…. waterjet cut, Puderluder/Quiverkiller inserts and alternative hardware
This past winter I finished my second DIY splitboard which I want to share with people interested in doing the same. I learnt from the mistakes of my first attempt to insert steel inside edges and also refined my technique somewhat. There is still some room for improvement, but I’m really please with the outcome which is really clean!
This is what I did differently from my previous DIY splitboard and from the recommended Voille instructions:
- I cut the board using a waterjet (GU Cutting and Grinding Services).
- I inserted steel edges (I did this in my last board but used a different technique).
- Rather than using the Voille pucks and chinese hooks, I used Markus’s (aka Burton on splitboard.com) from Wildschnee ying yang hooks and POM slider plates/pucks.
- All screw mounted hardware was mounted with quiverkiller ski inserts.
These are the advantages of the approach I chose:
Firstly the cut was near perfect. With this as my starting point everything becomes a lot easier. All pre ICS/EST channel burton with the 3 hole binding pattern are really difficult to saw through, and the later ICS channel boards make this even more of a challendge. The waterjet leaves a really clean cut with minimal loss of width from the saw blade.
Inserting steel inside edges makes icy traverses so much easier. I know this from experience. Furthermore, it protects the exposed woodcore/ inner sidewalls from impact. Lastly I believe it makes your splitboard a little more stiff which is often a problem with DIY boards.
I don’t have anything against the Voille hardware. I think the new puck design is a great improvement. Markus’s puck design however allows you to use existing binding holes (although not really applicable with an ICS board). Depending how you choose to cut them, you can also have overlapping edges which allow for some additional torsional rigidity when configured for riding. At the time I was designing this board, Voille pucks weren’t available and Markus was able to get me his pucks in Europe really quickly. I thing that Markus’s hook design is superior to the Voille Chinese hooks. You need only compare the strength and durability of them. (I am yet to try the Karakoram clips which I think look great.)
I wasn’t too sure about the quiverkiller ski binding inserts. I first saw them on the TGR forum from which they were spawned and thought they’d make for a very clean DIY splitboard. With the load on snowboard bindings being considerably greater than that of skis, I have been concerned that they might not be adequate. Without conducting my own stress/failure tests, only practical field testing will tell in time. A few considerations that I weighted up were the following:
I found a test on and Italian site that said they could h0ld almost 4000 Newtons before failure. This was almost twice the standard binding screw (280kg vs 395kg). I think the M6 T-nut approach for all hardware is overkill. It leaves your base looking like Emmentaler cheese. This results in a lot of additional work and in the past I have had the P-tex that seals the t-nuts regularly dislodge either during riding or when pulling of skins. I have also seen splitboards break when in touring mode, at the point where 3 holes are drilled for the touring bracket. I just can’t see how the core retains it’s strength with 18, and sometime up to 26 holes drilled for t-nuts. I also decided to mount each sliderplate/puck with 4 holes using these inserts. That is twice as many as the new Voille pucks and my feeling is that I shouldn’t have any problems. As I mentioned, only time will tell. One other aspect worth mentioning, is that the inserts are for skis which generally have a thicker core than snowboards. This can present problems, particularly when you have a very tapered core profile and a wide stance. I managed to overcome this by grinding down all the inserts by about 1-2mm which was all that was required. The makers of the puderluder/quiverkiller have noted there willingness to consider making snowboard specific inserts if there is enough interest. If you’re interested, express it hear!
In short, this is how it was done:
- Waterjet cut a Burton Malolo 158 ICS (by GU Cutting and Grinding Services Ltd in Stockport UK)
- Using a Dremel Router attachement with a square router bit I routed out a channel for the inside edges.
- Using a Dremel with a cutting bit and some fine motor coordination I cut a channel between the P-tex base and the woodcore of approximately 1-2mm.
- I then filled the channel with slow cure epoxy.
- After sanding the steel edges and cleaning them with acetone, I taped and clamped them into the profiled grove that I had routed out in 1 and 2 above.
- After allowing 24 hours to dry I sanded the inside edge and sidewall and trimmed away excess epoxy.
- I then sealed the inside edges with 3 coats of urethane varnish.
- I then taped the board together tightly and mounted the wildschnee hooks after using a centre punch to make the drill holes.
- As per the Voille instructions I mounted the tip and tale hooks.
- I centre punched all the holes for mounting the touring bracket, heal riser and pucks before following the instructions for the puderluder/quiverkiller inserts which I had previously ground down and cleaned in acetone.
- I brushed up on my geometry to get the position of the sliderplates/puck right and then taped them securely to my board. I drilled pilot holes though the pucks and into my board before removing the pucks and continuing to drill the inserts as described above.
- After removing the pucks with the pilot holes drilled I redrilled them to fit the M5 insert screws and used a countersunk bit to clean them up.
- After allowing the inserts to set in their epoxy I mounted all hardware, marked the cuts for the slider plates, removed the slider plates and used a coping saw and dremel to cut and finish of the separate halves of the two sliderplates.
Sounds simple doesn’t it?
This what I would do differently.
I would use a router table or a quality router as the dremel router attachment is a joke. It has so much laxity and it failed to give the finish I was looking for. Ideally I would like a custom router bit that is the same profile as the cross section of the steel edges I used.
Also, I would clamp the board to a solid wooden member before routing out the edge channel as the cambered core profile results in a varied depth of router cut. Ensuring that this is exactly the same on both inside edges is a challenge that I am still working on.
I might consider filling in the ICS channel before cutting with the waterjet. I have not done this as a weight consideration, but I am concerned that this leaves a few exposed sharp aluminum edges that might tear clothing/gloves during transitions. I’ve tried to dull these edges with a dremel.
I can’t think of too many other things I would do differently. On the whole I am really pleased with the result. In future I would like to try other boards, perhaps try the Karakoram interface, and maybe even put in a mellow magnatraction cut a’la the Jones split decision (This won’t really be possible with a Burton board with ICS). The waterjet will result in a perfect fit, but some delicate prebending of the steel edges is probably required and routing the channel for the edges will be a little trickier.
There a few people that I’d like to thank for their advice, assistance or supplies:
- Markus at Wildschnee for some advice and his custom parts
- Neil and all the people at GU Cutting and Grinding Services for their great service, their interest and their advice
- Brian at down the middle (customsplitboards.com) for his friendly advice
- Chris for the deal on the board and the photos
- Jon at Jons skituning for the binding inserts
- Radical snowboards for letting me walk straight into their factory to grab a few bits and pieces. They make great boards!
- The folk in the forums at splitboard.com for all they contribute to the community