PBC pipe for obstacles?

I was brainstorming how to add to my simple beginning backyard trials set up.

I was thinking about building something like a ladder with PBC piping. It would lie down on the ground and be used for gapping practice. I could forward hop on each “rung” or gap from one “rung to another. The PBC piping would probably 1” size or a bit bigger. It would be about 18" wide and 8 to 10 feet long. The gaps between the rungs would be irregular, so as you hop from one rung to another, you would have to adjust to the changing distance.

I would probably have some planking to mount the structure to in order to keep it stable if I was gapping along its length from the left to the right side and back and forth, so it doesn’t tip over.

I figure the stuff is cheap and easy to work with. Not sure how durable it is or how prone to crushing it is.

I have also toyed with placing a 2"size pipe onto a 8’ piece of wood to create a skinny to ride on. Any comments on that idea.


If you’re talking about PVC (Poly-Vinyl Conduit, I believe), i would reccomend against it. That stuff is too flexible, and will be very unstable and wiggly in lengths beyond about 10-15x the thickness of the pipe.

Why not some 1.5" schedule 40 pipe? That’s standard handrail stock, super durable and plenty stiff. Talk to your local scrap yard to find some. You can cut it with a hacksaw or pickup a hand held bandsaw for it. A cheap MIG welder would be enough to weld mounting plates on, which would be some easy welds.

Even better is simply 2x4s. You won’t notice much of a diff. in the gaps, and 2x4s are super cheap and easy to work with.

An 8’ skinny is pretty short, almost too short to help with riding skinnies. A good minimum is ~12’, preferrably 15-30’. Use 1.5" or 1" pipe, it’s easier to ride, often. You only need to support skinnies every 3-5’, at most. Don’t wast an 8’ plank on a skinny. Try round cutouts from 2x4s or 4x4s so only half the pipe sticks up above the tops of the wood. You can attach with VERY tight steel hose clamps, which won’t be noticable when riding, but will prevent rotating of the pipe.

PVC - Poly Vinyl Chloride


Yeah, my bad.


thanks for the all the advice. Much of my stuff is driven by ease of working with and tools I have and available time. Looks like the PVC is out. I don’t have any stuff to work with metal, so that’s out, but I do have some 8’ lengths of 2 x 4s which I was initially going to use and 5 scap 2 x 6s, but thought the PVC might work.

I am probably going to make it in two halves just to help with transport into my van when needed and bolt the two halves together when using it.

I was going to use L brackets with screws to attach the “rungs” to the sides. Not optimum, but I figure it will work. I wish I had a table saw to groove the parrallel long pieces, that would help lock everything in place.

You, or anyone else, have any ideas one how to put it all together? I thought maybe I might alos use some of the metal brackets they use for joists instead of the L brackets.

C yuh at cmw.


Check here and download the file with the instructions - it has pictures.

I like making skinnies in 6-8’ lenghts out of 2x4s, since then they can double as somewhat wiggly gapping bars. I used to have a pair–a 5’ and an 8’ skinny, both 2x4s. The 5’ was the primary gapping bar, but the 8’ helped.

Here’s the tools I would use to assemble 2x4 skinnies:

Miter box (even the cheap plastic ones, so long as you can get the 2x4 into it)
Shark tooth saw (what’s the real name? They only have one handle and often have a picture of a shark on the blade guard they come with). well, any wood hand saw will work. Don’t worry about time, I find I can get through a 2x4 in as little as 45 sec.


nails, not framing (use nails with heads)


Screw gun or power drill. I use a milwaulkee hole shooter, a bit overkill

Screw driving bit

Drill bit that’s about 1/32" smaller than the bottoms of the threads of the screws

Screws (use phillips head c-sinking, they’re the best. Self tapping or sheet metal, you know what i mean.)

In my gallery are some videos os me using the rails, which will show the basic construction of them. I made then 7" off the ground, and to save wood did a 45 degree miter cut at the ends of stabilizng legs. That cut saved 3.5" of wood for every cut made. Also makes the obstacles a bit more dangerous. If you make the rails so that the legs don’t extend beyond the end of the rail you can put them end to end.

You only need one supporting leg (the flat thing that keeps the rails from tipping. It’s like the top of the T) in my experience, on rails ~8’ and shorter. This is helpful since then one end is compact and can sit ontop of posts, etc. It also makes it easier to setup and makes for cool lines, like leaning the leg making the top of the “T” on stairs and propping the other end on the ground. You can then adjust the angle of the DH skinny. The supporting leg can also be a 2x4, and it needn’t be longer than about 26". My old ones had a 3’ and a 2.5 support, both of which were overkill but useful, sometimes.

All you’d need to make a metal pipe ladder is 2 pipe wrenches. You could buy all the fittings and pipe at a plumbing store. You can get various lengths of pipe in precut, threaded lengths. Then just turn all the pipes into the Ts and elbows, and you’ve got yourself a ladder. Voila!

Personally I find those fittings to be too weak, and corrosion damages them. Also, in order to get them to align you have to let a few be too loose and others be too tight. I find 2x4s to be superior.