Snowshoes are a thing that not everyone needs and not so often. But a man who is going to hunt in the winter when there is deep snow cannot do without them. Of course, standing on snowshoes, you can fall into the snow, if it is loose. But, firstly, it’s not as deep as without them, and secondly, such “shoes” are great on dense snow or infusion.
Buying snowshoes is perhaps impossible. You can even see them except in the museum, in an exposition dedicated to the northern peoples or the history of hunting. Therefore, you will have to make snowshoes with your own hands.
Bit of theory
First of all, you can not make such a device too heavy. Otherwise, snowshoes, instead of holding you in the snow, will sink in it under their own weight, and their legs will get tired of carrying such a heavy weight. The maximum permitted weight of all materials that will go into work should not exceed two kilograms. And it is better to choose such sources that will make homemade snowshoes even easier.
It is worth remembering that the end result of your labors is for a marching, little civilized life. Everything should be appropriate. Therefore, hunting snowshoes are made of a slightly different size, then they can be easily put into each other - and less places will be taken on a halt, and then you will not need to look for a hidden pair later.
They will be based on a wooden frame. For her, a beam is taken, the thickness of which is seven millimeters. It’s impossible to thinner - it cannot support the weight of a hunter. It will be thicker - snowshoes for hunting will turn out too heavy. The width of the wood is from 30 to 40 mm. It bends to form an oval frame. The length and width of the base will have to be calculated independently, based on your own height, shoe size and weight. When calculating, consider the weight of the equipment that you take with you. What do the simplest snowshoes look like? You see the photo below.
It is not necessary to fasten the ends - the parts of the frame will be held together by braided ropes (in the original, the snowshoes were intertwined with straps, rawhide, but where do you get them now?). 18-22 holes are made in the bars (depending on the calculated length), and twine is stretched across them crosswise to make something like a net. The net is covered with a tarp.
Choosing just such a way to make snowshoes with your own hands, remember that the tree swells from moisture, and can crack if it dries. Therefore, the frame must be saturated with linseed oil or oil.
In the end, fastenings for legs should be fastened to the received products. In the traditional version, these are belts in which the shoes are pushed as if they were skiing. Since snowshoes are much wider than skis, mounts are fixed in the middle of the created support, on the transverse planks or woven mesh.
This is a more modern way to make snowshoes with your own hands, but based on the same frame of wood. It can be made from slats, sawn from ungrounded fresh planks, or you can cut walnut rods, remove the bark and dry. The second basis is even more attractive: the rods are light, flexible, but strong, they bend easily, but will not break (if they are quite thick, up to 0.5 cm in diameter). The difference from the first method is that the transverse strips are glued to the frame slots with moisture-resistant adhesive, and the ends of long strips (rods) are fixed with rivets.
The resulting workpieces in front smoothly bend. To do this, first make a model of durable plywood. Further, the frames themselves are well saturated with water (otherwise the rods or slats may break due to pressure) and are gently bent along the layout and fixed. Future snowshoes are dried directly on the template, and then it is carefully removed.
It remains to artistically twist the foundation. The main thing is to pull the rope tight to create a rigid support. If kapron twine is taken, it can be moistened before tightening the frames - it will be better to stretch, and when drying it will reliably tighten the frames. As a result, weaving should be like a fishing net with square (or close to square) cells. In the process of tightening the ropes, as in the previous description, the bindings for the boots are woven. You can tie them from the same ropes, but then they will turn out tough, they will put pressure on your feet. It will be more convenient to use snowshoes if you make fastenings of leather or tarpaulin, and you can build a system with ties, then regulation of the fit to the leg will become available. And they will not subside, nor will they crush. If you choose this option, do not forget to provide holes at the bottom of the mounts, through which they will be tied to snowshoes with ropes.
As soon as the snowshoes are made with their own hands, the ends of the ropes after braiding are tied into loops and attached to the frame with small cloves. And instead of oil, the frame is covered with waterproof varnish.
Not a very good imitation of classics
There are suggestions on how to make snowshoes from plywood. Undoubtedly, this material is easy to use, weighs a little, is easily accessible and costs a penny. But to all the flaws of any tree, the disadvantages of plywood itself are added. And the main one is that it is stratified! After all, it is done precisely in layers, which, both from pressure and from moisture, begin to shift one relative to the other. And it’s difficult to soak all the layers with moisture. So even though you can make snowshoes quickly, they will come out unreliable and short-lived.
Modern materials: metals
For all its merits, a tree still has flaws. First of all, of course, is his susceptibility to soaking and drying out. Yes, and wooden frames are not very durable. Therefore, thinking about how to make snowshoes with your own hands, give preference to modern materials.
Most often, for frames, people take titanium or duralumin plates. Their thickness should not exceed 2 mm, yet these alloys are very durable, but heavy. Some use aluminum, but it's too soft.
Folk tricks and craftsmen "fashion" the base for snowshoes from epoxy resin and fiberglass, but this method is very amateurish.
A good result is obtained when using polypropylene pipes. Their main advantage is that when heated, they easily bend, so creating a smooth bend for their snowshoes is not difficult. True, it is necessary to weave the net over the pipes, it is not recommended to make holes in them. However, initially snowshoes and braided over the base of the frames.
In many ways, this process depends on what mounts you have installed on your product. If these are just belts, then their legs are thrust into them as if they were skiing. We hope that even for such primitive mounts you will find a way to somehow regulate them, at least buckles or laces.
Some varieties of snowshoes generally do not provide for mounting. In these cases, the foot is placed on the snowshoe a little closer to the front, a rope, belt or parachute sling is passed through the net, with which the boot is simply tied to the supporting surface.
Well, if you swung wide and wove a fastener like those that are mounted on steep skis into the net, then the snowshoe is put on like a boot. By the way, such mounts are most convenient, although they will require a significant investment of time and money.
How to snowshoe
In some ways, a gait suitable for snowshoeing is similar to using climbing cats. We must learn to put the whole foot, and not a roll from heel to toe. Otherwise, you will constantly cling to the backdrop, and there is a risk of damaging the snowshoe itself. If the weather has slipped you crust or dense packed snow, it will not hurt to stick the protruding corners of your "snowmobile" into it.
Considering that snowshoes are quite wide - otherwise they would not have helped you in the deep snow in any way - you will have to accustom yourself to put your legs wider apart than you are used to. If you ignore this advice or be too lazy to develop such a skill, you will constantly step on your own snowshoes.
When climbing a hill, the slope of the ravine, if you go first, try to push harder, push your foot straight into the snow. So you get a conditional staircase, steps that will make it easier for others to climb.
However, even on snowshoes, walking in deep snow is difficult for the first. That is why, during long hikes, hunters alternate, often replacing the “pioneer”. But before a long trip, you should first practice: the lack of skills in using snowshoes often leads to ankle injuries.
Your "snowmobiles" not only help to overcome snow blockages. At a halt or an overnight stay, they turn out to be a rather convenient table, you just have to find a stump or a stone. A snowsuit will also come in handy for kindling a primus stove - you don’t even have to rake the snow. He is also good as a replacement for a shovel. Of course, you won’t dig the earth, but remove the snow, clearing a place under a fire or tent - that’s it.
In general, lovers of winter hunting or fishing, fans of walks in a snowy forest or those who have to visit a friend at a distant capture, snowshoes will be very, very helpful.