Backyard Ice Rink
This year I’m going to keep a running log of my backyard ice rinkdesign and construction. Check this page frequently to see the latest updates.
November 18th, 2008
The birth of our daughter, Jillian, has delayed my rink planning, but now that normal temperatures have returned and our household is adjusting the new routine of have 4 little ones, I’m gung-ho did get my rink erected and start thinking about ice.
This year I’ve decided to upgrade to a larger rink and I’d like to thank Mr Fitz for giving inspiration for my new design. Instead of a simple plan joining large boards together I’m going to use framed plywood that I bolt together. Check out his deluxe design, it is gorgeous. I’m going to keep it simple this year, but what I like about his design is that it is easy to expand. I’m going to buy 6 sheets of 1/2″ plywood and have Lowes cut them each in half lengthwise. This will give me 12 sheets that are 8 feet long and 24″ tall. I will frame them with 2x4s to give them support and bolt them together into a 24′ x 24′ square rink.
I still have 20′ wide liner left from this year so I will try his technique of hot gluing and duct taping my plastic into a larger piece. Next year I think I will use the tip posted by David and simply buy a large white tarp. Giving it away each spring on Freecycle is a wonderful idea. I had no luck reusing my silver tarp a second year. I think the expanding ice creates a bunch of small holes and makes it impossible to fill a second time.
If this rink design works well I will consider creating the corners next year and making my rink longer. For now, the 24″ height will work great for keeping pucks in and be more forgiving of my uneven yard. Inorder to make my rink bigger next year I think I’m going to need to order more topsoil and fill in the Spring.
Check back for progress reports!
September 18th, 2008
The weather has gotten cooler and we have our first frost warning tonight so I am starting to get the itch to build our hockey rink. One word of advice when trying to determine when to setup your rink…look at the trees! My rink is located underneath a nice oak and one year I decided to set it up before Halloween. The oak still had a few leaves left and they all fell into the water and gave me problems with my ice all winter long.
Be patient, wait for those leaves to fall off, rake them all up so they don’t blow into your rink before it freezes. Now is a good time to tap in some stakes and use string to find out how uneven your ground is. If you have a 5 inch drop from one corner to the other you will need at least 8 inch boards inorder to get enough ice in the low corner, but I would recommend 10 or even 12 inch so you have enough board stick up above the ice to allow for resurfacing and to keep the pucks in.
I’m planning to stake out a larger area this Fall and will be heading to Lowes to buy new lumber. I’m still uncertain weather I will try buying a larger liner from one of the numerous rink liner companies, or attempt to duct tape 2 smaller liner pieces together and pray that its water tight. Check back in a few weeks to see how things are progressing.
If the start of hockey season has you simply itching to build something for your rink, now is a good time to put together your rink rake.
August 22nd, 2008
The calendar says it is still August, but I’m already thinking of plans for this years backyard ice rink. The rink I used for the last few years is now a small flight of stairs, victim to this summer’s DIY project. This forces me to build a new rink from scratch and I’m planning to make something a little bigger.
My current design ideas are to make the rink 24 feet by 24 feet or possibly 24 feet by 32 feet. I will use standard 8 foot lumber again and these dimensions let me get away without any cutting. I’m also planning to use either 2×10 or 2×12 boards instead of the 2x8s I had been using which gives us extra wood to keep pucks on the ice.
The tricky part will be finding a liner to fit that size. Lowes only has plastic sheeting 20 feet wide so I will either need to get the duct tape out or try buying a liner online that is the right size.
The other problem I might encounter is the top of our well. We currently have a fake plastic rock hiding it, but it is located in my prime rink location. I’m tempted to build the rink around it and build a wooden bench to go over the rock. This would force my to cut a hole in my liner and put this bench smack dab in the middle of the ice. It’s not an obstacle, it’s a feature! Might be fun to sit on and shoot pucks off.
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