Voile Split Decision Review - The Build

Living in the Alps last winter, staring up at all the unridden lines that clutter Austria’s Salzburgerland, the idea of building a splitboard during the summer seemed like a great way to occupy myself during the snowless months. After a bit of research I’d decided that the Voile Split Decision kit was the best way to go with an outlay of $160 for the kit and $170 for the Voile Tractor skins. Around mid-May I was contacted by a fellow Brit named Dave who offered to sell me an Option 174 Freeplus for £50 (~$80). Dave had been on the site and seen from the forums that I was after a longer board for touring. Sure it’s a good ten years old now but it was in perfect condition. In June when I was back in the UK visiting my folks, my Dad and I set to work building the split, turning Dave’s unwanted gun into a fresh-line seeking powder missile.

Dad and I hard at work on the Split. Notice how the tip clip rivets are the wrong way up... doh!

Voile Split Decision build review video

Most of the points about the build I cover in the video above, but there are a couple of additional points that you should consider before you decide that you want to build your own split:

1) Building a split is still an expensive business. My board only cost $80 but I’d still spent in excess of $500 by the time I had paid for the kit, skins and various sundries. If you have to buy any power tools as well, you might as well look at a board that is built split.

2) You don’t have to be a carpenter or engineer to build the split. The instructions are easy to follow (in most instances) and the skills you need are only very basic.

3) Building the split would have been a lot harder if I had not had a garage and a good solid work bench.

4) You will need a minimum of 7 days to build your splitboard because of all the curing of glues and setting of varnish.

5) If you build a split it will have no inside edge (unless you have the skills to insert one) so there is no way that your homemade can match the durability of a manufactured split.

6) You can’t split Burton boards because of the 3D insert pattern and the channel.

7) I live three hours from the Alps, it is the start of February and I still haven’t had a chance to ride my splitboard… this is a very niche shred which unless you live with the mountains on your doorstep or have a crew of like-minded people who you ride with regularly, you won’t have a lot of opportunity to ride it.

I’ve also made a lot of mistakes and learnt a few hard lessons building the split so if you’re planning to make your first, bear these dos and don’ts in mind when you’re saw-in-hand ready to start the build.

• Do buy a circular saw blade with 40 or more teeth. Any less and you are going to get a very rough cut and might even splinter the glass.

• Do make sure that the tip-clip rivets are the right way up which is the large flat head on the topsheet side. Removing the rivets takes hours and in most cases they can’t be re-used!

• Do use masking tape to cover the base when varnishing the inside edge… if the varnish comes in contact with the PTex it will not set.

• Do spend time finding the most suitable hard wearing varnish/Varathane possible. I used standard outdoor furniture varnish and it’s worn away at certain points along the inside edge with zero miles touring under its belt.

• Don’t go too crazy when choosing a board. In hindsight 174 is just too large because when you are touring, 1kg on your foot is the equivalent to 5kg on your back. I’m essentially carrying at 15kg extra on my back because I wanted to go supersize!

• Do buy imperial drill bits if you can find them (eBay is a good source), this will save you a lot of sanding.

• Don’t tighten the T-Bolts down if they are pinching on the base. To tighten them will cause the base to be pulled down and you will be filling and sanding for a lot longer than is necessary.

• Do check that the guide on your circular saw and the jig you have set up to guide the saw along a straight line is secure!

• Don’t split a new snowboard, you will make mistakes on your first try.

• Do use forums to seek advice, splitboard.com is a great resource.

• Do wear a dust mask and gloves when cutting and sanding the glass, it’s a horrible material that will stick in your throat and your hands and really irritate them.

Next week Dan and I are heading to Montafon in Austria’s Arlberg region to test the splitboard on a freeride touring weekend. We’ll be riding all types of terrain and doing short to medium length hikes to take us a little beyond lift accessible terrain. Check back in a couple of weeks if you’re interested to see how I got on.

Posted by Rich Ewbank in Features.

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