How the toboggan gets its curve

Okay, I’m ready for some snow. I was one of nine students who spent most of last weekend indoors at the Adirondack Folk School in Lake Luzerne building a toboggan. That’s right, just for the joy of it, I built a winter toy made of wood. It felt odd building a toboggan with no snow on the ground. Actually, there was a small patch of snow across the street that we snickered at while posing for a class photo in front of the school.


A winter weekend in the woodshop at the Adirondack Folk School. The school is in the former Town of Lake Luzerne town hall building on Main Street.

So, how does the toboggan get its curve? Ash is used because of its beauty, strength, and durability. We used eight foot strips for the toboggan runners. Steaming the wood, for about twenty minutes, allows you to bend and curl it. It cools quickly, and (pretty much) retains its curl. Bending the wood around a mould requires a team effort…and bated breath.


Instructor and Adirondack Folk School founder, Jim Mandle, helps set the curled toboggan runners in a frame to cool and dry completely.

I’m not a woodworker. And other than a woodshop class in high school, I have very little experience other than assembling Adirondack chairs from kits. It was fun, I learned a lot, and next week we’ll take an audio tour of the class during “The 8 o’clock Hour”.


Instructor Marc Ornstein and a student tie-off one of the toboggans, one of the final steps. A little more sanding, a coat of varnish and it’s ready for the hills!

Here’s a link to the Adirondack Folk School’s website:

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