How to Build an Inuit Sled

The Inuit people have been using dog sleds for transportation for centuries. Many styles of dog sleds exist, from prefabricated sleds to do-it-yourself models. Sleds consist of runners, a body rig and harnesses to hold the dogs in place and allow for guidance of the animals.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 - 3/4-inch by 4-foot by 8-foot plywood sheets
  • Skill saw
  • Measuring tape
  • 1/2-inch diameter nylon rope
  • Deck screws
  • Crown Bolt
  • 7 - 1/2-inch by 72-inch steel tubing
  • 4 - 1/4-inch by 2 5/8-inch eye bolts with nuts
  • Blow torch
  • Welder
  • 1 - 8-foot aluminum sheet
  • 1/2-inch screws
  • Wood stain
  • Paintbrush
  • Dog harnesses


    • 1

      Draw your rails out on a 3/4-inch sheet of plywood. Make a mark on the bottom of one sheet 8 inches from the bottom. Measure 6 feet from the short edge and put a second mark 5 inches from the bottom. This will form the taper of the runner. Using a straight edge, go from the 5-inch mark to the end of the eight foot plywood at a 45-degree upward angle. This will form the crude outline for the first runner. Use a pencil and smooth out the curve of the runner. Cut out the curved runner. Lay it across the opposite 8-foot side and trace. Cut out the second runner. Save the remaining plywood. Sand the runners along the edges until they are rounded and smooth.

    • 2

      Cut a 3-foot by 6-foot rectangle from a piece of plywood. Cut this piece into six 6-foot by 6-inch planks. Lay planks on a flat surface parallel to each other. Wrap nylon rope around the first board and knot. Weave the strips of rope around the next plank and knot. Repeat with all the boards, then weave the rope around the boards a second time. Repeat this at the opposite end of the plywood planks, about 2 feet from the end.

    • 3

      Place the runners on the ground using bricks to hold in place. Set the sled base on top of the runners. Adjust the runners until the fronts are 2 feet apart and the backs are 2 1/2 feet apart. Screw through the top of the sled base using 3-inch deck screws and into the runners. Screw every 6 inches to secure the runners.

    • 4

      Place the sled base down on two saw horses. Measure the dimensions of the sled and runners. Weld four lengths of steel tubing together to form a frame that is slightly smaller -- approximately 3 inches -- than the sled's dimensions inside the area of the runners. The frame should be between the two runners when finished.

    • 5

      Attach the welded frame to the bottom of the sled by drilling through the slats and into the steel frame. Cut a 2-inch by 2-inch hole in the runners near the back steel bar, where the sledder will stand. Place a 3-foot steel tube through these holes. Weld three 3-foot steel tubes together to form a "U." Weld this "U" handle to the end of the steel tube running through the two runners. Screw the handle frame to the wooden slats.

    • 6

      Cut two 1-inch by 1-inch holes in the front of each runner, approximately 8 inches from the front end. Knot a nylon rope through one hole. Take the end of the rope and knot it around the side of the "U" handle. Keep the rope taut. Repeat with the other side of the sled.

    • 7

      Drill a hole in on each side of the "U" handle. Screw an eye bolt to each side for the harnesses. Screw an eye bolt into the front runners on the outer sides for additional harness supports. Stain the wood of the sled and let dry.

    • 8

      Cut two 1-inch by 8-foot strips of aluminum sheeting. Screw the sheeting to the bottom edge of the runners using small screws. This aluminum guard will prevent damage to the runners from rocks and debris.

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  • Photo Credit Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images

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