By Mark Minter, Maker of Composite Snowshoes
Looking for an entry-level composite project? One that needs a minimum amount of materials and construction space, costs less than a boat, but still lets you travel on water? If you live in snow country, why not build a pair of composite snowshoes?
These snowshoes are made from a rigid foam core between two layers of carbon-fiber cloth, edged with 1″ Kevlar tape. A carbon-fiber wrapped wood spar runs across each snowshoe under the ball of your foot. This provides a solid mounting point for a couple of stainless steel eye-bolts to attach a simple toe-and-heel strap for a binding. Fiberglass tape reinforces the top and bottom edges, and the upper surface of the snowshoes where your winter boots contact them.
A light Kevlar scrim helps protect the bottom of the snowshoes from rocks, roots, ice, and other insults. This makes for a slick surface, so a piece of plastic netting glued to the bottom helps with traction on hard-packed snow. (For greater grip on icy trails, bolt an aluminum cleat to the bottom of the spar.) Two coats of marine topside paint give the snowshoes a durable finish.
Editor’s note: Though it is not likely to cause an issue for this project, galvanic corrosion does occur between carbon-fiber and metals. Insulating the materials from each other with epoxy will prevent corrosion.