Every couple of years it snowed enough in Bynum to sled. Of course, Carrís Trading Post did not sell sleds, so we had to build our own.
When it started snowing, Ronnie McKendree and David Crockett would meet me in my dadís garage to build sleds. If it started snowing late in the day, we would work all night until our sleds were competition ready.
We could not run to the store to pick up wood, nails or any other material; we had to use what we found in the garage. The design of the sled had to fit the materials we found. Also, we had to use hand tools only since my dad would not let me use power tools yet.
Bynum Sled tm Construction Directions:
Step 1.Find a wide board for the top of the sled. If it too long, cut to length. Too long means taller than you are.
Step 2. Find narrow boards for the runners. The runners have to be as long as the top board and you need two of them. It helps if they are straight and not too knotty. Cut to the right length; they should be same length as the top board.
Step3. Round the front bottom of the runners. The rounding should taper off to the flat part of the runner and have a smooth curve. Practice drawing on the board until it looks right. Cut out the curve on one of the runners with a coping saw. Trace the curve onto the second runner and cut it out.
Step 4. Smooth out the curve and the bottom of the runners. Put the two runners into the vise and hand sand the curve and the bottom of the runners. Note: it is important to make both runners the same shape so the sled will go straight.
Step 5. Attach the runners to the sled top board. Here it is important to make sure that the top board rests on the runners. Some people tried attaching the runners to the sides of the sled top board, but those ended up breaking off when you sat on them. Attach the runners with nails, screws, glue or anything else you can find. It is important to get the nails or screws into the runners without splitting them.
Step 6. Add extra support to keep the runners attached to the sled top. We found that thin pieces of plywood worked well on the outside of the sled. Plane down the front end of the support so they do not collect snow. Some people put braces on the inside of the sled, but those would get snow packed and slow you down.
Step 7. Add a piece of narrow wood across the top of the sled as foot rest or handle. Make the piece long enough to stick out a couple of inches on each side. Place the piece toward the front of the sled back a little from the front end.
Step 8. Attach a rope to both sides of the front end of the sled forming a loop. The rope needs to be long enough but not too long.
Step 9. Wax the bottom of the runners. Old candles work well if you rub them fast enough on the runners to build up a little heat. Keep rubbing until you get tired.
Bynum Sled tm Test Drives:
We used the hill across from the theater for sledding; it was steep, there were no trees, bushes or rocks, had a nice gooey dip at the bottom and the runs led right across the main road: it was perfect for sledding. A bunch of Bynum kids turned out to sled there using cardboard, trash can lids, homemade sleds and anything else that promised to go down the hill. It was a community event.
Test Drive 1: One person sits on the sled facing downhill with feet on the cross piece. This is the missionary position of sledding; it gets you down the hill but does not impress your friends. It is ok for the first couple of runs to make sure the sled works.
Test Drive 2: One person lies on the sled on his stomach, head downhill. This is better at impressing people because you can go faster and roll better if you fall off. This test shows if the sled is long enough because your feet drag if the sled is too short.
Test Drive 3: One person gets a push and tries to go through the dip at the bottom of the hill and coast across the road into the theater parking lot. This is a test of how good the lookouts are in checking for oncoming cars. Fortunately, southerners back then were genetically incapable of driving in snow, so there was not much traffic.
Test Drive 4. As many people as possible sit on the sled and go down the hill. This test weeds out sleds with poorly attached runners and also tests the waterproofing of clothing as people fall off on the way down.
Test Drive 5: One person stands on the sled and takes off down the hill. This is a test of how well the sled continues down the hill after the rider falls off. Best to make sure that the hill is clear below before tying this one.
Bynum Sled tm Guarantee:
A Bynum Sled tm is guaranteed to not be like any other sled. Each one is unique.
A Bynum Sled tm is guaranteed to make it to the bottom of the hill. It is not guaranteed to make it in one piece and you may have to carry it down.
A Bynum Sled tm is guaranteed to be fun.
And some Bynum Sledstm even survived several days of hard sledding with groves on the runners as the only sign of wear; they lived to sled another day. Others just ended up back in the lumber pile. It did not really matter because a Bynum Sledtm had done its job and we were cold, very wet and happy.
P.S. I can build you a Bynum Sledtm out of the wood I have laying around in the basement; I still remember how. Do you think it will be as much fun now?