Building Your Rola-Bola

Benjamin Schoenberg

I have a new rola bola, and can say that PVC works really well. I use a 6" diameter, although I've heard that a smaller diameter (3 or 4") would be easier if you're just learning. I think the board you describe isn't quite long enough. You want a good wide stance, so the board should be about 3 feet. It could also be a bit thinner (1 inch) since you don't want the board to be too heavy... A 1 foot width is convenient if you find your toes hang over the edge of an 8" board.

Be very careful! I've made the mistake of letting first-timers just hop on the board, and 75% of the time, they end up horizontal, first in the air, then on the ground. Fortunately, no one's been hurt, but I've learned to give people a shoulder or an arm to lean on until they're comfortable with the speed of it.

One other building note: at skateboard shops you can buy "grip tape" which is like adhesive sandpaper on a roll. This should be used to cover where your feet stand on the board, and to wrap in strips around the ends of your PVC. Otherwise, the pipe will shoot out from under the board. It may also benefit you to buy a second board to put under the roller, in case of uneven ground.

GReg Cohen

The ones I have made have a board made of 3/4"ply wood, about 12" deep with a length of about 8" longer that a comfortable spread of your legs. For the end rails (bumpers) on the underside of the board I used a hard wood. I use Birch, but a scrap from a complete looking packing pallet will do. The bumpers are optional, but make learning that much easer. For the rola, I use a seven inch piece of PVC tubing with two female to female connectors on either end. These are not necessary but give more support. A suggestion (from Dave Altman) was to use large diameter tubes (like 12-18") It looks cool, and is somewhat more interesting to mount, because they emphasize the initial swing as you climb on, but it is no harder to do. I know a street performer who uses a large tube to get over the head of the crowd. Large tubes are hard to find except along the road near construction sights. Raid their dumpster and it is quite likely that you will find both the tube and the hard wood fro the end stops.

Remember attach the end stops with no less that a #6 wood screw and counter sink it. If you use nails, or if you don't drill a starting hole, you can easily split the top board or the rails.

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