Instructables
Picture of Building a Toboggan

I am currently building a bent wood toboggan. I will take you through the steps to successfully make an toboggan out of ash.
 
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Step 1: Cutting the slats

Picture of Cutting the slats
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After selecting straight grained 8/4 Ash, I crosscut the piece to 72" long (Longer if you want a longer toboggan.

Then, using a thin kerf blade on the table saw, rip the slats to 5/16" thick.

Cut 8-10 slats(I used 7, but cut extra in case of breaking during bending!), depending on how wide you want your toboggan to be.

Step 2: Soaking.


I have found that pre-soaking the slats in water for 2-3 days greatly increases your success rate while bending.

Step 3: Steaming.

Picture of Steaming.
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The slats now need to be steamed, you can make a steam box out of many different materials. You can also produce your steam in any number of ways. We built ours out of 2x10 spruce and we use an old electric kettle for our steam.

Insert into steam box and steam for 30-40 minutes.

Step 4: Bending

Picture of Bending
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It is now time to bend your slats around a form. The form we use is made from a piece of PVC water pipe. It allows us to bend multiple slats in one session.

Work quickly and be careful, steam can give you a nasty burn.

Let sit in the form for several days.

You could use a moisture meter to track how dry the wood is.

Step 5: Building the Cross Members


Cross members and can now be cut. Mine were 1 1/4 x 5/8 for the deck members and 1 x 2 for the top cross member.

Any hardwood will do, I even saw a company build them out of small branches flattened on one side.

Pieces are milled, rounded over(router) and sanded.

The Top cross member has a 1/2" groove routered into it to receive the slats.

Step 7: Finishing

Picture of Finishing
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After careful sanding, we applied two coats of exterior grade spar varnish.

Open the doors or do this step outside!
Thnxcya1 year ago
Cool. I need to do a project on this
bschless1 year ago
I just finished building two toboggans (pix included below). Couple of comments...I used very green white oak (sap still running out a knot!) for the slats (couldn't find ash). I used one 10" and one 12" plastic sewer pipe for the molds. 1 hour of steaming. I never got the amount of bend I would have liked (at least 180 degrees would have been fine and 270 would have been great!) because I didn't properly secure the slats in the molds when I started bending. Also, make sure each slat is parallel to the previous one (and perpendicular to the mold) or the tobog will be "skewed".
gabes_us2 years ago
Great instructable, just what I was looking for. I am thinking of trying to make a toboggon for my children and have a couple of questions if you don't mind. Did you use kiln or air dried wood and what is the diameter of the PVC pipe used in the jig? Thanks.
Definitely use green wood. Go to your local water department and ask them for pieces of 10" or 12" plastic sewer pipe for the jig/mold.
Koubiac (author)  gabes_us2 years ago
I used kiln dried, although everyone tells me you shouldn't. I soaked the wood for a week in a garbage can full of water before steaming.

I used a 10" pipe to make this one, but have also used 6 and 8" pipes to make toboggans. (10" works best)


Enjoy building it.

bschless1 year ago
I just finished building two toboggans (pix included below). Couple of comments...I used very green white oak (sap still running out a knot!) for the slats (couldn't find ash). I used one 10" and one 12" plastic sewer pipe for the molds. 1 hour of steaming. I never got the amount of bend I would have liked (at least 180 degrees would have been fine and 270 would have been great!) because I didn't properly secure the slats in the molds when I started bending. Also, make sure each slat is parallel to the previous one (and perpendicular to the mold) or the tobog will be "skewed".
tobogganist2 years ago
If you're looking for hills to test out those toboggans, you can check out http://tobogganhills.com/ for a map of local hills, and also add hills to the map for others to locate and enjoy. :)
TimmyMiller2 years ago
good idea, except you might get sued by the kids parent, though still very, VERY funny, man
TimmyMiller2 years ago
ROTFLOL : ) | : D | ; P
vincent75202 years ago
Shouldn't the slates be glued together after being shaped ?
Or did I miss something ?

Great Inst' anyway.

Happy New Year !…
roboguy2 years ago
This is a gorgeous build! One comment, though. I would suggest that you shorten your carriage bolts a little and use acorn nuts instead. That way, you won't have those sharp bolt threads exposed to cut up your mitts or skin on a cold day.
Koubiac (author)  roboguy2 years ago
I have cut an polished them off since making the instructable. Good tip about the acorn nuts, I'll do that for the next one I make!
putipa2 years ago
very nice !!!!!!
nsnip3 years ago
Nice! All ready for winter!
friger3 years ago
Great Job, I really liked how you used the water pipe for a form, this was a brilliant idea. Considering a wooden toboggan sells for over $100.00 Canadian, and they are not very well made at that price I would think you easily have a $200.00 product there.
zazenergy3 years ago
Wowsa! Great first Instructable! Featured!
Koubiac (author)  zazenergy3 years ago
Thank you, I really enjoy the instructables website.