Making Handbalancing Canes

Here’s a quick DIY for making handbalancing canes. My daughter and I built these in an afternoon. They’re great for working on handstands, press-ups, L-sits, dips, and handbalancing tricks. We use them during aerial straps classes at Cirque School LA, so I thought it would be fun to make a set at home.

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Parts:
-One 2’x’2′ piece of 3/4″ plywood (we started with pine, but that was too soft) cut down to three sections
-Two 4″ lengths of 2×4 for hand blocks (I used some scrap framing pulled from our 1939 house during a renovation)
-Four 3/4″ floor flanges
-Two 18″ sections of threaded 3/4″ black pipe (you can choose 12″ for a shorter stand, and can always swap them out later)
-Twelve #10 1-1/2″ screws
-Sixteen #10 3/4″ screws

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Boing Boing Weekend of Wonder slideshow

The Boing Boing Weekend of Wonder was delightful. Star Foreman’s LA Weekly slideshow is a nice glimpse into the activities.

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The above photos Star shot capture a few of my activities during the event: a talk on creative making featuring Chauncey the flower care robot, workshops I taught on lock picking, and an impromptu human body tricks performance during a talent show one evening.

Jumping Spider fails

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My first attempts at the Jumping Spider obstacle from American Ninja Warrior. I loved training on this, but definitely have my work to do on leg strength in order to start sticking it. Arnold Hernandez built this awesome course in his back yard, and is an excellent coach on how to approach these obstacles.

Slackline adventure begins

Slacklining! I’d never done it before, so I decided to dive in head first. Figuratively, and possibly literally.

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What I’ve built is a “primitive” slackline which is made entirely from climbing webbing, two rappel rings, and four carabiners (ignore the extra carabiners and accessory cord in my photo above, those are for a different project). No ratchets or any specialized gear that I couldn’t repurpose for other climbing activities. The system is a really simple/clever friction lock that’s easy to set up, pull huge tension onto, and simple to break down with one tug of the line. This one can go for a 50′ run and cost $75 from REI.

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Cool Tools Interview

Mark Frauenfelder and Kevin Kelly at the super excellent Cool Tools site recently interviewed me for their terrific Cool Tools Show podcast. We talked about some tool-like I recommend, including a coffee roaster, and gym rings. Stay tuned for the bonus, unexpected tool question at the end.

As Mark said,

Over at Cool Tools we interviewed my good friend John Edgar Park, who is one of the most interesting people I know. When he is not combing the streets for street sweeper blades to turn into picklocks, or practicing impossible yoga positions, or roasting his own coffee, he’s doing secret things at the research wing of Disney Imagineering. Kevin Kelly and I asked him to tell us about some of his favorite tools, which you can learn about in this episode of the Cool Tools Show, and by reading the show notes (Why not subscribe to the podcast and never miss an episode?)

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Vertical Pole Build

When I publicly commit to kooky goals, such as training for a Festivus-like, barren-pole feat of strength, there may be some DIY gymnastics/parkour equipment-building involved.
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Rather than digging a post hole and planting a pole in concrete (which I’ll be doing for more elaborate future project) I decided to mount a pole to the wooden playset in the backyard. (I checked with my kids first — they were cool with it.)
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I got a 10′ length of 1-1/2″ O.D. galvanized Schedule 40 steel pipe and cut it down to 6′. I don’t own a pipe threader, and the one at my local hardware store is down for maintenance, so I opted to press fit (as in, with a deadblow hammer) the pipe into threaded elbows.

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