|Project by GeBeWubya||posted 01-26-2014 07:44 PM||1277 views||1 time favorited||4 comments|
My daughter-in-law asked me if I could help her save her books from damage by building the girls a balance beam. It seems they like to lay out a line of books on the floor to walk on.
A regulation balance beam is suede leather covered beam, 10cm (3.94”) wide, 500cm (16 ft) long, and 124cm (4 ft) high. Since my granddaughters do not live in a gym with mats to protect from a 4 ft fall and room for a 16 ft beam, I sized it down to 6 ft long and much closer to the floor.
I built this one from home center lumber by laminating six 1×6 boards into a 4 1/2×5 1/2 beam. I hand planed the sides to bevel the top half down to 4” across the top surface. On the bottom surface, I mortised two 1” x 2” mortises. I then built some tenoned risers (second photo) from 2×4 scraps. The feet are 1’ long 2×6s, mortised all the way through. The beam itself is covered with a faux suede fabric for better footing. At each end is a seam 6” from the end that serves as a warning marker; when you feel the seam under your foot, you are too close to the end. (OK, you caught me. The fabric was 60 inches wide, so rather than buy 3 yards to get a single continuous strip 18 inches wide and 84 inches long (thus wasting over 2/3 of the fabric), I bought one yard, stretched the width of the cloth along the length of the beam, cut the length of the cloth to 18” and had enough to splice the ends from the remaining half yard.)
Hidden from view in the first picture is a pair of 1×2 x 3 inch blocks that fit the mortises and allow the beam to sit flat on the feet. That makes the height of the beam about 7” off the floor. When my granddaughters get confident at that height, they can replace the short tenons with the taller risers to raise the top of the beam to 12 or 16 inches.
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