Recycled Brooklyn: How to Build a Sled

From barn to sled

“A sled is a pretty simple piece that can be built a million different ways, so it allows you to get creative as opposed to just following instructions.” –Matt Loftice, Recycled Brooklyn

When snowfall is heavy, nothing beats sledding. Build your own – not only will you impress yourself and basically everyone else, but you’ll have it for many winters to come. Recycled Brooklyn brother duo, Steve and Matt Loftice put their heads together to figure out how to craft one.

“The most difficult part was figuring out how to allow the sled to steer. We solved it by using lighter steel that can flex, and by bolting the front together instead of using long runs of metal,” says Matt.

If you’re ready to try to build your own sled, here’s Recycled Brooklyn’s five-step guide to building one. 

Tip from Matt: “The wood we used came from beams we salvaged from an old barn in New Jersey – we milled them in our shop to get them into workable sizes.”



5 34 x 3 x 1/2 wood (deck slats)

2 40 x 2 x 1 wood (upper rails)

2  50 x 2 x 1 wood (bottom rails)

3 18 3/4 x 2 x 1 wood (deck stretchers)

2  55 x 1 x 1/8 aluminum

6  3 1/2 x 3/4 pvc tube or black tube

12 2" screws

30 1" screws

12 1/2" countersink screws (for aluminum)

Glue or Epoxy (for adhering tube)



Miter Saw or circular Saw


Drill and Drill Bits




3/4" Spade or Forstner bit

Countersink bit

Finish for wood (polyurethane, varnish, shellac)

Wax for runners


Step 1. Prepare the Wood

●      Cut angles in deck wood and arrange with 3/4" spacing between.

●      Cut angles in top rails and bottom rails. Cut bottom rail's front curve with a jigsaw.

●      Drill 3/4 holes, 1" deep into the top of the bottom rail and the bottom of the top rail.

●      Cut deck stretchers to length.

●      Sand everything.

Step 2. Assemble the sides

●      Attach aluminum to the bottom of the bottom rail by drilling and countersinking evenly spaced holes in the aluminum.

●      Clamp to the bottom rail and mark holes.

●      Pre-drill and drive 1/2" countersink screws.

●      Trim excess with hacksaw and sand edges.

●      Glue or epoxy tube into the rail holes, clamp for cure time.

Step 3. Assemble and attach deck

●      Space deck stretchers evenly, mark them, clamp them, predrill them, and drive 2" screws.

●      Arrange deck slats on top of deck stretchers, space, predrill, and drive 1" screws.

Step 4. Finish

●      Apply polyurethane, varnish, shellac, or whatever chosen sealant to all wooden surfaces, in multiple coats.

●      Wax bottom of runners for maximum speed.

Step 5. Test it out

Take your sled out on a snowy hill and enjoy. The hardest part? Deciding who gets the first ride.

Settle it the way brothers do, according to Matt: “Of course we're going to have a wrestling match in the shop to see who gets the first ride – we just have to wait for the first snow!” 

Inspired to craft more objects? Recycled Brooklyn shows us how to Build a Desk in five easy steps.