PDA

View Full Version : Wooden XC Skis



Brian Palmer
12-22-2009, 11:38 AM
I've got a pair that I bought in college and I've been able to use them a few times each winter since we moved to PA. I really like how well they glide compared to my skis made from "the other stuff" with a plastic base. These have a wood sole that is treated with pine tar and wax in the traditional manner.

One of the advantages of being taller than average is sometimes you can find a good deal on something that is too big for most other people. In this case it was a pair of brand new 220 cm wood XC skis for only $50 in 1983. Asnes Tur Langrens.

Anybody else out there with a wooden boat and wooden skis?

Brian

Willin'
12-22-2009, 11:44 AM
I recovered a beautiful discarded pair of wooden Lunds with funky old 3 pins from the transfer station last summer. They're bright finished on top and smeared with either pine tar or clister on the bases. They'll never be skied on again but will make a great wall decorartion on the house.

I still ski with 3 pins, but now use a much shorter, wider turning ski.

ishmael
12-22-2009, 12:26 PM
Yes. I have a pair around here somewhere. I don't know if they are faster, I've only skied on the composite ones a few times. The bit arcane science of which wax to use for which temperature snow, and the melting of the pine tar into the wood, I can't say I ever mastered. Got good enough to get around OK, but not mastered.

A steel fillet inlaid in the edge helped in the turns.

The only bone I've broken in my adult life was when X-country skiing. I fell on a hill, got tangled with the left pole, and fractured a long bone in my left hand.

Maybe the reason I don't like winter much anymore is because I don't go skiing anymore?

huisjen
12-22-2009, 12:33 PM
I saw today that I can get wooden platform skates that would attach to my XC ski boots. If I can find a pair of bindings to mount on them, I'd only have to pay $29 for the skates. They look like just the thing to try skate sailing with.

http://www.nordicskater.com/safety.html

I've also got a pair of what I take to be wood telemark skis that were in the barn when I got here. I've never done anything with them.

Dan

rbgarr
12-22-2009, 01:06 PM
I saw those wood blades too. What a great item!

Todd Bradshaw
12-22-2009, 01:14 PM
I managed to save one pair of woodies from my old days on the ski business. It's a lovely Toppen light touring ski about the same width as your Asnes Tur-Langrenns. Mine are blonde hickory tops with Gabon stripes laminated into them, hickory soles with Lignostone edges and a pair of gold Rotefella Fenix bindings. I reserve them for primo, dry snow conditions when I'm sure all the rocks are covered up. In powdery dry snow, they're pretty fast, but in wet snow they can't keep up with the glide-waxed composite skis. During the big XC boom of the 1970s, I probably sold 500 pairs of Asnes Tur-Langrenns. I should have kept a pair for the collection, along with a couple pairs of Eggens, a Madchus Birke-Beiner, a couple Bla-Skia racing skis, some Bonnas, Splitkeins, Landsems, and a whole bunch of others that I owned over the years. You haven't seen precise, tight wood joints until you've seen the insides of one of these old Norwegian wooden skis. Typically, they're four or five layers thick and each layer will be five to seven small pieces, mixing hickory, beech, birch, spruce. The finishing was also really cool. They got that thick glossy lacquer finish by running the skis on a conveyor belt, through a little "waterfall" of lacquer.

We used to sell Falk XC boots and for a while we ran a radio spot where we talked about why Falk boots were good boots and why Asnes skis were good skis. The commercial ended with something like..."so get your Falk and Asnes over at our store and check out this fun sport" (college town).

http://webpages.charter.net/tbradshaw/skis-005.jpg

Hughman
12-22-2009, 01:30 PM
I have many pair of wooden skiis, mostly from the dump. trouble is, people don't toss the poles with them, and modern poles are designed for groomed tracks, not back country conditions.

and replacement pole baskets aren't available for the poles I have (Exel)

even waxes are not sold in the varieties that were formerly available.

Nicholas Carey
12-22-2009, 03:02 PM
The smell of boiling pine tar makes me rhink of...ski season.

My woodies are a set of 205cm Åsnes Tur-Langrenn. They're back-country skis with a lot of side-cut. They turn better than any "modern" X-C I've ever used. I've got Solomon bindings on them (Solomon's were the 1st "modern" binding, introduced in the 80s -- post-75mm 3-pin binding, pre-Nordic Norm). The soles are hickory. The edges are "lignostone" -- resin-impregnated hickory, I believe.

Got a couple of gouges in the soles that need to be repaired with a dutchman or two.

http://www.woodenskis.com/photos/skis/asnesturlangrenn.jpg


This web site is for wooden ski junkies -- http://www.woodenskis.com/ -- They keep a list of upcoming vintage ski events.

If you're interested, Fine Woodworking #31, November/December 1981, had two articles on how to build our own X-C skis -- one covered the easy (steam-bent) way and the other covered building with cored, laminate construction.


"Cross-Country Skis, The Easy Way", by George Mustoe (page 66)
"Cross-Country Skis, Norwegian Style", by Richard Starr (page 68)

With composite skis, the hardest part is designing the right amount of camber:

http://www.woodenskis.com/images/characteristics2.gif

What woods get used for the cores and the skins affect the camber, as does the physical camber built into the mold.

If you're building steam-bent skis, the hard part is the mold (and figuring out how to get the desired camber):

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_E28YaFhFpzI/SoIxO1hqZFI/AAAAAAAAAEo/2MI-INVeSBs/s1600/Skis%2Bin%2BMold.JPG

You can still buy newly manufactured wooden X-C and telemark skis, though:


Rønning Ski (http://www.treski.no/) (Norway)
Suksitehdas Ylönen (http://www.suksitehdasylonen.fi/) (Finland)

J P
12-22-2009, 03:51 PM
Size matters!

http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y279/picsonline/LongBdMe.jpg

Lightning Boards (http://www.lightningboards.com/) (USA)

Been think about trying a pair of their little short Tree Huggers for tooling around in the winter woods and late spring and summer snowfields in the high country. I'm not much into snowshoes when there's an opportunity to glide. :)

Todd Bradshaw
12-22-2009, 06:42 PM
Those are some seriously long skis! A kick turn must be a very interesting maneuver while wearing them, and I guess doing a cross-over without neutering oneself is out of the question. Lignostone is made up of resin impregnated, laminated and compressed beech veneers. Pretty tough stuff.

Nicholas Carey
12-22-2009, 07:25 PM
Those are some seriously long skis!
I think longboards are pretty much straight downhill shots. They still do 1860s-style longboard racing in Plumas County, California.

http://www.plumasskiclub.org/long.html

Brian Palmer
12-22-2009, 09:25 PM
My woodies are a set of 205cm Åsnes Tur-Langrenn. They're back-country skis with a lot of side-cut. They turn better than any "modern" X-C I've ever used. I've got Solomon bindings on them (Solomon's were the 1st "modern" binding, introduced in the 80s -- post-75mm 3-pin binding, pre-Nordic Norm). The soles are hickory. The edges are "lignostone" -- resin-impregnated hickory, I believe.

http://www.woodenskis.com/photos/skis/asnesturlangrenn.jpg



Those are the same skis I have, except they are 220s. I am not very good at turning, though, but I haven't had any instruction or much chance to practice. I'd love to be able to telemark.


Brian

David G
12-22-2009, 09:42 PM
I started out cross-country skiing on a pair of older, good-quality wood skis. I liked them, but there was a problem. Here in Oregon, it's so warm that snow conditions vary widely on most days and locations. Therefore, one spends most of the daylight hours changing wax to try and match the conditions (which will change again as soon as you crest that hill anyway). I was only too happy to get a pair with fish-scale plastic bottoms. If you have more consistent conditions... then wood skis would be very nice to use.

Nicholas Carey
12-22-2009, 09:54 PM
I started out cross-country skiing on a pair of older, good-quality wood skis. I liked them, but there was a problem. Here in Oregon, it's so warm that snow conditions vary widely on most days and locations. Therefore, one spends most of the daylight hours changing wax to try and match the conditions (which will change again as soon as you crest that hill anyway). I was only too happy to get a pair with fish-scale plastic bottoms. If you have more consistent conditions... then wood skis would be very nice to use.
That's my problem out here in the Glorious Pacific Northwest™® ... no matter what you do or where you go, it's gawdawful red klister weather again. And while we hates all klisters...we hates red klister most of all.

Applying red klister is like applying 5200 :mad::( The stuff gets everywhere...including places you didn't know existed.

skuthorp
12-22-2009, 10:06 PM
That's my problem out here in the Glorious Pacific Northwest™® ... no matter what you do or where you go, it's gawdawful red klister weather again. And while we hates all klisters...we hates red klister most of all.

Applying red klister is like applying 5200 :mad::( The stuff gets everywhere...including places you didn't know existed.

Ah, red klister, I have a pair of Trisil Knut wooden XC's with a short steel edge by the binding, a pair of Skiloms that have never seen a binding and a much coddled pair of Machus wooden racingskis I've had since the late 1960's. Slim, elegant things just a few millimeters thick at the curve by the tip. Left to me by one Sisil Egidus, a beautiful Norwegian girl I skied with at the time. They get a run on selected snow conditions, I still have a store of waxes, including (shudder) red and yellow klister, and ski still with 3 pin bindings and a serrated plate under the heel.

Chip-skiff
12-22-2009, 11:07 PM
A properly treated pair of wood-base skis will glide as well (or better) than smooth plastic base skis, and will climb much better.

My favourites were Norwegian Bonna 2000 and 2400 skis, with hickory bases. Burning in a pine-tar base was a first-snow ritual. The skis were extremely lively, in term of flex and feel, and also strong. I jumped quite a few cornices and never broke a ski. Skied the ridges of northern Utah, mostly: steep, deep powder. Having trained as a ski instructor, I started on XC by skiing with aggressive parallel turns and then learned to telemark, which was a bit more trustworthy for skinny skis on steep drops.

Norwegian skis seem better for steep country while Swedish and Finnish skis seem built for gentle terrain. Once you get the hang of preparing the bases and waxing, they are a joy.

In terms of that intangible feel, wood skis resemble wood boats.

Dave Gray
12-22-2009, 11:18 PM
I still have an old pair of Bonna's in my basement. I did all my XC skiing on these, which have three pin bindings. I put heel locators on them and that really made a difference as the boots would not stay on the skis otherwise. Since my folks live in Bend for a while I would drop in on them and do a lot of back country skiing around Mt. Bachelor, Broken Top, and the Three Sisters. Blue wax skiing I would call it.

I learned to ski on ice, snow, and every variant between on those. I would climb small peaks just so I could downhill.

Never did like fish scale skis very much. My Mom gave me a pair of fish scale back country skis once and they were so flabby and floppy I gave them away (to a younger brother of course!).

Mt Hood was a different story. Every hour brought different conditions. The worse called for yellow klister, which makes red klister look wonderful.

It's been twenty years or more since I have been out there. This thread is giving me a yen!

Chip-skiff
12-22-2009, 11:26 PM
Fish-scale bases are an abomination. They don't climb all that well and they don't glide for ****. And make a weird noise the whole time.

David G
12-22-2009, 11:42 PM
Fish-scale bases are an abomination. They don't climb all that well and they don't glide for ****. And make a weird noise the whole time.

Move to the Pacific NW. Ski for a couple of winters. Then talk to me. Horses for courses, mate.

Todd Bradshaw
12-23-2009, 12:54 AM
"A properly treated pair of wood-base skis will glide as well (or better) than smooth plastic base skis, and will climb much better"

As much as I like the nostalgia of skiing on my old woodies, this is in most cases very far from the truth. The development of scintered polyethylene bases allowed the use of glide waxing on the ski's glide zones at tip and tail, which was originally done with downhill ski wax and then those compounds were refined for XC racing. They are much harder and faster than even the hardest XC waxes, like Swix "Polar" and "Special Green". Unfortunately, glide wax doesn't stick to tarred hickory well and wears off in a flash. It needs to be worked down into the pores of the scintered base, which is then usually texturized with a brass brush or rilling tool to give it a very fine, directional texture to break suction between the ski and snow (all skis glide on a microscopic film of melted snow (water).

This is far beyond the technology (and performance) of tarred hickory and full-length grip wax and there is simply no comparison in glide on old snow or prepared trails. The exception is usually very cold, dry powder snow, where the glide-waxed ski tends to slow down and the woody does quite well in comparison.

Grip, on a synthetic ski, is first of all a matter of making sure your skis fit you, as the base and flex will be segmented into glide zones and the central grip zone. The idea is to have them stiff enough that you aren't dragging the grip wax in the center of the ski when gliding, but can get it to contact the snow with proper weight transfer as you push off with that foot. Buy a pair of skis that are too stiff and you can't get grip. Buy skis that are too soft and you're dragging the grip wax, reducing and slowing your glide.

You can, by the way, zone-wax wooden skis for more glide. However, you do it with regular XC wax, not glide wax made for poly bases. Give the entire ski a coat of whatever the hardest (coldest) wax you have happens to be (we usually used Swix Special Green). Polish it down nice and smooth with your waxing cork. Then use the proper wax of the day for grip only in the middle of the ski. Start this grip zone about 18" ahead of the binding and continue aft until you get to the heel plate. You likely won't notice any change in the amount of grip you get and you may often notice improved glide. It also reduces the day-to-day amount of cleaning needed when changing waxes. You may need an occasional touch-up on the tip and tail, but you're not having to scrape something gooey off of the whole base when conditions change.

It's actually pretty funny to see a guy from Wyoming and a guy from Oregon argue about the effectiveness of the fishscale (TRAK) base - considering that the dry snow in Wyoming is where they work the worst, and the wet snow in Oregon with a lot of changable temps is where they work the best. Horses for courses indeed. I think I sold just about every form of waxless skis made at some point, fishscale, mohair, Mica, Diamond-Glide, negative patterns, positive patterns, negative & positive combination patterns and all manner of graduated step-shapes. Since I was the ski buyer, I had to test them all and I never found one that would glide anything like a properly waxed ski, wood or synthetic. They do have a place though, for folks who just don't want to fool with waxing and are willing to take a certain (sometimes substantial) loss in glide.

It was a fun industry to be in during the 1970's and early 1980's, then the bottom dropped out and big-box, no service, no knowledge stores made it no longer very profitable for specialty shops and most of us had to shift our focus to downhill skis to stay in business.

ishmael
12-23-2009, 04:49 AM
This place is great. Fire it up and you've got a primer of X-country skiing! From people who know how! It never ceases to amaze. To all of you, may the best of Christmas or Hanukkah, or whatever other winter holiday you celebrate find you.

Klister. I hadn't thought about that stuff in a long time. LOL.

Captain Blight
12-23-2009, 05:32 AM
Remember Darryl & Jackie's Sports Haven in Baraboo? I got my first pair of skis and knickers there in like '82.

Wish I could still fit into the knickers, which reminds me: Anyone know where I can get a proper pair of tweed knickers with buttons at the calf gusset for anything approaching a reasonable price? Apparently (and I believe it) they are just the cat's ass for bicycling. SWOBO and Chrome knickers look dumb and are way pricey, and capri pants have the gyeigh.

skuthorp
12-23-2009, 06:32 AM
http://www.spencers-trousers.com/plus_fours.php
This may be as close as you can get these days, unless you can find a seamstress and a pattern.
http://www.spencers-trousers.com/images/plus4s.jpg

Nicholas Carey
12-23-2009, 01:03 PM
http://www.spencers-trousers.com/plus_fours.php
This may be as close as you can get these days, unless you can find a seamstress and a pattern.

No, the hipsters have come to their senses WRT cycling and have rejected all things aluminium, carbon fiber and spandex.

Wool is back!

[Finding the over-the-knee socks for your breeks might be more difficult than finding the knickers]

Cycling Knickers...

These, from Swobo, are a laminate fabric, merino next to the skin w/ a windproof nylon/spandex layer bonded to the outside.

http://www.swobo.com/catalog/product_info_m.php?cPath=1505&products_id=893
http://www.swobo.com/images/catalog/SWB09076_BLK_side_zoom.jpg

Other knicker makers include


Bicycle Fixation
http://www.living-room.org/prod_wool_knickers.html
http://www.living-room.org/images/knickers/knickers3_02.jpg
Jones Wares
http://www.joneswares.com/item/Men_s_Performance_Cycling_Knickers/216/c62
https://secure.cartkeeper.com/%7Ejoneswar/item_images/knickersmens.jpg
Ibex
http://www.ibexwear.com/shop/product/1473/8990/mens-el-fito-three-quarter-bike-knickers
http://www.ibexwear.com/Photos/F09/7072_8990.jpg
Jitensha Studios. These are made i Tokyo, by a small family business that specializes in old-school climbing knickers.
http://www.jitensha.com/eng/knickers.html
http://www.jitensha.com/eng/images/knickers/knickers_sd.jpg
Shiela Moon
http://store.sheilamoon.com/product_info.php?cPath=5_6&products_id=287&osCsid=2pdmfomgome2er81gsrovgpuv4
http://store.sheilamoon.com/product_thumb.php?img=//var/www/subdomains/store.sheilamoon.com/httpdocs/collateral/../collateral/store.sheilamoon.com/images/products/7583GT.jpg&w=100&h=173

and more.

Brian Palmer
01-31-2011, 10:53 AM
I brought the wooden toboggan that we used when we were kids back from my parent's house this past fall. It's probably about 40 years old. I just scraped down the bottom, treated it with pine tar, heated it with the heat gun until it just started to smoke, wiped off the excess, and then coated it with parrafin canning wax.

We took it out on the hill yesterday and it put all kinds of newer plastic sleds and sliders to shame! Wood rules!

Brian

Bruce Hooke
01-31-2011, 11:09 AM
My last pair of wooden skis went I'm not sure where 30 years ago when I started racing on my high school ski team and needing racing skis. I still have the racing skis but they rarely come out. Now I mostly use a pair of metal edge back-country skis. So, I am still using waxable skis but they are no longer wooden.

Which brings up a question...any recommendations on wax removers? Scraping only gets you so far, especially with Klister, and it would also be nice to have something to get the Klister off the scraper!

skuthorp
02-01-2011, 06:48 AM
http://www.avalon-guns.com/avalon/ClothingSocks.jpg (http://www.avalon-guns.com/avalon/Shooting-Hunting-Socks.html)Socks (http://www.avalon-guns.com/avalon/Shooting-Hunting-Socks.html)


"[Finding the over-the-knee socks for your breeks might be more difficult than finding the knickers]"
http://www.avalon-guns.com/avalon/Hunting-Clothing.html

elf
02-01-2011, 08:20 AM
I still describe snow by the color of wax required. My least favorite snow is purple klisterschnee.