This project started out because I needed 1 more ring standard than what I had borrowed to run IKEqC (interkingdom equestrian competition), and I figured I would just go ahead and make a full set of equipment. Designs were taken from what we are already using in the East that seems to work well, but as online plans don’t seem to have quite as much detail as I was looking for (I don’t really believe in winging it if I can possibly avoid it!) I’m going to try to provide a little more detail here, so this may be long! IKEqC does have specific requirements for lengths/sizes of many things, so if you’re considering making something that is useable for this you should check out the details here, otherwise feel free to adjust the details for your own preferences. I’m not going to repeat details for every item, so if you skip down to the section you want to build and feel like you don’t have enough info, you probably need to read the above part too. You’ll also want to get a really long tape measure to help in setting up even spacing. For regular courses you can pace it off to approximate, but IKEqC is very specific.
For IKEqC you need 6 poles, 4 with heads, and 2 for starting and ending the run. Since we also use them for other things, I planned to just make 6 complete poles. Materials for this include:
6 step in posts (for electric fencing), I got plastic 48″ ones. Definitely get some spares to replace ones that get bent or broken.
6 5ft poles of PVC, 1.5″ is what I used. It fits nicely over the posts without having to saw off the hooks on the posts. If you want to make smaller PVC work for cost or convenience, you’ll need a saw to trim down your step in posts. PVC conveniently comes in 10ft sections so you can get 3 and saw them in half. Driving a Corolla, the sawing was done at the store! Also if you saw at the store this project requires zero tools! For convenience of size and not having to deal with covering barcodes with paint, try this, otherwise just head to Home Depot or similar and get cutting (it will be much cheaper).
String (I used paracord in a boring gray color)
Construction: Wrap your heads in duct tape. This is so they hold up a bit better to swords so don’t stress about making this look pretty. In fact if you carefully try to use small pieces of tape to keep the shape as nice as possible you will end up with it peeling and needing to retape it (ask me how I know!), so just make it quick and easy. Tape your piece of metal to the bottom with ONLY 1 LAYER of tape over it so it will be magnetic.
Decorate your poles. You have 2 options for the base, painting or tape. Mine are painted. This is easier to make look pretty at the start, but I feel they get beat up faster. I’m kinda a perfectionist though. Repainting is definitely easier than retaping! For painting I stuck the step in poles in my backyard and dropped the PVC over, then went to work with a can of spray paint. Doing this is daylight takes 2 coats, darkness takes 3 for the bits you miss! If you go with tape, cover the whole pole in duct tape in the manner of your choosing. After you have your base layer of tape or paint, add 2 bar magnets next to each other to the top with ONLY 1 LAYER of tape over the surface. Then make it pretty by making a spiral of electrical tape in a color that goes well. I did gray base and purple tape for my heraldic colors.
Now put the 2 together! If you want to get fancy and you have a drill, drill a hole near the top of the PVC and thread your string through it to attach it. If you don’t have a drill, tie it around the whole pole and use some duct tape to secure it. On the other end of your string you want to make a loop that can slide over the neck of the head and pull tight. Your string should be of a length that lets you easily knock off the head in any direction, without being so long that it will get caught in a sword. Mine worked out to be 4ft lengths to start.
IKEqC requires 3 ring standards with a T shaped top, and the ones I created can either be used in that format with wood bases, bungeed/tied to existing fence posts, or used with the step in posts like the heads. For fun and variety these have the wood bases. Materials are:
3 7ft PVC poles, same 1.5″ heavy duty as before. Tape/paint to decorate the same way.
6 2ft PVC poles of 1″ heavy duty. Tape/paint, you know the drill 🙂
PVC connectors: You want a T shaped piece to go on top of the pole, 2 reducer couplings that turn the 1.5″ holes into 1″ holes (this will basically fit into the T piece), and 2 end caps for the 1″ poles. That’s all for 1 standard, so multiply by 3! Best plan for this, rather than me describing the pieces in detail, is to go poke around at home depot with your 2 sizes of pipe til you find pieces that make the right things happen. If I had a better idea what they were called I might be more helpful 😉
Rings: IKEqC standards call for 6″-1″ inner dimension rings, 2 of each size. This can be a challenge, but if you aren’t trying to be that exact, just pick up some metal craft rings. Definitely get some 1″ ones for extra “fun”. If they are magnetic, bonus points! If not you can attach washers with electrical tape. You may want to do this anyway for the smaller rings for easier targeting.
Circular magnets, ideally about 1″ across but smaller should be ok as long as your rings are light. 12 total, plus a few spares in case any get lost.
Wood for bases if you want: 12 pieces of 12″ 2×6, 24 screws to hold it together. Hinges if you want to get fancy and over-engineer it for space saving.
Decorate your long poles. I did this with the connectors and reducers attached at the top. You can use PVC cement to attach if you want but I just pounded them together and called it good. Put the end caps on the short poles and decorate those too. Don’t use tape on the part you want to fit into the connection or it won’t go. If you want to get fancy don’t put paint their either, it will make your life easier. I missed the memo on this and just used extra muscle.
Use electrical tape to attach a magnet to the short poles at the spacing you want the rings. It should hang down just a little. Remember the 1 layer of tape rule! You’ll have to be a little careful transporting things this way. For easier transport take some rectangles of wood and drill a 1″ hole through the middle towards one end, and glue your magnets to the other end. Store these with your rings and just slide them on when you assemble the poles.
Decorate your rings if desired. To make them more visible you can wrap them in mixed colors of electrical tape or ribbon, and have ribbons hanging down if you want. With these methods you will definitely need to attach a washer to the ring so it sticks to the magnet.
Bases: The simple way is to screw 4 pieces of wood together to make a small square hole in the center you can drop the PVC pole in. The fancy way, as created by Elian of the Fellswood for me, attaches everything in a similar way but with hinges so it folds fairly flat, and has a pin that drops in to hold it together. Then you stick the PVC pole in the same way. Paint the base if you want to get fancy, or stick with plain wood.
IKEqC reeds is 10 poles, with reeds that vary from 10″ to 2″. If you have soft enough ground, by far the easiest method for this is to slide PVC posts over driveway markers. If that isn’t likely to work where you are I would use the same step in post method as the heads, possibly cutting the hooks off so you can use a bit lighter PVC, as this definitely doesn’t need to be too sturdy. This is the only one where you really can’t get away without owning a small saw, unless you somehow find another way to get the different dowel lengths.
10 5ft PVC poles 1″ (go larger if you want step in posts) and paint/tape to decorate. If you want to get fancy Amazon has colored PVC in red, blue, yellow, green, purple, and black, as well as plain white (so you don’t need to get rid of barcodes).
20 round magnets, about the same diameter as your dowels
10 PVC end caps if you decided to go with the larger diameter bases
Twine: 10 pieces, about 2ft each. You want something lightweight but sturdy. Carry some extra, these will break.
Construction: Cap the top of your posts if needed/desired (this came make your life more difficult when balancing reeds on top). Paint/tape your posts. Glue a magnet to the top. Make sure you have 1 consistent side of the magnets up! Put 1 piece of tape over if you want more security. Cut wood dowels, 2 each of 10″, 8″, 6″, 4″, 2″. Paint/tape so they are pretty and easily visible. Glue magnets to the bottom of each. Make sure they match up to stick to the bases! Polarization counts! Tie a piece of twine to each base near the top, and make a slip knot so the reeds can be attached securely. When setting up attach the slip knot loop to the reeds and connect them to the base poles with the magnets.
Note: If you’re using driveway markers and the ground is too hard, you can use step in posts to basically pre-drill a hole in the ground, or drop the poles in cones or milk crates to hold them (riding rings and camps often have one or both options on site). A rubber mallet will also help getting the markers into the ground.