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 Post subject: DIY Split - How To and Lessons Learned
PostPosted: Thu Aug 28, 2008 9:17 am 
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Joined: Tue Jan 22, 2008 10:20 am
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Location: El Cerrito, CA
So I just finished splitting my Burton Fish 160 and thought I would share my learning experiences with anyone else interested in splitting their own board. (Pictures to come)

The Board
I came across a reasonable deal on a new Burton Fish and could not pass it up. I have had it for the past five months or so, as I have been hesitant to split it because it is such a clean looking deck from the factory. But I finally got over it and got started.

I would recommend working within your budget and first splitting an old board. You can get one off Craigslist for as little as $20 to practice cutting, drilling through the base, aligning everything, etc. I did not do this, but looking back, it would have helped a bunch.

The Voile Kit
If you already own a split board, the Voile split kit is not necessary. I have a ton of extra parts now... slider tracks, pins, etc. You can get away quite a bit cheaper if you just buy the Chinese hooks, tip clips, touring bracket, climbing bar, and pucks. I ended up deciding to use t-nuts to mount the pucks for a bomber finish product.

Cutting Your Deck
Measure twice, cut once. Don't free-hand the cut, get some clamps and a straight edge and mount it offset from the center-line. As far as saw blades go, the thinner the better. This is the blade I used. It is a Makita for their 6 1/2" cordless circular saw. Blade (D-26624). Here is the link to the saw I used as well: http://www.makita.com/en-us/Modules/Too ... x?ID=25946 Since I cut a Burton deck, I had to go through the binding inserts. There are post here that recommend a carbide tip blade, but I had no problem with the blade mentioned above. The inserts are made of pretty soft metal, and I had no problem going through them. Set the blade depth to about 1". This will make going through the inserts and edge easier. I actually had more trouble going through the edges than the inserts, and ended up delaminating the base and topsheet and bending the edge itself. I would recommend cutting the edges with a dremel or a hack saw before you split the deck.

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Starting your cut is crucial. I started in between the nose and first set of inserts, as close to the nose as possible where the board is still relatively flat. I lined the circular saw up with my straight edge, and let the saw sink into the board. I did not use a flexible straight edge, so when I got to the nose and tail, I just ran it out straight the best I could. I ended up with a thicker cut in these areas. There really isn't a better way to do it unless you have access to a table saw or a band saw. Definitely stay away from jig saws.

Sealing Your New Edges
I opted to not install the steel edge. They are available online, but I did not want to deal with the hassle, and I plan to only use this board on powder days, so not quite as much need for that inside edge. I used a two part epoxy from West Systems. They sell a good flexible, medium cure time epoxy kit for $25 (655-K) http://www.westsystem.com/ . This is the best I could find, and I think it will work out well. It is important to use a slower epoxy for repairs because it will penetrate into the wood core more effectively as well as cure to a more durable final product.

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In hindsight, I would have sealed the edges prior to drilling and installing all of the split components, as placing five layers of epoxy builds up your edges a bit. This made for a very tight fit at my Chinese hooks.

I recommend using some packing tape to tape off the base near your edge. Leave half of the tape hanging off along the length of your edge. This will allow you to build up some epoxy on the lower side of your edge. Use thin layers of epoxy and allow the appropriate curing time between coats. Be sure to lightly sand between coats as well to roughen up the epoxy. Also peel the packing tape off once the epoxy has set up to prevent permanent sticking.

Drilling for Tip Clips, Chinese Hooks, and Binding Pucks
Here is where I disagree with the Voile Kit instructions a bit on their sequencing. The pucks provide 90% of your splitboards rigidity and thus are the most important aspect of the system. What I did was align the two halves of the board and tape them together with some packing tape. I taped it in six locations as well as along the entire center-cut to prevent any slipping.

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Once this is done, I think that drilling for the pucks is the first thing that should happen. I used the templates that Voile provided. I tried to mock them up and do it this way, but the templates were much easier and ended up working out quite well. Keep in mind that if you have a negative stance angle in the back, you will need to use the goofy template for your back foot.

Do not over drill.

I opted for using T-nuts to mount the pucks. Drill all of the puck holes out from the topsheet, then follow up with the appropriate size paddle bit on the base to expose the wood core. You will have to drill about 1/16" - 1/8" out of the core to allow for a reasonable patch in your base. Tack a T-nut into each hole to ensure that you will have proper cover. Mock the pucks up to make sure that all your holes line up. Don't install these yet though.

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Next is the Chinese hooks. Again, the templates are quite accurate, unless you miss with one of your holes. Here, drill the holes from the top sheet again. I bought a countersink bit that I tried to use to countersink the tapered screws in the base, however the bit would not cut through the base material. It would just melt it. I used a paddle bit to remove the base, then the counter sink in the wood. Don't mount these yet.

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Finally, the Tip Clips. Pretty straightforward. Templates are accurate. I set the clips about two cm in from the tip and nose of the board. This is just my preference. Provides good protection for the clips and I think that they are more effective this way. Just be aware of their location in relation to the metal brackets on your skins.

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Setting the Tip Clips, Chinese Hooks, and Binding Pucks
I planned to epoxy everything in to completely seal up the core. Keep the deck taped together.

Setting the puck t-nuts I put a coat of epoxy on the wood core as well as on the t-nut itself. I don't ever plan to take the pucks off, so I allowed epoxy to get into the t-nuts threading. I placed the pucks and screwed them down. Clean up any additional epoxy off the topsheet and base now.

Setting the Chinese hooks was a two step process for me. I lightly coated the inside head of the screws with epoxy, and placed them in the hole. I then mounted the Chinese hooks to ensure that they were aligned properly. Once this cured (~5 hours) I remove the hooks, and filled the rest of the hole with epoxy. I actually over-drilled these, and it was a mistake. Be careful not to get any epoxy on the hooks themselves, cause once they are stuck, they are extremely difficult to remove.

Setting the tip clips was easy. Coat the inside of the hole with epoxy, run the rivet through, and hammer the rivet from the bottom to flare the end.

Patching Your Swiss-Cheese Base
I opted for a p-tex repair, since the core was already completely sealed. You can get a good deal on an iron and p-tex filler here: http://www.tognar.com/base_repair_tools ... amage.html I used the "Metal Grip" since I was bonding to the metal t-nuts as well as the wood core and surrounding base material. Patching is an art in it self that I am by no means an expert in. However, filling all of these holes, I feel that I have improved considerably.

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A few tips: Warm the t-nuts and base. Keep a continuous bead going. Don't let the melted p-tex fall through the air. Overfill and scrape out later. Take your time.

Some Bonehead Things I Did That You Should Not Do
I got a little excited about mounting the pucks and ended up mounting a negative angle in my back foot, while I actually ride with positive in the back. Yay, more patching.

I over-drilled thinking that I would need the extra room for epoxy. Wrong, epoxy will penetrate the wood core, strengthen it, and fit nicely with the recommended hole sizes from the Voile Kit.

I damaged (delaminated) the nose and tail while cutting the board in half. Make sure you cut the edges with a dremel or a hack saw first.

I was off by about 1/8" on my center cut. Not the end of the world, but I would have liked to hit the center dead nutz. Measure twice, Cut once.

Conclusion
I hope that this will encourage some of you to split your own boards. It is pretty easy, fun, and an overall good experience. Just be sure to thoroughly test your board before you take it on a long tour. You could totally hose yourself if you are 10 miles in and you break a touring bracket...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Aug 28, 2008 9:40 am 
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Joined: Wed Oct 06, 2004 10:57 pm
Posts: 4938
Location: California
Right on jbh, congrats!

I have a split fish (made by burton) and love it in powder. Jimw made one as well. Although I havent split my own board, one thing to remember re the center cut is the blade width and to cut down the center of the line, not on either side of it (unless you count for the blade's width).

Great work on the post too! When you get the pics up can we use it for a Feature piece and also ad it to Splitboard 101?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Aug 28, 2008 9:49 am 
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Location: Where the kids go to retire
Nice write up, thanks for posting. Can't wait to see the pics!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Aug 28, 2008 10:01 am 
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Joined: Tue Jan 22, 2008 10:20 am
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Location: El Cerrito, CA
No problem. I'll get pics and re-word things as necessary tomorrow. I have a half day at work... so essentially a day off, but I just have to be here...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Aug 28, 2008 1:16 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 23, 2008 1:43 pm
Posts: 310
Location: Mill Creek, WA
Really nice write up! I made the same mistake when I mounted my back foot puck.

I have an old Fish that only gets out once or twice a year.......something to think about. How do you guys like the Fish for ascending? Does the short tail cause any problems?

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A little song, a little dance, a little powder down your pants. -Chuckles the Clown


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Aug 28, 2008 1:28 pm 
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Location: Jay Peak, VT
This is really good!

I would not try and install an inside edge on a fish... mainly because a FISH means deep pow... So ne need for extra grip...

I would love a split-Fish...

Now i can't wait to see the pics!


Nice Job!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Aug 28, 2008 3:12 pm 
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Location: California
sketchyT wrote:
How do you guys like the Fish for ascending? Does the short tail cause any problems?


The short tail doesn't cause any issues for me and the nose height is good for breaking trail. The shorter size of the split (Fish are generally downsized) is nice for kickturns as well.

The downsides are the width of the nose. They can get hung up on each other if you split like most folks do with the straight edges on the outside and it just doesn't track super great due to the deep sidecut.

They aren't super big issues generally given that it's pow specific.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Aug 28, 2008 9:36 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jan 28, 2007 11:20 pm
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Location: 82 J/11
Does the center insert not leave a void in the inside edge after cutting?

Good find on the "Metal Grip" ptex -didn't know there was such a thing.

Can't wait to see the pix,


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Aug 29, 2008 7:06 am 
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Joined: Tue Jan 22, 2008 10:20 am
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Location: El Cerrito, CA
I credit jimw for the metal grip...

I filled the inserts with epoxy, although the base is still straight without filling, since they are t-nuts as well, and are countersunk into the base.

As far as hiking goes, I haven't tried it yet. However, I mounted my touring bracket 5cm forward of center of gravity of the board. This will cause the tail to drop when I lift my foot, super helpful for those pow kick-turns. Instead of walking my uphill ski around, I should be able to kick, drop my knee, and go...

Pictures will have to come later next week. as I am all of a sudden slammed at work, and going up to desolation this weekend.

-JB


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Aug 29, 2008 7:57 am 
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Location: California
jbh wrote:
going up to desolation this weekend.


Which part of deso? Want any company?


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 Post subject: Re: DIY Split - How To and Lessons Learned
PostPosted: Wed Sep 03, 2008 6:32 am 
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Joined: Tue Jun 17, 2008 11:40 am
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Location: Laux, Quebec
Thanks for you input!

I'm in the process of cutting my board this week-end. Will see how it goes...

Can't wait to see the pix.

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 Post subject: Re: DIY Split - How To and Lessons Learned
PostPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2008 7:30 am 
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Joined: Sun Nov 09, 2008 7:51 am
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Location: Calgary, AB
great write up. This should help when I split my board this week.

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