Snow Sled Rebuild - Finished!

September 29, 2019


The other day I posted Part One of the Sled Rebuild and left off with the wood pieces of the sled cut and ready:


After that it was time to do some serious work on the steel runners.  The sled was built circa 1936, and my neighbor said it was sitting in his basement for a few decades, so the steel was in fairly rough shape:


And the steering mechanism was a bit rusty as well...


I started with a wire brush, moved onto the wire wheel on my drill, then sandpaper.  Fortunately, it was a beautiful day outside so I saved the house from all the dust...


And right there in the carport I spray painted all the parts.  The runners with Krylon Cherry Red and the steering parts in Krylon Satin Black...


That done, it was time to finish fine-tuning the steering handle...


But, when I went to round over the edges, I forgot to tighten the bit in the router and plowed out a huge ugly chunk of wood...


I was absolutely crestfallen.  I was so proud of the work I had done on that handle, only to ruin it so completely!  The thought of replicating the handle to the same precision was depressing for sure.  Then I thought heck!  Why not take a second look at the original oak handle.  It's funny, I was so upset that I didn't even photograph that part of the process, but you'll see that a little later.  In the meantime, I started putting some of the parts together to get a sense of what fine-tuning would be necessary.  I only have a little rivet popgun, so instead of rivets I just used bolts.  Here's the frame:


Using quarter-inch bolts meant I had to re-drill some of the holes on the runner stanchions...


Then it was a matter of a full dry fit.  Oh, there you can glimpse the original oak handle too.


The dry fit was necessary because I still needed to put a finish on the wood.  As is always the case, I stressed over to stain or not to stain, and if staining, what color?  I certainly wasn't going to try to match the color of the oak handle.  Then it occurred to me - why not just put amber shellac on it.  I love the old-school look shellac gives, so I went with it...


Sorry it's such a dark picture, but the color was hard to capture on my cell phone camera.  And before I go on, I wanted to show a little detail I found interesting.  When I did the tear-down, there were these gullies on the ends of the cross braces that I couldn't figure out the purpose.  But when I put the sled together it dawned on me that these gullies were to account for the different thicknesses between the side rails and the deck boards:


It all made sense!  Anyway, after three coats of shellac,


And a couple hours of fine-tuning the assembly, we have a rebuilt old-school sled!


Here's a bit of a closer look at the handle, I really like the look so I guess I made a fortuitous mistake!


 And here's a look in its natural habitat!


And a little wider view for context...


And, just for fun, a final look from the other end of the porch:


Come Christmastime, it'll be a nice spot for a little more Christmas decorating!

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