If you are a gymnast, of whatever age, you may be curious as to how to make a balance beam.
You’ll want to have one so that you can learn all the skills of making sure you have balance and poise, and this is a popular sport in many places.
If you learn how to make one, then you’ll be able to practice your skills anywhere.
Making the Beam
The first thing you’ll need to do is buy the wood from your local hardware store. If you want to build the beam, you’ll need to buy:
- six eight-foot pieces of 1×6 beams
- four twelve-inch 2×4 planks
- four 24-inch 2×4 planks
Be sure that you measure all the pieces in the hardware store before you buy them, to make sure you are getting the exact fit you need to build your balance beam.
You’ll also want to buy all the other things you need. This includes:
- soap and water
- waterproof glue that can be used on wood
- wood clamps (or really heavy weights)
- sanding plane or a sand belt
- angle holders (these should come with screws)
- screwdriver (for installing angle holders)
- 32 wood screws
- synthetic suede (preferably padded)
After this, you’ll want to wash all of your wood pieces with soap and water. Be sure you remove all the dirt to make building your balance beam easier.
Without cleaning your wood pieces, you’ll have a tough time getting the glue to hold the pieces together.
Then, you’ll want to glue the six eight-foot wood beams together. Be sure that you liberally apply the glue, to make sure that your wood pieces will stick together as best as they can.
First, put them together vertically, then glue the flat sides with the widest surfaces together using an industrial-strength glue made especially for wood. Be sure that you give the beams plenty of time to dry before moving forward.
Keep in mind that your goal for this part is to make one large beam that is about eight feet long and 4.5 inches wide.
The 4.5-inch surface will serve as the top of your balance beam.
Next, while the glue dries, you’ll want to secure your balance beam. You are making progress!
You can always use wood clamps to secure your beam. If you are without a clamp, try using a heavy weight to make sure the beams stick together easily.
You should be sure to let the beams dry for about a day, or 24 hours
Next, you’ll want to sand the wood on your homemade balance beam. You should take off the clamps or the weights and then sand using a sanding plane or a sand belt, whichever works better for you.
Make sure you keep your surface even as you sand.
After you do this, and your sanding job is perfect, you’ll want to use steel angle holders on your beam.
Be sure that you install the angle holders to the ends of your beam, on the underside.
Make sure you use the screws that they come with, and attach them about 12 inches from the end of each side of your balance beam.
Adding the Base
Make sure your beam has legs! You’ll want to hook the four twelve-inch pieces of two-by-four planks in the angle holders.
This will make the legs for your balance beam. Be sure to use about four wood screws per leg. You will need sixteen screws total.
If you look at your beam, you will see four spaces available for your legs, in the angle holders.
Next, you’ll want to make sure you anchor each leg at the base. You’ll want to use four wood screws per leg to anchor a 24-inch piece of two-by-four plank to the bottom of each leg.
It’s very important to get this right, for this will create greater balance and support for your balance beam.
Cover your balance beam with synthetic suede. You can also try using felt, old clothes that you’ve cut to fit the size of your balance beam, an old bed cover or duvet cover that you’ve cut to fit the size of your balance beam.
Any of these should make a fine balance beam covering. You’ll want to cut a long strip of suede (preferably padded) and make sure it fits both the width and length of your balance beam.
Then, you’ll want to glue the suede padding to your balance beam to create comfort as you practice your gymnastics at home.
You’ll want to be comfortable, so choose a piece that fits all the way around your balance beam, and make sure you fasten it to the bottom with the angle holders. This is the best way to make sure your suede padding stays secure.
And if you are going to use the beam indoors, consider adding suede pieces to the bottom of the legs of your balance beam. This will prevent the beam from scratching your floors up with its scraping wood, no?
Make sure you let the padding dry all the way before you attempt to use the beam
To Sum it Up
Now, you know exactly how to make a balance beam. With all of this knowledge at your side, you are ready to start by making a trip to your local hardware store to buy all the items you’ll need to get started.
Just think…you’ll be able to practice gymnastics in style, all because you put in some extra time building your balance beam to use from the comfort of your home.
This means you can practice your skills anytime you want, and you’re sure to improve quickly by working on your skills from home. Good luck!