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DIY Weaves

Carmen's recipe for making weave poles

Agility equipment can be expensive. But did you ever think that you could make some of it yourself. You can find information on building agility equipment is all over the place. Just try doing a web search on 'agility' and start surfing. You can also check out amazon.com for some books on agility. Or you can start with Richard Dieppe's recipe for Weave Poles below. This is Rich's recipe for building your own set of six weave poles with comments by his faithful dog Carmen. It is derived from an email in which he was trying to explain to a friend how to build this set of weaves. All you have to do is...

 Ingredients/Material Required

  • 2 x 3/4 in. PVC elbow fittings (L-shaped)
  • 5 x 3/4 in. PVC tee three-way fittings (T-shaped)
  • 3 x 3/4 in. PVC caps (optional caps on poles, add four more)
  • 209 3/4 in. PVC, two lengths of 10 foot or six lengths for a set of 12 poles
  • Miscellaneous glue, junk weight (optional) or liquid nails

Tools Required

  • Coffee pot
  • PVC cutter or hack saw
  • Sand paper
  • File or something like that

Method

  1. Have a cup of coffee while making a sketch of the base lay-out.
  2. Plan what could go wrong so you will avoid problems with the remaining steps.
  3. Remember, measure twice, cut once.
  4. Cut the lengths of PVC as indicated: 3 x 2-1/2 in. Bottom stringer
    3 x 13-1/4 in. Bottom stringer
    3 x 8-1/2 in. Side stabilizers
    4 x 34 in. Weave poles
  5. Glue all the material except the 34" poles in this pattern. Be careful to check the alignment of the tees as you proceed. It should look like this:-
    L - T -------- T - T -------- T - T ---------L. The last one should be backward.

OK, that's too confusing. So think about this:-

  • Elbow up (pole)
  • Shortest piece
  • Tee out (stabliser)
  • Long piece but not the 34 in. one
  • Tee up (pole)
  • Shortest piece
  • Tee out (stabiliser)
  • Long piece but not the 34 in. one
  • Tee up (pole)
  • Shortest piece
  • Tee up (stabliser)
  • Long piece but not the 34 in. one
  • Tee up (pole)
  • Shortest piece
  • Tee out (stabliser)
  • Long piece but not the 34 in. one
  • Tee up (pole)
  • Shortest piece
  • Tee out (stabliser)
  • Elbow up (pole)

Last step:-

  • Add the side stabilizers (8-1/2").
  • Stuff in heavy junk with liquid nails.
  • Add caps

Whew. Now you're done, except for sticking in the actual weave poles.

Carmen says; 'Your local nursery will have stakes for garden hoses, that are just the right size.'


Inexpensive Wires to Go with Weave Poles

This recipe is for a set of wires for six weave poles. (See above.) You should get all of this at a builder's merchant, DIY shop or some place similar. Just don't tell the clerk what you're building. Just look at him, smile, and say 'You see, I have to connect this 5/8 inch tube to this 3/4 inc PVC. If you say anything about weave pole wires, he'll probably call security.

Tools Required

  • Drill motor and reamer
  • File
  • PVC cutters
  • PVC glue
  • Safety goggles

Ingredients/Material Required

  • 8 3/4 in. PVC tee (three-way) fittings
  • 8 5/8 in. x 3/4 in. reducers for plastic drip hose systems/PVC tees
  • 24 foot 5/8 in. tube for drip hose systems

Method

  1. Hold the PVC tee in your hand, and say to yourself 'I want to slide this over my weave pole,' OK try. Ha ha ha ha ha. Now, let's fix that.
  2. That area in the run* of the PVC tee (that portion of the PVC tee that you can look through) is called the stop, and you need to remove it.
  3. Clamp the tee in a vice.
  4. With your drill motor and reamer cut and grind that area inside the tee until your weave pole slides all the way through the tee. This is the hardest part of this job, and the most dangerous, and makes the most mess.
  5. Cut the drip tube into 56 in long lengths, and assemble with all parts in this obvious order:- Tee branch-->reducer-->drip tube-->reducer-->tee branch. (A branch is that portion of the PVC tee that dangles off the side like the letter 'B'.)

Ta-Da

Carmen says, 'If you wet the end of the drip tube with dog saliva, it will slip into the reducer easier.'

Editor's note: Alternatively, you could try the British method of sticking bamboo garden poles in the ground.

If you have found these plans useful, why not build your own jump. See Carmen's plans for a DIY practice jump.


About Carmen, Warrior Princess & Rich Dieppe
Carmen is a whippet/shepherd mix who was rescued from a local shelter. She lives with four other brother and sister dogs including a Whippet puppy, five cats and Rich and Ginny Deppe in Port Hueneme, California (USA). Her favorite sister Kelsey (PWD) is also involved in agility.

Carmen has her AAD title in USDAA, and her NADAC; EAC, OJC, and OGC. She takes three classes a week, and one private one. Luckily she lives in an area that makes trialling easy. She has quick access from the Bay area to San Diego.

Over the last few years Team Carmen has grown to understand the sport of agility not for what it is, but for what it isnít. Week after week we continue to have fun, and try to burn as much energy as we can.  Since we have entered the Masterís ring (USDAA) weíve realized that this sport isnít about placement and winning.  We havenít placed in our class for over a year.  But 'lawdy' do we have fun! 

Carmen also does therapy work and obedience. Since she can only do obedience with the UKC, it's taking a while to get her UCD. (There are few UKC trials in Southern California).

Carmen's future will be a happy one. Although she has great potential as a champion, her handler Rich insists that he will not spoil the fun. He promises that he will not get a Border Collie puppy just to compete. He will not get mad at Carmen nor will he lose sight of the reason he started this sport. Together they will try to be more of a team, and to know each other. Ever since Rich started thinking like this, Carmen's got faster!

Rich has been teaching a beginning pet obedience class and a little agility this last year. He has also been become a judge for the USDAA.


Email tips for building your own set of weave poles.

Accurate, Straight & Fast
It is common to have weave poles with a welded base, but unfortunately not to many people can weld and they are costly to buy.

One easy way to set up poles in your backyard or wherever is to just stick a row of rods into the ground. To be successful they must be firm enough in the ground so that they cannot be knocked over. I tried a variety of ideas until I final met success.

I use 3/8" diameter fiberglass rods which are normally used for electric farm fences. They push easily into the ground, won't fall over and won't harm your lawn. In fact, they are helping to aerate the lawn. They are 3' long. They are not satisfactory by themselves as they are much narrower than the standard poles. To correct this I just drop the normal 1/2" internal diameter x 2 1/2 ' long PVC poles over the rods.

If you do not live in a farming community you may not be able to find these particular rods but any rods of less than 1/2" diameter can be used such as 3/8" rebar rods. These are available everywhere as they are used to reinforce concrete.

Using the suggested rods, you can set them up to suit yourself. One way to set up a row of such poles is to lay a piece of rope or string straight out on the ground with knots along the length of the rope at your required spacing and then just place your rods beside each knot.
Ian Pate (Canada)

Works Great!
OR, you can get a legs as possible (even with Mini dogs) so that they cover the ground effortlessly and with much bigger strides than shorter-legged dogs. Personally I don't like dogs for agility that have short legs and heavy bodies or big heavy dogs that are short in the back. While I quite like small, light collies, I prefer collies that are tall with longish legs and a long body so that they look tall but heavy. This indicates to me a dog that can power its way around a course which is especially good at 'hey presto!' Use broomsticks Get yourself 12 broomsticks (wood) stick them in the ground at the required distances and hey presto, you have a weave.
Guy Blancke (Belgium)

Baked ground problem
In baked-to-the bone Virginia clay, during the drought of the century, there is no way you could stick a broomstick in the ground. I can just barely get my weave poles made with a long nail in the end into the ground, and then only in shady spots after one of our *big* rainfalls of 0.1 inch that we get every two weeks.
Bonnie Schick (USA)

Baked Ground Solution II
Here in the sometimes bone-clay Mid-west, you can soften up a spot of ground, small enough to stick a weave pole in, by pouring a bucket of water over it.
Debbie Antlitz (USA)

A little mod
I measure up from the base of the pole and make a mark at the required distance. Then when I am putting them in the ground I lay the pole out in a straight line from the previous pole with the mark next to the previous pole and hey presto a pole in the right place! Try it. It really works and is so simple.
Tony Dickinson

Measure once and no pounding
I am writing this from memory and without looking at what I had done because I haven't seen anything else posted on the subject for indoor use. I've been using my set for two years.

Materials List

  • 9 10' sticks of 1/2" PVC
  • 9 3-way couplers
  • 3 4-way couplers
  • 2 2-way couplers (90 degree elbow)
  • PVC cement
  • Hack saw or PVC cutting tool

All couplers non-threaded, of course
This arrangement calls for 14 poles, the idea being once the dog is used to doing 14, then 12 will be a snap. That pop-out on the 11th pole will go away. Use 14 poles instead of 13 so the will not have the dog finish on the wrong side.

  1. Cut the ground pieces into 13 x 19.5" sections. When glued this measurement will allow you to space at exact 20" centers.
  2. Glue connectors to ground pieces: 5-ways to be center and connection next to each end. 2-ways for each end. Naturally, 3-ways for all the remaining. This is all the gluing to be done. Poles and stabilizing bars to be hand fitted for easy breakdown and transporting.
  3. Cut 14 30" poles (taller if you have a Great Dane).
  4. Cut six (6)  40" stabilizing bars and fit to 5-way connectors (Trust me. These will not impair yours or your dog's performance in passing over).

There you have it - fast, cheap and permanently measured. I also glued the ground pieces in three sections (one with 5 sections and two with 4). This seems to make reassembly easier when moved.
Bob White (USA)

Just for fun
I use 3/4" PVC and large 10" screws. I pound the screws a couple of inches into the ground using a mallet or hammer and then slip the PVC pole over it. That's also the way I support jump uprights. I got this idea from the Just for Fun agility site (http://www.dog-play.com/agility.html.) I also followed their plans for making bar jumps and a tire jump.
Melissa Charron (USA)


If you have any tips for building your own agility equipment, you can email your ideas and instructions to:- Agilitynet.

To find out how to make a DIY jump, see Carmen's Recipe for making a simple practice jump


Feedback

From Pat Strang
The training weaving poles are an excellent idea but I am just wondering what prevents the tees from sliding down the PVC. once the hose is attached. It seems to me that once the stoppers are removed and the tee freely slides over the pole that it would not remain in the place you want it to be.  I am new to agility and would love to try this idea but am not sure how to prevent this from happening.  I would appreciate so very much if you could clarify this for me.  Thank-you so much!
(17/01/02)

From Tracy Root
Amazing how I found your web site just in time. Mika starts agility 3/7 and I'm building weave poles and jumps this weekend! Carmen's Corner came in extremely handy for me (24/02/02)

From Sue Field
Last summer I did some weaving with my three year old BC - not sure if I did it correctly, but she enjoyed it. I took an old Wendy house frame - the pieces all come and didn't even notice their Wendy house was missing!
(28/02/02)