By All Means, Feel Free to Envy Me

10.4.2006 | 8:55 pm

Here’s what I saw during my mountain bike ride at Tibble Fork (10 minute drive from my house) this morning before work:


So, how was your morning?


How to Build a Mountain Bike Teeter, Part I

10.3.2006 | 6:57 pm

You know what I miss about Seattle? I miss riding with Bob. Trying — and often, succeeding — those constructed stunts on Tapeworm, Mr. DNA, and Cropcircles with Bob was good stuff.

The stunt I liked best of all was the Teeter. Back before I moved out to Utah, I said that I was going to build one. And I’ve kind of kept building one the back of my mind for months. The thing is, I haven’t been able to find any plans or diagrams that I really liked, because I have something really specific in mind for my Teeter:

  • It’s got to be long: I’m thinking 12′.
  • It’s got to be adjustable: I want it to be a simple matter for two guys to be able to move the pivot point up or down, so beginners won’t get too intimidated by the incline, and experts won’t be bored by it.
  • It’s got to be portable: I’m hoping to find a place to donate this once I’m finished, so I want to be able to move it. Also, I like the idea of people being able to move stunts around, chaining them together in different ways.
  • It’s got to be fun to build with my son: My 10-yr-old loves building stuff, and we have a great time working on projects like this together. I need this to be something he can be co-owner of.

So last night, frustrated with what’s evidently a total absence of well-conceived Teeter plans on the Web, I started looking for some free software I could use to plan my own (my pencil-and-paper drawings were totally useless).

I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised at this, but Google’s got a nice little 3D drawing program called "Sketchup." And like everything else Google does, it’s free. (Side Topic: I know that a lot of Google’s business model is based on advertising, but has anyone ever actually clicked on one of those ads or made a purchase decision based on one? I mean, I love my free stuff, but free CAD software? Sheesh.)

So I downloaded it and started to play.

Four Hours Later…
OK, I won’t say that this was the easiest thing to use. But hey, free’s hard to argue with. And once I start on something, I tend to get a little obsessive. So, around 2:00am this morning, I finished my Teeter design:

I admit, I am not a professional draftsman, and this was in fact the first thing I’ve ever made with a CAD program. But I’m pretty pleased. Here are the essentials:

  • Length: 12′
  • Plank Width: 15.5"
  • Maximum pivot height: 40"
  • Minimum pivot height: 36"

If you’ve downloaded and installed Sketchup, you can download and open the 3D model I created here.

I’m excited to start building this thing. So excited, in fact, I’ve got my shopping list all ready to go.

Fatty’s Teeter Shopping List

  • 4 2" x 6" x 12′ boards (2 for plank rails, 1 for diagonal column supports, 1, for columns)
  • 4 2" x 4" x 12′ boards (3 for riding planks, 1 for base and ad-hoc strengthening)
  • 1 4" x 4" x 8′ board (for base)
  • Coarse sandpaper
  • Wood screws
  • 16 sets 4" x 3/8" Bolts, nuts, and washers
  • 8 sets 6" x 3/8" Bolts, nuts, and washers
  • Loc-tite
  • Wood glue
  • 1 1" x 2′ pipe
  • 2 elbow connectors for 1" pipe
  • 2 short bars for 1" pipe
  • 1 1" drill bit
  • 1 3/8" drill bit
  • 4 clamps

What’s Left?
My son and I are going to get started on this thing tonight. I’d like to finish it by next Monday. I admit, I’m nervous. I don’t even know how many times I’ve set out to build something and have it fail in a major way. And while I am not a anxious guy in most circumstances, when I’m woodworking, I can get pretty high-strung — mistakes are hard to reverse, you know?

There are a couple things I plan to do that don’t show up on my design here. I’m going to use my bandsaw to round out the corners at the ends of the totter, so it’s not a hard corner digging into the ground (which will be my lawn, at least initially). I also plan to put a couple of braces laterally, joining opposing diagonal braces. I don’t know if that’s necessary — probably overkill — but I expect it can’t hurt.

If you’re a woodworking kind of guy and see serious problems with what I’ve designed here, let me know. But be quick (and nice) about it, K? I want to get going on this.

Oh, and if you happen to know of some really great teeter plans that are on the net or in your top-left drawer at the bikeshop you work at, please keep that information to yourself. Too late now. Thanks!

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