Gymnastics Rings



I recently started working on some basic gymnastics skills, and I decided to use my woodworking skills to make some home-made rings.

I’ve been doing a bit of basic gymnastics lately (really basic). My interest in gymnastics is really just for basic strength and flexibility, and to keep things interesting as I try to improve my overall fitness. Some of the basic equipment needed is fairly easy to make.

The first thing I made was a pair of PVC pipe parallettes – these are good for L-sits and handstands, and (eventually) handstand pushups.



To do pullups, dips, and (eventually) muscle-ups, you need rings. I found a great post about making home-made wooden rings on the CrossFit forum, and I figured I could easily do that.


The rings are made up of three layers of plywood: a 1/4″ sheet sandwiched between two 1/2″ sheets yields blanks that are about 1-3/16″ thick – just the right thickness for a comfortable grip. I cut the sheets into 9-1/4″ squares and glued them up with wood glue (TB-III) and really good clamp pressure. After that I found the center point and drew two concentric circles – the outer circle has a radius of 4-5/8″, and the inner circle radius is 3-7/16″. This yields a ring that is 1-3/16″ wide – exactly the same as the thickness of my plywood blanks.


Then I cut the rings out with a jigsaw (inner ring) and bandsaw (outer ring), and smoothed the cuts with the oscillating spindle sander (inner) & disk sander (outer). Once I had a nice smooth round ring, I rounded over the edges with a 5/8″ roundover bit on the router table. This resulted in a nearly perfectly round grip – very comfortable.



I sanded the rings smooth and finished them with several layers of wipe-on finish I had on hand – a mix of tung oil, mineral spirits, and spar varnish. After several coats, the rings feel smooth as silk. They are suspended with a pair of lashing straps (1″ x 12′) I picked up from Harbor Freight.



That was easy. The hard part is actually USING them!  I will be following some of the progressions on Drills & Skills web site – here’s a link to a good article:  Got Rings?

2 comments:

  1. nice job on the rings, they look great, any idea what wood is used in the ply?
    I make these to sell and have worked my way up to furniture grade birch plywood. lots of plys, really smooth finish.
    Hope you're ring training is going well

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  2. Thanks for posting this write-up, I just made myself a pair! I used a couple of small project panels from that orange store, and they turned out pretty good, but I'm not exactly sure what kind of wood they are made of. If I were going to do it again I would probably look for birch plywood as mentioned in the other comment.

    Also, I have left mine unfinished since that appears to be how most of the commercially available wood rings are.

    I like your site, you have done many very nice looking projects!

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