One of the most requested subjects from people building their own sleds is that of how to tie them together. In the last issue I wrote about tying stanchions and crosspieces together, and the consideration of tension in the handling of your sled. In this issue I will be showing you some techniques for tying other parts of the sled. The degree of tension here is the same as before; as tight as you can make it. When you tie a top rail or a basket slat on, you want to make sure that it does not move out of place. I will be showing you some techniques for tying other parts of the sled. The degree of tension here is the same as before; as tight as you can make it. When you tie a top rail or a basket slat on, you want to make sure that it does not move out of place.As I have written before, I prefer to tie my basket slats to the crosspieces rather than screwing them down. Unfortunately I failed to take a picture of a damaged sled that came into the shop recently that illustrated the advantages of a tied basket. The five-foot basket style sled had hit a tree on the left front, breaking the front of the runner, headboard and sideslat. In fact, the force of the blow drove the corner of the sled back about six inches. While the damage looked dramatic, none of the six basket slats were broken. All had been pushed back, and they were easy to slide forward and reattach to a new headboard. When basket slats are screwed on you do not have that flexibility, and even normal use will cause the wood around the screws to split.When working with ties it’s important not to have an excess of line that you have to handle. Try to keep your lines about six inches longer than you need to have enough to hold on to while tying your knots. Before you start to tie, take some line and loosely fit it where the tie will be to help determine the lengths you need. Make your ties with little bowline knot loops at the ends as you did for your stanchion and crosspiece ties. (Please refer to last issue for more information on knots). Also remember that as you tie, it is important to keep a constant tension on your line so that the finished tie is as tight as you can get it. I want to reiterate that there are many ways to tie sleds together. I have found different techniques in many places and could never show you all the variations. I am showing you methods I have been taught or methods I have come up with myself and they work well for me. Again, please feel free to contact me with your questions or input.The tying of a slat to a crosspiece is simple. The only trick is to make sure you wrap the line back around the knot as shown. Start by looping the line across the slat and around the crosspiece. Next, take the end of the line and place it through the bowline loop at the end. (photo 1) Pull the tie very tight, making sure to place the bowline knot on the bottom of the crosspiece. Keeping constant tension, loop the line around again, staying to the left of the first pass. When you get back to the knot on the bottom of the crosspiece, (photo 2) use it as a pivot point and loop the line in the other direction for two passes. (photo 3) Using a small nail to spread apart your initial pass lines, start your hitch. (photo 4) Tie a pair of hitches, and the knot is finished. (photo 5) By tightening your finish knot against the initial loop you have made a tie that will never loosen. To tie the front of a basket slat to a headboard, start by looping your line around the front of the slat. (photo 6) Pull the line tight, and while keeping the line under constant pressure run it under the lower rear of the headboard and up through the hole and the slat. (photo 7) Make at least four passes and then tie your finishing hitches on the initial slat loop. (photo 8) This is a great way to attach these two pieces. (photo 9)When you tie a rail to the top of a stanchion, start with a length of line folded in half to create your initial loop. (photo 10) Pull the loop tight on the bottom of the rail and then run the line to the inside of the stanchion and through the hole to the outside. Continue by looping the line around the rail, through the hole again (inside to out.) (photo 11) Make another pass like the first, looping your line over the previous pass in a way that secures the line from the first pass. (photo 12) Then loop the line up and around the rail and back through the hole twice. Start a square knot to secure the line (photo 13) and finish with more square knots. (photo 14)Tying rails on to handles or handles to stanchions is a very simple task. Start with a piece of line with a small bowline knot, and loop it around whatever needs tying. (photo 15) Pull it tight, leaving as much of the knot in the hole as possible and loop it around as many times as needed. Then start a half-hitch to secure it. (photo 16) Finish with a pair of hitches. You can use this system to tie and tension stanchions to handles. (photo 17)You may have noticed in several pictures a small aluminum nail used to hold the lines apart for tying. Make yourself one, because it will be the most useful device you have when you are tying. Just cut the head off a 12 penny nail and make sure there aren’t any sharp edges. Finish all your knots by melting the last 1/8 inch of line back into the knot with a hot X-Acto blade. Between this and putting finish on the line you will have a tie that will never come loose.Well, I have given you a lot of information again and I hope you try some of these techniques. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me. David Klumb has been making dog sleds in Fairbanks, Alaska since 1980. David and his wife Joanne ran the 2006 Serum Run. For more information on Laughing Husky dog sleds, visit


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