Ah, New England... it's "like a box of chocolates, you never know what you'll get". Well, this year, I've made sure there won't be: deep snow, large storms or clean ice. It's guaranteed since I made the mistake of picking up a snow blower, buying a generator, building it a shed and then designing and fabricating two new ice-boards. That should do it. This winter will now, certainly be another mild one here in New England.
There is a group of ice junkies here in New England, who can't seem to get enough of the smooth stuff. We travel in search of any clean plate when the wind is blowing. We're just a bunch of friends who gather with a variety of toys designed to make the most the conditions. Every year, these familiar faces show up with a variety of craft... custom made ice-boards (with windsurfing rigs), kite-wings, kites, skates, etc... We all live for this.
Having some free time to kill around X-mas, I decided to build a new ice-board. I had enough materials left lying around to fabricate one, so why not. I changed the geometry and weight a bit from my last board, using a thinner marine plywood.
Marine plywood deck, red oak stringer
Forcing a deck camber with an epoxied oak stringerI then recessed a modified mast track using a thickened epoxy. While most use only 1 or 2 tiny sails while ice-boarding, I will carry anything from 6.3 meters to 3.7 meters. The adjustable mast track is a must for me. Next was a layer of pigmented epoxy, black on top and blue on the bottom.
Routed out and dropped in Chinook mast track
Full coat of pigmented black epoxy
Deck traction is always a concern on ice-boards. Snowy boots need a variety of methods to keep them attached to the board. It starts with sand embedded into a layer of epoxy. Next, comes perforated stainless traction pads that I cut from a sheet and bent appropriately. After the sand and metal pads, I add 100 inches of fan belt to the perimeter of the board. This prevents my huge feet from sliding off the edges. The belt gives me a sense of security in some pretty hairy and dynamic conditions. When I'm really "wound", I use (removable) DaKine footstraps.
Stainless traction pads
Sand textured deck with fan belt edging.
The thinner lighter deck, in turn, provided a new set of problems to tackle. Torque (board twist) reared it's ugly head. I tackled that with uni-direction carbon fiber and carbon twill on the bottom. On the recommendations of several buddies who know a lot more about carbon than I... thanks Rob, Alex, Rick and Jeff!!!
Carbon lay-ups covered with peel ply
Grizzly belt sander set at 45*
Stainless 440C runners
Out with the old (spray paint), in with the new...
"Ice-o-bar" is born
As is so often the case, one project leads to another. I had a beautiful new board with a beautiful, but not so permanent paint job. I needed a solution and "powder coating" seemed like the only viable answer. Google led me to company that sells the "gun" for less than $80 and the powders for about $15 a pound. Now all I needed was a booth to contain the operation. PVC, sign plastic and duct tape was my answer. My dad (the king of "duck" tape) would be so proud of my thrifty solution:
1" PVC pipe, sign blanks and white duct tape.
Bath exhaust fan and surge protector added
Copper pipe (for ground) LED light & Eastwood powder coat gun
My "Easy Bake Oven" test run
Having just finished one, just like Forrest Gump, I kept on working.
With new found skills and technology (and still no ice), I jumped right into my dream board. The last 1/3rd of my marine ply and leftover aluminum and resin, led me to buy some new trucks from the Ronin company. The fastest skateboard downhill racers on earth were using these trucks and I wanted to build a board around this new technology.
The same process used above, began again (with some subtle tweaks) leading to a somewhat flatter, lower, lighter, more nimble and downright gorgeous new speed machine. Here are some of the steps:
Red and black carbon twill bottom
Peel ply over the carbon lay-up.
Stainless traction pads powder-coated candy red.
Red Carbon Twill over crossed 6" uni-directional carbon tape.
Ronin powder coated front truck assembly
Using "Ronin red" and the El Diablo theme, this baby was built low and fast. All thoughts of twist and torque were negated by a layer of 6" uni-directional carbon tape set at 45 degrees and topped with a (color coordinated) red carbon twill. It all came together in a few days and resulted in one sweet looking machine.
It will break 55 knots...
My sleds are ready now. Only one thing missing.
Ice-o-bar and El Diablo
Last year's project "Chiquita" also got a makeover.
Now labeled "The Golden Banana" by my wife Ami... I added some 6" carbon tape for twist control, then disassembled everything metal to ready it for the golden powder coat.
Cooling rack for Chiquita's golden parts
Torque control for Chiquita
Going for Gold on Chiquita.
Cocoa is "ready to ride"
Chiquita looks ready.
El Diablo, Chiquita & Ice-o-bar
If you want to see more (I'm amazed that you got this far) go to my online photo collection HERE. Just add ice and about 30 knots of wind... soon please.