Jump to content
BC Boards

A-frame surface

Recommended Posts

I purchased an Aluminum A-frame this past weekend from Agility-equipment.com at a show. It is the do-it-yourself model, meaning you have to apply your own surface, it is only the Aluminum frame (with chains, and pin at apex included) The dirctions are for how to attach Marine grade plywood to the frame, I was wondering if anyone has any opionions on other options? I would love to have a aluminum/rubber surface done in the future but its not in the budget at the moment which is why we went mor do-it-yourself. Has anyone had issues with Plywood sufaces? Has anyone tried PVC board? we also considered putting an aluminum suface with paint/non-skid sand but I worry it will gt to hot in the florida summers. Would love to hear opinions before we take on this project!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you're going to eventually replace the surface with aluminum/rubber- then it might be wise to not spend a ton on the current surface. I went plywood/paint/sand on my a-frame that I built. It's lasting fine so far, but it's pretty new and this is the first winter.








I read a tip on the agility yahoo group where someone had mentioned a good way to preserve the plywood where it hits the ground. Take a length of garden hose (same length as the A-Frame base), slit it length-wise and put it on the end of the plywood.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't know what your budget is or how much you can extend it, but here are some things I have learned when I was investigating replacing my AF surface. (I bought my friend's AF when she retired from agility. It was from MAD agility in PA.) The AF surface was plywood - primed and painted and sanded. (multiple paint coats) It lasted maybe 3 years outside in VA before getting soft spots (rotted wood) in different areas. I used it for a year, but the soft spots have now turned into gaping holes.


I was originally going to use MDO plywood (the material outdoor signs are made of). Next would be priming, painting with a commercial grade Sherwin-Williams paint, applying rubber pellets while the paint was wet, then painting again. This prep was suggested to me by the MAD agility seller - as it was what he did.


That was last year. I never got around to it last year, and over the winter, the gaping holes developed so I have to do something.


I called up MAD agility, and he has developed his own rubberized fiberglass skins for the AF (and other contacts). He has made his own fiberglass molds with integral slats. Then he adds rubberized pellets and paint. He recommends attaching to the supporting metal frame with a caulk that is used in Corvette bodies. (included in the AF skins price)


He also supplies rubberized aluminum skins (I think), but he was really excited about these new fiberglass skins. Incredibly light weight. One side of an AF with the wood skin weighed about 90 lbs, whereas one side of the AF with a fiberglass skin weighs about 66 lbs.


He found that despite his best efforts (exterior grade plywood, priming, painting with a high-end commercial grade paint), the wooden skins on the AFs were failing in 2-3 years when kept outside. Repainting every year helped extend the life a little bit, and covering with a tarp helped even more.


Now for the $$ -- I was able to pick up the fiberglass skins at an agility trial for $475. (therefore shipping costs are unknown) This may sound like a lot, but the cost of the MDO (~$150), rubber pellets ($40), commercial grade paint (~$150) and attaching screws (~$75) = $415 +/-. That does not include the slats (if I wanted to go that way).


For me, the ~$60 difference was worth it to get the lighter load and HOPEFULLY to extend the life of the AF beyond 3 years. I don't want to resurface again.


I am sure that resurfacing could be done for less than I quoted, but I was going to use materials that I hoped would extend the life of the surface as long as possible. Now I am hoping that the fiberglass will work better.


One note: MAD agility just developed his fiberglass skins a couple months ago - so longevity has not been tested. The AFs at the trial used the fiberglass skins. My dog had no problem with them, and I did not hear any complaints.


There is my 2 cents (maybe more like a dime)



Link to comment
Share on other sites

A friend has an Aframe from affordable agility. It has only been used in my backyard for a total of 3 months over the last 2 summers, the plywood is mostly fine, although it is showing a small amount of delamination on the edges, but the slats which I think are just cheap trellis type strips have fallen apart. I am going to replace them this spring with plastic strips that they sell for making trellis at home depot and hopefully they will last a little longer.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...