Sunday DIY: Cool runnings

By Greig Morgan

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Toboggans make ski trips fun for all the family. Greig Morgan makes his own.

Greig's toboggan is big enough for a parent and child - or a handyman and a bemused pooch named Dude. Photo / Janna Dixon
Greig's toboggan is big enough for a parent and child - or a handyman and a bemused pooch named Dude. Photo / Janna Dixon

The snow has arrived on the skifields just in time for the school holidays.

A friend was talking to me about taking his family to Ruapehu for a long weekend, but as his children are still quite young - Olivia is 5 and Dylan 18 months - he thought it would be more fun for them to just play in the snow than try to learn to ski. Instead, the children could build a snowman, throw snowballs and slide down the slopes.

So I thought I'd make a toboggan for them, and make it big enough for an adult to fit in as well, because I know from my own experience that I wouldn't want to miss out on the fun.

Step 1

Using something with a curve (I used a large bucket), mark the front end of your toboggan's two sides. Use a jigsaw to cut to the mark. Do the same for the back of the sides with a smaller curve, making sure the back curve is facing down.

Step 2

Measure and mark where your handles will go in the sides. I made mine 25mm down with two 30mm x 240mm-long openings, spaced about 200mm apart. It's easier to use a hand-router if you have one. If not, cut out the handles using a jigsaw.

Step 3

Measure and mark your sheet of cross-ply 600mm wide and the length of your side rails, allowing for the curve, and then cut out. Glue and screw (using 32mm screws at about 40-50mm apart) to the bottom of one of the side rails, keeping flush, then repeat the process on the other side (pre-drill the ply before you screw to prevent the wood from splitting).

Step 4

Measure and trim the support rails to fit across the bottom of the toboggan between the sides. Angle the front support to fit into the front curve. Place a support at the back, then space the others evenly. Glue and screw the side rails to the bottom supports (pre-drill the screw holes first). Screw the bottom of the toboggan to the bottom supports using 20mm screws.

Step 5

Sand all the sharp edges using 80-grit sandpaper, then tidy up with 120-grit ready to paint or stain.

The toboggan didn't take too long to make and, hopefully, my friends will get years of fun out of it.


1 sheet of cross ply 6mm
2 lengths @ 1200mm of 100x25mm dress gauge H3 (for sides)
5 lengths @ 580mm of 100x25mm dress gauge H3 (for bottom and side supports)
Stainless screws 8g x 32mm
Stainless screws 8g x 20mm
Paint /stain
Exterior wood glue


Hand saw/skill saw
Jig saw
Screw gun
Sand paper 80 & 120 grit
2mm drill bit (for pre-drilling into end grain)
Paint brush
Tape measure

* Greig Morgan is a cabinetmaker by trade, who now runs his own landscaping business, GT Landscapes.

- NZ Herald

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