Introduction: Turn Your Old Snowboard Into a Splitboard !

Picture of Turn Your Old Snowboard Into a Splitboard !

Hi everyone ! This is my first Instructable, I hope it's of any use. Please be aware that english is not my main language, so feel free to correct me in the comments.

Since I am the only snowboarder in my family, it was quite annoying to go ski touring with my brother and my dad. I had to use snowshoes and carry my board all the way up, which was, frankly, a bit of a pain. Then I started researching if there are no better options for me and in the end, I found what I was looking for - Splitboards ! These are snowboards that you can split (thanks Captain Obvious) into halves and use like skis to walk up, where you join the halves again and use it like a normal snowboard. I still had an old board which I didn't use anymore standing around in the cellar, so I thought, I could convert it in a Splitboard by myself.

In the following steps I show you how I did it and what experiences I made. Please note that I took the pictures with my mobile phone, therefore they are not always of the best quality. Regarding the duration of this project, it took a while since I didn't work on it continuously and also had to go the army for 5 1/2 months (it's mandatory in my country), where I couldn't work on it. If you really work on it often, say every evening after work, I'd say you'll be done in no more than 2 weeks. I am not responsible if you damage your board !

Step 1: Buying a Splitboard-Kit

Picture of Buying a Splitboard-Kit

So, let's get it started. The first thing I did was to buy a DIY-kit to convert my board. I know there are others around, but I decided to go with the kit from Voile.

Also, I purchased some epoxy and some fiberglass woven tape for the sides. This was an experiment, because I have never used epoxy before.

Step 2: Sawing It Into Halves

Picture of Sawing It Into Halves

After the kit arrived and after reading the Instructions that came with it carefully, I went on to sawing my board. To be honest, I first felt a bit unwell with the vision of my poor board sawed to pieces. However, after some preparation, it went quite well. I marked the position of the bindings with tape, took them off the board, put tape through the middle so I can mark the center on it - otherwise it would be hard to write on a snowboard. Then I used a circular saw and a pile as guide (make sure it's straight one !). For the metal frame, I used a handsaw.

Step 3: Correcting the Gap With Epoxy

Picture of Correcting the Gap With Epoxy

After holding the pieces together, I noticed there was a gap at one end of the board. This happened because I was going back and forth with the saw at this place. I decided to correct this with epoxy.

To do this, I mixed the epoxy with the hardener as written on the instructions. Then I started to mix sawdust from the board in. When I had a consistency that I thought should do, I filled it in the gap between the board-halves. Before, I had put duct tape to one side of a half and underneath the board to create sort of a mold. After drying, I sanded it all down to the level of the board.

Please be carefull when working with epoxy ! Don't let it get on your hands or in your eyes ! When it gets on your skin, immediately wash it off with warm water and soap ! I used silicone gloves when working with it.

Step 4: Covering the Sides With Fiberglas Tape

Picture of Covering the Sides With Fiberglas Tape

Now it was time to cover the sides with the fiberglas tape. I think you could just use some glue and "paint" it on, but I wanted something a bit more durable. Also, I wanted to try how to work with it, as I have never used it before. I placed the woven tape along the edge of the board, fixed it with clamps and mixed the epoxy. Then I started soaking the fiberglas tape in epoxy with a paint-brush. I waited until everything was dry again and simply cut the overlapping rest off with scissors.

Step 5: Drill the Holes

Picture of Drill the Holes

The next step was to drill the holes. Luckily, your kit provides you with transparent foil templates which you can glue on your board. Please make sure you work exact in this step. It is essential for the outcome of your project. I guess I rushed it a bit too much there, and in the end I had to deal with some issues that came with that - it didn't perfectly fit. I will put an extract of the instructions here when I find the time. Basically, you glue the adhesive foil template on your board, mark the points that are on the template with an awl and then you drill the holes. Afterwards, you countersink these holes from the other side of the board. Attention: do this slowly ! I pressed down too much when countersinking and the drill went right through the board ! I had to fill it up with the epoxy/sawdust mix again and repeat all the steps. Unfortunately, I don't have that many pictures of this step.

Step 6: A New Idea...

Picture of A New Idea...

So far, so good. I suffered some setbacks in the process of making this splitboard, which I luckily were able to fix with a good amount of time and epoxy. Now, before finalizing it, I had just one issue left: my board didn't look nice anymore ! Due to all the fixing and sanding, the entire surface of the board was scratched, and the fixed parts were brown because of the sawdust. It was then when I decided to paint my board. I wrote some ideas down, started my laptop and worked on a few designs. I wanted a geometrical pattern (since it would be easier to do) in the colours black and gold (because these colours I still had left over from another project). After messing around a bit, I finally came up with something that I liked. For the materials, I still had everything at home:
- self-adhesive foil
- spray cans of Gold and Black
- laquer

Step 7: Preparation

Picture of Preparation

I sanded the top layer of my board down, first by hand, then with the machine, and then by hand again, until I had a smooth surface. In the meantime, I also cut out the pattern. This was very easy, because the foil already had squares on it, I only had to follow the lines. Then I layed the parts of foil on the board, to look where everything would go, and made notes about the positions.

Step 8: Painting

Picture of Painting

After the preparations, it was time to spray ! I first sprayed a layer of gold on it, except for the top where I directly sprayed it black. After I sprayed a second layer, I would then use the laquer. For the part in gold, I used a glossy one, on the black part I sprayed a matt laquer on it. Then I put the pattern on it, and sprayed everything black. After another layer of matt laquer when it all was dry again, I simply took the foil away - voilà ! I was pretty happy with the outcome !

Step 9: Assembly

Picture of Assembly

Almost done ! I mounted all the parts onto the board. Because I was not working exact enough when drilling the holes, I had to use the electric screw driver to get the screws in ! Luckily, I didn't damage any of my previous work ! Now the screws fit tightly, I will glue the screw threads with epoxy so it becomes bomb-proof and won't fall apart when I'm on the mountain.

Step 10: Result

Picture of Result

I'm very happy with the outcome. To be honest, sometimes I wanted to throw the board into the garbage and end the project, because it didn't work as good as I was hoping. This was however my own fault, I should have taken some more time in some of the steps. Luckily, I was able to motivate myself again and finish it ! I hope to write a test review here soon, as I was not outside with it yet.

My improvements for next time (if there will be one):
- Work more concentrated and slowly
- Measure twice before drilling/sawing

The positive points were:
- My creativity when issues arose
- The first time using Epoxy and Fiberglastape successfully
- It worked, after all !

I hope this helps anyone thinking about converting their old board !

Thanks for reading !


Michielv10 (author)2016-02-01

Hi Arzed1!

What a nice article. It looks very informative! But I had a few questions about some translations or extra product information:

1. About the words: epoxy, fiberglasstape, hardener

2. what is the right consistancy? Would you describe it more as thick or thin?

3. At step 5 you show some pictures of how you'd sunk the holes but did you fill the holes with epoxy again? Or maybe could you send me some pictures of the bottom of your board?

I'd like to build one myself (if I've got money) and yours looks pretty awesome!


Arzed1 (author)Michielv102016-02-02

Hello Michielv10 !

Glad that you like it ! I'll try my best to help you:

1. Epoxy is a two-component resin glue (hope that makes any sense), so basically it's a glue that only starts to react once the two components are mixed (in this case, epoxy and hardener together = superstrong glue). Fiberglass is a kind of fabric made of plastic (more specifically glass fibers, which the name sort of gives away). Together with epoxy, it is a strong lightweight material. In this case tough, because the edges are quite static, I think you could also use carbon fibre, tough I have not used it myself yet.

2. The epoxy consistency is rather thin, something between water and white glue I guess... I reckon it depends on the brand you are using, but you can always make it thicker with microballoons or with saw dust ! That's actually what I did in this instructable.

3. Yes exactly, I filled the holes with epoxy after I sunk the parts into the holes, sorry for not mentioning that !

If you need any other information, just drop me a message again :-)

Regards !

SPORTcoupe (author)2014-12-26

Great writeup! Seems like quite a bit of work, but the outcome looks awesome.

I might just give this a try one day when it's time to teach my kiddo, and I don't want to buy a pair of skis.

Arzed1 (author)SPORTcoupe2015-01-05

Thanks ! It sure is a lot of work, but I think it pays off: you don't need to throw away an old board, but you can upcycle it into something new/better !

Groundshine made it! (author)2014-12-26

Helpful instructable. I like your use of the wooden straight-edge guide or "pile" as you call it. I had some trouble getting good stability clamping it to the board - so I just sawed free-hand on a table jig saw. Turned out ok - I wasn't too worried about the cut edges as they are only going to see very slow action going up hill! I ended up having to attach the binding plates with tee-nuts through the board. You really only have one chance to get your binding angles right - so make sure you are certain about the location.

Arzed1 (author)Groundshine2015-01-05

Wow looks wonderfull ! It was all a bit "trial and error" for me as well, glad that you thought my struggles were helpful to you !

darrenhall (author)2014-09-16

This is a wonderful instructable - all the way through and at every step you have been honest about the good parts and any mistakes, really liked your attitude, by putting in pitfalls you are setting other folks up to take care and time.

You carried on to the end of the project - and did a bloomin great job too of the finish.

Loved this build and it it now my new fave.

Arzed1 (author)darrenhall2014-09-22

Thanks for the kind words ! I have to admit, it sometimes was a real struggle, so I thought when I share the experiences I made, others will have a better time building their own !

DaddysGal22 (author)2014-01-14

That is cool!!!

Arzed1 (author)DaddysGal222014-01-19

Thanks !

r_harris2 (author)2014-01-10

It looks like you not only did a good job on the splitting, but on making an old board new again, congratulations!

If you get a chance, could you add a couple of pictures showing how the board looks "Split" with the boots mounted for going uphill, and another with the board together, with the boot mounted for boarding downhill? I found a few pictures online, but I think it would be a nice addition to this instructable to show the two "Modes" of use.

I hope they work well for you. You did a great job and a great instructable!

Arzed1 (author)r_harris22014-01-11

Thanks a lot for the kind words. Here are the pictures, I'll put them into the Instructable together with instructions when I update it next time !

r_harris2 (author)Arzed12014-01-13

Thank you for the pictures. Seeing the close up of the bindings in "Ski" position helps me understand how you can use them for going uphill.

MissMaryMae (author)2014-01-11

Nice job! You definitely put a lot of work in and it paid off. Love the design you painted on it. And you couldn't tell at all that English isn't your main language! :)

Arzed1 (author)MissMaryMae2014-01-12

Thank you very much ! I put in a lot of effort, both in my board and my english !

wscouten (author)2014-01-11

Very cool. Good job

Arzed1 (author)wscouten2014-01-12

Thanks !

tlee45 (author)2014-01-10

Also you can save $900. split boards are too expensive

Arzed1 (author)tlee452014-01-11

Yes, indeed !

anguspodgorney (author)2014-01-09

Your English is great and so was the instructable!

Arzed1 (author)anguspodgorney2014-01-09

Thank you very much, I work hard on it to improve it and make myself clear ! Glad you liked the instructable !

Arzed1 (author)2013-12-05

Hi Audrey

Thank you very much !

Yes, I will change the picture to the final result.

ironsmiter (author)2013-12-05

That is AWESOME!

I know it is not intended to be used that way, but when split into a pair of "skis", Can you do actual downhill skiing? It looks like they would work really well for cross country, but I do not know how much handling ability you would lose by having the one flat edge.

Also, Let us know how well it stays together? The latching system seems... weak. But combined with the boot bindings, is probably pretty strong for normal use. My main worry would be that the first time I landed wrong after a jump, I would end up with a broken board.

Arzed1 (author)ironsmiter2013-12-05

Hi Ironsmiter

Thank you !

I don't know that much about skiing, but maybe you could use it as sort of Telemark Skis (free heel skiing)... The heel lifts when walking, just like with cross-country skis. I will ask my brother if he thinks that will work !

Now, I only were able to test it "dry" on the floor, but so far it held together well ! As you said, the boot rail holds it down. Also, the latching at the tip and the tail hold it together very tight. However, these latches in the middle of the board (they look like an L) don't hold together, I think I could have even left them out. The only thing they might be usefull for is so the board doesn't go "sideways", if you understand what I mean.

Yes, that is my main worry too ! So I'll propably try to stick to the powder first before going after the big jumps with it. But I'll write a review when I've tested it.

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