First off, Happy Mother’s Day to all the special ladies who have birthed, raised and put up with us. My mom died nearly 10 years ago, but there isn’t a day I don’t appreciate all she did for me. Thank your mother today.
Next, it’s freaking snowing in Essex this morning! Not sticking, but certainly the latest for snow flurries I can remember. It puts a damper on cutting the grass today. Shucks, guess I’ll have to watch the Spanish Formula One race.
Now down to business.
Dave & I had a really busy week in the DODGE carbon fiber Ski Boot business. This week was all about assembling the new “W” flex boots. What’s a “W” flex? Glad you asked. You see, when one of our racers asked for a stiffer boot to provide a more predictable flex, we built him one. It worked really well, so when it came time to find just the right flex, we used his boots as our guide. It’s too unwieldy to call it the “Warner Nickerson flex” so I just shorten it to “W”. (Have a great time on the boat in Bora Bora Warner!)
We also have spent time finishing up new tooling for a smaller size, making some fixtures for boot assembly and a little re-arranging of the shop to make the work flow better.
Got our new liner sample in this week and it looks great. The basic style and construction is similar to popular lace-up race liners, but ours is made to optimize the performance of the DODGE Ski Boot. Most evident is a stretch panel on the back of the boot to allow your heel to move back into the heel canal on the DODGE shell, making it easy to put the boot on. We’ve also made a reinforced cuff on the liner and the tongue to provide even pressure distribution. While we made accommodations for lacing, with lace loops, the liner works best if left in the boot, so we’re not going to include laces. The fastening system on the tongue makes it easy to add a foam pad on top of the toe area for those who insist on clamping down on their toes. And, keeping with the DODGE style, it’s in basic black and silver. It’ll be nice to put it in my boots for summer tests.
We did some boots for a high level racer this week whose feet require some really drastic boot mods. A lot of people ask about punching carbon fiber boots. It’s not easy. Unlike a rubber plug boot that has so much elasticity it can be stretched to New York and back, carbon fiber is not stretchy. Without the proper tools and training, it’s way too easy to destroy a boot in a few seconds. But, we have found a tool and developed techniques allowing for really deep punches to satisfy all but the funkiest of feet. The boots we did this week needed adjustment in the navicular, styloid process, the heel, the ankle and little toe. I was able to get punches in done in all those areas. But, because it is so tricky, it’s one reason our boots aren’t available everywhere.
I’ll try to update sooner. Next weekend is John’s graduation from St. Lawrence University. Congrats to him, also to cousin Stevie’s daughter Jessica who’s graduating from Belmont College next week.