There are several things to consider before building your own homemade no sled. The idea is to create a snow sled that will be fast, lightweight, and starting. You want the you want the snow sled to steer straight, and ideally you want something small enough in with to where you can still put your hands down for steering in case you get in trouble, or need to turn. You must consider what to build your snow sled out of, and get all the materials together. Rain barrels make a great body, but they’re heavy, unless you have a plastic one.
If you don’t have access to a barrel, you can go to a local manufacturing or chemical company and probably get a freebie. Always wash the inside of a barrel out very good with a 70% bleach solution, and spray out well. You don’t want any chemicals on your skin or close, because they can irritate the skin or cause reactions that are worse than that.
Another way to make a snow sled for very cheap, aside from grabbing anything plastic like a serving tray, large Tupperware top, board, or tarp, is to build one out of wood. PVC pipe with in caps are commonly used in wood snow sleds, as well as downhill skis or other flat boards or pieces of material. You don’t want anything that digs in to the snow. So, of using two by fours that will actually be in contact with the snow, make sure and cut or grind rounded ends on them so that they don’t dig in. The idea is to create as little friction as possible so that you can go fast down the hill.
1. Cut the body of the barrel in half long ways, for two thirds of the length. This upside down L pattern is implemented to give you a stronger front bumper in case you hit something. This also keeps splashes from hitting in the face the whole way down.2. Leaving the top section intact on the last one third of the barrel creates protection, and gives you something to hang on to while you’re sliding.3. Once you’ve made the cut down two thirds of the barrel length, make a cut downwards to create a 90° angle on both sides, finish the cut.4. Remove the cut out portion of the top, creating a place to sit.
5. To build your snow sled runners, (runners are the boards or rails that go on the bottom) four hard snow, old downhill skis make excellent runners. For ice try old ice-skating blades or maybe angle iron.
6. If you’re using wood to build your runners with, you can use a 2 x 6 split in half on either side of the barrel, cut into two by threes, or you can use any other type of lumber for that matter, you just might need bigger screws to get through them.
7. Measure down the length of the barrel, and cut two wooden strips that you can bolt or screw along the sides of the barrel to screw your runner legs into.
8. Mount each strip down the sides of the barrel, about 45° to 60° from the center of the bottom.
9. Cut four legs out of old 2 x 6 or whatever board you have.
10. Make sure to measure the angle to vertical when you are cutting the ends of your legs so that they meet with the wood strips on the side of the barrel flush.
11. Once you have the legs cut to the right angle, cut the ends off so that they’re all the exact same length.
12. Judge your leg length carefully and per the snow depth in your area. Basically, long legs will add instability, but two short of legs, and you will just make a big snowplow in deep snow.
13. For the runners, use an old pair of downhill skis. If you don’t have a pair, you can ask a neighbor or unselect select from a thrift store.
14. Turn the skis over, and countersink the holes for the screw heads a little bit. If the screws are sticking out. It will only create drag, and you want as little friction as possible to go fast.
15. Place the skis back on the runners on top of your legs and fasten the bottoms using 2.5 to 3-inch deck screws.
16. Screw the screws in, making sure they are a little under the surface, but be careful not to split the wood.17. Check for stability, hold on tight, and have fun!
1. Make very sure that the legs are evenly cut. Otherwise, the sled will not steer straight. If the legs are short on one side, it will cause the sled will veer to one side.
2. It is possible to make two sleds out of the barrel piece that you take off the top of your barrel. The slab will be smaller and have no sides, but when you’re sledding. Who cares!
Note: Each rain barrel can hold one adult or two kids, or an adult with a small kid in his lap. (This is not recommended for safety reasons.)
UPGRADES: You can lengthen your bobsled by cutting off a section, and using boards along the sides and bottom. Just use your imagination. It’ll work fine.