Build a Homemade Snow Sled From Shippping Skids

Learn how to build a snow sled from shipping skids, as well as making one on the smaller scale for the little one.

| November/December 1983

Smaller Scale Sled

This smaller scale sled is made for the tyke stuck indoors.


Here's a Traditional Christmas Toy That You Needn't Spend a Mint on.

If the idea of a sturdy homemade sled strikes your fancy (and it well might, considering the prices of today's brand name models), you may want to take a close look at the snow sled that MOTHER EARTH NEWS' woodshop "elves" pieced together for the holiday season. Believe it or not, this attractive white-oak-and-steel slider was built largely from odds and ends... but it works just as well as the "benchmark" models that are the envy of every kid on the hill. In fact, its maneuverability may even be superior because of the unique isolated steering design!

Before your skepticism gets the better of you, we'll have to let you in on one of the secrets behind the cutter's high quality and low cost: Every bit of wood in this snow sled was salvaged — free — from a discarded oak freight pallet. Now it's true that the older hardwood shipping skids are a bit difficult to find these days, but some are still around... at warehouse loading docks, manufacturing and printing plants, behind "chain" retail stores, or even in the local dump. Seek, and (with luck) ye shall find.

At any rate, if you can locate a wood pallet in good shape for a reasonable cost (or for free), half the battle is won. To prepare it for recycling, carefully remove its fluted nails — either by unscrewing them with a pair of Vise-Grips or by hammering the decking planks so they separate from the three larger stringers, thus exposing the fasteners — and then free the boards of any staples, strapping, or what have you that might still be attached. (Try not to split the wood as you work with it, or you'll end up searching for a second pallet to make up for breakage.)

Cut and Trim

With the lumber laid out, you're ready to determine which pieces to use for the various components. The organic portion of the sled is made up of several parts:

[1] the lengthwise frame, consisting of two 1 1/4" X 1 1/4" X 6 1/2" pieces, two 1 1/4" X 1 7/8" X 31" sections, and one 1/2" X 1 1/4" X 25" central spine,

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