|Project by JamWhi||posted 05-21-2012 08:01 AM||4532 views||5 times favorited||11 comments|
I’m a boy scout leader of a group of 12-14 year old young men and every year (my first year) scout troops in Western Washington participate in the Klondike Derby. A fun 2 day winter camp and competition in which the each troop builds a dog sled that, if they survive the night camping in the snow, they pull (no dogs… I think it’s an insurance thing…) through a series of events and end with a race. Anyway when we decided to participate this year I started looking at the provided dog sled plans and pictures of previous years sleds, somehow my pride wouldn’t let me/them build one out of PVC or 2×4’s so I started looking for a more traditional set of plans. Turns out not a lot of people build their own dog sleds, or the people who do don’t use computers, so I ended up drawing up my own plans from a few fuzzy pictures that I found online. Well despite the best laid plans and starting in Early Dec. for a Feb. 3rd event and after a lot of holiday events, vacations and paralyzing snow storms (anything over ¼ of an inch qualifies here) I ended up with a few compromises. Doing most of the work late as opposed to the young men doing all of the work, Oak and Maple that I could get at the local Home Depot vs. the planned Ash, glued up laminates vs. steam bending, etc. but in the end it turned out pretty well for my first, and most likely last dog sled.
Again info on building a dog sled was sparse so I don’t know how well it would hold up as a functional dog sled although it held up great to a team of young men pulling it around for 2 days.
I tried to go as traditional as I could, given that I have no idea what traditional is, so other than some stainless steel screws to hold the UHMW plastic runners in place, eye hole bolts to lash the sled to the runners and glue for the laminate bent pieces the sled is held together entirely by lashing.
I started by making jigs for the 2 runners (ski’s), handle, brush guard and 2 side rails which I then covered in painters tape and used to glue up thin (1/16”-1/8” depending on the radius of the bend) strips of oak and clamp in place with my new extensive collection of 6” bar clamps. I wasn’t sure how long I need for the glue to set given that my shop was on the cold side and my wife wouldn’t let me bring them into the kitchen so I played it on the safe side and left them for 2 days each. This was my fist bending project so I wasn’t sure how much spring back to expect but it turned out to be very minor.
Once I had the major pieces ready I cut the upright supports and cross members to fit, I used mortise and tenon’s for all joints and cut a ¼” wide slot on either end of the mortise’s which I used to anchor my lashings. The bed I made from ¼” X 2” strips of maple which were lashed down.
I don’t have my spray booth setup yet and there were a lot of pieces so finishing went a lot slower than I anticipated, I wasn’t really sure what was the best finish so I want with a simple polyurethane. Because of time constraints I only got 2 coats on, which I’m planning to fix at some point.
I lashed the thing together with black 550 paracord mainly because it provided a good contrast to the wood and looked more traditional. In the end it was a good choice as it gave the sled enough flex that it easily moved over uneven snow but was still really rigid.
The finished dimentions were 8’ long X 3’ high X 20” wide.
The project went together fairly smoothly although time consuming, I finished the last lashing a few hours before we left for the camp. I would have liked to do a few things differently like having the scouts do more of the work (they did get to help with some part of each phase so they saw how it was done), better finish, etc. and finishing a few of the “nice to haves” like a break but in the end it turned out very nice and the young men were very excited to pull it around.
Now I need to find a better use for it then hanging on my shop wall, my daughter wants to buy a team of huskies but my wife is not so excited. ?
Thanks for taking a look and if you have suggestions for the finish please let me know.