Introduction: The 2x6 Bike Rack
This week I designed and built a quick bike rack to store my young children’s custom bikes from two 2x6’s. You can check out the two bikes in the DIY Bike Build.
This project uses the table saw, miter saw and impact drill. A very basic design, it uses a number of my favorite “great-to-have” materials, such as 2 1/2” exterior wood screws and 2x pine for quick construction.
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Step 1: Materials & Tools
The 2x6 Bike Rack
- 18’ of 2x6’s or 18’ of 2x4 studs if I don’t have access to a table saw.
- 2 1/2” Exterior Wood Screws
- 4” Lag Screws or similar fasteners
Notes on Pine:
2x pine lumber can be found at any big box store. It helps to know and understand the strengths and weaknesses of this material to get the best out of big-box pine for fine woodworking projects. First, pine is a softer softwood. It can be dinged and damaged easily when used. It doesn’t hold detail well. All wood swells and shrinks depending on the humidity, but pine really moves, especially fast-grown commercial product found in home centers. Lastly, pine from the home center is often recently harvested and can be from anywhere in the world. The wood has yet to acclimate to your local climate. As it dries, the pine can (and probably will) warp, cup, bend and twist. This movement can ruin a project.
To mitigate these issues, I use three strategies. First, I buy kiln-dried, non-pressure treated lumber only. Kiln-dried pine has been baked in an oven to remove moisture, which reduces the chance of warp as it dries. Second, I acclimate my boards to my local climate before I begin my work. To do this I simply store the boards in my shop for about two weeks (or a little shorter or longer) before getting started on the project. Lastly, I buy bigger boards rather than smaller. I usually buy 2x12 or 1x8 pine and rip them down to size. Not only are larger boards better quality, larger boards dry slower, having a smaller surface area to volume ratio. Slow drying means less warp. Once ripped, I “sticker” my boards, by placing small scraps between cuts, so air can circulate and dry my board evenly.
- Table Saw
- Miter Saw
- Impact Drill & Bit
Step 2: Milling and Dimensioning
Milling & Dimensioning:
If you use 2x6s and want the look as shown, follow all steps. If you have 2x4s, just cut the 2x4’s to length, then skip the rest of the steps in this section.
- At the miter saw, cut the 2x6’s to length. We need:
- 4 lengths at 36”
- 2 lengths at 30”
- Now, we rip our bike dividers at 1 1/2”. Rip one 36” length and both 30” lengths.
- Rip one 36” at 2.5”. These become the support struts.
- The two remaining 2x6s at 36” become the base boards.
Step 3: Assembly
On a large work surface, such as a workbench or floor, arrange the 1 1/2” square dowels to form the bike rack square, as shown in the pictures below. Set the space between dividers to be the width of your bike’s tire. Screw together with 2 1/2” exterior wood screws.
With the miter saw set at 45 deg, cut off the corners of the two remaining 2”x6”x36” base boards. Mark the center line of one base board, then attach to an upright divider using screws. Do the same for the other side.
Attach the support struts to the base boards using 4” lag screws an the impact drill & bit.
Step 4: Finish
Sand and finish as desired.
This is an outdoor project. When I make outdoor projects, I either finish with paint or with no finish at all. UV rays from the sun destroys finishes and clear film finishes, like polyurethane, break down quickly in the sun. I’ve never had a polyurethane or similar finish last more than a season outdoors. Most wood weathers to a dull ugly gray. I prefer to let it.
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