No snow this winter so...

11:19 a.m. on January 3, 2014 (EST)
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...we had to take to the ice.

A local lake freezes really well so we drug out the kick-sled for New Year's Day.

If the Eastern US would share some of its heaps of snow we'd be skiing but, alas the cold/dry winter leaves us only ice. When winter gives you ice...we play on frozen lakes.

The ice was 8-12" thick which evidently is thick enough to drive on (according to the MN DNR) and definitely safe for walking. 


Even though I scouted the lake before venturing out, tapping it with an 8# sledge, we kept a rope handy just in case.  Muskrats like to keep air holes open sometimes.
My loyal comrade, ready to shred some imperialist ice.  (the hat is Yugoslav surplus I think)


The littlest comrade came along too.  The older sisters didn't finish their chores, the People's ice revolution waits for no-one!


Ice skates and kick-sleds aren't the best combo.


Ice trekkers however, work AWESOME! Once again the Capitalist thug (me) monopolizes the means of locomotion!


Too slippery to harness the Petite Bourgeoisie to the sled. Picture Bambi- on ice, Mastiff-style.


Note the look of terror on the littlest comrade's face as we prepare to ride the revolutionary wave!


The future revolutionary preparing to ride.


The vehicle of the People's popular front.

TS member- TheRambler helped inspire this design a few winters ago.  The snow floats (old skis) were removed for this ice day.  I can provide pictures/plans if anyone is interested in making/improving this design. 

Hope all you back East are loving the blizzards! 


12:54 p.m. on January 3, 2014 (EST)
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Looks like fun! We have almost no snow this year either down here in SW Utah. It did snow 14 inches in early December but since then it was been in the 40-60 degree temps so 90% of the snow melted, with just that in deep shade left. There are no ponds or lakes nearby to do what you are doing.

I like the ice sled, interesting design!

2:06 p.m. on January 3, 2014 (EST)
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3:04 p.m. on January 3, 2014 (EST)
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Awesome Jeff! That looks like big fun

6:06 p.m. on January 3, 2014 (EST)
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When did you get another mastiff !?

6:10 p.m. on January 3, 2014 (EST)
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Looks fun.

About 10 years ago my boss told me to use the camp tractor to push all the snow off the pond so kids could play broom hockey.

I'm like, "There is NO WAY I'm going to drive a tractor out on that pond."

"I've been plowing that pond in weather like this for 5 years. No go do it!"

A few hours later our neighbor was out helping me tow the tractor out of the pond. Fortunately, I broke through in only 2' of water. The deepest part of that pond was 15'.

9:32 a.m. on January 6, 2014 (EST)
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Jake, the Fawn male mastiff didn't pass the interview, he shad agression issues (not good for a 200# dog).  We've had Lady for exactly a year now.  This Spring she is planning on having a litter of puppies!  We have her boyfriend picked out and are just waiting for her biological clock to ring.  I'm sure I'll offer a great puppy deal to all my TS buddies. 

11:08 p.m. on January 8, 2014 (EST)
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Persue your evolution...

12:31 a.m. on January 9, 2014 (EST)
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I first saw kick sleds in Norway a couple of years ago. People use them everywhere! They use them to go to the store for groceries and take little kids for rides. Could you e-mail me the plans to make one? Is there a company in the US or Canada that sells them (disassembled)?

11:29 a.m. on January 9, 2014 (EST)
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PM sent

A quick online search will give you several expensive ($250) options to buy one pre-made.  Mine cost me less than $20 since I had the wood scraps laying around.  

Mine is a rip-off (some say improvement) of the one featured here:

Unfortunately I don't have the measurements anymore but I'll give you some instructions.

The bent piece that the seat sits on is 3/4 inch plywood cut at an angle. 

I think 3/4" plywood is much better to use because it is so much stronger per pound than straight lumber.

The slats that make up the seat are just from a pallet (oak would be best) that I salvaged from work.  They are screwed and countersunk on to the plywood, you could attach them with L-brackets for a sturdier attachment.

The vertical pieces are also from the same pallet.

The rail is a piece of 1"x 1/4" steel flat stock from the hardware store.  I heated it in the wood stove and hammered the curve into it blacksmith style though if you have more modern tools that might be easier. 


I had a 2x3" tab welded onto the rails by a friend in exchange for some home brew. This is where the vertical handle attaches.  I use nylock nuts here to keep them tight.


The left and right halves of the plywood piece, near the yellow rope is attached with a piece of all-thread slid into a 1" pvc pipe (stained brown) to add rigidity. If you do not use the PVC the all-thread will tend to squeeze the pieces together and things won't work right. The same goes for the piece where the rider's back rests though this all-thread is attached with wing-nuts to aid in folding it up for storage.


The operator's handle is an old axe handle set in a notch and screwed in place.  The lashing is 80% cosmetic.  Most kick-sleds use an old, peeled tree limb but where I live trees are scarce.

You can see the L-brackets on the runners, this is where I attach old skis from the thrift store when I run on snow to add floatation.


The rope is where I hook the dog up when she pulls.

Removing the all-thread piece where the seat attached to the vertical support allows the sled to fold mostly flat for transport.

When I build my next sled it will be slightly wider for better stability. 

To use it on ice I wear ice trekkers or screw short self-tapping sheet metal screws into the sole of an old pair of boots, careful that they don't poke into the insole. 

12:10 p.m. on January 9, 2014 (EST)
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Nice pics Jeff.  Looks like some good family fun.  I have a cane corso that looks just like your dog.  Awesome dogs!  

Pretty clever little sled you have there too.  I miss playing on the ice.


3:22 p.m. on January 9, 2014 (EST)
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Wow that could be her.  Cool. I hear those are awesome dogs.

2:35 p.m. on January 10, 2014 (EST)
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On the subject of dogs 

Smithsonian Channel 

Genetically speaking, your dog is more than 99% wolf.
So how did the wild wolf transform into Fluffy, your precious little companion? 
Explore their journey in this free full episode of Martin Clunes, A Man & His Dogs: Origins:

June 24, 2018
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