Each year thousands of people across the UK hold their breath and wait in anticipation for that fabled ‘White Christmas’. However, when the snow does fall, we often find ourselves rooting through the garage in hope of finding something capable of gliding majestically down the slopes! With forecasters already predicting heavy snowfall this Christmas, we thought we’d provide a quick and easy solution to make you King of the Hills! To build a vessel worthy of carrying Father Christmas himself, you’ll need the following tools and materials:
Saw, Screwdriver, Drill, Sandpaper and Jigsaw (Optional)
- Runners – 2-by-4 (47mm x 100mm) timber, thick plywood (25mm) or some old decking boards! You’ll also need some thin, metal or plastic sheet to coat the underside of the runners.
- Crossbars – 2-by-4 (47mm x 100mm) timber
- Seat – 18mm x 44mm Softwood (You will need 6 x 500mm lengths)
- Handle – 1500mm Rope or thick Bailing Twine
First you will need to cut 2 x runners using 2-by-4 timber, thick plywood (25mm) or some old decking boards. The runners should be approximately 1000mm by 150mm and will need to be curved at the front end to allow the sledge to glide over contours with ease.
Next you will need to cut 2 x crossbars to hold the runners in place and provide structural support. Cut two pieces of 2-by-4 (47mm x 100mm) timber measuring approximately 400mm in length or alternatively, split a decking board in half to give two lengths of equal width.
Now you can attach the crossbars to the runners using 2 x long screws at each end; the crossbars should be in-line or “flush” with the top of the runners and should have a minimum ground clearance of 40mm to avoid getting stuck! You will need to drill some pilot holes to avoid splitting the wood and you may wish to countersink the screws to give a smoother finish. We recommend fixing the front crossbar at a 45° angle to create a footrest.
Next cut 6 x pieces of 18mm x 44mm softwood measuring approximately 500mm in length to make the seat. This will allow a slight overhang on each side which can double-up as handgrips for young children if an adult is pulling the sledge.
Now attach each plank to the top of the sledge using decking screws. Remember to drill pilot holes to avoid splitting the wood and countersink the screws to avoid snagging on clothes.
Now you’re ready to complete the runners! Cut two lengths of thin, metal sheet (or plastic) measuring 25mm x 1000mm and attach to the underside of the runners using decking screws. Start at the front of the sledge and space screws no more than 100mm apart to ensure a flush finish. It’s important to countersink the screws to provide a smooth surface area and reduce friction and avoid runners catching on the ground.
Now you’re ready to add the finishing touches. Drill a hole in the front of each runner and attach a length of rope either side to create a loop; we advise a length of approximately 1500mm, but this may vary according to the size of the rider.
Tip: When you’ve finished, why not apply a thin layer of oil or varnish to prolong its lifespan, or even paint it a different colour! Remember to sand down the timber to remove splinters and give a smooth finish.
Now you’re ready for a test run, so make your way to the steepest, snow-covered hill you can find and before long you’ll be gliding down the slopes like Eddie the Eagle!! If you’re unable to build a sledge, why not raid your local recycling centre in search of an old skimboard, skateboard or even a plastic bath panel. Remember, the only limit is your imagination!
Some DIY projects, like building a sledge, seem fairly easy to a competent DIY’er, but many jobs around the home require specialist skills and knowledge. CPM Exeter offer a wide range of General Building & Property Maintenance services across Mid & East Devon, so why not call us today on 01392 363999 or contact us online for more information.