hardwood vs. coniferous...
in Sleds? what do you prefer? I would like to make my own, after seein' everyone racin' this year, it's high time I started my own dog team, & without a sled it's kinda hard...the local lumber we have here, is pine 2x4s +...with that I was thinkin' instead of ordering hardwood from Anch. to build one out of Pine...what's yer thoughts?
Oh, some good plans would be nice too, I had on my old computer a website that had a good basket sled PDF, & am unable to find that one again...
Update...Found the website:
Marv, if you can get hardwood, it's much more durable. I've mostly used all local wood (birch and spruce), but mixed with plywood too at times for toboggan bottoms.
Current toboggan is spruce boards, spruce uprights and diagonals, tied together with nylon twine. Guess you guys use sleds there...imagine you have birch that far down the Yukon (?). Could cut some birch, peel, rip, make into runners and stanchions etc. Bending runners isn't so hard, but trying to heat and steam and bend a one-piece back brace isn't all that easy. And you don't need to really; you can just have two uprights, and then mortise in a crosspiece and support pieces, tie it all together.
Or...you can buy a used sled dude! Good luck either way,
most of the birch here is prudy young stuff...& the old geezer birches we have are very very gnarly & nary a straight lookin' peice on her...But I guess a nice mixe wouldn't be too bad then eh? One thing I noticed 'bout spruce though, is that she likes to split when dried...I'd hate to 'ave one o' my peices do that to me...
Birch is OK...
... but hickory or oak is far better.
My first dog sled had runners made of thin strips of douglas fir laminated with Weldwood glue. I shod it with steel runners pre-bent, so that was part of its strength, probably. It made it through one season, but my dogs got away from me in the spring and wrapped it around a tree. End of sled. The next one I made of steamed, non-kiln dried oak, and it lasted much longer. In fact, when I gave up the team, I converted it into a sno-go sled for ice fishing and it served out a few more winters that way.
It doesn't take a huge piece of oak to make a sled (seems like I bought a 2.5"x12"x 10 or 12') , but it DOES take a good table saw with a sharp blade... although I knew some brothers from Aleknagik who built theirs with a hand rip saw. I think they took a lot of turns!
if you find a birch with a natural curve at the bottom you can use that for runners too. I've seen it done. But it is hard to find one with both the right curve and that has a decent heart to it. Maybe you can find an old timer who knows where to look. Birch rots faster than real hard woods do so it has to be kept well oiled in the mortices.
There used to be DIYS books on sled making when I was interested in mushing the late 70s. The JOM and Ind. Ed. programs were always pushing to get kids making that kind of stuff, so you might check your school library.