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Building Snowshoes and Snowshoe Furniture Paperback – May, 2001
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About the Author
Gil Gilpatrick has spent his life in outdoor Maine. For 26 years he was an instructor of Outdoor Resources in a Maine vocational center. His other major occupations are writing and guiding canoe trips in northern Maine.
When Gil decided in the early 1970s that snowshoe making would be a good project for his Outdoor Resources classes, he searched the libraries for literature on the subject. Only the scantiest of material could be found, most of it tucked away in a few books on outdoor lore; none in sufficient detail to actually teach someone to produce a pair of snowshoes.
Deciding that no help would be forthcoming except from himself, Gil set about the task of teaching himself to make snowshoes. As he worked, he made notes so as to pass on what he had learned to his students. Eventually these notes were sorted and emerged in book form in the original Building Snowshoes.
From building snowshoes to building snowshoe furniture was a natural step and served to broaden the interest of Gils outdoor oriented students. After retirement from teaching the plans for the furniture peices were brought together and combined to produce Building Snowshoes and Snowshoe Furniture
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Since the first snowshoe appeared around 6000 years ago a variety of styles and sizes have evolved, each designed to fulfill different needs. We can only guess at how many designs have been tried and discarded! All of the styles generally recognized today are well suited for their intended purposes, and like many other things, the most suitable are an intelligent compromise between the extremes.
The two extremes are the long, almost ski-like pickerel or Alaskan snowshoe and the short, almost round bearpaw. (In fact, I have seen bearpaws that were perfectly round.) All other snowshoes variously compromise these two designs.
If you are an experienced snowshoer, you already know what size and style you would like to build, and you might want to skip this altogether. If you are a beginner though, you probably could use a little information as a starting point.
The following three standard sizes of Maine snowshoes correlate to weight categories for adults. Other models can be fashioned proportionately.
Up to 125 pounds - 12" X 42"
126 - 175 pounds - 13" X 48"
Over 175 pounds - 14" X 48"
However, the size and style of the snowshoes a person should use depends upon other considerations than body weight. Will you be tracking clean snow, primarily, or following a well-packed trail? You can get away with a smaller (and lighter) size, in the latter case. Will you be hustling after game, shuffling through the woods at a leisurely pace, or steadily walking long stretches of open field? These are an examples of the questions you should ask yourself when deciding upon the snowshoe best suited for you. Most people, when they answer these and other questions, decide that a compromise is called for.
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required instructions on lacing. The book both illustrates and tells you
how to go about it and also makes suggestions as to what to use. We had
found a supplier of rawhide, but nylon rope would have been easier to get.
Recommend the book for anyone interested in repair work or in building