Skevik Skis is on a continual push to bring unique offerings into the marketplace for our current and prospective customers. Ski graphics are easily noticeable and we’re certainly excited that ours have succeeded in making a statement. However, there are other aspects of our handmade skis that set us apart, and a good place to look is the sidewalls. All of our skis’ sidewalls expose the natural beauty of our vertically laminated, maple wood cores. Maple’s hardy properties make it an excellent choice for a solid core and those characteristics translate into durable, lightweight sidewalls with exceptional edge-to-edge support and energy transfer. Most manufacturers opt for a heavier, plastic sidewall, making the assumption that the vast majority of consumers are not interested in any annual maintenance of their gear. They may be right on that account, but we have had great success with our maple sidewalls and know that there are many dedicated skiers out there who are willing to invest a small amount of time and effort in order to reap the benefits of lighter, stronger skis. Not to mention a whole lot prettier.
In the beginning, we tested a couple of epoxies to coat and protect the wood sidewalls, but wood or plastic, you’re bound to nick and scuff them. We also found epoxy more difficult to apply and more work to retouch, requiring a lot of sanding to regain the natural look. So we tested some untreated maple sidewalls and after finding no negative effects, have continued on in that direction. After some more experiments, we have concluded that our current “best practice” involves treating our sidewalls with a linseed oil. More accurately, it’s a 50/50 mix of double-boiled linseed oil and mineral spirits, which can both be found at the majority of local hardware stores. The double-boiled linseed oil allows for a quicker drying time and the mineral spirits acts as a thinning agent to soak further into the wood sidewall. Similar mixtures have been widely used with wooden surfboards. Not only does it provide some extra protection, but it also brings out the grains within the wood. Linseed oil is easy to reapply, doesn’t require sanding like epoxy, and it’s more kind on the environment. Our recommended maintenance is pretty minimal, suggesting just one touch up on the sidewalls per season, although additional applications certainly won't cause any harm. We’ve found that the best time to do this is when you wax your skis, as it will prevent oil from getting on your bases.