I have a 3-tier dumbbell rack, which works well, except for one key piece of the design. The lips that hold the top of each dumbbell aren’t really tall enough for the heavier dumbbells. Here’s a rough video showing the problem.
A 50 pound dumbbell only has to slip once or twice smashing your fingers on the bottom bracket before it’s time to come up with a fix. My solution was to cut a couple strips of plywood, notch them out to mate up with the the current lip, drill some holes, and bolt it together.
Didn’t need much extra height really. Here’s another rough video showing the improvement.
I also added a shelf for the smaller dumbbells because all of my sets don’t fit on the rack. I left space for two remaining pairs; the eights to match everything in my set from five to 40 pounds and some 60s (ordered today).
I made a weight plate rack probably 7 years ago and it held up reasonably well with limited use.
Through the pandemic, I’ve been using my garage gym a lot and the rack was starting to fall apart. The design had two main problems:
The screws (I didn’t know about wood glue back then) couldn’t support the load of plates leaning and falling against the uprights.
The narrow base meant the plates could easily roll off when bumped.
So I took a bunch of measurements, looked at my scrap plywood, and modeled a new rack in SketchUp. My goals were to make construction simple, not spend any money, add spots for the kettlebell plates, and save space. Here’s what I came up with.
Originally it was one wide rack, but I ended up making it in two sections since my scrap plywood wasn’t long enough. This made assembly easier and gives me the option of storing half of the plates in a different location.
I cut all of the plywood, used wood glue and a nail gun for assembly, and sanded all of the edges. I gave it some spray paint and number stencils. I had everything I needed in my workshop so I didn’t spend a dime.
I tested with the heavier plates and quickly realized I’d failed to plan for the plates tipping to the sides; they don’t stay upright without some kind of vertical support. Also with the lightweight plywood construction, the whole thing could move depending on how many other plates are in use. Back to the drawing board. I didn’t want to throw away all my work, so I came up with a way to use 2x4s from the previous rack.
I cut slots in the 2×4 to create stable vertical supports. I only needed a single screw in each one. Then I added another piece of 2×4 across the back, double screwed to each support, to link all four together, which improved the strength a lot. Each half rack was also screwed to the wall. It works well now.
While I was at it, I removed the Plasti Dip and colored paint from the small metal plates, which had been peeling for years. Blakleen was a huge save in this process, even though it was still a mess and a lot of work. Then I primed and painted them black. They look really good, so it was worth it.
After I added lighting to my broom closet, the unfinished shoe rack started to bug me. It wasn’t only that the saw marks and colors caught my eye, more than once I scraped fingers when grabbing a pair of shoes since I never sanded the edges. My time-saving shortcuts only ended up causing more work in the long run because now I had to disassemble the other shelving a second time in order to get the rack out and finish it.
I sanded the edges and used white spray paint. I also painted the piece of wood holding up the other shelves.
A couple of years ago I did a big reorganization of the garage before I moved all of my tools to the basement and created a workshop down there. The high shelves on the front wall of the garage turned out to be a terrible idea because I couldn’t reach anything; I’d have to move a bunch of shit out of the way and use a ladder. I finally had enough and moved everything around. Here’s a before and after.
A lot of the room I got back was due to removing the treadmill (both were free!) that didn’t fold up. I disassembled it last week to salvage the motor, speed controller, and a lot of other parts. I can easily access the shelves by moving the lawn mower out of the way and it won’t seem like I’m going to slam my car door into something (I back in so the charge port is next to the charger).
I’ve slowly been continuing with my garage gym clean-up and reorganization. Originally I was going to get rid of the extra stall mats because I’m not going to park on top of them and I have a much thinner mat that rolls up and easily stores in a corner. As I was looking at the back wall I got an idea to store these two pieces of mat against the wall, so I can quickly pull them down for workouts.
The mats are 3/4 inch and very rigid, so they stand pretty well on their own. I wasn’t going to risk them falling back on a vehicle though, so they needed a seat belt.
On each side I drilled in to a stud and screwed in an eye bolt. Then I could hook in a ratchet strap, tighten it, and the mats will never fall over.
These accessories for my barbells were laying on the floor or on a shelf (now full of other things). I built this organizer out of a bunch of scrap wood so everything has a place to go, which is out of the way.
I’ve been cleaning up and reorganizing my gym to make room for a second vehicle in the garage. Floor space has become a premium resource, so I built a little rack so these small dumbbells have a place to go. Even better, it uses up what normally would be wasted space under a shelf.