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If you’re looking for an effective way of giving your dogs a bit of exercise in the winter, then DIY dog sleds are definitely the best option for you and your dog(s). They are quite versatile and can be fun too. In this article, we would be showing you how to build a DIY Dogsled.
You can set your dogs to work using dog sleds by having them move things around for you or like a traditional dog sled, you can make a seating area so your dogs can lead you around and have a bit of fun with you. Making dog sleds is quite easy as you only need everyday, easy-to-find materials.
What are Dogsleds?
Dog sleds are self-explanatory. Traditionally, they are sleds created with a place for humans to sit in while one or two dogs pull them around through snow and ice. Even though they were originally created for dogs to pull humans, they can now be used to put dogs to work while moving heavy things around.
The kind of wood that is best for a dog sled is usually a lacquered wood so they would remain nice and smooth on the ground without rises arising on the sides. They have to be lightweight because dogs can’t exactly hold things with a very large mass.
Dog sleds created for light cargo are usually pulled by one dog and are hooked up to the dog through a harness and wooden beams which should be lightweight.
Children can also ride in DIY dog sleds as long as they are familiar with the dog and how to control it.
What breeds can pull a dog sled?
There are a lot of medium-sized and large dogs that should be able to pull sleds. However, the mechanism behind it goes beyond just having a large mass.
Certain breeds of dogs have been bred specifically to pull sleds or survive in unfavorable conditions during the winter without coming to harm. Some of these breeds are:
- Alaskan Malamute: They are resistant to cold and are built bulky with a relatively long life expectancy that makes them ideal dogs for sled racing even when they start to get older.
- Siberian Husky: Of all dogs, Siberian Huskies have the highest tolerance to cold in addition to their amazing stamina and unbelievable strength. They have been the dog of choice for a large percentage of dog sledders through the years.
- Chinook: These have the least resistance to cold but have great stamina and constitution which makes them ideal for dog sledding races and sports.
- Samoyed: Even though they seem smaller than you might expect for the purpose they serve, they are surprisingly strong and groups of them are able to pull sleds. An added bonus is they have high resistance to cold and gave long life expectancy.
What do I need to make a dog sled?
You will need to get woodworking tools on standby if you are to make a satisfactory dog sled. If you don’t own your own tools, you can always rent.
Assembling a dog sled takes about a day only but it takes about 48-72 hours for the lacquering to dry. You will need to let it dry properly so you can have a sled you are proud of at the end of the day.
To make a DIY dog sled, you need:
- Lumber treated with pressure with size preferably 2” x 4” or 2” x 6”.
- ½ Wood screws
- PVC joints
- Wood vice
- Wood glue
- Wood lacquer
- Fine grit sandpaper
- Framing lumber, 20 ft, 1” by 1”
- Metal L buckets
- Ski boot tracks
- 20W drill
There is also a cheap version that only takes a day to make if you buy most of your pieces.
In comparison with the finished lacquered wooden version, it looks like a rigged piece. Its appearance makes it look cheap even though it is a lot more durable than the wooden version. You need:
We call this the cheap version because if you buy most of these pieces, it’s a one-day project to make your dog sled.
It also looks like a rigged version compared to a nice lacquered wooden piece, so it comes across as looking cheap when in reality it’s even more durable than the wooden version. This is what you need.
- 1 wide-armed dolly
- 1 metal snow shovel
- A pair of skis
- 2-4 heavy duty nylon harnesses
- 2 rubberized grips or spray-on rubber
- 1 pack of carabiners
- 20W drill
- A dozen 1” metal screws
- ¾” metal tubing to support your weight
- Metal or PVC corner connectors
- Soldering iron
Making your DIY dog sled?
- The first step is cuttting your wood into 20”, 22” and 36” wood strips from your 1” × 1” framing wood and 72”, 46” and 56” long 2” × 6” framing boards.
- Next step is to construct the cargo frame by laying two 36” wood strips perpendicular to two 22” wood strips to make a box. Every two inches, lay 20” wood strips inside the box and use wood glue and screws to solidify the frame.
- Soak two 72” long 2” by 6” boards in water for an hour and use a vice to bend them so they resemble a ski after drying.
- Dry the wood for a day and install your ski boot along the back of the boards
- At the height of the bend, attach a PVC joint to the top of each 72” board.
- Attach two 46” boards perpendicular by the top of each ski side and screw them into position using PVC joints.
- Cut the 56” boards at a 45° angle that will rest on the ski buttoms and meet the top of the vertical 46° boards. Cut a 45° angle from the top of the 46” boards where they meet.
- Sand the protruding part of the boards and make a handle using the last 1” by 1” wood piece. Attach the handle in the middle of height of the two boards.
- Use L brackets to secure areas that need it.
- Sand down the entire sled.
- Lacquer the finished sled and dry it for 48-72 hours.
Things to watch out for when making a dog sled?
Since you are making the sled yourself, you will need to watch out for a number of things to ensure that you have a desirable product.
- If your sled isn’t lacquered well enough, you will need to apply a fresh coat. This process greatly affects performance of the sled so you can’t afford to go cheap on it. Lacquered wood makes it easier to glide along bare wood than frozen ground. Lacquering also prevents would swell and helps to keep you steady.
- Before you put your DIY dog sled on the road, you need to double-check all your measurements and ensure that all sides are even as discrepancies in the size of the wood can put major strain on the wood.
- You need to ensure that you have the necessary stopping power on your sled to keep your dogs safe whenever you come to a halt.
Should I make a DIY dog sled for my kids?
Making a DIY dog sled can be a fun project for both you and your kids, however, you will need to use a family dog that you and your kids already trust and are familiar with. You also need to make sure that your children are at the appropriate age to be able to access risky situations and know when to get off the sled.
Very small children have no business being on a dog sled alone as they will be unable to make safety decisions by themselves. Before you put your kids on a sled, you should make sure that you test it out to ensure that there is no risk to them.
The Ultimate doggy sled.
Now that you’ve made your own DIY dog sled, you can put them to whatever use you require; you can have them move things around, you can have fun by riding on the sled or you can even start up your own DIY dog sled business.
The project is admittedly time-consuming but the results are completely satisfactory and worth it.