A few weeks ago I bought a new pair of skis (Kastle M83s) and bindings (22Designs Axls). The only thing I needed to be ready to go for ski season was a set of leashes to keep my skis attached if the boot ever disconnects. I’ve only had it happen once, but ski areas require them.
Usually I pay $15-$20 to buy leashes made by Black Diamond or G3. The Black Diamond leashes look nice, but I seem to break 1 or 2 of them every season. The G3 leashes don’t break as often, but they’re more expensive.
Yesterday while at Lowe’s we happened to walk through the aisle with steel cable and various clasps, and I realized they had everything I’d need to make my own leashes, so I gave it a try.
I bought the following:
- Two Stainless steel swivel clasps, $2.21 x 2
- 5 feet of 1/16″ steel cable, $0.26 per foot x 5
- 4 sets of aluminum ferrules for 1/16″ steel cable, $1.24 x 4
I bought a few more feet of cable than I expected to use, because it was cheep ($0.30 a foot), and I wanted extra in case I screwed up. Same with the ferrules.
Here’s everything sitting on the counter top:
The actual construction is super easy and took about 5-10 minutes for each leash.
- Clip about 14 inches of cable. This depends on how long you want the leashes, but for me 14 inches seemed a nice compromise between ease of use and getting in the way.
- Next I used an aluminum ferrule to create a large loop on one end of the cable. This loop needs to be at least large enough to fit a swivel clasp through.
- Make sure to clamp the ferrule with as much pressure as possible, because I actually had the cable rip out of one while testing it, and it’s almost impossible to fix once it’s clamped.
- Next, I used another aluminum ferrule to create a small loop through the non-opening part of a clasp.
- Again, make sure the ferrule is clamped well.
- Next, repeat steps 1-5 for the second leash.
Here’s the end result:
After finishing the second leash, I went out to the storage closet and tested them out. They fit perfectly on my skis/boots/bindings, and were easy to use with gloves on.
Then I hooked them up and tried pulling on them to make sure everything was secure. I was pulling harder than I expect they’d get pulled in real life use, but it was hard enough to rip the cable out of one of the ferrules.
I spent about 15 minutes trying to expand the ferrule and reinsert the cable, but the cable started fraying, and I realized it was easier to just use the spare parts I bought and make a new one. Then I went through and retightened everything.
The second testing session went better than the first, and nothing broke.
I don’t know how they’ll hold up to a season of skiing, but at $4 each, it doesn’t matter too much. If they start fraying or break I’ll just make more.