Lacing Traditional Snowshoes – Part 1 – Preparing

With the good snowshoe hiking season behind us, it’s time to refurbish or lace my traditional pair of snowshoes using new materials.

These are my 1st pair of snowshoes when I was a teen, so almost 30 years old. But I never maintained them. As such, the rawhide or babiche has worn off the laquer coating and started the dry and crack. After the recent snowshoe hikes, the bindings are starting to fail. So it’s due to get a new lacing.

While doing research about it, I did not find a lot of content on how to do it. However, I did find that almost everyone used the same book to guide them along:

This book seems to be the standard to lace the main types of snowshoes. The rest of the gear list is the following: – 400lb monofilament nylon (fishing line) – 3/32″ aluminium collars – spar varnish -2mm climbing rope – spring clamp – sand paper (150 grit) – multi tool w/ saw

The snowshoes I have resemble a Mainer or MIchigan snowshoe. Really, this style is all I’ve known. However the book will be able to handle Alaskan, bear paw & Objiwa styles.

We use the saw to remove the babiche, it if was old like mine, then it would just snap off with little effort. Use the sand paper and give the frames a gentle sanding.

Once done, give the frames a nice coat of the spar varnish. When dry, you can use the 2mm rope and start to web the toe portion of the shoe (we will start with the toe section) so that we can lace the nylon line to it.

We’ll continue in part 2 of this series. where I start lacing the toe section.