SLED RX: THE ART OF TYING SLEDS

One of the most requested subjects from people building their own sleds is that of how to tie them together.The knots and techniques are simple enough, but what is difficult to convey on the printed page is the tension needed in certain situations. In this issue I will write about the two basic tying areas: Tying a stanchion to a runner, and tying a crosspiece to a stanchion. When I start most of my ties I use a length of line with a small bowline knot at the end. When I tie my bowline knots I use a piece of metal rod slightly larger than the line I am using and work the loop down to the wire size. I then trim the excess to 1/8 inch and melt the end back into the knot with a match. For more information on how to tie a bowline knot visit the Mushing Magazine website or visit your local library and look in a Scouting Manual. For a lot of my sleds I use #18 braided nylon twine. Long-distance sleds or sleds that are used in high abrasion areas get #24 braided nylon twine. Remember that the larger the twine size the more difficult it is to control the tension in the tie. Also, as points of reference, the measurements for the work pictured are as follows; the 1½” x 7/8” cross piece has a 3/8” hole drilled 1½” in from the shoulder and the same dimension stanchion has a 3/8” hole drilled 3” up from the shoulder. The eyebolts in the runners are 3” from the edge of the stanchion. A 60” to 70” long tie will suffice. Of course the question I am often asked is “how much tension is needed?” I cannot tell you on the printed page, but I can give some broad guidelines. For the most part, the more weight you plan your sled to carry, the less flex you want in your ties. When heavy weights are carried, loose ties allow the front of the runners to flex out and impair the sled’s ability to steer. By the same token, if you are building a sprint sled you want it to be very flexible and the ties should reflect that by not having as much tension on them. Practice tying a few joints and then flex them hard to see how they react.I know that I have put out a lot of information that people may have questions about. Please feel free to email me with any inquiries about anything I wrote about in this issue. Next issue I will be continuing to write about tying other parts of sleds together. Until then, Happy Mushing! 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 www.laughinghusky.com.

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