Alexander Hergenhan fetched the wood a couple of weeks earlier from a sawmill in neighbouring Sondheim: “For our sledges we only use local ash.” He examines the logs carefully before buying them. He only works with very straight, knot-free wood to ensure that the sledges are robust and will last – up to 50 years.
After 30 minutes, the sledge builder carefully lifts two runners from the pan and bends them round a form. To hold them in place he nails a piece of iron on either side of the wood. Alexander Hergenhan is particularly proud of the hand-bent runners: “Most sledge builders press the runners in a machine. With us, every pair of runners is hand-made and therefore unique.” The runners stay in the form for six months and are left to dry in the attic before being worked again in winter. When all the runners are lined up in the attic, he prepares the remaining pieces for his wooden sledges. These include the slatted seats, struts and stainless steel rails.