Anyone ever build a wood-hauling flat sled using aluminum I-beams for sled runners before? been thinking of this idea for a few years now and the more I think it through the more I want to build one. Need to find a company in Alaska that sells aluminum I-beam stock, anyone know of one here in the State? 12 ft. long runners would do the job, was thinking 3 inches wide, 6 inches in height. Tricky part would be getting the front end of the runner curved up to the right height. Was thinking that the best way to achieve this would be to cut V cut cross ways through the front end of the runner, then bend and weld each one, as many as needed until you get the curve and height you want. Any thoughts on this method? for the back end of the runner there needs to be an upward curve also to help with moving the sled backward in the event you get stuck. Think this can be achieved with just one V cut taking a piece out of the base of the beam and bending the flat part of the runner up and welding it in place.
For the sheeting on the top I would use 36" wide 3/8" or maybe even 1/2" sheet plastic, which would give it a good slick bottom for towing through the snow. Would also need to mount some sturdy cross braces probably angle aluminum stock would work. One brace on the rear of the sled, one on the front end to prevent the sled from bowing in the middle, when I am carry my logs. Would need to come up with a good system for tying down my load of wood, was thinking that I would have low height rails made and mount them or maybe even weld them on each side of the sled runner, another thought would be to just mount heavy duty eye bolts or heavy duty metal D-ring mounts spaced out every 20-24 inches or so.
For mounting the runners and sheet plastic had a few ideas, one was to drill one inch holes thru the mid-section of the I beam snug up against the bottom base and the top base every 12 inches, holes need to be large enough to get a washer and lock nut secured on the mounting bolts. Another option was to use a criss-cross bolt mounting pattern and mount the bolts on either side of the I so as to avoid the extra work of drilling holes. Any thoughts on this? One thought that came to mind for sled runner plastic was to find a company that could make plastic slides that would just slip right over the bottom of the I beam like the slides on a snow-machine's slide rails. But for the time being would very likely just use 3 inch wide plastic runners and mount them using the same method as the top sheet plastic. These are my ideas so far if anyone has any more recommendations on how to improve this sled design I would be appreciate hearing them. Thanks