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Dealing in local lumber for over a century

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Our history dates back to 1913

Previous owners Fowler and Collison ~ 1936

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Brojects - DIY The Ultimate Outdoor Gym

Time Required: Two days

Difficulty: Easy

Brothers Andrew and Kevin have made a resolution to live healthier, more active lifestyles and decide that this weekend at the lake is as good a time as any to start. Their biggest hurdle is the lack of proper exercise equipment. Rather than discouraging the bros, this spurs the creation of the Ultimate Outdoor Gym – a collection of one-of-a-kind rustic fitness gear that’ll perfectly suit the backwoods surroundings.


Step 1

This weekend, we’re getting fit and building the Ultimate Outdoor Gym. We’ll start by warming up with a view of the lake on our exercise rowing machine made from an actual rowboat. From there, we can move on to a main platform (made from decked over aluminum dock parts) for yoga and plyometrics with our handmade skipping rope. Next, we’ll ramp up the intensity of our workout with a variety of strength training stations. We’ll do upper body exercises at an articulating bench using weights made from raw logs pulled from our wood display rack. We’ll strengthen our back and legs with a pulldown station, which uses a tree‐mounted pulley to lift our old curling stones as weights and which also has a leg extension component. A forearm and tricep pull, and a sledgehammer station with trampoline, will provide a full body workout while a towel rack, mirror, and blender bike juice bar will complete the pro gym experience, inspiring us to stay in shape while we’re enjoying life at the cottage.

Step 2

To make the The Ultimate Outdoor Gym, you’ll need the following materials, most of which are available at Smithers Lumberyard

• Lots of logs and cord wood

• Lumber

We suggest using the lumber calculator included with the Brojects App (free for iPhone and iPad).

• Hardware

The usual assortment of screws, nuts, bolts, hinges plus a handful of pulleys and lifting hardware for our workout stations.

• Old tractor tire

Any large-diameter old tire will suffice.

• Trampoline

Since we’ll be fitting this into the tire, we’ll need their diameters to roughly match.

• Lengths of metal tubing

3/4″ to 1″ in diameter. You could use a solid metal rod if necessary — but it will be much harder to bend for fashioning the pull-down bar.

• Rope

Or if you want to go fancy, stainless or galvanized steel aircraft cable.

• Old row boat and oars

• Bungee cord

To add resistance to your rowing machine.

• Aluminum dock kit

Complete with plastic decking, uprights and aluminum stringers. Perhaps you have some left over from your Ultimate Swim Up Bar build?

• Resistance bands

For polymetric exercises.

• Beer keg

Full or empty depending on how much weight you like. We prefer to begin with full kegs and empty them as we go!

• Mirror

• Dowels

To make the towel rack.

Step 3

The very first step to getting in shape is realizing you’re in terrible shape! We’ve gotten into a horrible pattern of coming down to the cottage and eating poorly so we decided it’s time to get fit and create the Ultimate Outdoor Gym. We started off by scoping out an area on the property and testing out some old equipment we had lying around. Then we got planning. We knew it was time to get serious, so we covered the beer tap with a carrot to signify it was health week, poured ourselves a spinach/broccoli smoothie and toasted to getting fit!

Step 4

Like so many of our other projects, we felt we needed some inspiration, so we headed on down to the local GoodLife Fitness Centre for a work-out and fitness assessment. It was a true wake-up call for Kevin, when he discovered just how unfit he was. The good news — we got some great ideas for machines to build back at the cottage!

Step 5

Step one was to clear out an area for the deck/platform and get to work building it. To do this, we used an aluminum dock kit complete with plastic decking, uprights and aluminum joists.

Step 6

The next step was to tackle the individual equipment stations. And with Walker onboard it was time to divide and conquer. Andrew tackled an articulating workout bench that could be manipulated into a variety of different workout positions. Walker had the idea of using a keg and pulley system to create a workout for forearms and triceps, that involved mounting pulleys in the trees. For Kevin’s pulldown station, we tried applying heat to the solid steel bar to create a 20° bend, but it failed to budge, so we were stuck with a straight bar. Word of advice: next time, go for a piece of steel tubing instead. The pulldown station also incorporated a leg extension component for a lower body workout. In addition to these, we used an old tractor tire and placed a trampoline inside it to create a sledgehammer station and grabbed an old row boat, oars and some bungee chords for resistance to create our unique twist on the rowing machine.

Step 7

We chopped up some logs to create free weights, and stuck sections of steel bars through them to create a variety of different sizes of dumbbells. For the weight rack, we used hardwood pegs to hold the weights and keep everything organized. We also utilized our stationary bike to create a juice bar so we can make our healthy smoothies. To dress things up and make it look like an actual gym, we added a towel rack, a mirror and we cut a log in half to make a sign and give our gym a name… JIM.

Step 8

Finally it was time for a workout!  No more lazying around and beer drinking beer!

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