Oh the splitboard… an answer for all those years of slogging up snow covered hillsides in clunky snowshoes with a 5′ board strapped to your back, I liken the invention to a miraculous gift from heaven (or Ullr if you’re into that sort of thing).
Owning a splitboard has been a dream of mine since probably 2001 where I got my first taste of backcountry snowboarding in the Mammoth Lakes, CA area. Joining the military and being stationed in Mississippi didn’t help my cause and it isn’t until now, living in Colorado, that the dream finally looks to become reality.
This is less of a step by step DIY and more of a documentation of this momentous occasion. There are some awesome How-To videos on the Voile site and YouTube that walk you through the whole thing if you are interested.
So the first (pre) step to the whole process is deciding whether or not you want to buy a factory split or go for it and split your own. The cost of splitboards is dropping drastically and you can get a sweet one for like $450-500 now. With that in mind, if you don’t like to do somewhat lengthy and moderately challenging home projects, just buy one. If you are like me, and really just get stoked at the idea of making your own splitboard for the fun of it then hop on the DIY train, buy a kit and let’s get started.
Step 1 is getting a board that will be good to split. Check out splitboard.com forums for a bunch of other folks boards that they have split and like (or dislike) to get an idea. When I was asking about mine, the best piece of info I got was “If you don’t like it before splitting it, you’ll hate it after.” For me, I had a great board in mind. I have had this Burton Custom 169 for about 10 years that was mostly just sitting there since I have upgraded and it became kinda obsolete.
The board - pre-split
Once you have a good board to split, you have to get the kit. The most popular of which is the Voile Split Decision (Saw your old board) kit. Make sure you get this one and not the universal split kit since that is for an already split board.
Love how it's called the "Saw your old board" kit
Lots of stuff in there.
Once you have the board and the kit, it’s time to get down to business. Next, take some blue painters tape and run it down the middle of your board where you will be cutting, on top and on bottom.
Make sure you measure almost every two inches along the length of your board and check it a zillion times. This mark is crucial. Make sure you use a very straight edge like a piece of manufactured wood or metal to ensure your line is straight, if this is jacked then there is no going back, so get it right and take your time on this step. It’s also a good idea to put your bindings on and mark out their general location/angles for future reference.
Looks good to me
Alright, now that that is done, you need to set yourself up a good work station. Something firm that you can clamp the board to so it won’t budge during the cutting. Also, make sure there is a nice little gap for where the saw blade will pass through so you don’t have to stop and move anything or cut your saw horses in half.
Nice and stable
Now you should be set up for success. Now comes the most stressful part: actually cutting your frickin board in half! If you are like me, you have a bit of an attachments to your old boards, I mean they are quiet, loyal little friends that you’ve counted on for days of fun sliding down snow covered mountains. So, say your goodbyes to your old solid board and just remember that it will all be for the best, I mean once you’re done you can use this guy to get you to stashes it would never have seen.
The most common way to cut a splitboard is with a circular saw with a carbide tipped blade attached, I have one, but I just couldn’t bring myself to use it. I have not been too successful with past circular saw projects and you really have one shot at it. I decided to go the Amish way and use a variety of hand saws to get it split. Either way, just commit and do it as smoothly and continuously as possible.
No going back now.
My burton board has the 3D inserts to cut through which made it a total pain in the ass, but I think the saw could have handled it pretty easily. Going back, I think I would have just manned up and used the skil saw with similar or better results.
1 is now 2
Now the stressful part is over, but the fun is just beginning. Now you get to drill all kinds of holes in your board!