The Flexible Flyer

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Project by jbschutz posted 11-29-2012 03:47 PM 2300 views 8 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

The Flexible Flyer......It’s that time of year when a woodworker’s fancy turns to holiday items. This is my tribute to The Flexible Flyer sled. When I was a young, every kid on the block had one or wanted one. My decorative version makes a great table centerpiece or looks good hanging on the wall or front door.
The sled is made with walnut runners and handle and maple slats on top. In the picture of three, the one on the right has bamboo slats. Two of the sleds have walnut stringing in the outside slats….makes ‘em go faster. The sled measures 16 in. long, 6.5 in. wide, and 2.5 in. high. Most of the ones I make are personalized with just a name or the name and “Flyer”. I use one-time use stencils from The Mad Stencilist in CA.
I cut the inside curved portion of the runners with a hole saw, and then connect the holes on the band saw. The hole saw diameter matches the diameter of the top roller on my bench belt sander, so it makes it easier to sand those inside corners.
The runners are glued and doweled to a pair of stretchers, and then the slats are added, glued to the stretchers. The handle is glued and doweled to the center slat. I finish with spray poly and add a decorative pull rope.

-- jbschutz

15 comments so far

View cajunpen's profile


14578 posts in 4608 days

#1 posted 11-29-2012 04:36 PM

Well being from a State that rarely sees snow, I cant relate to the sleds – but being a Woodworker, I can relate to the Craftsmanship and quality of your sleds. Well done

-- Bill - "Suit yourself and let the rest be pleased."

View Boxguy's profile


2859 posts in 2810 days

#2 posted 11-29-2012 04:38 PM

John, this is great fun and a nice idea. Thanks for sharing it with us. Thanks for the upside-down shot. It helps readers to see the details of your construction and design. I liked the detailed write-up as well. I had a Flexible Flier as well mine was a bit bent from running into trees…but that is a different story.

-- Big Al in IN

View RogerBean's profile


1605 posts in 3496 days

#3 posted 11-29-2012 06:08 PM

Those sure are cute little guys. Made with your usual care.

-- "Everybody makes mistakes. A craftsman always fixes them." (Monty Kennedy, "The Checkering and Carving of Gunstocks", 1952)

View tomd's profile


2212 posts in 4313 days

#4 posted 11-29-2012 06:20 PM

Very clever idea, they look great. It must be the little kid in you still wanting to go sledding.

-- Tom D

View a1Jim's profile


117746 posts in 4119 days

#5 posted 11-29-2012 09:47 PM

Very nice,if the’re only 16” long they could be used as skiis ,Ha HA
I really like very cool.

View Surfside's profile


3389 posts in 2716 days

#6 posted 11-29-2012 09:53 PM

Nicely done!

-- "someone has to be wounded for others to be saved, someone has to sacrifice for others to feel happiness, someone has to die so others could live"

View Fishinbo's profile


11362 posts in 2718 days

#7 posted 11-29-2012 10:16 PM

Splendid craftsmanship!

View Ken90712's profile


17784 posts in 3731 days

#8 posted 11-29-2012 10:32 PM

Great job! Thay look awesome….

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View bonobo's profile


297 posts in 2599 days

#9 posted 11-29-2012 10:44 PM

Lovely! Now do Rosebud.

-- “The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” ― Mark Twain

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30461 posts in 2880 days

#10 posted 11-30-2012 12:44 AM

Spent a bunch of time on one of those. Great job.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View doordude's profile


1085 posts in 3525 days

#11 posted 11-30-2012 02:47 AM

great job

View blackcherry's profile


3343 posts in 4365 days

#12 posted 11-30-2012 03:40 AM

Great project will have to make the kids one for Christmas thanks for sharing …BC…ps how did you come up with the stencil script ?

View hunter71's profile


3464 posts in 3729 days

#13 posted 11-30-2012 11:14 AM

I remember well the Christmas my dad rebuilt a sled for me. Money was tight , but I got a sled.

-- A childs smile is payment enough.

View PRGDesigns's profile


246 posts in 2856 days

#14 posted 12-01-2012 06:30 AM

The very first Wood Magazine I ever purchased was the December issue with the wooden sled on the cover. After reviewing the plans and extrapolating what tools and materials I would need, I decided I didn’t have enough “stuff” to build it in time for that Christmas. We lived in Missouri (where the possibility of snow is much greater than in the Republic of Texas) at that time and my boys were just the right age to enjoy said sled(s). I acquired the tools, skills and materials necessary to construct said sleds and I still have not completed one of them. The boys are grown and I missed that opportunity to give them something handmade while I made other things more important, like earning a living, coaching them in baseball, traveling 50K miles a year for work, etc. I still look at those pieces and parts and wonder if I made the right choice. Thank for posting this and reminding me once again of one of many of my shortcomings!

-- They call me Mr. Silly

View Roger's profile


21013 posts in 3346 days

#15 posted 12-02-2012 04:58 PM

These are some gr8 vintage sleds. A flashback of childhood for sure.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

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