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Thread: How to make the snow slide

  1. #1

    Default How to make the snow slide

    Saw on youtube couple of guys using wire to cut the snow to make it slide. Works great on a 9/12 pitch.

  2. #2
    Member AKDoug's Avatar
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    Yep, we have folks around here doing it with rope. Waste of time, though, if your pitch isn't over a 7/12.

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    Sounds interesting. You got a link for that?
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    Member AKDoug's Avatar
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    The way the local guys are doing it is to climb up and shovel the ridge line. Lay out a suitable length of rope so it reaches to the ground on both gable ends. Each guy grabs their end of the rope and "saws" the rope back and forth from the ridge down to the eave.

    Anyhow, my roof shed while I was at work today. I made that first post from work...lo and behold mine let go today and almost took out a window. The snow is SUPER dense and it came down in a block and it rotated and fell against the house. Luckily the window didn't break and the boy shoveled it away a few minutes ago.
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    I see we still have some Christmas decorations to take down Funny how you ignore such things.

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    Too funny... wait a minute, My own tree is still up. Happy Christmas in April!!!
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    Member logman 49's Avatar
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    Buddy of mine had snow slide off his roof this weekend, blew out the bedroom window, glass all over the bed. Cleaned it up, went out side to get something to cover up the window shut the door and the rest of the snow slid off, came in the window covering the bed with a couple feet of snow.

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    Dang! I didn't think about the snow staying in a big chunk. Our cabin roof (metal) hasn't slid yet this year. I hope it doesn't take out a window when it does.

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    Member dkwarthog's Avatar
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    If you have a 7/12 or steeper and a metal roof, I dont think you'll need to worry about making it slide

    Everytime we get one of these 36 degree chinooks after alot of snow has accumulated, we get a snow load induce earthquake that shakes the house....

    Anyone have a method to make snow slide off of a 2/12 metal building roof? (Other than one shovel full at a time ) Didnt think so, guess I have my weekend planned already....Man there is a ton of snow this year!!!

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    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    Here's a method used quite successfully on any roof pitch...

    You'll need to build a snow cutter out of aluminum sheet (1/8" works great). A bottom blade that will slide over the surface of the roof should be about 18-24 inches wide. You don't want it any wider than 2 feet as you won't be able to push it through that much snow.

    Cut out a rectangle that is about 6-8 inches deep and then add a triangular point to the front. Thus, draw a rectangle 8" by 24" on your aluminum sheet, find the center of the top edge (12" from the top corners) and project a point about 4-6 inches over that. Connect that point back to the top 2 corners and you have a triangle over a rectangle. Cut it out, and you can even hit the top edge (the 2 sides of the triangle) with a grinder to give it a bit of a cutting edge, but don't get carried away.

    Now you need two verticle cutting blades. We used a couple strips of aluminum sheet that were about 4" wide and about 18" long (the length should be deeper than the snow you need to cut). Weld one of these sticking straight up on each side of the rectangle thingie you cut out above. This gives you a giant "U" shaped cutting blade that you're going to push up the roof, cutting out a linear section of snow as it goes.

    To push it up the roof, you need a couple sections of pipe. Two 21-foot sticks of 1-1/2" aluminum Schedule 40 work just fine for most. You'll want to make a slip fitting to connect them together into one long stick during use. You'll need enough length to reach the ridge line of your roof from the ground at the eaves. The pipe should be welded (or a section of pipe that this pipe will mount to via pin or bolt) to the center of the aforementioned blade. The pipe runs from the center back of the rectangular part up to the point of the triangle. If you weld it on the bottom, that means the pipe rides against the roof and the blade hovers that far off the surface, which is a good thing. Cap off the front of the pipe to keep it from filling with snow.

    Now, here's the ingenious trick to making this work... Cut another strip of sheet aluminum about 2-inches wide with a length that fits between the upright blades at the back edge of the bottom blade. Clamp it to the blade and drill it at the ends and at a couple places between from some mounting screws. This is going to allow you to clamp a piece of plastic sheet to the back of the blade.

    Get some heavy visqueen plastic or even some new blue tarp that is going to be quite slippery for the snow. The strip of plastic needs to be the width of the bottom blade and as long as your roofline from ridge to eave. Place the end of this plastic on the blade and use the aluminum strip to hold it in place. Insert a few bolts/nuts to hold that together.

    You now have a big U cutting blade on the end of a long stick with a plastic sheet trailing off the blade and running back the same as the handle. Put on your snowsuit. I recommend you don your snowmachine helmet with full face shield! Start at one end of your roof and push the cutting blade up the roof from the eave toward the ridgeline. One verticle blade should be outside the snow while the one on the other side is cutting, as is the bottom blade. As the snow breaks off in cut blocks when it hits the slippery plastic sheet, it will come sliding off the roof like a greased up kid on a Slip-N-Slide. This is where the face shield can be handy, especially as you get closer to the ridge as it can be hard to get out of the line of fire and you'll tend to catch snow in the face and chest as it comes off the roof. Continually shake the contraption as you're pushing it up the roof so the snow is breaking free in smaller pieces as you go.

    A simple thing that works amazingly well. If it weren't for the high velocity run out at the end (and lawyers), I'm sure this would be a commercially available device. As it is, you must use at your own risk, but you never have to get on the roof, it works on fairly low pitches, and the whole thing can be built with stuff that many do-it-yourselfers already have lying around the yard.

    (if there's any interest, I can try to sketch up a drawing of this thing and post it)
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    Member logman 49's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JOAT View Post
    Here's a method used quite successfully on any roof pitch...

    You'll need to build a snow cutter out of aluminum sheet (1/8" works great). A bottom blade that will slide over the surface of the roof should be about 18-24 inches wide. You don't want it any wider than 2 feet as you won't be able to push it through that much snow.

    Cut out a rectangle that is about 6-8 inches deep and then add a triangular point to the front. Thus, draw a rectangle 8" by 24" on your aluminum sheet, find the center of the top edge (12" from the top corners) and project a point about 4-6 inches over that. Connect that point back to the top 2 corners and you have a triangle over a rectangle. Cut it out, and you can even hit the top edge (the 2 sides of the triangle) with a grinder to give it a bit of a cutting edge, but don't get carried away.

    Now you need two verticle cutting blades. We used a couple strips of aluminum sheet that were about 4" wide and about 18" long (the length should be deeper than the snow you need to cut). Weld one of these sticking straight up on each side of the rectangle thingie you cut out above. This gives you a giant "U" shaped cutting blade that you're going to push up the roof, cutting out a linear section of snow as it goes.

    To push it up the roof, you need a couple sections of pipe. Two 21-foot sticks of 1-1/2" aluminum Schedule 40 work just fine for most. You'll want to make a slip fitting to connect them together into one long stick during use. You'll need enough length to reach the ridge line of your roof from the ground at the eaves. The pipe should be welded (or a section of pipe that this pipe will mount to via pin or bolt) to the center of the aforementioned blade. The pipe runs from the center back of the rectangular part up to the point of the triangle. If you weld it on the bottom, that means the pipe rides against the roof and the blade hovers that far off the surface, which is a good thing. Cap off the front of the pipe to keep it from filling with snow.

    Now, here's the ingenious trick to making this work... Cut another strip of sheet aluminum about 2-inches wide with a length that fits between the upright blades at the back edge of the bottom blade. Clamp it to the blade and drill it at the ends and at a couple places between from some mounting screws. This is going to allow you to clamp a piece of plastic sheet to the back of the blade.

    Get some heavy visqueen plastic or even some new blue tarp that is going to be quite slippery for the snow. The strip of plastic needs to be the width of the bottom blade and as long as your roofline from ridge to eave. Place the end of this plastic on the blade and use the aluminum strip to hold it in place. Insert a few bolts/nuts to hold that together.

    You now have a big U cutting blade on the end of a long stick with a plastic sheet trailing off the blade and running back the same as the handle. Put on your snowsuit. I recommend you don your snowmachine helmet with full face shield! Start at one end of your roof and push the cutting blade up the roof from the eave toward the ridgeline. One verticle blade should be outside the snow while the one on the other side is cutting, as is the bottom blade. As the snow breaks off in cut blocks when it hits the slippery plastic sheet, it will come sliding off the roof like a greased up kid on a Slip-N-Slide. This is where the face shield can be handy, especially as you get closer to the ridge as it can be hard to get out of the line of fire and you'll tend to catch snow in the face and chest as it comes off the roof. Continually shake the contraption as you're pushing it up the roof so the snow is breaking free in smaller pieces as you go.

    A simple thing that works amazingly well. If it weren't for the high velocity run out at the end (and lawyers), I'm sure this would be a commercially available device. As it is, you must use at your own risk, but you never have to get on the roof, it works on fairly low pitches, and the whole thing can be built with stuff that many do-it-yourselfers already have lying around the yard.

    (if there's any interest, I can try to sketch up a drawing of this thing and post it)

    I understand how this works but am having trouble envisioning the tool itself. It sounds like something I could use as I'm not real fond of being on the roof. A picture or drawing would be great if you have the time.

  12. #12
    Member dkwarthog's Avatar
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    I too would like to see a sketch as I had trouble envisioning it.

    I would be hesitant to stand below my eaves with teat high blocks of snow/ice falling 14' off the roof and landing near me....OOOOFTA!!!

    I could see how this would be a good system to use frequently to keep the snow from building up so deep.

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    Member sayak's Avatar
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    On the Forest Service recreational cabins in the North Tongass Ntl. Forest during the 70s, my dad would roll heavy-duty visqueen over the roof and lathe it down on the fly rafters and soffits. No worry about snow for the winter. He would take it down in spring before folks started using the cabins in earnest.

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    Member dkwarthog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sayak View Post
    On the Forest Service recreational cabins in the North Tongass Ntl. Forest during the 70s, my dad would roll heavy-duty visqueen over the roof and lathe it down on the fly rafters and soffits. No worry about snow for the winter. He would take it down in spring before folks started using the cabins in earnest.
    I once thought it would be a good idea to clear the snow from a 8/12 roof that had a blue tarp on it by climbing a tree and jumping onto the ridge with a shovel in hand. You would not believe how fast you can get going with a 20' slide off a blue tarp when the whole slab lets loose at one time...I landed buried to my shoulders in snow without a scratch.

    Ahh, to be young and invincible again, lol.

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    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    Here's a couple quick-n-dirty sketches. Hopefully this will help explain the concept...


    RoofSnowBlade1.jpgRoofSnowBlade2.jpg
    Winter is Coming...

    Go GeocacheAlaska!

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    Member AKDoug's Avatar
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    I might start stocking these things. Whips a snow-rake's ass


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    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKDoug View Post
    I might start stocking these things. Whips a snow-rake's ass
    This is almost exactly the device I was describing, just with a different handle placement.

    LMAO at the "patented" blade thingie noted in the video. We were building the same device as I attached the sketches for at least 15 years ago. The only difference is this guy has mounted the handle on the top rather than the bottom, which is a perfectly good idea, it's just not a "patent" worthy issue.

    I also noticed that another video that came up after that one shows a nearly identical bottom handle version of what we were building (his just has one vertical blade, so he can only work from right to left). Always funny to see how the same tools get "invented" by multiple people in multiple places who have no contact or influence with each other.
    Winter is Coming...

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    Member AKDoug's Avatar
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    I can't believe it has taken us so long to figure this out in my local area. I am building one today because I have a perfect project for it.

    Back in 89-90 all of our shoveling was done with aluminum grain scoops and we had a ton of snow. Some kid showed up in town with with one of those giant push from behind scoops and changed the way we did things. I sell a ton of those now.

  19. #19
    Member dkwarthog's Avatar
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    Those big push scoops were originally known as "Yooper Scoopers" as I believe they were developed in the UP of Michigan. I grew up using them from about the early 80's.

    I noticed an imminent failure in my woodshed roof last night and grudginly climbed up and was a shovelin' til almost midnight. I am skeptical that cutter/slide device would have worked in that situation without killing your arms/shoulders. THere was about 60" of snow, much of which was really crusted and firmly attached.

    That device looks like the cats arse if a guy keeps up on it throughout the winter...I belive I will experiment this weekend a little out in the shop.

    Thanks Joat and Doug for the posts. Always learnin'.....

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    I think that setup like Joat's would be easy (I'll let you know after this weekend), just don't do the whole layer at one time. I'd rather kill my arms and shoulders than my back Several of us cleared off the covered shooting benches at the rifle range on Saturday. The "yooper scoopers" were virtually worthless due to the density of the snow. In this case is was far easier to use a grain scoop and chop blocks. Would have loved to try one of those Joat deals on it.

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