Grind rails are a skate park staple. Grind rails of different heights and lengths help kids master basic grind tricks like ollies and toe grinds. You can buy a basic grind rail for under $200, but if you have access to welding tools -- or a helpful neighbor with welding tools -- it's easy and inexpensive to make your own.
A grind rail has three main parts: the long metal rail, two short metal legs and two stabilizing metal bases. DIY Skate has some detailed and free blueprints and instructions for building various kinds of steel grind rails. To find the steel for the rails, you might have to look beyond the big box hardware stores and look up local steel yards and steel fabricators. You can use either round or square steel pipe and consult the DIY Skate instructions for the exact dimensions.
All of the elements of these steel grind rails will have to be cut and welded with welding equipment, which is not suitable for beginners. You can take the plans to a fabricating shop or a neighbor with welding experience, but it's not something that should be attempted by a newbie.
There are ways to build a steel grind rail without using welding equipment. Both DIY Skate and the Rick Dahlen halfpipe instructions have blueprints for simple grind rails built from a single metal or PVC pipe screwed into a wooden base. This might be the best starter option for those without access to welding equipment.
Outside of grind rails, there are other grindable components that you can add to the mix, like boxes, ledges, stairs and benches. DIY Skate offers an amazing variety of free plans for cheap and simple grinding surfaces, including a cinder block ledge that doesn't require a single nail, screw or weld. You simply line up four cinder blocks side to side and adhere them with liquid nails, or another construction-quality adhesive. Cut a rectangular piece of plywood to fit the top surface of the ledge and stick it on with more liquid nails. Buy two long pieces of angle iron, a piece of flat iron bent to a right angle. Adhere the iron along both top sides of the ledge, an there's your grinding surface.
Consult DIY Skate for more ideas and schematics for grind boxes, benches, stairs and advanced projects like funboxes with built-in ledges.
Next, we'll jump into the world of concrete bowls.