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Dog Sleds


...well, we couldn't have a site called Dog-Sled.com if we didn't have at least a few images of dog sleds for you to enjoy:) ...Below are a few images of dog sleds that I took over the last couple of years. To be honest, this is not a diverse selection of sleds... just traditional wooden 'stantion', or 'basket', sleds... no toboggans, and nothing high tech... but a couple of them are unique and notable in their own ways.

These first three pictures are of one of several 'touring' (or 'freight') sleds designed and built by Dan McEachen of Krabloonik. Traditional in both form and function, these work horses are still in service today in the mountains of Colorado.

The first thing that you notice about this sled is that it is large... an 8.5' basket. Its purpose is to take 2+ adult tourists out for a back country trip in mountainous terrain... so they aren't light, but they are exceptionally strong. Notice the wood X brace spanning the last set of stantions... this helps keeps the rear of the sled very rigid and is rarely ever seen except on heavy duty sleds such as this one.

A closer look at the nose section of this sled shows the rawhide lashing which was cut from an uncured hide and wrapped wet so that when it dried, it also tightened, connecting the (non-glued) joints in a manner that was both strong and slightly flexible, and without the stresses of a metal bolt at every connection. Also notable is the bent headpiece and nosepiece shown here (the two crosspieces behind the 'bush-bow'.) Not only do they add character to the sled, but they also give it extra strength should you hit a tree and it smashes through the bush-bow... as I can attest to first hand:)

...Speaking of breaking a sled, we can thank Joe Sesto of Salcha Alaska for our next shot:) This very same 'sprint' sled (originally built by the late Ed Moody) was driven to victory by World Champion Charlie Champaine in a number of races. The accident occurred years ago while Charlie was training a 18+ dog team ...with poor Joe 'double sledding' behind on the second sled... well the trail turned one way, and poor Joe another ...and, as you can see, the sled took the brunt of it:) ...But it got him home, and to his credit, I don't think he let go:)

History aside, this sled is notable because of its creator, the late Ed Moody, a legendary sled builder from New England. It is unfortunate that I don't have a better picture of a Moody sprint sled because they are really quite classic and a benchmark for many wooden sled builders. Notable features of his sprint sleds were the short basket and the handlebow. Similar in appearance to the McEachen sled, the handlebow and rails of Moody's sprint sleds were made from one long piece of exceptionally straight grained ash which was steam bent at two, 90 degree angles to form the handlebow curve, and then bent again in a different direction to give the nice curved lines of the railing. (Due to the large size of the McEachen sleds, the handle bows, which appeared to be one continuous piece, were actually 3 pieces bent and then spliced together.)

Another approach to handlebows was not to connect the railing to the handlebow, but rather connect it to a rear stantions as shown here in the only sled I completely built by myself (with no dimensions) from scratch. I copied this style from a sled building company called 'North Star' a very well respected sled company, but like Moody's design, I don't know who first thought of it. In this case, all the bent peices on this sled (except for the basket slats) were done by gluing fine strips of wood together and then clampping them to shape (which eliminated the need to steam bend the stock.)

These next two pictures are of a custom sled designed especially for Roxy Wright (winner of multiple world class races, the daughter of Gareth Wright and mother of Yukon Quest winner Ramy Brooks) by Ed Moody for the Alpirod, a large European Mid distance race no longer in existence. While a very attractive and nice driving sled, Roxy found it too heavy for the mountains and ended up borrowing another, 'new fangled' sled to finish the race.


Seamus Walsh Building a Dog Sled

other related links: How to build a dog sled


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