UHMW Toboggan

Posted: March 19, 2014 in UHMW
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This one is in honor of the never-ending North American winter of 2014. Yes, it’s almost spring, but does it feel that way?

UHMW (polyethylene) plastic is one of the most affordable and versatile of the mechanical/engineering plastics. Two of its properties are a very low coefficient of friction and zero moisture absorption. In fact, it is so slick it makes excellent synthetic ice for skating rinks. UHMW has been used for decades in arctic regions as sled rails; however, it works very well on recreational toboggans as well.

UHMW_SledThe toboggan pictured here was built by an enthusiast of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW). This is a protected area in Minnesota, which (apparently) has some excellent sledding! The material used appears to be the black reprocessed UHMW.

However, a simpler option may exist, especially if your toboggan is metallic. 1/4″ or 3/8″ thick UHMW sheet comes in a standard 4′ x 10′ size. Ten feet is a significant length and it means a liner that you can affix to the bottom of the sled can be formed out of a single sheet. In the case of the toboggan pictured, the sled builder sold another length cut out of the same sheet to his friend.

If you have the correct tools, it is possible to counter sink holes in the bottom of the sheet and then affix with bolts to the existing frame of the toboggan. The additional slickness will make for one great ride!


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