Creating Custom SkisWhen we build your custom skis, you are receiving a hand-crafted and personally engineered piece of equipment. From carefully selecting the finest raw materials to hand-tuning and waxing each ski, our personal touch is a part of your ski’s construction. We control every step of our ski building process and nothing is outsourced outside the Folsom factory.
So how does a Folsom Custom Ski come together?
- We start at the lumberyard, where we painstakingly pick through the selection to find the truest, most appealing boards available. Back in the shop, we vertically laminate those boards to create the blocks from which your core profile derives.
- Once we have identified the framework for your ski design, we plug the dimensions into our Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machine. We take the raw core board and, with the CNC machine, profile and shape that board to your unique parameters.
- The CNC is then utilized to precisely cut sidewalls and the base footprint to your design.
- Steel edges are bent and attached by hand 360 degrees around the contour of the base. A punch press is then used to create the die-cut Folsom logo that appears in the ski base.
- With the top-sheet image chosen (or designed), we first run a small test print to ensure the colors are correct. Once this test is complete, the full graphic is printed on a special transfer paper. This paper is then placed on top of the blank top-sheet material and positioned in our sublimation press. After 10 minutes at 350 degrees the ink from the paper has transferred into the plastic substrate.
- From here, all the pieces needed for construction are now complete and it is time to start putting them together!
- The profiled wood core, sidewalls, and tip/tail spacers are loosely attached with small pieces of non-structural fiberglass tape. Strips of carbon fiber of various lengths and widths are fixed both above and below the wood core.
- Multiple pieces of fiberglass of various weights and lengths are then cut out to match your unique flex profile.
- Epoxy is precisely measured and mixed according to the size and shape of your ski. . The base, prepped core, and fiberglass are all placed in the corresponding aluminum mold and fully saturated with the epoxy resin to ensure a lasting durable bond.
- The topsheet is the last layer to be placed down and is aligned appropriately within the mold.
- The ski is then placed in the press. Heating elements on both the top and bottom of the mold along with over 20,000 lbs. of pressure “cook” the ski for 25 minutes.
- After the ski has been pressed it is removed and allowed to cool overnight. Now it is time for the finishing process to begin.
- First the extra epoxy and material (the “flashing”) must be removed by a jigsaw. This gives the ski a ‘rough-draft’ look.
- The sidewalls are routed to prevent topsheet chipping
- Extra epoxy on the edges and sidewalls are taken off with a grinding belt and the tips and tails are shaped by hand. The sidewalls are then polished smooth.
- The ski is then taken to another grinding wheel to have the base flattened and structured.
- Our edge machine bevels the ski to the appropriate base and side edge angles.
- The last step is a hand de-tune, hand wax, and one last polish before sending them out the door for you.
Want to know more about the materials we use? Keep reading.
Sandwich ConstructionAll Folsom Customs are made using a modified sandwich construction method. We believe our method produces the most durable ski possible. Sandwich construction means the materials are laid in horizontal layers from bottom to top with epoxy resin bonding each layer. This process normally produces a lot of excess material, called flash, that has to be trimmed off after curing. We, however, use a molding technique that reduces this waste by half. We are able to do this through the use of in-house CNC machining of all our materials to exact specifications.
Topsheet and GraphicsWe use a special polyamide topsheet material that is softer and more stable in cold temperatures and thus resists chipping. Graphics are sublimated into the topsheet. Using special inks, the graphic is printed onto a transfer sheet and then this sheet is placed on the topsheet material. It is put into a flatbed press and heated to more than 300 degrees for a short time. The ink in the transfer paper turns to gas and penetrates into the topsheet. The graphic is now part of the topsheet material. This process yields unlimited graphic options and is low-toxic. Silk screen inks, on the other hand, are very toxic.
Epoxy ResinThe epoxy resin we use is extremely durable and expensive. It is manufactured specifically for use in our ski production. It has very low VOCs and is also 99% non-toxic.
Wood CoreFolsom’s cores are constructed of hand-selected poplar, maple, and bamboo. This means we do not buy large lots of wood. We go directly to the supplier and hand select boards for their grain orientation. We then vertically laminate each board in-house into large core blocks. Next we slice off core blanks from these blocks and individually number each blank so that each ski core is made from the same consecutive slices. This is called bookmatching. It means that each pair of skis will have exactly the same grain pattern. Finally, each core blank is precision milled on our CNC machine to a tolerance of .004 of an inch.
FiberglassThe fiberglass we employ is specially manufactured for ski production. Furthermore, our lay-up process insures that each layer of fiberglass is completely saturated with resin. It is time consuming (we spend twice as much time on lay-up than most manufacturers), but it’s worth it. We use many different types of knitted fiberglass in the construction of a pair of Folsoms. The most common are tri-axial and biaxial knits. Every Folsom ski will have a unique fiberglass lay-up that is dialed in for the performance each skier needs.
Carbon FiberIn addition to fiberglass we use several different modulus of aerospace carbon fiber in our skis. Carbon has incredible tensile strength (twice that of fiberglass) and is used accordingly. Carbon is a difficult material to work with, but, when its power is harnessed, you can feel it.
Rubber DampeningRubber foil is used in specific locations in the ski to reduce vibrations and to increase adhesion between the metal edges and the fiberglass. Our custom lay-up of this material creates an incredibly damp ski. This means no matter what the terrain, the skis will hug to it. You get a calm and stable ride.
BaseWe use a custom-made sintered base material from Durasurf. We have found it to be the best combination of durability and speed. In fact, it is four times more abrasion resistant that steel. All Folsoms come with a black base and a white die-cut Folsom logo.
SidewallWe only use UHMW sidewall material from Durasurf. This is the toughest sidewall material available. UHMW outperforms all other sidewall materials out there. It will not crack or break and handles impact better than ABS. Don’t let anyone tell you ABS sidewalls are better. ABS is only better for the manufacturer, not in the field.
EdgeOur edge material is hardened to a Rockwell hardness of 48 and is 2.5mm thick. This edge material is wrapped completely around each ski. It’s nice to have a big steel bumper.
Still curious? Give us a call!