Archive | 3:41 pm

Gymnastics Bar How-To

20 Dec

Repost: We still get frequent inquiries into the construction of our gymnastics bar, and some readers have asked some very good questions.  Thus, we’ve decided to repost with some added explanation and photos toward the end.  Also, read the comment thread to follow the discussion.

A number of people have inquired about how I constructed the gymnastics bar, so rather than answer each question individually, we decided to devote a post to explaining the gymnastics bar project.

First the materials:

The structure I used requires 6 – 8 ft. 2×4’s.  Head to your local lumberyard or check the rafters in the garage for all that lumber leftover from the last project.

You’ll need a rod for the bar.  I used a fairly heavy duty 1.5 inch dowel rod I’d gotten at a yard sale.  Like most things purchased at a yard sale, it came in handy one day.

To drill the holes in the vertical support beams for the crossbar to fit in to, I used a spade bit attachment on my power drill.  Spade bits come in a variety of sizes, just get one wider than the diameter of the dowel rod.

While you’re at the hardware store getting your spade bit, grab some primer and the paint colors you want for the bar.

…Oh, and some screws, you know, to screw everything together.

The basic procedure:

Disclaimer:  I am assuming a basic knowledge of carpentry when I give these instructions thus they are not as detailed as they could be.  If you need more insight, ask your next door neighbor.

First, make the support beams.  Cut three of the 8 ft. 2×4’s into 4 ft. boards.  You should now have six – 4 ft. boards.  Two of these boards will be your straight vertical supports and the other four boards will be the angled support beams that attach flush with the  edge of the vertical beam and flush with the ground.  See the picture for clarification.  I made these angled cuts with just a skill saw and they are kind of sloppy.  A chop saw is the best tool for the job.

You may now screw these sets together and you will have two structures that look like ‘A’s but with a vertical beam in the center extending beyond the diagonal supports.

In the vertical supports you may now drill your holes near the top of the vertical beam using your spade bit.  Drill the hole at the same height on each support, this ensures your bar will be level.  I didn’t drill the hole all the way through each 2×4 but I did drill about on inch deep into each support.

You should now build your rectangular base that the support beams will screw in to.  I built my base 6 feet long by 4 feet across, thus cutting my boards to these lengths. Screw these boards together into a perfect rectangle.

You may now set your A-shaped support posts onto the rectangular base.  These supports should sit directly across from each other, centered on the 6 foot long sides, thus there will be about 4 feet between them.  Decide exactly where you want these to sit on the base, and mark accordingly before screwing down.  Based on where you decide to set your support posts, you should now be able to calculate the length to cut your bar.  Remember the bar will sit about 1 inch deep into each support post.  Factor this in when measuring the distance across between the posts.  Cut the dowel rod accordingly.  Figure it out.

You should now have made all your necessary measurements and cuts.  You can screw the whole thing together if you want, but you may need to assemble it all in the room you plan to leave it.  it doesn’t fit easily through doors.  And yes, I would even put a few screws through the vertical posts into the ends of the bar, just for good measure. (As you can see, I painted mine before screwing it into the base, no big deal).



As you can see, I added two screws through the post into each end of the bar. This should keep the bar from twisting. One might also fill the space with wood glue if necessary.

DSC_5110 DSC_5109

The above photos show how I increased lateral support by extending a post out perpendicular to the frame, aligned with the center support.  I then ran a support down diagonally from the center support to the additional board on the ground.

Prime and paint.  (Oh, and you can putty the screw holes is you want, but only if you’re trying to impress your daughter’s friend’s dad.)

Have fun!