Sled Manufacturing is a Laughing Matter
By Sam Gazdziak
If you find yourself in the middle of the Alaskan Wilderness with only a few supplies and a pack of sled dogs for company, the last thing you want is a poorly made sled. For more than 10 years, Laughing Husky Enterprises has been making everything from children’s sleds to top-of-the-line racing sleds.
David Klumb has been building sleds since 1980, and he started Laughing Husky in 1991. He was a musher himself, but he came from a family with a cabinetmaking and woodworking background. “At the time, people were selling pretty expensive dog sleds, and I thought, ‘I can do this,’” he explains. Since then, Klumb says he has had sleds in almost every major race, including Yukon Quest and the Iditarod.
Located in Fairbanks, AK, Laughing Husky manufactures a variety of sleds out of its 2,500-square-foot shop, including 5-foot toboggan sleds and freight sleds. Klumb says his most popular models are the two-stanchion trainers and recreational sleds, which are mid-range priced ($550 to $850). “We produce 75 to 100 new sleds a year, plus quite a few repairs and lots and lots of parts,” Klumb says, adding that the company also sells parts wholesale and retail.
Most of what the company manufactures is wood, but the high-end sleds also include materials like plastic, extruded aluminum and titanium. Its primary machines include a Delta Unisaw and a JDS multi-router, which aids in the production of mortise-and-tenon joints. Klumb says the company will soon be buying a CNC machine to aid manufacturing.
In addition to being Alaska’s largest manufacturer of dog sleds, Laughing Husky also offers a line of mushing-inspired furniture. “We’ve built some impressive baby cradles and coffee tables with a mushing theme that are very involved, and people just love them,” Klumb says.
For more information about Laughing Husky Enterprises, e-mail [email protected].
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