1. Health
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Pilates Reformers and the Woodworker's Wife

By April 27, 2007

Follow me on:

pilates reformerHaving nothing better to do on a warm spring afternoon than track links that come in to my site, something caught my eye that I've been fretting about ever since read it. I saw a link come in from a forum on a woodworking site(yup). Someone, presumably another woodworker, had pointed a questioner this way who was looking for directions on how to build a Reformer.

The story is that this wonderful husband (in my opinion - based on this one crucial bit of evidence that I read) wants to build a Pilates Reformer for his wife because his wife has back pain, and he heard that Pilates is good for back pain. It is true; Pilates is well known for helping people with back pain. But here is what worries me: Does the woodworker's wife know how to do Pilates? Will she know how to workout properly? Does she know how to modify exercises for back pain? Will she take a class to support her reformer work? Does she know that her husband doesn't have to build a reformer - that she can get get tremendous benefit from the Pilates mat work? And last but not least, how do you build a reformer?

I have no idea how to build a Reformer, though I do have a great map of one, but I do have a lot of things to recommend to anyone getting started in Pilates. Here are a few links to which I would point the woodworker's wife: By the way, we have a discussion going in the Pilates Forum about buying Reformers for home use. And if anyone has plans for how to build a Reformer, you could post that info in the forum too!

photo courtesy of Peak Pilates
May 2, 2007 at 11:01 pm
(1) Anna says:

I am wondering if there was any further comment on building Pilates equipment. I am a Pilates instructor and my father-in-law is a woodworker–I would love to have him build equipment like a Reformer or chair for me. I couldn’t find anything in the discussion group.

January 20, 2008 at 9:53 pm
(2) Eric says:

FYI, Fitzroy Pilates in Australia sells schematics for building a reformer. Information is available here: http://www.fitzroypilates.com/pdf/DIY_reformer.pdf

I’ve just ordered my CD. After I’ve received it, I’ll follow up.

September 8, 2009 at 12:37 pm
(3) JP says:

Hi everyone, I have built several reformers and additional Pilates equipment, but let me tell you, its a lot of work (I believe my first reformer took around 300 hours). It takes a lot of time to get one of this machines to working well and you must be advised by a Pilates instructor to make sure the reformer is done correctly (fortunately I had my gf, which is a Pilates Instructor and I had access to Pilates equipment to analyze how they work). There is more than what the eye can see. Never the less, if you are up for a challenge I would recommend you go for it but be aware that its not as simple as it might look. Best of luck.

September 8, 2009 at 1:22 pm
(4) Marguerite says:

I’m in awe of people who build reformers. They are more complicated than they look, for sure. My partner tried to build a foot corrector for me and even that was very time consuming.
I hear that there is a new DVD coming out about how to build reformers. I’ll be posting about it as soon as I know for sure.

November 9, 2009 at 2:42 pm
(5) Me says:

Hi. I’m sorry to say that you do NOT, as you say you do, have a good map of a Pilates reformer. These are low-resolution images that are quite unhelpful in clarifying the sort of details that would be helpful to a builder/woodworker. Higher-resolution images would be much more helpful and a set of basic measurements to go along with them would be yet more helpful. It is true that building this sort of thing could be time-consuming, especially depending on the extent to which one was trying to mimic the product shown in the photos. I believe I could work up a set of plans and build one that would be minimally time-consuming and expensive. But the time any skilled builder/woodworker would put into such a project would easily make it quite a bit more expensive than some of the cheaper Pilates machines. If you have someone willing to donate the work then you should be able to save a little.


November 9, 2009 at 7:57 pm
(6) Marguerite says:

James who commented above is right. I was not really thinking anyone would use the Anatomy of a Reformer pics as a guide for making a reformer. I was thinking more that one could see enough of what one was getting into to turn back ;) !

February 25, 2011 at 8:43 am
(7) JP says:

Thinking of building your own pilates reformer FOR HOME USE? (for profesional use is WAY MORE DIFFICULT and it will be imposible for you to build a good one unless you have endless feedback from Pilates instructors)
If I made my own for home-use so can you!!! But as I said in the a previous post: It takes many many many hours of work and THINKING. You will need a fair amount of tools.

Some basic recommendations:
>> Spend SEVERAL hours downloading reformer images from the web and then take the time to analize them

>> Visit the closes Pilates studio in your neighbourhood and ask nicely if you could spend 5 minutes looking at the reformer and taking some basic meassurements

>>) Make sure you live nearby a hardware store (Leroy Merlin in Europe, HomeDepot in US, or similar…) because you will have to go for materials many many times…

Visit your “home depot” and see what sort of materials they sell. Take measurements of what sort of wood sizes they sell

++) Do not try to make an exact replica, you just need to understand what the equipment is all about (I actually got a considerable amount of imput from my Pilates Instructor girlfriend!!!)

++) Metal Work: You will need to make several metalic parts. If you know how to weld and you have the correct equipment it will take time but you will be able to make it without any trouble. If you know how to weld you can try making a metalic reformer frame. It will reduce man-hours considerably.

++) Use your imagination.

++) Dont worry too much on how it looks initially, make sure it works first! Later on you will have plenty of time to make is nicer!

++) You will need to buy 4 big reformer springs (they are not cheap!!!, around 30 to 50 US dolars each)

I have uploaded some pictures here:

I could go on and on for hours… if you have any questions post them here and I will try to reply (last time it took me two years to reply -sorry marguerite- :) !!)

Leave a Comment

Line and paragraph breaks are automatic. Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title="">, <b>, <i>, <strike>

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.

We comply with the HONcode standard
for trustworthy health
information: verify here.