Backyard Ice Rinks are cool!

How to Make a Homemade Ice Surfacer

Here's a simple Ice Resurfacer that's easy to build and highly effective.  It won't scrape off the existing surface, but it sure does a nice job of putting a really thin sheet of ice down.  This allow you to put more sheets of ice down faster, as the thin sheets freeze quickly.  It also makes your rink super slippery, so be careful when using it, especially the second time.  (The first time you've got crevaces and scrapings from ice skating blades that help make it so that you can walk around easily.  Once you've put down a think layer of ice, these are gone and your rink will be super slick.)

Let's get started.  Here's a parts list:

Picture Quantity Item Reason
   1 Brass Hose Adapter You'll be hooking this bad boy right up to your hose.  The other end will go on the PVC pipe.
   1 PVC Spigot You'll want to be able to turn the water on and off as needed.  I used the ball join kind.  1 quarter turn starts and stops the flow of water.  Whatever you do, you'll need either PVC or Brass.  Any other type of metal and it'll freeze up on ya.
   1 8 foot 3/4 inch PVC Pipe You'll use this in sections to create the flow tubes. 
   2 PVC 3/4 inch End Caps We'll be drilling holes in the pvc to let the water out.  You don't want it running out the end of your pipes. 
   1 4 foot Janitor's Broom This will distribute the water onto the ice nicely.  There are two pieces to this, a metal frame and the cloth "mop."  Also known as a Gymnasium Broom.
   1 Standard Acme Thread Broom Handle You'll use this to push your Ice Surfacer around. 
   1 Small bag of 8 inch wire ties This will attach your PVC framework to your broom and handle.  They have to be pretty long, as they go around the handle and the hose, etc.
   1 PVC Primer Gluing PVC pipe together is a two step process.  First you put on the primer.
   1 PVC Glue

Next you put on the Glue.

   1 Piece of String I used this to hang up the homemade Ice Surfacer It's pretty important, as you'll see later.

When you're buying this stuff, make sure all of the parts fit together.  It's easier to check in the store than it is to come back later.  I got all my stuff in one trip to the home center, except the Gymnasium Broom.  I got that here.

Now the tools...

Picture Name Reason
  Saw You've got to cut the PVC to a couple of lengths.  Any saw will do, but a power chop saw or mitre saw is probably easiest.
  Drill We'll be putting holes every so often in the PVC to let the water out.  A Drill Press makes it easier, but really any drill will do.
  3/8 inch Drill Bit This is what we'll drill the holes with.
  PVC Glue We talked about this up in the Parts List, but it's kind of a tool as well.
  Wire Cutter or Scissors The ends on the wire ties are annoying.  Cut 'em off.  (We can talk about the plurality of Wire Cutter vs. Scissors later.)

 And now, the steps to build your homemadeIce Surfacer

  1. Cut the PVC to Size.
    1. 2 - 22 inch pieces
    2. 1 - 30 inch piece
  2. Drill water outlet holes in the 22 inch pieces (but NOT in the 30 inch piece.)
    1. Start 2 inches in from both sides (in other words, leave two inches at both sides.)
    2. Use a 3/8 inch drill bit
    3. Drill holes one side of the pipe only.  All of the holes should face the same direction.
    4. Drill holes about every 4 inches.
  3. Dry fit all of the pieces together.
    1. See Figure A
    2. Make sure that the water flow holes that you drilled are pointing straight down.  I've tried it a number of ways and this seems to work best.  It allows you to go both forward and backward on the ice.  (And for those of you thinking that we should have drilled two holes across from each other, I tried that too.  It didn't work quite as well, as the water sometimes went right onto the ice instead of through the mop head and then onto the ice.  It wasn't a big difference, but you can get a thiner layer of ice if the water goes through the mop head.)
  4. Glue the PVC Together
    1. Follow the directions on your PVC Primer and Glue.
    2. It's important that the Brass Adapter is very securely in place.  This is the only PVC joint that will be under pressure (when you turn the spigot off.)
  5. Put the Broom Together with the handle.
    1. Put the mop on, too, so that you can make sure you can get it on! (I did this the first time and had to take the PVC frame off to put the mop head on.)
  6. Use the wire ties to affix the PVC frame to the Broom Frame and Handle.  It doesn't have to be super tight.  Just enough to make it so that you don't have to hold it on manually.
  7. You're all set.  Attach your hose and surface away!

Using this contraption isn't too hard, but I do have a whole page dedicated to making it easier.  Click here.