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Lacing the Snowshoes

February 21, 2011

At long last, here are my Ojibwa-style snowshoes, all set to go. I did take them out for a brief walk, and they worked fine, but the snow conditions were tricky and it was difficult to get a sense of how effective the shoes actually were.

As you may remember from previous posts, I discovered that rawhide lacing was very expensive, so I decided to use the rawhide from an old pair of shoes. In the following slide show, you can see as I unlaced the old shoe and laced the new one. Unfortunately the camera moved while I was unlacing. First I soaked the old shoe in hot water, then it was a matter of undoing the knots and un-weaving the raw hide. After that it was time to lace the new shoe. Again, I had to soak the rawhide. The first shoe, I didn’t soak it long enough, and it keep drying out and stiffening up while I was trying to lace. With the second shoe, I soaked the rawhide for hours and it was so much easier to work with. The book (The Snowshoe Book, William Osgood and Leslie Hurley) gave very good directions on how to lace the shoe, but it helped to blow up the illustrations with a photocopier.

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After they were all laced up, I had to varnish them. I varnished them with a high quality marine varnish (the same stuff I used on my canoe.) Whether I will get to take them out for a real test remains to be seen, but if not next year, then next year for sure.

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