Introduction: Authentic Wooden Gymnastic Still Rings

Picture of Authentic Wooden Gymnastic Still Rings

I'm getting back into more gymnastics-styled fitness and decided to fabricate some training equipment. After searching on here for rings tutorials I was only able to find the "quick-and-dirty" PVC rings. While they're inexpensive and easy to make, I wanted to appease my nostalgia for authentic wooden rings. Note: This was my first attempt at wood-working. It's more of a test of patience than skill due to all the sanding required.

Tools:
An adequately sharpened pencil
A compass
Epoxy/Wood glue
Wood stain (I chose Minwax golden oak)
Clamps (A minimum of four, eight to work with both rings simultaneously)
Jigsaw
Sanding device (I used a Metabo Compact sander with a rough sanding stone and 800 grit sandpaper)

Supplies:
Four 9 1/4" x 9 1/4" squares of 3/4" thick plywood (I got one 24"x24" sheet from Home Depot for ~$6)
Cargo straps (Search HarborFreight.com for cheap ones ~$1.49)

Cost:
Since I already had all the tools I needed except for the wood stain, this instructable cost me <$10, and these rings normally sell for ~$90.

Note: All measurements were obtained from this tutorial (http://shootingboard.net/fitness/rings/). I am not responsible for any bodily harm including dismemberment, brain damage, stomach aches, mild disappointment, or third degree burns that result from performing the outlined steps or while using the resulting rings. Play safe.

P.S. I've also finished making parallette bars out of PVC and a wooden "mushroom" pommel horse trainer, which I'll be adding instrucables for next.

Step 1: Cut and Glue Plywood Squares

Picture of Cut and Glue Plywood Squares

1. Cut the pieces of plywood into four 9 1/4" squares.

2. Glue two pieces of plywood together using generous amounts of epoxy or wood glue.

3. Apply four clamps to four corners of glued plywood while it dries.

4. Repeat step 2 with two remaining pieces of plywood.

5. Wait at least four hours before proceeding.

Step 2: Rough Shape Rings

Picture of Rough Shape Rings

1. Get out yer trusty compass and draw two circles. The outer circle should have a radius of 4 5/8" and the inner circle should have a radius of 3 7/16".

2. Use a jigsaw to cut out the rings. For the inner circle I first drilled a few holes so I had a place to start the jigsaw.

3. Since I do not own a router I used a Metabo sander by hand to do all of the shaping. First, clamp your rings to a bench and work with a rough stone on a 45-degree angle to create a beveled edge on the outside and inside of each ring. That will be the basis for later light sanding.

4. Continue sanding with the stone until the bevels are as close to a circle as you can get. I found the best way to work them was to clamp them horizontally, hanging off the edge of the bench.

Step 3: Finesse Those Rings

Picture of Finesse Those Rings

Now, switch from the rough stone to sanding pads, preferably 800 grit and go back-and-forth over the inner and outer parts of the rings to smooth out any imperfections and get them as close to perfect as desired.

This part is where it becomes a labor of love. I spent about 2 hours sanding both rings until I was happy.

Step 4: Damage Control (if Necessary)

Picture of Damage Control (if Necessary)

Your rings may have suffered a few chips while using the jigsaw or sanding tools, so here's where I went back and filled in any unsightly holes with epoxy, let dry and then resanded. I chose epoxy over wood filler because I know that when epoxy dries it becomes rock-solid, given how much weight the rings are going to withstand I figured the wood filler would've been more of a cosmetic fix than a structural one.

Step 5: Stain!

Picture of Stain!

The icing on the cake is when you're all done sanding and apply two coats of wood stain. I was really impressed and anxious to use them once the stain was applied.

Step 6: Play and Share

Picture of Play and Share

I know this wasn't the most thorough instructable, but it's also not the most complicated. It may take some trial-and-error, but if you do finish a set and end up using them, please upload your results.

Sharing is caring!

If you're looking for exercises check out gymnasticbodies.com, they also have a youtube account with tons of creative ways to workout.

Comments

snowluck2345 (author)2011-08-25

I made a second set on a wood lathe, which I have ot say, if you have the tools, is much easier

dwaku (author)snowluck23452011-08-31

definitely, that's the way to go. post pictures if you have them.

snowluck2345 (author)2010-01-20

 How do you attach these? can a ceiling stud take the weight?  I am training planches and want to train them at home.

Re-design (author)snowluck23452010-09-04

Ceilings don't have studs. They have joists or trusses. They will probably will take the weight but they will flex from the force of your movements and will probably crack the sheetrock or plaster ceiling.

dwaku (author)snowluck23452010-01-20

 i haven't attached these to anything yet. i use truck cargo straps to hang them from football goal posts at the local high school.

as far as mounting them to the ceiling, i can't say for sure if that will hold the weight, but i would guess it wouldn't be a problem. it just comes down to how well it's mounted. i would guess screwing one of those pull-up cars to your ceiling stud and then wrapping the ring straps around the bar would do the trick.

post pics and some instructions if you can. i'd like to hear how you worked it out.

snowluck2345 (author)dwaku2010-01-20

Ok, could these take a back uprise? For training a swing to strength, like back uprise planche?  Oh, i'll post a picture of a planche once i get it, right now i have a ok straddle planche

dwaku (author)snowluck23452010-01-24

when i mount my rings to the goal posts i'm able to do kip-to-supports and back uprises without any worries, but like i mentioned earlier, i'm just wrapping cargo straps around goal posts so all of the weight is taken by the straps. they hold 300+ pounds.

if you're going to permanently mount the rings to the ceiling constant movement doing uprises may or may not loosen the hardware depending on how well it's fastened.

however you choose to mount them i would just make sure they're double reinforced if possible and then start off slow for the first week doing basic exercises to test their strength before jumping into uprises and planches.

good luck!

snowluck2345 (author)dwaku2010-01-24

 i'd like to post the official depth for gymnastics rings is 1 1/8 inch

dwaku (author)snowluck23452010-01-25

 thanks, where did you find the official dimensions?

snowluck2345 (author)dwaku2010-01-25

i forgot, i made mine too thick, so i looked for it, but i forgot where i found it

theRIAA (author)2009-12-12

thanks! I made these a few months back, with 2x 1/2" plywood i think. I liked the idea of a permanent ring place, but the only out-of-the-way place had dinky trees, so I had to make my own branch :D

I was stuck on how to make these for a long time till i saw your instructable, so simple :P i had some poly on them as well but sanded everything that didn't rub off, the wood is way better. btw, mine have been outside all this time and they are still strong as ever, the more they weather, the smoother they get, and if they rot through in 3 years, i'll just make some new ones.

dwaku (author)theRIAA2009-12-12

 oh man, thanks for posting pics they look incredible! i love how they've aged, and i'm definitely with you on the natural smoothness of the wood over the urethane coating. i still haven't gotten around to making a permanent place for them and now that the winter's here i won't until the spring, but i'll definitely keep your rig in mind. what kind/thickness of rope did you use? did you do anything fancy to secure it to the pieces of wood at the top? from the angle of the picture it looks like your crossbar is only fastened to the tree on one side and the other is free floating...?


theRIAA (author)dwaku2009-12-13

Those are 4x 20' 2x4s painted thick with old brown rustoleum.  it's bigger and higher than it seems. I just screwed everything together, the tip is just a bunch of 2x4 scrap pieces with LOTS of screws, as this has to be the strongest part. There's a blue, 4", something-thousand pound working load strap that wraps around the tip (making the screws redundant), and two lines secure higher up the tree, about 25' with figure-8 loops (you cant clearly see the blue line, imagine a big right-angle triangle attached to a tree)

The thing would stay in place on its own as it's jammed in branches and the weight "pushes" it toward the trees, but if you look close, i drilled some holes in the arms around where they touch the tree and use about 8 pieces of cheap yellow rope (now painted black) to make sure they don't slip out.

The rings are about 8' high but they should be higher for pull ups. i still cant get all the way up into that "support" pose without jumping from something, guess i need more practice |:<

dwaku (author)theRIAA2009-12-13

 wow, i'd say that's pretty damn secure. well, with your schnazzy setup it'll only be a matter of time before you master a clean muscle up to support.

there's another way you can play around getting up there. start out in a pike hang (see exercise picture posted), and then you snap open by swinging your legs forward. the key is getting your hips as high as possible so that when your chest follows it's above the rings by the time it reaches your hands. you should be in a position that resembles the bottom of a dip, since you're now above the rings from there you press up to a support. this video should be easier to understand.

theRIAA (author)dwaku2009-12-13

ooH! i was looking for something like that.

dwaku (author)2009-07-20

Yeah, the videos on there are great. I just found one on youtube of a guy doing a victorian cross. hard to wrap my head around that kind of strength.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iAHS2YfRlso

EagleScout316 (author)2009-07-20

haven't tried making these beauts yet, but I must say, the Bulgarin Dips on gymnasticbodies.com are truly excruciating. ;)

blah12344321 (author)2009-07-18

you could've coated the whole rings in epoxy for super strength

dwaku (author)blah123443212009-07-19

That's something I tried originally to weather-proof them, but didn't like the feel. I used Minwax indoor/outdoor Helmsman spar urethane and coated each ring twice. Afterwards they lost their smooth touch and felt slightly sticky. I resanded them with 1000 grit sand paper and then restained them. I figured since they're so portable there's no reason to leave them outside, especially in bad weather and without the polyurethane they take better if I ever want to use chalk.

frollard (author)2009-07-18

Very neat instructable - such a simple thing but rather specific if you want the real deal! For those with routers, 'rounding' the rings with rollerbearing supported quarter outside round bits would be a cinch and save lots of filing time...Perhaps if making more than one set.

mbudde (author)2009-07-18

Wow. Those look great!

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