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?


  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

  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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