Want to restore a wooden sled from 1934

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Forum topic by Patterson posted 10-29-2018 01:24 PM 794 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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11 posts in 454 days

10-29-2018 01:24 PM

Hi all, this is my first post here, and thank you for any help or advice you can give me on this. I recently went to visit family and was asked if I could “restore” a sled from 1934 that used to belong to my grandmother. She is recently deceased, and my mother would like to display the sled on the front porch as a Christmas decoration but wants it to be able to withstand the elements.

It feels pretty structurally sound overall and the wood is in pretty good shape. Some of the joints could be reinforced, as it does feel a bit “fragile”.

Any suggestions on how to get this to a state where it looks a little nicer and can be protected from the elements, but still maintain the look and age? Any suggestions on methods on how to do this and finishing options would be hugely appreciated!

- Jeff

11 replies so far

View GR8HUNTER's profile


6824 posts in 1320 days

#1 posted 10-29-2018 03:00 PM

I M O I would just put a coat or 3 of sealer on it the way it is :<))

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN

View LittleShaver's profile


609 posts in 1227 days

#2 posted 10-29-2018 05:06 PM

Definitely a less is more scenario. Think of it as preservation rather than restoring. As suggested, maybe a few coats of a sealer.

-- Sawdust Maker

View Patterson's profile


11 posts in 454 days

#3 posted 10-29-2018 05:53 PM

Thanks so much – do you have a specific sealer you’d recommend? And any recommendations on prepping the surface?

View Phil32's profile


845 posts in 511 days

#4 posted 10-29-2018 08:37 PM

Thanks so much – do you have a specific sealer you’d recommend? And any recommendations on prepping the surface?

- Patterson

I would only brush off loose material. Don’t sand it to raw wood! Perhaps a satin finish sanding sealer. The sealer could be applied to the metal (to resist rust) as well as the original wood.

Be sure to chain it to the porch!

-- Phil Allin - There are mountain climbers and people who talk about climbing mountains. The climbers have "selfies" at the summit!

View mpounders's profile


946 posts in 3503 days

#5 posted 10-29-2018 09:39 PM

Wow, what a treasure! Original stenciling and wonderful XMas presentation. I would just put Briwax in a natural color on the metal and wood. No color at all.

-- Mike P., Arkansas,

View GR8HUNTER's profile


6824 posts in 1320 days

#6 posted 10-29-2018 09:39 PM

I would clean it up with mild detergent (dawn)
then a coat of satin arm R seal maybe 2 :<))

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN

View oldnovice's profile


7517 posts in 3975 days

#7 posted 10-30-2018 07:17 PM

I agree with GR8HUNTER!
If it’s not broken don’t fix it just clean it up.
If you can remove the wood, you could clean the rust by electrolysis and repaint the runners red … I think that’s the color they typically are.

I repaired neighbors sled of similar vintage that had a broken steering arm! The original had broken lengthwise and was brittle compared to the other wooden parts. I glued the original together as best as i could and used that as a template for my router to cut a new piece out of maple.

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View DBDesigns's profile


232 posts in 605 days

#8 posted 10-30-2018 07:22 PM

I’d just wax the runners and ride that sumbich!

-- I remember when Grateful wasn't Dead

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1597 posts in 513 days

#9 posted 10-30-2018 07:44 PM


View JCamp's profile


1040 posts in 1158 days

#10 posted 10-31-2018 01:08 AM

For display I’d leave it as is. I do think it would make a fun project to comeoketly restore it tho but it would lose a lot of value

-- Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might

View runswithscissors's profile


3081 posts in 2633 days

#11 posted 11-02-2018 04:21 AM

Looks like a Flexible Flyer, though there were similar brands. I lusted after one of these when I was a kid, but never had anything but klutzy sleds with wooden runners I mostly made myself. I ran into one at the dump. Someone had just tossed it into the big dumpster. A couple of young guys (which I’m not) offered to fish it out for me, which they did. The name “Rosebud” meant nothing to them, nor did “Citizen Kane,” nor Orson Wells. So I gave them a ten minute lecture on this historical artifact, and admonished them to see the movie. I have since done a few rides with my 5 yr. old grandson on it during one of our rare NW. snows. We had some great runs, including “catching air” once or twice. The kids nowadays use plastic gizmos, which seem to slide okay, but have no CLASS.

I loved how at the end of the movie, after Kane has muttered “Rosebud” on his deathbed, all the pundits are wondering what it meant. Was it an old girlfriend? An illegitimate daughter? A secret paramour? And then the guys cleaning out his basement toss Rosebud into the furnace, together with all the other trash.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

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