Hey all, I wanted to throw in pics and a report on my project to contribute and possibly help someone about to split their own board with my experience in the project. I'll get a little verbose in the hopes that people searching down the road might find some help on an issue I ran into or had questions about. Sorry for the terrible pics, all I have is my phone. Here is the finished product:
Anyway. I started with a Rome Flag 160 from 2006 or so. I bought it from a good friend of mine: Regular camber, solid wood core, and it's a wide board. Here's a picture pre-cut.
I found a water jet cutter in Hillsboro, Oregon to do the cut. It cost $60 to have it cut, which added to the project but I am completely satisfied and think it was money well spent. The reason I opted for this method is because I cut a practice board with a borrowed circular saw and the cut came out absolutely terrible. I lost a lot of material from the board from the cut, and the hacksawing through the metal edges resulted in big gaps due to the difference in kerf from the different blades. I have no doubt that if I had a good jig set up and a quality thin-kerf blade, the cut would be nearly as good as a waterjet. But because I didn't have that experience, I opted to spend a couple extra bucks to get a perfect cut with minimal loss of material from the board. Even though it was the first snowboard the guy had cut, the cut came out exactly as I expected.
Next up were the hooks. The only advice I have is to make sure your board is clamped together tight and perfectly lined up when you drill the holes for the split hooks. I learned that lesson on the practice board. I maybe countersunk the bolts a little deep, but after epoxy it came out fine. This was pretty straightforward, but one thing I learned from the process is that the order in which you mount stuff can make a difference. It makes it a lot easier to make sure the pucks line up if you do the hooks first and then everything else afterwards.
Next up were the t-nuts. I spoke with Chris over at Next Adventure in Portland and he totally gave a bunch of great advice and also had the pre-petexed t-nuts and offered to metal-grip them for me when I was ready. I would have taken him up on it but unfortunately I didn't have the right bit to drill holes for those t-nuts and I also wanted to do everything myself.
Anyway, I opted to use the petex sliders that came with the kit. It took me a long time to get the process for drilling and countersinking the holes for the t-nuts dialed in. Others have recommended a forstner bit for the countersink on the t-nuts. I got one of those, and it's good advice. Incredibly clean cut. One problem I ran into was that I had trouble centering the forstner bit exactly in the center of the 19/64th hole for the barrel of the t-nut, which ended up causing problems when an edge of the base of the t-nut would not sink into the hole. I made a thread and someone gave me good advice and I pretty much got it perfect with the drill press I was using.
Another issue I ran into was sinking the t-nuts with a mallet so that it would sit below the surface leaving room for the petex sliders. I tried hammering the crap out of them, and it never worked right and just dented the base until I realized that you don't need to completely sink the t-nuts by hammering them. Sink the t-nut to be level with the base, and then mount the hardware from the top. When you tighten the screws, that will "pull" the t-nut into the base as far as it will go.
Finally, when it came time to epoxy the t-nuts with the petex sliders on top, I had trouble on some of the sliders fitting into the hole perfectly. Before epoxy, I could get them to fit in the countersink holes but it took some effort. During epoxying, some of them didn't fit, and I ended up getting epoxy everywhere trying to shove the petex slider in. I screwed up on one and it never sat right in the base. If you are going to use the sliders, try sanding them a VERY little bit around the edges so that you lose enough material that you can be sure they will fit in the countersink hole from the forstner bit.
Then, afterwards, I had to sand the petex sliders down. Man, that took forever. My advice is to get the right grit sandpaper, start out with 100-120 grit and just go to town, then finish with a finer grit paper (I finished with 220). I ended up roughing up the base from the larger grit paper, but I intended to get a base grind after I was done. Or just don't bother with the petex sliders. I can totally see why people just use the epoxy. I don't have a basis for comparison, but I honestly can't believe there is any performance difference from epoxy versus the petex sliders. In fact, I might forgo the sliders next time, just because that way you take out less core material and it's a lot easier to sand. The sliders do look better though.
Varnishing the edge is straightforward. I used Minwax Helmsman Spar Urethane with a cheap brush and then a sponge after I forgot to rinse the brush after a coat of varnish. No issues there. I did it after I mounted all the hardware, so masking the topboard was a bit of a pain in the butt. It'd probably be a lot easier to do if you varnish it right after cutting and before mounting anything, but I honestly had no problems, and after cutting I was itching to get all the hardware mounted first. This is the finished cut after 4 coats of spar urethane. There appears to be some sort of foam right in the middle, but it's odd because it only shows up on one side of the cut.
And that was pretty much it! I took it to the resort on opening day at Mt. Hood Meadows to make sure it rode okay and wasn't going to break as soon as I got a mile into the backcountry. It rode very well! Very solid, stiff board to begin with. It lost a bit of stiffness after the cut but it was very stable even at a pretty good clip on the groomers. Not as much float in the deep powder as I was anticipating, but I'm still very pleased with the performance. My skins are trimmed up and I am very much looking forward to learning how to skin and getting after it when the snow becomes a bit more stable.
A couple of plugs: thanks for all the tips in this forum! Answered a ton of questions and made the whole process better, smoother, faster. Again, Chris at Next Adventure totally hooked me up with a free tune even though I didn't take his advice regarding the ptex t-nuts and metal grip. He was extremely helpful and knows a lot about the tuning and DIY process. If you are in the Portland area, keep him in mind when you need any gear or have any questions. Also thanks to bcrider for help with the G3 skins and running the board!
Post subject: Re: Rome Flag DIY - First Split Done!
Posted: Fri Nov 25, 2011 10:49 pm
Joined: Sun Oct 01, 2006 8:29 am Posts: 577 Location: Oregon
Nice work! Looks pretty sweet for your first split! The waterjet cut looks pretty nice too - I'll have to consider that if I split another board. I'm almost finished splitting my second board and one of the things I've found that works pretty well is to melt metal p-tex with a base repair gun (or something similar that will melt the p-tex) into the holes for the t-nuts. Then you can use a razor blade to scrape/cut the excess off pretty easily and end up with a nice looking base. I agree with you though, just using epoxy probably would work fine and shouldn't impact the ride...
Congrats on a job well done and have fun riding your project this winter! Maybe I'll see you out there at some point this winter - I live in the southern Willamette Valley and get up to Hood from time to time.....
_________________ "There is nothing more practical in the end than the preservation of beauty." - Theodore Roosevelt
Post subject: Re: Rome Flag DIY - First Split Done!
Posted: Tue Nov 29, 2011 10:26 am
Joined: Thu Oct 13, 2011 10:05 am Posts: 21
Thanks! The waterjet really does produce a perfect cut. I honestly can't imagine a more painless method if you have access to it. I have a p-tex candle that I've used for repairing gouges - is that the same thing as the metal ptex? Chris over at Next Adventure offered to metal-grip any t-nuts or hardware, which sounded like a step up from epoxy, but again I was stubborn and wanted to do everything myself (plus I had already spent the money on the g-flex).