How to Make Dog Sleds

How to Make Dog Sleds
The Inuit used Komatik dog sleds to haul goods long distances and to take hunting trips across the frozen barren lands. After hitching the dog team to the sled, the musher lies down face forward on the sled and rides along. According to the Explorersweb, these sleds were even used recently on the 2009 Peary Centennial Expedition to the North Pole. Making a Komatik dog sled is moderately difficult and can be completed in a day.

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • 1"x6" rough cut spruce boards Saw Batten Drill 1"x2" ash boards 14 to 20 inches wide Sandpaper Linseed oil Artificial sinew Stainless steel screws Plastic dog sled runners
  • 1"x6" rough cut spruce boards
  • Saw
  • Batten
  • Drill
  • 1"x2" ash boards 14 to 20 inches wide
  • Sandpaper
  • Linseed oil
  • Artificial sinew
  • Stainless steel screws
  • Plastic dog sled runners
Step 1
Cut two runners from 1"x6" rough cut spruce boards. The runners curve up both in the front and the back of the sled. To make the curves, start on the bottom of the runner about a foot back from the end and draw an eye-pleasing curve that ends an inch down from the top of the board. Make sure the curves are the same both front and back.
Step 2
On the top of each runner, cut a smooth curve that drops one inch to the center of the sled. Use a long flexible batten to ensure fair curve. This step can be skipped, but the curve adds grace to the appearance of the sled.
Step 3
Clamp the runners together and drill 3/8-inch holes one and a half inches down from the top of the runners every three inches. Start the first hole nine inches from the front of the runner and end the last hole about nine inches from the back of the runner.
Step 4
Determine the width of your sled. They can be anywhere from 14 inches to 20 inches wide. Cut a number of 1"x2" ash boards equal to the number of holes you drilled.
Step 5
Sand everything. Round the edges of the ash boards, so gear won't snag on the edges. You can also coat the wood in linseed oil to help preserve the wood.
Step 6
Lash the ash boards to the runners. The ash boards carry your gear and these are lashed perpendicular to the sled's runners. Center an ash board over a hole on each runner, letting the ash board overhang the runner by one inch on each side, and then start the lashing. The lashing pattern runs from the outside through the hole over the ash board on the inside, back through the hole, over the ash board on the outside, back through the hole. The process is continued a second time over the ash board on the inside, back out the hole and then onward to the next hole. Continue for all the holes and tie it off at the end.
Step 7
Screw the plastic dog sled runners onto the bottom of the sled runners and attach a rope for your dog team's harnesses.

Article Written By Bryan Hansel

Bryan Hansel is a freelance photographer and kayaking guide who began writing in 1993. His outdoors articles appear on various websites. Hansel holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and religion from the University of Iowa.

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