I was recently asked if I knew anything about a bob sled where the front a rear bobs were chained together by means of crossing chains. Supposedly this would allow the sled to turn more sharply and was perhaps used in the woods.
Since I had no knowledge on this subject, I attempted to research on-line.
I found some information on Rural Heritage:
On new style bob sleds the rear bob is fixed [can’t turn]. The old style bobsleds had both bobs pivoted on a large pin and connected by chains from the back of the front bob to the front of the rear bob. The chains were connected in an X. Left front to right rear,right front to left rear. Where the chains crossed formed an X. At the crossover point the chains actually passed through a large eye bolt to support the chains so they wouldn’t drag on the ground. With both bobs pivoted the bobsled could turn really tight. Great for maneuvering through the woods and also allowed for longer loads. If your bobs are cross chained to allow the rear bob to turn you should be using a large pin through the box down through the cross beam on the bob, same as the front [sort of like a fifth wheel arrangement]. This way your box and bobs are joined as one unit and your box cannot slide left to right or fore and aft.
I had a sleigh with the back bobs cross chained once. It worked alright I guess but you couldn’t back it anywhere.
If your rear bob has a mind of its own when backing your chains are probably too slack.
From this conversation it appears that this arrangement was indeed used and for the purpose suggested, i.e. maneuverability.
Anyone have information to share?