HAPPY SUMMER! I decided to use my summer freedom to make some really low-grade parallettes out of random junk I had in my garage. For those of you that don't know, parallettes are an exercise tool that can be used for calisthenic exercises like L-sits and handstand pushups. There are a bunch of variations on how to make these, but I noticed there was only one Instructable on how to make these out of PVC, but I didn't have enough PVC connectors to make that one. So I figured I'd make some wooden ones to add diversity and save some money. So let's get started!
Step 1: Materials/Tools
I apologize in advanced for my super non-informative pictures, I decided to make an Instructable about this project when I was already a fourth of the way through.
- 4 7-inch sections of 2x4--I know, my 2x4's already have holes in them. I got too excited, just pretend they aren't there
- 4 12-inch sections of whatever wood you'd like to use as the base--I used planks of 1/4"-thick wood since it's what I had lying around
- 2 1.5"-diameter wooden bars that are about 1.5' long--While I was doing my research for these, some how-to guides recommended that the bars be at least 2 feet long IF you want to do pirouettes on them. That's not my speed so I didn't do it, but if you've got that kind of balance, go for it!
- 8 screws that are long enough to puncture your base wood and go about an inch into the bottom of the 2x4. I think mine were 3.5" but I overdid it
Tools: (not pictured)
- Drill press
- Hole saw drillbits the same width as your bars
- Drillbits for your screws
- Belt sander OR sandpaper and a lot of elbow grease
- Handheld electric drill--not required but extremely helpful
- Screwdriver drillbit
Step 2: Prepping the T-section
I spoiled the first step in the "Materials" pic: drill the holes in the 2x4 for the bars. I positioned the center of the hole so there was about an inch of clearance between the top of the hole and the top of the 2x4. My hole saw bit, as I'm sure yours will be, wasn't deep enough to drill all the way through the wood in one go, so I just drilled as far as I could go and then popped out the center with a chisel. Then I drilled the rest of the way through. Bing bang boom.
For the base prep, all you need to do is put the 2x4 section where you want it on the base and mark it off with a pencil. Then drill 2 holes in the base where you want to place your screws. Finally, drill some countersinks on the opposite side of the pencil marks for the head of your screws so that they don't scratch up whatever surface your parallettes will be on.
Step 3: Assembly
At this point, all the pieces should come together. To avoid misaligning the holes in the 2x4 and the base, place the 2x4 in the spot you marked on the base. Then carefully flip the whole assembly over to avoid moving the base from its marked spot. Then you can drill a pilot hole in the 2x4 using the holes in the base as a guide! If you performed the last step correctly, you should be using the countersink side as a guide. Do this for all four 2x4-base pairs.
Once that's done, just screw in the screws and you're done with the base! Now slip each base on one side of the wooden bars, and you're all done! For me, the bars were a tiny bit bigger than the hole I drilled and my belt sander broke :( So I just sanded the outer ends of the bars and the inside of the hole, which was honestly so obnoxious. PLEASE USE A BELT SANDER IF YOU HAVE ONE! It's for your own good, treasure it forever because as the old saying goes, "You don't know what you've got until it's inexplicably broken, probably since it's older than some of your relatives." Or something like that.
Step 4: Finishing Up
You can sand up some of the edges on the bases to make it look nice; I didn't do that because I'm lazy and as long as they work I'm happy. But you should definitely sand the bars to avoid getting splinters mid-handstand pushup. I thought about adding varnish to the bars, but I figured my skin oils would make the bars look cool over time (kind of gross, but true).
Voila! Your very own gymnastic gym, minus a lot of other things! As always, feel free to leave comments about anything from grammatical mistakes to cool pics of you guys getting after that summer bod. Happy exercising!