A Homemade Skate Drying and Storage Rack
My local rink is closed for about 5 months each year. One year I didn't take the soakers off the blades after the last session in spring, and just parked the skates on the floor under a small table. When I went to skate again in the fall, I nearly fell over from all the high-friction rust that had developed on the bottoms of the blades. It felt like the parking brakes were on until some of the rust started to wear off. I eventually sharpened away any remaining rust. I don't want rusty blades again!
I also wanted to get the skates off the floor. Between skating days, I take the skates out of the bag to let them air dry from the condensation and perspiration that naturally happens. My skating shelf is full of other stuff, so they go onto the floor. Unfortunately, storing them on the floor meant that I'd kick them from time to time, and that hurts.
I decided to make a skate storage/drying rack.
I began my taking a photo of my skates, and resizing the photo in CorelDRAW software to plan the project to scale. In other words, I made a scale drawing of the project.
The pegs were each 2-1/2" from the vertical centerline, the top pegs were 4-1/2" up from the circle's center, and the bottom peg was 5-1/2" down from the circle's center. The circle itself was 14-1/2" in diameter. This is sized to fit my men's size 8 boots with Coronation Ace blades.
While I didn't really need the large circle behind the skates (even a square would work), I decided to make one for a couple of reasons - 1) if I mounted the pegs directly to the wall or used a very small backboard, the black polish from the skates could rub off onto the wall where they touched, and 2) I wanted to do it for appearance.
I began by forming a wide rectangular board by gluing up three 6" wide x 15" long maple boards together. I used biscuits and glue for the jointing (that will make sense to woodworkers, and no, it's not a new recipe for Appalachian food!)
After the glue dried, I used a block plane to eliminate any mismatch between the glued joints. After planing flat, I sanded it very smooth. From this wooden blank, I would cut the circular shape.
I used a compass to sketch the circular shape onto the blank. I also drew the locations of the peg holes and mounting holes on the blank. I purchased shaker pegs from Rockler. They required 1/2" diameter mounting holes.
I used my drill press and a Forstner bit to make the 1/2" blind (non-through) holes for the pegs. After drilling them, I changed to a much smaller drill to put in a through-hole so that a #4 screw could pull the peg in tight from the back.
Using a band saw, I rough-cut the round shape that I had sketched, leaving about 1/8" extra material all around. A jig saw would work OK too. This leaves imperfect edges that will need to be made perfectly round in a subsequent step.
To clean up the freehand cut from the band saw, I used a plunge router with a Jasper circle jig. You put a pin in the center of the piece, and choose an appropriate hole on the jig for the size circle you want. I put the hole for the pin in the back of the circle so it wouldn't show when done. This is like a large compass in operation. It's very easy to cut perfectly round shapes in this manner.
After routing, it's time to dress up the edge with a decorative chamfer or roundover. I chose a chamfer. I used a router table because I have one, but this could have been done without the table. A pilot bearing on the chamfer bit tracks around the circular shape and cuts the decorative edge in the disk very easily. Without the router table, the challenge is how to hold the disk while routing, but I've done it in the past using clamps. Both methods work.
Here's an picture of a chamfer bit from MLCS Woodworking. It's cutting depth is adjusted on the router.
After cutting the chamfer, I had some tool chatter and small burn marks to sand out. After doing that, I applied General Finishes Arm-R-Seal semi-gloss on the parts. Here's a photo after the first coat...
After about 4 coats with some light sanding between coats, I assembled and hung the rack onto the side of a filing cabinet in my basement office. Mission accomplished!
I did put a piece of clear flexible tubing over the lower peg to protect it from the blades' edges. I did it before assembly, but I suspect one can be added later by splitting the tubing along its length. Skate blades would take their toll on the lower peg if it were not protected.
If you desire to make one for yourself, make sure you have enough wall space (about 24") to fit everything comfortably. It took up more width than I expected. Skates are tall, and two mounted sideways takes room.
Also, I would suspect that my skates (Men's size 7-1/2) are larger than most skates on women. The lower peg might have to be moved up a bit to hold apart the shorter blades on women's skates.
The rack holds the skates reliably, and it's easy to place them into the rack when you're done skating. This rack is a keeper for me.
September 13, 2010