But the sport that is greatest of all, the one that used to be part of the life of every northern boy, and which is being revived in popularity after years of stagnation, is ice boating. With the aid of old skates, pieces of board and an old sheet or a small bit of canvas, any boy possessed of ordinary mechanical genius may make an ice boat. The frame of the boat should be made something in the form of a kite. The center-board should be 4 or 5 ft. long, 6 in. wide and 2 in. thick. The cross board may be of a piece of 1 by 6 in. plank 3 ft. long. Fasten these with braces of small stout strip, as shown in the drawing, and screw the cross-piece securely to the center-board. Bore a hole in the center of the intersection for the mast pole. The seat may be made of a piece of strong cloth or leather. Three skates are fastened on to either side of the cross-board and one to the rear end of the center-board, the latter of which is to operate as a rudder. In attaching the skates first make a couple of runner blocks, each 6 in. long and 3 in. wide. Bore holes in for the straps of the skates to pass through and fasten them securely. Nail the runner blocks firmly to the crossboard about 1-1/2 in. from each end.
In making the rudder hew down a piece of scantling 1 ft. long until it assumes the shape of a club with a flat base. Nail a strip of wood firmly to this base, and to the strip fasten the skate. Run the top of the club through a hole bored in the stern of the center-board. Then make the helm by boring a hole in one end of a strip of soft board about 1 ft. long, and through this hole pass the club or rubber-pole and fasten it so it may be shifted when desired. Make the sail out of an old sheet, if it be strong enough, piece of canvas, or any such substance and attach it to the mast and sprit as shown in the illustration, and guide it by a stout string attached to the lower outer corner. As an ice boat will travel faster than the wind, some care and considerable skill is necessary. Unless you are accustomed to managing a sail boat, do not select a place in which to learn where there are all holes or open water. To stop the boat throw the head around into the wind, same as you would with a sailboat. If the wind is strong the occupants of the boat should lie flat on their stomach.