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Did you ever make your own touring racks?

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Did you ever make your own touring racks?

Old 10-30-14, 01:13 PM
  #1  
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Did you ever make your own touring racks?

I was out of money and had a few hours to kill, so I decided to make myself a set of touring racks. Had an old wooden accordion drying rack that had fallen apart, made of oak, with 3/4"side strips and round dowels, a little cutting, a few bolts and screws and brackets, and it's now front and rear touring racks.

before painting:


after painting:
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Old 10-30-14, 01:52 PM
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Originally Posted by jj1091 View Post
I was out of money and had a few hours to kill, so I decided to make myself a set of touring racks. Had an old wooden accordion drying rack that had fallen apart, made of oak, with 3/4"side strips and round dowels, a little cutting, a few bolts and screws and brackets, and it's now front and rear touring racks.
The aesthetics leave a lot to be desired. Do you really think these are going to carry stuff? I think there are valid reasons for why racks are made from steel or aluminum.
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Old 10-30-14, 02:08 PM
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Hey, experimentation is good. I suspect that they may not hold up well over time, and I wouldn't load them down with a lot of heavy gear. But they'll probably work fine for light-duty use. If they break, is there any risk that the broken pieces might impale your legs? That might be worth thinking about.
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Old 10-30-14, 02:25 PM
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I like them.
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Old 10-30-14, 02:51 PM
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Originally Posted by big_heineken View Post
I like them.
Me too! They look pretty sturdy to me so long as they're made out of hardwood.

Last week I made a roof rack out of 2x4 studs for my minivan to help my move my son's stuff 550 miles. It didn't look nearly as nice as the op's handicraft but worked to perfection, so looks can be deceiving.
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Old 10-30-14, 05:38 PM
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2 hrs + 4130 Tubing = New Rear Rack | Wisconsin Bike Fed
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Old 10-30-14, 05:58 PM
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they look as good as the bike. I applaud your consistency.
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Old 10-30-14, 06:03 PM
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Are you gonna build a trunk to go with them? Fenders?

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Old 10-30-14, 06:12 PM
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Originally Posted by photogravity View Post
I think there are valid reasons for why racks are made from steel or aluminum.
And also good reasons any touring rack worth using will have two or three struts going down to each dropout mounting point, not just one. One strut per side gets pretty wobbly if you start to load it up.

Still, I like messing with the wood scraps, and see what I can come up with (see above)

Also, they make aluminum "welding" rods you can use with a plain old propane torch. -> https://www.alumiweld.com/

Aluminum rodstock is cheap and plentiful at your local hardware store.
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Old 10-30-14, 09:28 PM
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I also like them.
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Old 10-30-14, 09:36 PM
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I think they look great. It would be great if you could report your experiences with them.
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Old 10-30-14, 09:48 PM
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Wooden dogsleds are mostly made out of ash, birch, hickory, or maple, and I've carried some serious loads in them back in the day (as well as put them through some serious abuse).

I don't see why a wood rack wouldn't work. One thing you might think about though.

Wooden dogsleds (the good ones) are lashed together with tuna leader (like they use for tuna fishing). If you bolt one together, the wood tends to split at the bolts. The lashings seem to spread the force about, and let the wood flex a little without breaking.

Just food for thought. I don't imagine you want want to go back and lash your nice rack together.
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Old 10-30-14, 10:37 PM
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Cool racks. Way to be creative.
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Old 10-30-14, 11:12 PM
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No comments on aesthetics, but I'd suggest more triangulation. Rectangles are known to easily become parallelograms under load...
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Old 10-30-14, 11:14 PM
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Like the front one. You don't want a huge load there anyway. But the rear might not be up to a lot of weight. Looks nice though.
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Old 10-31-14, 12:28 AM
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Looks like triangles to me
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Old 10-31-14, 02:23 AM
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Originally Posted by photogravity View Post
The aesthetics leave a lot to be desired. Do you really think these are going to carry stuff? I think there are valid reasons for why racks are made from steel or aluminum.
Sure, they're temporary. But they're quite strong, held a 60-lb bag of concrete. They won't have any trouble carrying a load, I'll be doing a 75-mile one-way camping trip next weekend with them, holding around 30 pounds front and rear. They're as pretty as the Schwinn sprung seat, huh? For the moment, it's functionality. On my "Sunday ride" I change over to the racing saddle. Appearances, you know. Course, I could always spray-paint them with some "chrome" paint. Would that help?
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Old 10-31-14, 03:15 AM
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As long as they hold up its all good. I wouldn't want to go crazy with the load though.
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Old 10-31-14, 03:17 AM
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Yeah... I like DIY, I applaud the attitude, and I'd encourage you to try again. Touring puts some serious stress on equipment like racks, and honestly I wouldn't expect these to last a week. Worse, when they fail, they may do so in a rather spectacular manner. Coming down a hill fully loaded at 35 mph I do not need extra things to worry about, such as my tent getting involved with my front wheel because my rack broke.
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Old 10-31-14, 04:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Reynolds View Post
...but I'd suggest more triangulation. Rectangles are known to easily become parallelograms under load...
That's what I was thinking. One reason I became disenchanted with the Pletscher decades ago was its lateral stability. The rivets holding the struts to the platform just weren't up to that task.

Even so, nice work.
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Old 10-31-14, 04:58 AM
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that would go nicely on a bamboo bike
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Old 10-31-14, 05:05 AM
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you could always just do this instead?

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Old 10-31-14, 05:32 AM
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Old 10-31-14, 05:48 AM
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My homebuilt rack is beverage related. With all the money I saved, I got to fill it up a couple times. Rickety and precarious, but the cargo requires careful treatment anyway.

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Old 10-31-14, 02:32 PM
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The issue here is the type of failure that's likely to occur when one of the struts or rails splits at a bolt hole. To expand on RHM's point, once one joint fails, other failures are likely to follow rapidly and dump your load onto a wheel. Unlike metal, wood has no plasticity to speak of, so deformation past its elastic limit makes it break rather than bend. This is what will happen if any part of the rack comes undone with a load on it. Also, over the course of a 75 mile ride you should plan to check the fasteners several times, as the load and shaking may cause them to compress the wood and loosen.
One reason I became disenchanted with the Pletscher decades ago was its lateral stability. The rivets holding the struts to the platform just weren't up to that task.
I think the problem with Pletscher racks and lateral stability has more to do with how they were secured to the chain stays. If you tightened up the plate-style mount with the flat surface even against the stays, it had plenty of lateral stiffness. However, you risked squashing the frame tubes (ugh!). The strap-type mounts were useless for any sort of load and did almost as much cosmetic damage as the plates. I made a bracket for a Pletscher out of an old MAFAC Racer bridge piece bolted to the rear caliper which works just fine.
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