Toboggans on Pine Needles (Sep, 1931)

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Toboggans on Pine Needles

THOSE who have wandered in the woods know how difficult it is to walk up a slope covered with pine-needles. Some have even slid down such slopes, when young, on a barrel stave, which was lots of fun. Just such an idea is embodied in this “Pine Needle” toboggan slide. It makes use of a smooth bottomed sled, an artificial slide covered with pine-needles and a good slope of land.

The sled is the first part of this affair to construct. It is built upon two light timbers curved up in front and about 4 ft. long. These timbers can be admirably matched by two old buggy shafts. Remove all iron work and fastenings so the wood is clear. Then cover them across with boards, nailing them in place solidly as illustrated in the accompanying drawings. The bottom should then be covered with a piece of smooth sheet iron, free from holes or kinks. Use metal signs, stove board covering, pieces of tin roof— any kind of sheet metal that can be smoothed off well.

Use no nails at all on the bottom, but fasten the metal by cutting it slightly larger than the bottom* of the sled and bending around on the sides and back. Use flat headed nails and drive well home. When completed rub the bottom down with emery and oil to take off any rust or paint. Then fit in two sides of wood and cut hand holes near the top edges.

The slide should be built on a good slope of land, near or on a pine-needle supply. The exact contour of the slide will, of course, be determined by the natural contour of the land. Build the slide as close to the ground as possible at all points to play safe. Where the rises come use stout posts and brace them at the sides to prevent side sway, as illustrated in accompanying drawings.

Each section of the slide consists* of a sufficient number of 12 ft. boards laid close together to completely fill the 25 in. space, running the direction of the slide. Lay the boards at the bottom of the slide first, working back towards the take-off. Nail cross pieces 18 in. apart across the boards to serve as riffles which hold the pine-needles in place.

The side boards consist of wide boards nailed to the bevels of the posts, their ends lapping in the direction of the sled’s mo- tion. Fill the slide from top to bottom with a three or four inch layer of dry pine-needles. Mat them down by walking on them and see that they are well distributed. Take the sled to the take-off and get aboard. Grab the hand holds and shove off. Away you go!

The more you use the sled the smoother the bottom will become.

  1. Kosher Ham says: June 23, 201010:26 am

    I wonder if you could ski on pine needles?

  2. Toronto says: June 23, 20106:54 pm

    Darn it – I’m all out of old buggy shafts.

  3. Jari says: June 24, 20103:41 pm

    Remember to wear a tie and zoot pants, when you go tobogganing.

  4. Firebrand38 says: June 24, 20104:25 pm

    Jari: I know that you’re from Finland and all my friend, but “zoot pants”? Especially since the zoot suit is from the late 1930’s and not 1931. Those are knickerbockers he’s wearing! As a young boy in 1931 he hasn’t graduated to long trousers yet.

  5. Jari says: June 26, 20104:33 am

    FB: Thanks for the correction, I should have used the translator (polvihousut = knickerbockers). “Zoots” were just the first pre WW2 loose pants that popped in my mind.

  6. arglebarglefarglegleep says: June 27, 201012:46 pm

    It’s too bad that Pop Sci and Pop Mechanics have gone away from DIY projects like this. They seem to be mostly a group of adverts thinly disguised as reviews anymore. I wonder if gluing a slip & slide on the ramp would work as well or better than pine needles. I know some polyethylenes are called the poor man’s Teflon so you could try lining it with those and use Teflon runners…or just use skate board hardware.…

    Seems like everybody wore semi-formal wear in illustrations & photos back them. Dress codes were pretty strict and stupidly arbitrary back then. I think if you go through this site you’ll find dozens of *photos* of people in coat suit and tie doing activities up to and including demonstrating water sport gear / craft. It was just expected by people that you wore your Sunday best for interviews unless you were dirt poor or some Hollywood/theater type.

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