In a previous post of this article series, I mentioned choosing the appropriate lumber for this particular DIY project that will be able to withstand the heavy barbell in your exercises.
This post will discuss some of the other considerations you may need to keep in mind when building homemade fitness equipment out of wood. These are general carpentry-related tasks that can be applied to most wood projects.
Tips for Construction
- Pre-drill Holes for Screws
Screws are better than nails because of their stronger gripping power. However, screws, especially the bigger and longer ones can split wood. The way around this is to have a hole for the screw to work into.
Use a power drill and the appropriate sized drill bit to create the hole. Not only will you eliminate the chances of splitting the wood, you'll find it's easier to work in the screw using just a screwdriver.
- Remove Burrs with a Flat File
Any cutting or sawing, whether with wood or the metal fasteners, will always result in rough edges. Use a flat file to remove this excess material.
Since you will be working out in and around these exercise equipment, you eliminate the chances of getting cuts or scrapes from these burrs by removing them.
- Cover Holes and Dents
Wood always have imperfections and these may be in form of holes, dents or small cracks. They're not only unsightly, they can make the wood weaker as well. Use a strong wood filler to cover these.
If you find yourself doing your weight training exercises outside the house, then you may want to consider use that is treated for termite-proofing. This is especially true if your area has them.
When stored away, the wooden base of the exercise equipment may get into contact with the soil and that's usually the start of infestation. It's actually easy to termite-proof wood yourself.
Make sure the wood is able to withstand harsh weather conditions so it doesn't rot. The base of the exercise equipment is especially susceptible if left in standing water. Pressure-treated lumber does not rot and is insect-proof.
It is the best, although it may be cost prohibitive. So the next best thing is to ensure that the wood will have a durable finish. Use a tough glazing putty to cover the wood and apply a couple of coats of durable paint.
- Use Paint to Highlight Areas
I mentioned before that using a brighter colored paint for the catches of the squat stands is a good idea. As a visual cue, this helps the weight lifter to easily return the heavy barbell on any one of the 3 levels of catches on the squat stands.
After many workouts, the exercise equipment like the one pictured above would eventually have dings, dents and scratches. The above list of tips is not to have a pretty set of squat stands.
It is to provide you with a workout that is safe and efficient and with equipment that will last for many years.
Here's a list of links to my homemade gym and exercise equipment:
(with photos and how-to instructions)
- Squat Stands
Made from wood and metal fasteners. With three barbell catches.
- Weight Plates and Dumbbell Rack
Made from wood. Features a curling bar stand and sit-up bar
- Parallel Grip Pull Bar
Multi-purpose and all-metal construction. No welding required.
- Adjustable Metal Safety Squat Racks
Height-adjustable squat racks for multiple exercises. No welding required.
- Thick Bar Handles for Barbell or Dumbbells (Fat Grips)
Easy to assemble from pvc. Ideal for strong grip training.
- Physical Therapy Dumbbell Bar
Made from pvc. Accepts standard light weight plates for therapy or rehab.
- Wrist Roller
Tips for wrist, forearm and elbow therapy exercises.
This list is growing, so be sure to come back!