The Oracle of Apollo Snippets from the life of Apollo Lee

May 08, 2010 - 21:05

Fitness, Friends, Life

Building Parallettes

My friend, Eric, came over today to work on homemade CrossFit tools. The original plan was to build a few medicine balls, which we would build out of rubber basketballs, playground balls, sand, and duct tape. We also decided to build a pair of parallettes each, per Greg Glassman’s instructions. After a visit to Orchard Supply Hardware to pick out the supplies to build parallettes, we were ready to get underway with the construction project.

I remember some time ago reading a funny story about a guy’s misadventure making a medicine ball. I thought to myself, “The worst that can happen is that I’ll mess up the cuts on a PVC pipe and have to buy another $2.25 pipe to start over with.” I knew that, whenever we built the medicine balls and parallettes, we’d be working outside. Spilled sand or miscut pipes outside damages nothing. Right.

When Eric and I got the supplies out to my car, I pointed out that the seats in the back fold down flat and that there should easily be enough room to put the PVC pipes in the car and close the rear hatch. Unfortunately, I loaded the PVC pipes in the car, put one end against the windshield on the passenger side and closed the hatch. This caused the PVC pipes to impact the corner of the windshield on the passenger side. Yes, now I have an impact fracture from the inside about the size of a dollar bill. So, my parallette construction project just added a $150 windshield repair to the bill.

Eric and I wandered to find burlap bags, found the clock ticking against us as we researched glass repair options, and finally scrubbed the medicine ball construction (which would involve running to a beach to get 50 pounds of sand and, the way my luck was going, dumping it all over the interior of my car). We decided to focus on building the parallettes.

The actual construction part of the parallettes was really easy. While Glassman’s instructions call for a high level of precision and straight cuts, we had minimal tools and cut the pipes by hand on my front lawn. Using electrical tape as a cut guide, in accordance with the instructions, was brilliant, but electrical tape never forced a straight cut from a small hack saw. While some of our cuts were weirdly crooked, once the parallettes were put together, they were as solid as they would be if we had used a mitre box.

After some testing, we were both surprised by how solid and useful these parallettes are. I was also surprised by how much more challenging kicking up to a handstand is when you’re effectively nine inches taller. Fortunately, we have photographic evidence of our adventure.

Parallette Materials:
  • 1 PVC Pipe, 10 feet: $2.23
  • 4 PVC Elbows: 4 x $0.47 = $1.88
  • 4 PVC T Joints: 4 x $0.65 = $2.60
  • 8 PVC End Caps: 8 x $0.53 = $4.24
Tools & Supplies:
  • Electrical tape: $0.59
  • Mini Hack Saw: $6.49
  • PVC Cement: $4.79
  • Windshield repair: $200.00

Today’s grand total: $233.77

The lesson: When loading your car with something long, don’t put the end against the windshield.

1 Comment

Posted by
Eric R
Jun 22, 2010 - 08:06

I’m sorry that this happened to your windshield, Apollo. A terrible twist to an otherwise awesome day. 🙁

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