How to Make a Dog Sled

How to Make a Dog Sled
Building your own dog sled is a challenging but rewarding task. Customization of your own sled allows you to get exactly how much sled you want or need, in the size and shape just right for your own body and planned use of the sled. A fairly advanced knowledge of woodworking is recommended for such a project, but beginners can complete a sled by closely following the directions. Steam bending is required on several pieces, and you will have to custom build the frames for bending pieces to your specifications. The reference at the end of the article provides additional details including suggested measurements and pictures of each step.


Difficulty: Moderately Challenging

Things You’ll Need:
  • Band saw
  • Portable planer
  • Power planer
  • Belt sander
  • Drill press
  • Narrow point chisel
  • Sand paper
  • Steam bender
  • Clamps
  • Weatherproof glue
  • Footpads
  • QCR rails
  • Brake claw
  • Wood (ash is recommended)
Step 1
Cut and bend the runners and false runners. Runners are 93 inches with the forward 27 inches being bent upward. Cut band saw slits in the forward portion for easier bending, steam and bed the wood, and clamp in place. After drying for two days, fill the slits with glue, steam and clamp again. After another drying period, remove excess glue with the belt sander. False runners are identical, and are attached to the top of the runners to provide a mounting point for the frame.
Step 2
Construct the frame. The driving handle and side rails will have to be bent, clamped and dried. The rear and front stanchions, back brace, as well as the cross beams are straight and require no steaming. Holes are cut into the false runners for mounting the stanchions and the driving handle. It's a a good idea once the pieces are cut and formed to mount them all onto the runners and tie them together to be sure of sizing and fit before final assembly with glue and/or finishing nails.
Step 3
Construct the bed. The bed is formed of side slats, inside slats, front slat cross pieces and a wedge. All of these are straight pieces and require no bending. The bed rests on and is tied to the cross pieces of the frame, and the wedge is bolted to the runners.
Step 4
Assemble the brush bow. The brush bow is made of four 96-inch strips which are glued and steam-bent into shape. Once again a two-day drying period is recommended. The completed brush bow is bolted to the front stanchions.
Step 5
Add the brake board. This board is hinged to the front cross piece so the driver can step on it and push it down into the snow. The rear of the board has a metal claw which digs into the snow to stop the sled.
Step 6
Finalize the assembly. Footpads and QCR rails are commercially available and are added at the end of construction. Finally, all the pieces are bolted and tied together more securely to complete your finished sled.

Article Written By Christopher Williams

Christopher Williams has spent over 11 years working in the information technology, health care and outdoor recreation fields. He has over seven years of technical and educational writing experience, and has brought strong skills and passion to the Demand Studios team in articles for eHow and Trails in 2009.

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