Qamutik - Inuit sled

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Project by daltxguy posted 02-28-2013 01:58 AM 13125 views 4 times favorited 26 comments Add to Favorites Watch

The Qamutik – a traditional Inuit sled made mostly in the traditional way. White spruce ‘construction’ grade 2×6 and 1×4s. Canted runners, lashed napooks (cross members). Hand carved notches for the lashings.

I’ll be using this to cart equipment into the woods and to haul maple sap out through March.

Finished with my usual linseed oil and some wax on the runners.

-- If you can't joint it, bead it!

26 comments so far

View Mark828's profile


95 posts in 2439 days

#1 posted 02-28-2013 02:08 AM

Pretty Nifty, Great work. Last picture threw me off, In the first picture i thought it was smaller and sitting on a table for some reason… But no, it’s the real deal.

View daltxguy's profile


1373 posts in 4425 days

#2 posted 02-28-2013 02:18 AM

Haha! That “table” is 3ft of snow. That wallpaper behind it is a real pile of firewood!

Dimensions are 4ft long, 2 feet wide. Designed to fit exactly into the back seat of my car. Those are 2×6 runners. The front is about 10” tall

-- If you can't joint it, bead it!

View Mark828's profile


95 posts in 2439 days

#3 posted 02-28-2013 02:58 AM

Wish I could say the same. We don’t get snow where I live anymore anymore… sigh Well I hope it works out, seems the builds that get used regularly are the best.

View ~Julie~'s profile


617 posts in 3546 days

#4 posted 02-28-2013 03:27 AM

Lovely work! How did you learn to make this, online, or through an elder?

-- ~Julie~

View moshel's profile


865 posts in 4195 days

#5 posted 02-28-2013 03:34 AM

looks great! you still owe me how to do this knot….

-- The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep...

View daltxguy's profile


1373 posts in 4425 days

#6 posted 02-28-2013 04:00 AM

I wish I had an elder to show me how because I sure did some head scratching here and there.

The reference ‘elder’ came from here (which includes all the knotting, Moshe!) but leaves out a few details – such as dimensions – how to start and tie off the centre napook lashings ( I improvised)

How to build a Qamutik

-- If you can't joint it, bead it!

View matai's profile


32 posts in 3327 days

#7 posted 02-28-2013 08:01 AM

Looks great! By “maple sap” do you mean containers of sap drained from maple trees? Like for maple syrup? Do you get that in the early spring before the snow goes? All a bit foreign to an antipodean!

-- Dave, Christchurch NZ

View stefang's profile


16749 posts in 3845 days

#8 posted 02-28-2013 09:25 AM

Hi Steve. Very nice sled. I’m glad to see that you are keeping old traditions alive. Another observation is that the woodpile in the background seems to be stacked with the bark up. It’s nicely done, but shouldn’t it be stacked with the bark down?

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View daltxguy's profile


1373 posts in 4425 days

#9 posted 02-28-2013 02:06 PM

Dave – yes, containers of maple sap. I’ll be tapping 10 trees and the ones I’ve chosen to tap are 300m from the nearest road access. Since I don’t have horse and sleigh, I’ll be sledding the sap out in 15l buckets to a larger 60l container.

The sugar maples are tapped in early spring when the daytime temps start going above 0 and the nighttime temps are still below 0. The trees are sending energy to the leaf buds during this time and the tapping stops once leaves start forming. Sugar maple sap contains about 2% sugar. To make maple syrup, the excess water is boiled away. It’s a 40:1 ratio typically.
The sap season runs about 4-6 weeks depending on weather.
About 40l can be tapped from each tree, thus producing about 1l of syrup per tree.
No trees are harmed from this process! This was a tradition already in place by the native americans who used birch bark buckets to collect the sap from gashes cut in the tree. The water was boiled off during that time by placing hot rocks into a carved out log tub full of sap.

Mike – thanks! Now that’s an interesting point about the woodpile! I didn’t stack it, however, I would not have considered bark direction if I had. What’s the reasoning for bark down? To force the pine sap to flow out of the wood? ( I know that pine sap burns too hot and can be a hazard which is why they say never to burn a tree which has been hit by lightening because it’ll cause a fire! )

-- If you can't joint it, bead it!

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3670 days

#10 posted 02-28-2013 02:09 PM

Awesome work, but I’m trying to figure out this sled fits on your table saw. It might get ruined in the snow. :)

-- jay,

View Bluepine38's profile


3387 posts in 3597 days

#11 posted 02-28-2013 02:17 PM

Inuit sled moved to New Zealand to make maple syrup-a USA tradition- and add 3’ of snow to make it
interesting. Sounds like you are having just about the right kind of fun. Look out for those Hudson Bay
traders looking for free maple syrup though. Thank you for sharing.

-- As ever, Gus-the 80 yr young apprentice carpenter

View Shanem's profile


130 posts in 2978 days

#12 posted 02-28-2013 04:24 PM

The ones I’ve been on in Labrador were roughly 32” wide and 10-12’ long. Most of them had boxes attached to carry supplies.

I noticed you do not have any runners on yours.

View TreeBones's profile


1827 posts in 4535 days

#13 posted 02-28-2013 04:40 PM

Very cool. I might need to build one like this. Thanks for sharing with us.

-- Ron, Twain Harte, Ca. Portable on site Sawmill Service

View stefang's profile


16749 posts in 3845 days

#14 posted 02-28-2013 04:40 PM

Hi Steve, I was just having a little joke about the wood pile. I thought you might have read about the recent Norwegian State TV show (NRK) which was about Norwegian firewood and it’s place in our culture here. There was a big quarrel during and after the show about the ‘right’ way firewood should be stacked, bark up or bark down. Both schools of thought were adamant about the way they thought it should be and there was a lot of indignation and bickering about the subject. Personally, I don’t think it makes a bit of difference as wood mostly dries from the ends anyway, but I do think it it shows a quirk of human nature, as this was probably learned from their parents at a young age and they probably took it as an attack on their forbearers and their culture. A tempest in a teapot!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View daltxguy's profile


1373 posts in 4425 days

#15 posted 02-28-2013 04:58 PM

Bluepine – it’s more like kiwi-canuck moved to Canada to make maple syrup – a Canadian tradition. The Hudson Bay traders can have a pint of maple syrup but I’m not giving up my caribou skins!

Shanem – The beauty of this design is that it can be made any size. Mine is a smaller version for pulling by hand, maybe with snowshoes, maybe mushed with a Jack Russell :) Larger versions are often seen for pulling by snowmobile. They will have a rigid bar pulling them ( to keep from running over the snowmobile).
The runners are optional from what I can tell. The ‘modern’ ones might be fitted with nylon or uhmw runners. Depends on your intended terrain.

-- If you can't joint it, bead it!

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