PDA

View Full Version : wood to use for monkey bars



bahty
2nd Aug 2012, 03:07 PM
Hello everyone,

I'm building monkey bars for my children and trying to find what wood will work best for the bars. I'm currently looking into oak, beech, birch and maple dowel rods of 1-1/4 inches dia. Any recommendations would be highly appreciated.

Thanks,
Bahty

_fly_
2nd Aug 2012, 04:23 PM
What did they make the old wooden ladders from out your way.
I guess if it holds a 100 kg man up it should hold your kids.
See if you can find an old ladder somewhere, may not be ok as a ladder but put that up on posts.
Peter

BobL
2nd Aug 2012, 04:37 PM
Hello everyone,

I'm building monkey bars for my children and trying to find what wood will work best for the bars. I'm currently looking into oak, beech, birch and maple dowel rods of 1-1/4 inches dia. Any recommendations would be highly appreciated.

Thanks,
Bahty
Hi bahty, welcome to the WWF.
In case you are unaware this is primarily an Australian site and those trees you mention in your post are not native to us so there are only a few members that might have any sort of experience with them in the context you refer to.
Cheers

crowie
2nd Aug 2012, 10:07 PM
G'Day & welcome to a top forum "down under" Bahty,
A few years back I built a set of "Wall bars" for the local Boys & Girls Club.
I used 32mm dia [1-1/4"] Tassie Oak stock [Australia Hardwood];
plus 4" x 2" Structual framing Timber for the base & uprights.
Have a talk to your local timber merchant for advice [lumber supplier].
I hope that's some help.
Enjoy the forum as we have a whole heap of helpful & knowledgable blokes & ladies and for the most very willing to assist.
Make sure you show off your handiwork as everyone loves a photo, especially WIP photos with build notes.
Enjoy your woodwork & good luck with the "monkey bars",
Cheers, crowie

dr4g0nfly
2nd Aug 2012, 11:44 PM
Hi Bahty,

I'm from the UK but speak the same trees as you.

I'd go with Ash for it's springiness and ability to withstand shocks (it was used to make wagon wheels).

Another wood you have is Hickory - popular even with us for the same reasons as above and used more commonly as tool handles.

bahty
3rd Aug 2012, 12:21 AM
Ash sounds like a good option. For some reason it got out of my list. Thanks a lot!

Bushmiller
3rd Aug 2012, 01:54 AM
Bahty

My comments following are going to depend on the overall length of your monkey bars.

1 1/4" sounds about right for the rungs but would be too light I think for the rails. To give you some idea the parallel bars in gymnastics are just shy of 12' long (3.5m) and are 2" (50mm)deep and 1 1/2" (40mm) wide in a rounded shape that is wider at the top than the bottom.

Whilst I don't imagine the kids will be putting the monkey bars to the same level of punishment as the olympic gymnasts, I could envisage eight or so going across at one go:wink: attempting a world record for the most kids on a monkey bar.

Regards
Paul

crowie
3rd Aug 2012, 10:09 AM
Bahty

My comments following are going to depend on the overall length of your monkey bars.

1 1/4" sounds about right for the rungs but would be too light I think for the rails. To give you some idea the parallel bars in gymnastics are just shy of 12' long (3.5m) and are 2" (50mm)deep and 1 1/2" (40mm) wide in a rounded shape that is wider at the top than the bottom.

Whilst I don't imagine the kids will be putting the monkey bars to the same level of punishment as the olympic gymnasts, I could envisage eight or so going across at one go:wink: attempting a world record for the most kids on a monkey bar.

Regards
Paul

G'day Paul,
I do maintenance at our local Boys & Girls Club wihich has a full gymnastics program for some 400 gymnastics each week.
The "P Bars" are a made item; they have a steel rod up the centre with 2 laminated halves of timber wrapped around them. Oval in shape as you said.but way stronger than just timber.
The "High Bar" is steel though we do have a fibreglass one for the girls to train on [little larger diameter].
The "Uneven Bars" are reinforced fibreglass.
The "Wall Bars" are 32mm [1-1/4"] dia Tassie Oak but are only 3.6mtrs wide giving 3 sets of bars [ie 4 uprights].....
Sorry for going on a bit.
Cheers, crowie

bahty
3rd Aug 2012, 01:25 PM
Paul,

Sure enough I would love to see my kids preparing for Olympics, but this wont happen at least in the next 7-10 years:))

I am trying to do monkey bars similar to this image, but with slight variations:

http://t3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcS1EAozaKM0d-qjAneeu4HfKgNAPYNMVN7nYfJB4O_KZwXLtdJv

I make both horizontal and vertical rails from 2x6 (inches... sorry for that) pine. Vertical rails are 6 feet and 7 feet and horizontal rails are 8 feet. Rungs are 1-1/4x36 inches ash (as recommended here). Distance between rungs on horizontal rails is 11 inches and 10 inches on vertical ladder.

Handyjack
3rd Aug 2012, 03:04 PM
Is it for indoor or outdoor use?

bahty
3rd Aug 2012, 03:57 PM
this is for indoor use only. good point:)

Bushmiller
3rd Aug 2012, 08:28 PM
Paul,

Sure enough I would love to see my kids preparing for Olympics, but this wont happen at least in the next 7-10 years:))

I am trying to do monkey bars similar to this image, but with slight variations:

http://t3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcS1EAozaKM0d-qjAneeu4HfKgNAPYNMVN7nYfJB4O_KZwXLtdJv

I make both horizontal and vertical rails from 2x6 (inches... sorry for that) pine. Vertical rails are 6 feet and 7 feet and horizontal rails are 8 feet. Rungs are 1-1/4x36 inches ash (as recommended here). Distance between rungs on horizontal rails is 11 inches and 10 inches on vertical ladder.

Bahty

I was on the wrong track as the image below is what I call monkey bars. Your apparatus I would have called a climbing frame. It looks like good healthy kids fun:).

Regards
Paul

Bushmiller
3rd Aug 2012, 08:33 PM
G'day Paul,
I do maintenance at our local Boys & Girls Club wihich has a full gymnastics program for some 400 gymnastics each week.
The "P Bars" are a made item; they have a steel rod up the centre with 2 laminated halves of timber wrapped around them. Oval in shape as you said.but way stronger than just timber.
The "High Bar" is steel though we do have a fibreglass one for the girls to train on [little larger diameter].
The "Uneven Bars" are reinforced fibreglass.
The "Wall Bars" are 32mm [1-1/4"] dia Tassie Oak but are only 3.6mtrs wide giving 3 sets of bars [ie 4 uprights].....
Sorry for going on a bit.
Cheers, crowie

Crowie

No problem at all. In fact the olympic spec says the rails can have an inner core or not, but the appearance has to be of natural timber. The spec also calls for a degree of "springyness," but all that is well beyond our level (make that my level:rolleyes:).

Regards
Paul

crowie
3rd Aug 2012, 09:49 PM
Crowie

No problem at all. In fact the olympic spec says the rails can have an inner core or not, but the appearance has to be of natural timber. The spec also calls for a degree of "springyness," but all that is well beyond our level (make that my level:rolleyes:).

Regards
Paul
G'Day Paul, What club are you involved with please?
I seem to be a gymnastics widower as my wife is a level 2 coach & head coach plus judge and I have 2 of my 2 daughter who all used to do gymnastics now also coaching.
Keeps me off the street and in the shed.
Cheers, crowie

Bushmiller
4th Aug 2012, 08:34 PM
G'Day Paul, What club are you involved with please?
I seem to be a gymnastics widower as my wife is a level 2 coach & head coach plus judge and I have 2 of my 2 daughter who all used to do gymnastics now also coaching.
Keeps me off the street and in the shed.
Cheers, crowie

Before I reply to crowie, I have to apologise to Bahty as I can see I am about to partly highjack your thread. This is something that is frowned upon by the administrators and of which I, and many others, are frequently guilty. However I was raised on digressions and having said that, I think at least some of the content may be relevant.

Crowie

You have partly sprung me as my involvement with gymnastics is tenuous tending to non-existant. I don't belong to a club and indeed I never have. I last competed, at the tender age of 12 years, in 1962 in the under 16 national championships in the UK. That is my sole qualification to comment on gymnastic apparatus:(.

It was the sport at which I was best, but the one I pursued least. I have no illusions: I was and would have been an "also ran." However, I loved it, and in nostalgic terms my cup brimeth over.

So how did I come to the detail regarding parallel bars? About three years ago I had both hips replaced and realised that it would be very easy to resign myself to a sedentary existence. I have not undertaken any dedicated exercise since my late twenties although I would have described myself as active.

Following my ops, in a moment of madness, I decided to build myself a set of modified parallel bars and in another moment of insanity I made them to resemble the olympic versions.

The reference I used for the build can be found in this link:

http://www.gymogturn.no/konkurranse/turnmenn/reglement306/Retningslinjer/Apparat%20norm%202009.pdf

Pages 44-46 refer to the parallel bars, but as you will see every piece of olympic apparatus is included in the 164 pages.

My bars only resemble the real thing as they are about 1500mm long instead of 3500mm, they adjust upwards, but not in their width and there is no articulation where the rails are held to the uprights. So all in all they are nothing like the real thing.

I used recycled Spotted Gum (they were the farrowing bars from a piggery so they have an interesting aroma when they are being machined), but as I am in QLD they are probably in reality Lemon Scented Gum, which is very similar but to my mind has a less attractive grain. All the steel was recycled scrap.

Just as a matter of interest the cross section of the bar tapers towards the bottom so it is more than just an oval. Again the specification for this can be found on page 46 of the link.

Do I use these bars to the full? Absolutely not! I'd kill myself:oo:. I get into position on the bars, nod to the imaginary judges and ponder what I might have been able to do 40 to 50 years ago and then get down again:-. I am in denial: There is no disputing that.

I have attached some pixs for reference. The bars look a little weathered, which is mainly because the bars are always out in the weather. They are sitting between two shipping containers, which I plan to couple with a shed across them, but this hasn't happened yet.

Unlike you, my family has never shown any interest in sporting activities. However, when I made the bars, my son, who is not a large person (he's probably the right size for a gymnast) jumped up and put himself into a near horizontal hold just supported on his arms. I think it would almost equate to the crucifix position on the rings:cool:. I was impressed and demoralised all at the same time.:rolleyes:. As he is thirty it is too late for him too and far too many beers have gone under the belt.

Regards
Paul

SAISAY
5th Aug 2012, 07:57 AM
Bahty

I was on the wrong track as the image below is what I call monkey bars. Your apparatus I would have called a climbing frame. It looks like good healthy kids fun:).

Regards
Paul
Jungle Gym?
Add a flying fox to theside and the kids will have a ball.
Cheers
Wolffie

crowie
5th Aug 2012, 12:47 PM
Thank you Paul for taking the time to write back.
I too owe "bahty" an apologie for the partical highjack of his thread.....thank you for your understand.
I hope admidst all the inform "bahty" you have gained some help to build the "monkey bars" for your children just like those in the photo you posted.
looking forward to seeing the biuld "bahty".
Cheers, crowie

bahty
11th Aug 2012, 04:29 PM
I like Jungle Gym:))

By the way, can anyone recommend how to finish ash for rungs?

Thanks,
Bahty

bahty
11th Aug 2012, 04:40 PM
I will definitely keep this thread alive until I complete the project and will post final pictures:)

cadas
11th Aug 2012, 04:47 PM
Late to this thread.

I had to build several sets of monkey bars for my kids last school in Spain. The local 'builder' tried to use aluminum ladders, but the treads just ripped the kids hands on the first day.

I just used 4x2 treated pine for the sides and 'bog standard' 1"1/4 dowel from local building supplies. Width was about 450 total, rungs were recessed in and alternate rungs screwed with stainless 3" screws.

All given a good dollop of acrylic varnish.

3years on still there and no broken kids yet.

Bushmiller
11th Aug 2012, 07:27 PM
I like Jungle Gym:))

By the way, can anyone recommend how to finish ash for rungs?

Thanks,
Bahty

In some ways an oiled finish is preferrable as it provides more grip. Consider here that the olympic apparatus has no finish material whatsoever: Just raw timber. The gymnasts also cover their hands with resins, which I am assuming will not be an option for your children. You will have product over there and there is not much point in relating what we could use here. Most oils are based on tung oil.

However you might also like to consider a satin or even matt varnish finish. The reason I say this is that if enough sweaty, dirty childrens' hands come into contact with the bars they will start to look fairly unappealing. A varnished bar (not full gloss mind you) will be easier to clean perhaps than an oiled finish.

Regards
Paul

bahty
20th Aug 2012, 01:17 PM
Hello everyone,

Finally, I have completed building the jungle gym/monkey bars and it came out pretty nice, very sturdy and kids love it:)

Thanks to everyone who replied - I really appreciate all the answers and comments.

Here are some pics:)

Bushmiller
20th Aug 2012, 04:25 PM
Very exiciting looking piece of apparatus Bahty. I'm sure the kids will absolutely love it. Well done and thanks for posting the pix.

Regards
Paul

crowie
20th Aug 2012, 10:22 PM
Hello everyone,

Finally, I have completed building the jungle gym/monkey bars and it came out pretty nice, very sturdy and kids love it:)

Thanks to everyone who replied - I really appreciate all the answers and comments.

Here are some pics:)
What a top job you've done there "bahty"....WELL DONE!!
Cheers, crowie