We live in Saskatchewan, Canada, where it’s often winter 4 or 5 months of the year. So, snow and cold are the realities of life. Although we enjoy cross country skiing, it is difficult to take our very young grandchildren along. After seeing a few examples of kicksleds on Instructables.com, I decided to make one. Kicksleds seems to be quite popular and common in the Scandinavian countries.
Step 1: Tools Used
The tools I used to complete this project included:
- Cordless drill with a variety of drill bits
- Table saw
- Miter saw
- Dremel tool with cut off disk
- Thickness planer
- Router with round over bit
- Socket wrench
- Adjustable wrench
Step 2: Finding Materials
I also wanted to make the sled using materials I have saved from various sources. Almost all of the materials used in my kicksled are items that I rescued from the trash. I incorporated a pair of old cross country skis that we bought at a yard sale for $2.00 to use for the sled runners. After searching through my saved and salvaged junk material, I laid out the materials to plan my sled. I found metal brackets and supports from my days as a satellite dish installer. When customers cancelled their service, I would collect their old hardware. The satellite company didn’t want the material back, so I kept much of this material to use in my projects. I also had saved an old folding lawn chair that I thought might be useful someday.
Finally, I have collected rough oak lumber from our local farm implement dealer. This lumber was used as a shipping pallet for larger farm equipment. I have used this wood in several of my projects recently.
Step 3: Dismantling the Lawn Chair Frame
As you can see from the pictures, I had a lot of material to choose from. First, I had to dismantle the folding lawn chair. Using a dremel tool with a cut off disk, I cut off the rivets that held the chair together. This left a collection of metal tubing that I thought might be very useful in my sled design. As it turned out, I only used a few pieces from this chair.
Step 4: Attaching the Metal Brackets to the Skis
I started by attaching brackets to the skis. I drilled holes through the skis and used carriage bolts to attach the brackets to the skis as shown. I thought that carriage bolt heads wouldn’t interfere with the glide of the skis too much. I then bolted the metal arms to these brackets. These arms seemed perfect since they can easily be attached to the wooden legs that I planned to make.
Step 5: Add More Support
I attached two more brackets, close to the front of the skis. Then using two round adjustable arms from different satellite dishes, I bolted them to the first metal arms to form a triangular support for the wooden arms.
Step 6: Spacer Support for the Ski Runners.
In order to keep the front of the sled stable and spaced properly, I used a U-shaped metal piece from the folding lawn chair that I had dismantled. This piece was very useful. Because it was approximately 16” wide and with short curved sides, it allows this support to be 6” off the snow which will prevent snagging on anything while sliding. I also put a metal cross piece on the bracket supporting the arms at exactly the same spacing. This piece may be removed after all the other cross pieces are attached.
Step 7: Cutting and Planing the Wood
Next, I needed to build the wooden arms and seat.
Using my table saw, I cut the rough salvaged wood into a variety of pieces that I thought would be useful dimensions and lengths. I used my thickness planer to plane these pieces smooth and clean.
Step 8: Shaping the Wood
Next, I used my router, with a roundover bit, to round off the edges of the boards to ensure I won’t get slivers from the wood.
Step 9: Making the Sled Arms
The thicker wood (approximately 1.5” X 1.5”) just nicely nestled into the metal arm. I drilled holes through the slot in the metal arm and through the wood. Using bolts, I attached the wooden arms to these metal arms. After attaching the wooden arms, I realized they were too long. After checking the internet for suggestions, I removed them from the skis and cut them to a length of 35”. I am quite tall and this seemed like the right height. I added a cross piece between the arms of the sled about 8” from the top of the arms.
I then attached another cross piece between the arms approximately 12” from the bottom. I think this will add strength to prevent the sled from bending or twisting too much. It will also allow me to remove the one metal cross piece that I added at the beginning of the construction if I find it necessary.
Next, using the thinner boards that I had made earlier, I cut four pieces the width of the sled (approximately 16”) and attached them to front of the sled as shown. This should add strength and stability to the sled, as well as providing a back for the seat.
Lastly, I attached the top cross arm to the top of the arms and attached them with lag bolts. I pre-drilled pilot holes to avoid splitting the wood.
Step 10: Making the Seat
The next step is to make this seat. I used 1.25” square oak boards one three sides, and screwed the seven thinner slats to the top of the seat. I again drilled pilot holes for these screws.
Step 11: Attaching the Seat
Once the seat was made, I attached it to arms by again drilling a hole in the slot on the side of the metal arm and through the wood arm at a height of about 10” from the bottom. I again used a bolt to secure it. After attaching both sides, the only thing left is to do is support the front end with a brace. I decided to use the four short braces from the lawn chair to make these two supports. Using a small bolt, I attached two together. Then I attached each set to the arms of the sled and the to the seat. I angled the seat slightly higher at the front which should make it more comfortable to sit on.
Step 12: Add a Safety Belt
I was a bit concerned about keeping my passengers from falling off the sled. I added the connectors I saved from the satellite dishes as shown in the pictures, and then added an adjustable strap from an old piece of luggage. I’m sure this will help keep my little passenger safely on the seat. It can also be used to secure a duffle bag if I’m carrying extra supplies.
Step 13: Add Rubber Grip to Skis
The sled was basically complete, except for adding a rubber grip section for standing on behind the arms. Before adding this gripper, I took the sled outside and try it. This helped determine where the grippers would best be placed. The grips were cut from a stair tread that I purchased at a lumber store. I glued the strips of rubber with a rubber adhesive.
Step 14: Finishing the Kick Sled
While trying the sled, I found that it didn’t glide as well as I had imagined. I determined that the grip wax that was on the skis was causing this. I removed the grip wax and replaced it with glide wax. This made a big difference. The sled glided much better.
Finally, I wanted to preserve the wood. I used double boiled linseed oil, a waterproof and wear-resistant finish that I use on most of my outdoor projects. I applied a thin coat, let it sit for a couple of hours, and then wiped the excess with a cloth. I will probably apply a coat of this once a year or as needed.
Step 15: Ready for Fun!!
The sled is complete and ready for use. Can't wait until our grandchildren come for a visit.
I am very happy with the kick sled. It works very well and was almost completely made from materials I saved from the trash. The only thing I might change when I make another sled would be the skis. I think I will try downhill skis rather than cross country skis. They have a wider base to stand on. I'm looking forward to building another one soon. If you try this project, I hope you enjoy building it as much as I did.
Step 16: Update on Kicksled
After trying the kicksled for a while I decided to change the skiis from cross country skis, which were too narrow and flexible, to old alpine skiis which are much wider and stiffer. This made the kicksled much more stable and easier to propel. We also found that the sled works the best on very hard packed snow or even ice. The grandchildren love to get rides on the sled. I have since made another sled so we can take both of the kids out at the same time.
We have a be nice policy.
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