Wooden sleds are a winter classic. Modern plastic sleds offer some advantages, but a wooden sled is something to be treasured for generations. Wooden sleds can be made to fit any rider or number of riders. Elderly folks often tell stories of loading up 10 to 12 people on a sled and racing down the country hillsides. Another benefit to making a wooden sled is that the sled can be personalised. A basic understanding of building a wood sled will get you started on a sled-making adventure.
Use a pencil to draw a gradually rounded curve on the bottom side one of each1x12x36-inch pine board. This will be the front. On the opposite end, draw a rounded corner. This will be the back. Cut along the pencil lines on each board with the band saw. These two parts will form the sled runners.
Use 120-grit sandpaper to sand the edges of the runners. Route the edges with a router and round-over bit. Lightly re-sand the edges to ensure that the edges of the runners are smooth. Measure two inches from the front end of the runners. Mark that spot with a pencil. Screw one eye hook into the spot with the pencil mark on each runner until the bottom of the eye touches the surface of the wood.
Use the router with round-over bit to route the edges of the remaining pieces of wood. Sand the edges of these pieces of wood with 120-grit sandpaper. Apply your choice of exterior grade wood finish to all of the sled parts. Once they are dry, continue with sled assembly.
Lay out the runners up-side-down and parallel to each other. Measure and mark 12 inches in from each end of the runners. Place the two 1x6x18-inch pine boards perpendicular to the runners, one at each 12-inch mark on either end of the sled. These will be the supports for the sled. Use a screwdriver to screw the two-inch stainless steel screws from the outside of the runners into the ends of the supports. Two screws per support is sufficient. Flip the sled over so that is it right-side-up.
Lay out the three 1x6x24-inch pine boards so that they lay flat across the sled supports. These boards will be parallel to the sled runners and will form the seat. Space the seat boards evenly between the runners. Use a screwdriver to fasten the boards to the seat supports with two-inch stainless steel wood screws. Two screws evenly spaced per support is sufficient.
Loop one end of the 48-inch section of rope through each of the eye-hooks. Tie a knot on each end so that the rope is securely tied to the eye-hooks. This will be the tow rope for the sled.
Use paraffin wax to rub along the bottom of the runners. The wax will help the sled glide through the snow.
Experiment with the curve for the runner to improve sled performance.
Wear safety glasses when woodworking. Follow wood finish safety precautions. Follow tool safety instructions.
Things you need
- 2 1x12x36-inch pine boards
- 2 1x6x18-inch pine boards
- 3 1x6x24-inch pine boards
- Band saw
- 120-grit sandpaper
- Router with round-over bit
- 2 eye hooks
- Tape measure
- Exterior grade wood finish of choice
- Box of 2-inch stainless steel wood screws
- 48-inch section of rope
- Paraffin wax