In Pursuit of a Child’s Sled

One of the great things about having access to the IMRC is you get to make really cool stuff for your friends and family.  This winter, I wanted to take my four year old daughter Henrietta sledding. I could’ve bought her a plastic sled at the big box store, but I like to use stuff I can repair rather than toss in a landfill when it breaks.   The old-fashioned wooden sled is beautiful, not only aesthetically, but in its ability to be repaired and passed down generation to generation.

Design and Construction

To keep the sled light for pulling around and dragging it up hills, I made the deck and sides out of cedar.  Cedar is a light and attractive wood that resists rot beautifully, and ages into a nice silver-gray when exposed to the elements.

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Building the deck
Building the deck.

Cedar really isn’t strong enough to make an entire sled out of, so I used hard maple for the ribs that hold the deck and the runners together, as well as the foot board.  I wanted to make the runners from maple, at first, but that would’ve made the sled very heavy, so I came up with a hybrid:  I attached half inch strips of maple to the bottom of the runners, to keep stones and the occasional drag across asphalt from shredding the runners.

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The maple ribs
The maple ribs

 

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Final checks
Final checks

 

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It's level!
It’s level!

The end result more than exceeds my hopes.  The cedar on maple frame worked out beautifully.  It’s pretty light, and I can stand on it with my 270lb frame without so much as a creak, so I think it’s going to hold up nicely!  Henrietta, as I’d hoped, loves it!  If I have a regret, it’s that I didn’t make it long enough to sit on with her!

I Owe it All to the IMRC

Building this sled at the IMRC was a joy.  Everything is beautifully lit, the shop is well ventilated, and there are tons of large table spaces built to withstand heavy punishment.  The table saw cuts straight and clean, there’s always a fresh battery for the drills, and you’ll never run out of clamps. We don’t do crooked projects here: we’ve got levels, squares, a miter saw, a planer, you name it.  When I started the Intermedia MFA, I couldn’t make a straight cut to save my life, and never dreamed I’d be using the woodshop.  Turns out I couldn’t cut straight because I never had access to the right tools!  If you’re a frustrated basement tinkerer like I was before I came to the IMRC, you should come over and check out our facilities.  It could open up a lot of possibilities for you!

UPDATE 1/8/16

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Today, Henrietta discovered a use for a sled I’d never even considered: a ladder!  As you can see, it’s an indispensable tree-climbing tool.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]