

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    I could have gotten away with a quart can of varnish ($35) instead of dropping $100 plus eco fees and taxes for a gallon, but i'll find a use for it.

    these will hang now for a couple weeks. I may do a final coat but they do not really need it.

    Next will be putting on the bindings and going for a snow walk.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2019
  3. BlueDogScout

    BlueDogScout Member

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  4. Se7eN

    Se7eN Member

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    Awesome post dude.
     

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