Introduction: How to Make a Sledge Out of Wooden Palette

Picture of How to Make a Sledge Out of Wooden Palette

The whole of England was blanketed with snow and living right by Hampstead Heath I jumped onto the opportunity to go sledging, after I'd finished all of my work for the day.

I didn't want to fork out on a new one, but I wanted something a little more substantial than a dinner tray. So I decided to build one.

Fortunately I stumbled across a wooden palette resting against a skip next door.

Tools required:
> Saw
> Claw hammer
> Chisel
> Sledgehammer
> Nails (I reused the nails from the palette)

Step 1: Separating the Palette

Picture of Separating the Palette

Saw the three struts that hold all of the top boards.

Separating the wood is quite difficult, as the nails are usually quite long and wood is quite soft.

I used the chisel and sledgehammer to separate the wood and then used the hammer to leverage them away.

You'll now have a platform for the sledge.

Separate three boards, to be used as the rails.

Step 2: Curving the Rails

Picture of Curving the Rails

On each of the rails, simply saw at an angle at one end to form a curve.

I'll add a better photo later

Step 3: Putting It All Together

Picture of Putting It All Together

Line up the rails on the underside and nail them to the platform.

I attached an ethernet cable, to help pull it around

I'll add a better photo later

Step 4: There You Go

Picture of There You Go

And there you go. Simple, cheap, effective and fast!

Step 5: Improvements

Picture of Improvements

If I'd had a bit more time to spend on it, I would have:
> made the platform narrower. It would have reduced the resistance when sledging
> smoothed out the rails more
> coated the rails in a finish


c-23 (author)2010-01-07

I've made a palette sledge myself last summer by simply screwing some old ski's to the bottom and knocking of the middle ground beam (don't know the exact word for it) And I've added an old chair seat for comfort.

lilrou15 (author)c-232011-01-01


Leosmama (author)c-232010-01-08

Another fab idea! Thank you!! Maybe some cushions to soften any impacts... :-)

Great instructable by the way - we just got good snow in Belgium and more forecast for the weekend. Now I just need to borrow a saw,  and get my hands on a palette...


btw - who cares what it's called.

RubrDuckZilla (author)2010-02-04


xd12c (author)2010-01-07

If you are willing to sacrifice a little hill time, sanding the runners (or rails) and waxing them with parafin should help :)

ZeroError (author)xd12c2010-01-07

I was always under the impression paraffin slowed sleds down!?

xd12c (author)ZeroError2010-01-07

I dunno, never tried it personally, but I know you have to wax skis & snowboards. I just picked parrafin because it is an easy wax to get.

eriq9 (author)xd12c2010-01-23

One more thing...I think they call kerosene paraffin there!!! Here we go again XD

stiffey (author)xd12c2010-01-07

Good idea. Maybe even some sort of metalic rail, like a strip of window blind

xd12c (author)stiffey2010-01-07

If you go to a building supply store (like Home Depot here in the states), you can ask for some flashing. It would work perfectly & no need for waxing.

whiteoakart (author)2010-01-14

So here it is!  Our pallet is a much lighter version than the nice sturdy one you have.  However, that did make it easier to dissemble. I found a days worth of horse poop fills three of these 20 gal. totes.  The rope is a leftover piece of electric fence braided rope.  After using it today, I am planning on making a better handle on the rope and adding some raised edges to the sides so my totes don't slide off as i go up and down the hills.  I waxed the runners with beeswax, which worked great.

whiteoakart (author)whiteoakart2010-01-14

Update: I made side rails by ripping down the leftover pallet wood on the table saw to one inch strips.  These I nailed to the edges of the sledge.  For a handle, I cut an 8" piece of 3/4" PVC.  After heating it carefully with a propane torch, I bent it to a slight arc and slipped it over the rope.

whiteoakart (author)whiteoakart2010-01-14

whiteoakart (author)whiteoakart2010-01-14

The horses were very curious about it.

whiteoakart (author)2010-01-14

I was just trying to think of a way to make a simple sledge to drag around the horse pasture whilst removing the daily stockpile of 2011 vintage compost.  I even have a couple of pallets lying around.  Thanks for the jump start, grahambob!
David A

Lextone (author)2010-01-12

 WOW...Would be perfect for hauling Ice fishing gear!!!! 

grimdaddy (author)2010-01-07

Sledge?  Don't you mean sled?

jongscx (author)grimdaddy2010-01-07

I was wondering the same thing... looked at the link, so now I'm interested.  Is that a specific type of sled, or a colloquialism perhaps?

randomray (author)jongscx2010-01-10

A sledge as in sledge hammer as in big hammer at least in the US in Canada or the UK maybe something else . LOL

stiffey (author)randomray2010-01-10

That's interesting! Here we call it a Sled Hammer

randomray (author)stiffey2010-01-10

Now , if you're not just pulling my leg that's funny . I can definitely see it as a lot of our words are slightly different and some just used differently . Like we generally call a spanner a wrench . So I can see a sled and a sledge being the same word .

jongscx (author)randomray2010-01-11

History of the Sledge Hammer...
In earlier days of ship-building, ship hulls were built in a dry-dock as they are now, then slid into the water after it was put together.  The hulls rested on wooden "sledges" that allowed them to slide into the water when the time was right.  These sledges were held in place by wooden pins/rods which required a large, heavy hammer to remove. Guess what this hammer later became known as...

:-D Yes, I is uber-geekz

grimdaddy (author)jongscx2010-01-11

Ok . Finally some good information.  Next time I go sledding and some one shows up with a sledge, I am gonna get out of the way. I don't need any ships running into me!

randomray (author)grimdaddy2010-01-11

Yes , yes uber geek and I read wikipedia yesterday also yet as they did not cite a single source I did not repeat it . It does sound correct based on my time reseaching other old tools and traditional wood working . You made a start , yet I think you are going to have to work a little harder to get an uber status on tools . chuckle ...

tfcm (author)grimdaddy2010-01-08

Isn't sled American & sledge the UK word for it?  Thingy you sit on that slides down a hill fast on snow, anyway!  ;)

stiffey (author)grimdaddy2010-01-07

Oswald2 (author)2010-01-11

i believe the word you are looking for is sleigh, or sled. I think you would find it rather hard going down a hill sitting on a type of hammer (sledge).

grahambob68 (author)Oswald22010-01-11

I'm from the west coast of Scotland and a sled or sleigh is commonly referred to as a sledge. I think a sledge hammer is used to knock a sledge under a heavy object in order to move it. (this is just a story I've been told so I'd be grateful if anyone can confirm or dismiss this).

=SMART= (author)2010-01-08

"I attached an ethernet cable, to help pull it around"

HAHAHA that is so geeky and so awesome.
Rope ? Nah ill use the internet.

thefunktopus (author)=SMART=2010-01-10

I too was about to post a comment about the ethernet cable!!

millwright (author)2010-01-08

Excellent idea,may make one tomorrow,as i cant find any sledes anywhere.
Also just like to say that i once made a gang plank for my narrowboat out of two pallets.i dont know why i didnyt think of a sledge.

xaraxania (author)2010-01-08

try using candle wax to 'grease' the runners maybe start out by heating the wax and painting it onto the wood so it really really soaks in the liquid wax

jessyratfink (author)2010-01-07

 We've actually got a good amount of snow here right now and I really wish I had a pallet!

n0ukf (author)jessyratfink2010-01-08

go ask around. Manufacturers, stores and other businesses use pallets of various kinds. Make sure you ask for wood pallets. An this looks like the kind with 6-9 block supports instead of three 2x4 stringers.

bullzebub (author)2010-01-07

sweet and pretty easy rebuild! :-)
personally i would just remove the center support of the pallet. use that parts for making the curved front part of the ski and then nail some plastic under. it would not sink as much in the snow that way.

n0ukf (author)bullzebub2010-01-08

The center ski may be needed for support if the deck gives too much flex (too wide and/or too-thin cross-slats)

purplemonkeydishwasher (author)2010-01-07

I live in canada-that kind of snow can be expected from november to march (yes, march, its happened for a few years in a row).

shawnanderson (author)2010-01-07

If your able to find it (and you have no regard for your safety) Teflon makes an excellent covering for your rails. My friend had a sled(ge) for hauling wood where he coated the rails with Teflon (don't ask me where he got it). It was basically two 2x4's connected by a piece of plywood. That sucker was the fastest thing I have ever ridden down a hill!

dgml (author)2010-01-07

What a coincidence, I've got an old wooden sledge I'm thinking of making a palette out of :-)

mohnjanning (author)2010-01-07

 wow, is that a hill-full of sledders?  I wish that happened around here.  Nice, work.  Next, add a mast and a sail.

stiffey (author)mohnjanning2010-01-07

Snowfall like this is such a rarity that the childhood joy of it all get's everyone excited.

Chris Marin of Coldplay was even sledging with his daughter.

RoddyTheGreat (author)2010-01-06

 Who cares whether its sled or sledge? people call it different things in different places. so many people have commented about it.

mcarini (author)RoddyTheGreat2010-01-07

I agree - Sheesh!  What's a skip?  What's a sledge?   Why doesn't just tell the guy its a great idea!  I thought it was.  I love repurposing pallets  I hope he had fun building it and using it!

On a side note...I just looked up how to spell this kind of pallet on Websters, and found one of the deffinitions to be   2: a small, hard, or temporary bed -
It's exactly what I used them for, once with just a plywood board on it and a ton of rugs, the other was more 'sophisticated' and I used a futon mattress.  Livin' the good life then.  

Oh - here's the other deff. of pallet - 1: a straw-filled tick or mattress
We've come a long way with them, haven't we?  And here I thought I was so smart using it for a bed.  Ha.

A good 2010 to you all

stiffey (author)mcarini2010-01-07

It's only the finest palette's for me

stiffey (author)RoddyTheGreat2010-01-07

Thank you Roddy!
This discussion has been going on for a year. LOL!

Both sledge and sled are defined an 'object used for travelling over snow. It consists of a framework which slides on two strips of wood or metal'

Snow more discussion ;)

heheheha (author)2010-01-06

I am in Ottawa, over in Canada....While The pallet sled looks awesome, it also looks like the kind of thing I would use on a deserted hill....that many people on a hill, sometimes people hit other people....plastic sleds hurt, I would hate to think of the 45 lbs wood sled plus body hitting some kid....

ZeroError (author)heheheha2010-01-07

If you shout loud enough, it's the kid's fault for not moving ;]

stiffey (author)ZeroError2010-01-07

To be honest in the UK sledging is such a novelty that knocking people over is instantly laughed off. However; obviously you won't want to aim it at a kid and you should be capable of steering with your feet.

kissiltur (author)2010-01-06

Narrower sledge == only two runners, presumably?

I'm just glad you used a sledge hammer in the construction.

stiffey (author)kissiltur2010-01-07


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