Homemade Dogsled





Introduction: Homemade Dogsled

A fun way to exercise your high-energy dogs in the winter. All you need are old ski's, a metal tube chair, and some ingenuity.

I recently got a second husky dog, and needed a way to train the dogs as a team in a safe and fun way. Skijoring is an option, though I have concerns for the safety of myself and the dogs. I am unable to use traditional x-country trails with dogs (x-country skiers can be highfalutin) thus I have to use the wide network of snowmobile trails. These trails, of course, are trafficked by many motorized sleds, which means I must have very good control of my dogs (and my self) to avoid accidents.

Solution: A kicksled sturdy enough to be pulled by a few dogs and be handled by a 190 Lbs. male. The genesis of this idea came from a fellow Instructabler who had the genius idea of creating a kicksled using old downhill skis with their original bindings. I simply expanded upon his idea.

1 pair Downhill Skis with Bindings ($0.35)
1 Tube Chair (I don't suggest buying one, check your local dumpster)
$25 worth of machine bolts, lock-nuts, washers, screws, eye-bolts, and chain quick links
3' green treated 1"X6" board (mine was warped and thus in a dumpster)
1 16"X24" section of 55 gallon drum (hey, I got one of them out back!)
Some rope and bungee
A pair of Crutches ($0.35)
5' length of 1.05" Pipe (dumpster score)
2 greenhouse Cross Connecters
1 old Tire

The Nitty-Gritty:
The Base
is a pair of downhill skis with planking between them. I started by jigsawing the shape of a downhill ski boot out of the 1"X6" twice (one for each ski) and inserted them into the bindings. Then I ran two 20" lengths of board across, connecting the skis together at the bindings (leaving a gap of 16" between the skis). The tube chair frame, after being disassembled, was wedged between the skis (a convenient width of 16") and mounted with machine bolts and lock-nuts under the boards (fig.1).

The Handle Bars were next. Using the 1.05" pipe, I extended the height of the tube chair by bolting the pipe vertically on either side. I then connected the two pipes with a third length running horizontally and cross connectors. The grips were made using the extension piece at the bottom of the pair of crutches (fig.2) in conjunction with the hand grips. These slide perfectly into either side of the horizontal 1.05" pipe. They fasten using the pre-mounted squeeze stoppers and a couple strategically drilled holes.

The Brake consists of an old tire with screws drilled through it. I first cut the tire using a sawzall with an aggressive metal cutting blade. Modern car tires have an incredible amount of metal in them under the treads. I cut along the side wall and only crossed the tread to cut directly across. I then bolted it the base and ran self-tapping metal screws through it at the other end for grip on the ice (fig.3).

The Foot Holds are very important, they serve the double purpose of gripping your feet to the sled for steering and keeping them out of the snow to reduce drag. I used the last of the green treated lumber to trace and jigsaw the shape of my feet. I then counter sunk the holes that would hold the lock-nuts into the footprints. Then I did the same thing on the bottom of both skis for the ends of the bolts and washers. They would then be flush on both sides, as to not create drag on the bottom of the ski, or get hung up on my boots. I was forced to cut off the tip of the foot holds in order to accommodate the opening of the bindings (these are weird bindings that have to flip backwards to open) in case I were to hit a tree or rock and throw a ski. Lastly, I covered the top with metal mesh and stapled it on to provide ample grip.

The Undercarriage keeps snow from accumulating on top of the sled and provides lift over berms. I began by cutting the shape I needed out of a 55 gallon barrel. Using a heat gun, I was able to flatten the rear section, but left the front curved. I then mounted it to the bottom of the base with deck screws and washers.

Update: After a good waxing, the sled rides like a dream. It torques enough for good handling on corners, but is rigid enough to ride safely. Both my dogs and I love it. I used the removable hand grips as a portable repair kit, in the event of a breakdown on the trail. I mounted  an external frame backpack to the vertical frame to carry various ropes and supplies and keep them out of the snow. I also hung a small trail-axe from the side for the sake of tradition. The sled rides well on packed trails and roads, but does not handle any significant amounts of snow (greater than 2 inches). The next version will involve wheels in addition to skis and will have a ski base the same width as a snowmobile's to make riding in sled tracks a no-brainer. It could also be lighter; still figuring out how to shed a few pounds.

I'll be happy to field any questions, and thanks for reading

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Please be positive and constructive.




I love it and I want to make it. "I have everything to put it together except for the bolts locknuts washers screws eye bolts. Is there any possible way you could send me a list of how many is needed of each and what sizes please oh and also how much rope and what kind of rope is needed. Thanks you can email me at mninodeguzman@hotmail.com

Any chance you have more pics of how you connected the chair etc... I am a very visual person and am having trouble with some of the specifics. Thanks.

SWEEEEEEEEEEEEET!!!!!!!!!!!!! I use an old kicksled alot. I see one of these guys in my future! NICE!!!!

To turn do you just put more pressure on one side of this sled?

2 replies

The top frame of the sled is flexible, so turning involves slightly twisting the frame and putting pressure on one of the skis (sometimes shifting all of my bodyweight over on a dramatic turn). On very sharp turns, I have to hop off and drag the sled.

Try and teach your dogs gee (jee) for right and haw for left.

I'm not sure if you will see this comment, but do you think this sled would work in sand?

How do I vote? I don't see a button. Love your idea, btw.

1 reply


Forgot that was still on there. I updated my conclusion slightly. I won second prize in the Redneck competition last year, but thanks for your potential vote. Keep me in mind for the next one I enter.

I think I have everything to make it now except for those metal pieces that hold the pipes together. Do you just get those at any hardware store?

1 reply

Do you mean the greenhouse Cross Connecters? I purchased those from GrowersSupply.com. I have used large hose clamps before for that purpose, but the aluminum cross connecters are super strong.

This looks great. I live in Alaska and I kicksled with my dog. Been thinking of trying to figure out a rig for summer pulling. A dog cart for a couple of sled dogs I know that really need to get out. This has given me some ideas thanks.

this is the coolest thing i've ever seen, there were some crutches at the recycle center the last time i was there, hope they're still there tomorrow...and a use for all those straight skis lying around. Awesome! Thank you!

"Ibble" fans - if you like this one (and I think its dandy) you MUST find and watch the PBS special "Alone in the Wilderness" about Dick Proeneke who lived in the AK wilderness for nearly 30 years, and - Quite literally - BUILT his entire environment from the things he found there. (Of course he brought in tools first, HAND tools, which he took in sand handles to save weight, and made tho handles too! He makes a wood carting sled similar to how this one is made (OK, kind of similar) which I am certain all the Ibble people will find fantastic! The tape and book are SO interesting I bought them for my then 10 YO nephew so he could see what REAL self-reliance once looked like! I think those here probably embody THAT spirit more than most people alive today!
Cheers -,

5 replies

I hadn't made a real effort to find the PBS program, but a quick search using Dick Proeneke at youtube brings up several videos , but the PBS program is there, but I saving looking for that another day. Thanks for the tip.

I'm pretty sure it's "alone in the wilderness". I'm not sure what that has to do with my dogsled, the guys in alaskan wilderness, not dumpster-diving in northern minnesota. I guess all us northerners look alike, eh? And as for self-reliance, make sure to note the help Dick has from his neighbor as far as clearing and processing all his logs for his cabin and firewood. None of us are truely self-reliant. 'Cheers'

In the first place, Bub- I never said I thought "all you northerners looked alike". I try to be nice, and I would never make such an ignorant statement - especially to someone I don 't know, and whose contribution I thought was really clever.

And in the second place - excuse the heck out of me for trying to be complementary,(I said I thought your sled was a dandy, and i certainly don 't have the skills to build something like that!) and add something interesting to the discussion. After all, it's been my experience that MOST of the folks here are appreciative of complements, interested in learning new things, and enjoy hearing about similar things that are in the same idea as their ibles.

Perhaps you might want to be a bit more careful about what you remove from dumpsters in the future. I'm sure it was unintended, but you seem to have accidentally gotten a negative attitude along with your sled parts.
Merry Christmas!

I assumed 'dandy' to be an insult.

"Insult"???? Good lord, son! 29 ain't THAT young, that you couldn't not have heard that term used before! Really? Seems like one of us is REALLY out of touch with the language! I HOPE it isn't me - but more and more these days people your age you haven't the first clue what I'm talking about! I have a feeling that either I'm really old, or they just aren't teaching much in English class these days! (And No - you are NOT allowed to answer that with a witty comment about how I'm over the hill!) LOL!

Peace! and keep making those cool sleds! Better yet - TEACH a kid how to make one and pass on your knowledge and skill!