Sunday, November 6, 2011

Harness Repairs

My R&R is starting to wind down as I have to return to work on Tuesday morning.  Since I'm to be scheduled on straight day-shifts all winter there is no need for me to even try to take personal projects along, as there just isn't any down-time to allow me to work on them. 

There is just enough snow on the ground to have me thinking about running sleds rather than the four wheeler, and the forecast is looking kind of favorable for more, so I'm trying to think ahead to do those things that are needed so I can get up and out straightaway when I get home. 

Consequently, instead of running dogs as was my original plan for the day, I figured I'd best be getting at least 1 sled ready to run, and repair some harnesses as well. 

The sled I prepped today is my old, reliable toboggan sled.  I've put a ton of miles under the runners of this sled, and it's been through some pretty interesting adventures.  It nonetheless holds together year after year, handles reasonably well for what it is (all toboggan sleds handle like bricks) and if I do damage it beyond repair I don't have to feel like it's a horribly expensive loss.

Today's prep was easy enough.  I just made sure the proper snowhooks were in their holders, all of the lines (including the snub line) are in good repair, and then hooked all those lines to the bridle with a new, steel carabiner.

All of the lines inspected and in place

The toboggan sled has a lot of miles under the runners, but it still has a lot of miles left in it.

The second project of the day was more time consuming.  When Orion is harnessed but not yet hooked to the gang-line he gets so excited he can hardly contain himself.  When he gets excited, his teeth get itchy, and he likes to scratch them on his harness.  Unfortunately, scratching those itchy teeth result in shredding harnesses that cost somewhere between $40.00 and $50.00 to replace.  It's a whole lot cheaper to repair them instead.

The first harness I tackled was the easiest, yet most important that the repair be well made.  Orion had shredded one of the tugs (a primary load bearing strap) about 3/4 of the way through.  It wouldn't have taken more than 1 or 2 really hard jerks to snap it. 
Damaged Harness #1, before repair

To repair the harness, I reinforced the sliced area by sewing in a patch of 1 inch nylon webbing, using heavily waxed nylon thread and a back-stitch for strength.  I couldn't think of anything reasonably quick to repair the torn padding, but that isn't so critical as having solid webbing to bear the load.

Harness #1 repaired
The second harness was the easiest of the four.  Orion had simply sliced one of the back bands in two. 
Harness #2, a simple slice

 Since there was no missing section all I had to do was melt the edges of the nylong webbing to prevent them from raveling, and then I used a whip stitch to rejoin the two ends.

Harness #2 repaired
The third harness was more of a challenge.  Although the damage was to one of the back straps, which aren't load bearing on the trail, he had removed a sizeable chunk. 
Damage to harness #3

 This repair required measuring the damaged strap to it's mate on the opposite side of the harness, sewing it in to fill the gap, and then whip-stitching the loose ends down to prevent them from catching on brush and stuff (or curious dog teeth) and ripping out the repair.

Repair to harness #3
The damage to the fourth harness was very similar to that of number 3. 
Harness #4, missing a chunk
The method of repairing the backstrap was the same, measuring and adding a bit of webbing to fill in the gap.

Harness #4 ready to go back in service

I've a few domestic chores to do this evening.  It's typical single-guy stuff like washing a sink full of dishes, folding and putting away some laundry, sorting through clothing I'll need at work and some minor clean up.  Most of tomorrow will be dedicated to errands in town, such as getting my monthly haircut, picking up my meds for the next month from the pharmacy, and a couple of other errands that are a bit unusual.

I need to stop by the auto parts store for a door trip removal tool, and a window crank removal tool.  I need to remove the trim panel from the truck door in order to put the darned window back into the frame so I don't freeze something important when trying to drive it around.  Even with the cost of the tools it will be a lot cheaper for me to do it than to hire someone, and a lot more comfortable than trying to drive it to a shop in town.


  1. This has been the only helpful page throughout the entire internet that has helped me repair my Husky's harnesses (we're on our second $50+ harness of the year, because apparently itchy teeth run in the breed). Thank you for sharing your work!!

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.