Wooden gymnastic rings

Tarzan

More than 500 posts
I made a set of these on my wood lathe out of plywood a while ago but I never got around to using them. They seem to have a rough texture no matter how fine I try to sand them because of all the exposed end grain in the plywood.

Does anyone know if they are normally finished with urethane or lacquer etc ?

I can see the natural finish would be better for grip, especially with my sweaty hands but I'm not sure glue will handle all that sweat.
 

Steve W.

> 1k Posts
All the (manufactured) wooden rings I've used were unfinished and smooth, but not slippery. I much prefer them to any metal or plastic rings I've tried.
 

kb02

Triple-Digit Post Count
I made a set with PVC and they came out really nice. I saw on the you tube get the size you want heat up in BBQ grill for 5 minutes ,wrap them around a gallon paint can and cool off with water .They retain the circular shape .
 

Tarzan

More than 500 posts
Thanks Steve, I'll leave them as they are then.

I haven't seen wooden rings since High School, I just remember them having a much smoother finish. It was over 30 years ago though so maybe time has distorted my perception.
 

kb02

Triple-Digit Post Count
No I didn't secure them on the ends but I suppose you could to improve even more by putting a connector .I just passed the strap through the inside and put a tape to keep the ends from scratching my arm in a dip type movement.
 

JamesO

More than 500 posts
That's rad! What kind of ply did you use? My rings look like a high quality voidless baltic birch. If you used a lower grade or CX grade material, the end grain could be fairly rough in comparison.
 

Geoff Chafe

> 2k Posts
A set of high quality wooden rings with adjustable nylon straps are so cheap why bother to try to make something. I got a set of rings for about $20.
 

Tarzan

More than 500 posts
rings1.jpg rings.jpg I'm not sure what grade of ply it was James, it's labeled by the size and thickness of the sheet without any other details. The website for the hardware store doesn't have much info & the store is staffed with morons who know jack about hardware, so I have no idea.

I used 6mm ply and glued 6 layers together. The reason I chose the 6mm was because it had thinner layers than the 12 & 19 mm sheets and it had no obvious voids in the end grains like the thicker sheets did. I was thinking the glue would be stronger than the wood and more layers would make a stronger ring when it was finished.

It was a lot of work for something I could have bought for less than $30. Breathing all that toxic crap from the glue (I think it has formaldehyde in it) when I was turning them wasn't much fun either. I won't be in a rush to do it again.

I rigged them up last night and played around with them to ensure they can take my weight and they seem to be OK. The rough finish actually seems to help to hold them in a false grip.
 

JamesO

More than 500 posts
Well, I'm really impressed regardless of how they feel. :) I wouldn't even know how to mount them to the chuck. I took a bowl making class in December and had no idea so much goes into turning.

A lot of times those smaller sheet goods are high quality. I get a lot of 1x2' half-inch stuff because it's really convenient for the things I use it for.
 

Tarzan

More than 500 posts
I did them on a faceplate James. I turned one side first and then flipped them over and did the other side.

My kids love them and I keep catching them slipping out to skin the cat on them. I think they even like saying skin the cat almost as much as they like doing it. Doing it or saying it brings a big smile to their faces.

They can all do pullups on them & my daughter can crank out three reps pulling the rings to her chest.
 

Tarzan

More than 500 posts
It turns out I had to ban my kids from using the rings. They've used them that much over the last few days that they all have blisters and skin peeling off their hands.

I know they'll still sneak out to use them when they think I'm not watching but they've become addicted to the bloody things and were really doing way too much on them.

They've even "invented" some new moves which are really just versions of skin the cat with a twist.
The dive bomber - where they immediately jump back after their feet hit ground on each rep
The evil phantom - where they do an inverted vertical hang
The flipper - where they hold an inverted tuck and clap their feet together as many times as possible.
and another one my oldest boy does where he climbs up the straps and stands in the rings - I call that one GET DOWN NOW
 

ali

> 1k Posts
@Tarzan I play about on wooden bars at a gym and they ripped up my hands in seconds! A lot of gymnasts wear protection on rings. I have plastic at home.....I prefer wood for feel and look but bought plastic ones. I'm not a woodworker or anything but reckon plywood wouldn't be great for smoothness. If water gets in the grain and raises it, the cross section nature of ply construction will raise the grain more than if the wood was from a single source. The expansion wouldn't be uniform and the grain will be more pronounced. Marine ply maybe then? If your rings were from a single source and treated with oil, linseed or something, then the risk of cuts will be reduced I would think. Certainly the rings at the gym I used to use do not rip as much, unlike the bars, where you can see the grain has lifted and cracked. HOwever false grip pull ups on them scuffed up my wrists, manageable though, unlike massive open blisters. Get yourself a pair of gymnast palm protectors.......problem is they only seem to do them for kids!! I bought a pair of xl and they just fit. They fit over your middle 2 fingers protecting the finger pads and wrap around your wrists for those false grips. For my plastic monstrosities I stuck on some squash racket tape to help with slippy sweat......another option maybe if the wood is too abrasive.
 

Antti

> 4k Posts
I've seen wax used as a finish on gymnastic rings. I don't know which kind of wax specifically, but there are options on them for finishing wood.
 

Tarzan

More than 500 posts
Well after a few weeks of use the rings seem to be getting a natural burnished finished from the friction & the sebum that comes from our hands when we sweat.

I made the rings for myself but it turned out to be the best thing I've ever done for my kids. I set them up in a doorway that's out of the way but still close to our main living area. They are still obsessed with them. It's the first thing they do when they get up in the morning and they all cue up for a go before bed. There's been quite a few arguments and fights over who gets to use them and people taking too long when it's their turn ect.

The whole time they are home the kids GTG on them and they've made some serious progressions in strength and technique. They have really toned up and have started to build some noticeable muscle. They can all now do front and back tuck levers, inverted pullups and skin the cat while holding an L sit. It's like they've crammed 3 months of training into 3 weeks by simply playing on them.

I wish I had a set when I was a kid.
 
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