Backyard Ice Rink (Countryman Press, 2015) by Joe Proulx guides you through every step of building your own backyard ice skating rink. From the simplest wooden frame to elaborate tall-board rinks, from measuring the slope in your yard to constructing your frame using parts found at your local hardware store, Proulx makes the project easy to tackle. This project will help new skaters gain confidence on the ice.
For all the joys associated with teaching a kid to skate — the shrieks of happiness, the “I’m doing it” look — there are certain pains as well. Namely the aches in your back and knees after spending two hours bending at the waist to hold onto tiny hands as they wobble around on miniature Bauers. So instead of volunteering your vertebrae to bear the brunt of Slugger’s wobbly weight, why not drop $11 and fifteen minutes of your time and build a PVC skating aid? Bonus — your hands are free to hold the video camera.
- About 20' of 1-1/4" PVC
- Six 90-degree elbows
- Two 45-degree slip connectors
- Four slip t-connectors
- PVC cleaner and glue
- You’ll need to cut the PVC into several lengths. For young kids (four to six years old), I used these sizes. Don’t be too freaked out if one is a slightly different length. I eyeballed most of my cuts and made them using a table saw that was not made for PVC. It still works.
- Four pieces at 30" each
- Two pieces at 26" each
- Two pieces at 14.5" each
- Four pieces at 6" each
- Two pieces at 4" each
- From there, it’s just a matter of putting all the pieces together to match the photos. The first time you put it together, don’t glue it. This gives you the ability to ensure the size works for your little skater, and to get the hang of assembly without the worry that you did it wrong. Once you’re confident in the size and assembly, feel free to take it apart one junction at a time and glue it. And that’s it! If you take your time, this should take a half hour to build.
- Experiment with different sizes or pipe diameters. My oldest is five, and his friends are the primary users of this, so the sizes above worked for me. But PVC is cheap, so play around with the design and build what works for you.
- Make sure you double-check the parts you’re buying before you leave the store. Those PVC part bins always have rogue pieces that are the wrong size, or have threaded parts in with the slip connectors.
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Excerpted from Backyard Ice Rink by Joe Proulx. Reprinted with permission from Countryman Press.