Making Snowshoes (sort of)

Ron Kulas

Active Member
Ive wanted to learn to make snowshoes for some time but never got around to it. Before I set out to make actual sized and wearable snowshoes I started by making half scale versions to learn the process. Here is the process I used as I learn about steam bending wood. Im using oak since Ash is hard to come by here. I shaped and thined the oak stick in the areas where the bends are otherwise it will break and I have broken many until I got a pattern that works.


The form I made.


The high tech steam creator (since one cant buy steam, premade)


The steam chamber is PVC


After a hour of steam It can be coaxed around the form.


and the nose bent


After a day or two its dry enough to hold the shape and crossbars are added and its sanded because the steam raises hell with the wood


Then I lace the heel and toe with deer skin and varnish everything.


Since the prototypes are half scale and cant be worn and I didnt want to waste the effort so I turned them into art pieces. The first batch will have deerskin leather centers with artwork. I had a lot of tanned deer and elk hides and this seemed like a good use for them




Again, these are half scale.


Then I thought, since this is the 21st century I should make electric snowshoes so I bought a small light and cord set and fashioned up a lamp but I wanted a lamp that I could customize or change with the seasons. For the lampshade I printed oak and birch skin on legal sized paper on my printer. For the frame I steam bent small strips of oak.



Then I thought about adding a background that appears only when the light is on. (with oak)


Then birch


Then I went kind of nuts because its easy to change the skins.



The sky is the limit for options in regards to silhouettes but then I had another thought on how to customize behind the bark only when the light is on.


Then I went kind of nuts.



Now Im thinking 2 snowshoes side by side to create a shelf or other ideas for how to use these half sized shoes.
Each time I cut a piece of wood to make a snowshoe I have a piece of drop/scrap that I had been setting aside. Then I had a thought and placed the drop in the steamer box with the snowshoe wood and bent that piece of drop around a 25 pound plate from my weight set to form a wooden hoop. Since I am filling the center section of some of the snowshoes with leather and artwork I ink onto the leather (like this)


I thought, why not cut some tanned deerskin leather into circles and lace them onto the wooden hoops. So I did.







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You are quite the craftsman. That's some very professional looking work. Who is doing the artwork on the deerskin for you?
Are you retired? You could come out of retirement to make and sell those if you are. Those are beautiful.

Are you retired? You could come out of retirement to make and sell those if you are. Those are beautiful.


No, I started a bowhunting products company in 2015 along with my existing full time job so Im working 16 hour days, 7 days a week now. I don't have time for these pleasures at this time. Thanks for the kind words.
Thanks. I came up with a way to ink animal skins for these items and the leather chopper mitts I sew that I dont share. I hope you understand.
Wow, you’re multi talented! I ordered one of your stay sharp kids for my Iron Will BH’s a few weeks ago. Cool product!

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