Introduction: Race Bib and Medal Display
This year I set myself the goal of running at least 20 5k races. This is the first step in achieving my ultimate goal of running Ultras in 2025. With this, along with a healthy sense of achievement, comes lots of race bibs and the occasional medal.
I use a fitness tracker that records stats as I run. Along with somewhere to neatly store bibs, I also wanted to be able to include a printout of each race's stats. After finding some inspiration online, I came up with the creation detailed in this Instructable. It includes ring binder hardware, to store bibs, a small chalkboard to record personal best (PB) times for each race type, and has a series of hooks for any medals I earn. There is also an small shelf, should I ever acquire a trophy.
The display is left with no finish and was purposely made a little rustic - it is not perfectly dimensioned nor sanded to a mirror finish. I hope you find some inspiration in the following... enjoy.
All of the wood for this project was pulled from my scrap pile. The ring binder hardware was taken from a spare binder. The chalkboard was purchased from a male-named craft store. The threaded hooks were purchased from a popular online retailer names after a rain forest.
I used an orbital sander, table saw, power drill and pocket screw jig. However, a doweling jig could be used, or just glue the butt joints.
Step 1: Create the Back Board
After working out the approximate dimensions, to allow for both the bibs and chalk board, I cut 4 pieces of 1x4 to length. I gave each piece a quick sand prior to drilling pocket holes, to give the board structural strength. Using simple butt joints, I glued and screwed each plank to make up the main back board of the display. To paraphrase the great Norm Abram; the glue is there until the screws dry.
When planning the board, I made sure to alternate the grain of each plank, to prevent warping over time. I included 3 screws per joint - I don't think the board will move. As I was inserting the pocket screws I made sure the planks were roughly aligned and as flat as possible. Because of the rustic look I was heading for, I wasn't working hard to get the plank ends to line up.
Step 2: Mounting Supports
I didn't want to use bolts, that would potentially stick out the back of the board, for the ringer binder hardware. I also wanted to ensure that the medal hooks had enough stock to be mounted into. With that in mind, I used a couple off cuts on the back of the board, at the top and near the bottom. These were positioned, centralized and then simply screwed in place.
The top baton is also the top half of a cleat. A cleat can be used to hang heavy items or items that you don't want to directly screw into a wall. I used a 1x2 stock, and cut it approx in half with the table saw blade set at a 35° angle. Any angle between 30° and 45° will work. The picture shows how the two halves of the cleat interlock to hold the piece to the wall. The lower half will be securely screwed to wall, the top half will hold the piece in place.
Step 3: Bib Mount
This is the centerpiece of the project; somewhere to store, manage and display race bibs.
The binder hardware was attached to the binder with two rivets. After drilling them out, I realized that the binder strip had two standoffs. Little hidden bonus. It meant that the mechanism wouldn't foul on the board and that I wouldn't have to come up with some other standoff solution.
After lining up the ring binder hardware with the top baton, and ensuring it was level and square, I attached it using two screws. I made sure there was enough room to the right for the PB chalk board. As I was installing the mounting supports in the previous step, I was careful to ensure that there would be enough room under the bibs for the medal hooks. This was confirmed once the ring binder hardware was attached.
Step 4: Trophy Shelf and PB Times
The next step was to install a simple shelf that would be used for any trophies, or non-medal trinkets, that were won. The shelf is made up of a 1x2 cut to the same length as the back board. I lined up the shelf piece with the top of the board and secured it in place with some screws. As I was drilling pilot holes (always drill pilot holes) and inserting the screws, I made sure the shelf piece was flush with the top of the board. Pulling it up a little in the middle to remove a minor warp.
Then I eyeballed where the chalk board should go. Made sure it was square and straight, and simply applied glue along the frame to stick it to the back board. Once the glue had gone off, I applied the vinyl text for each race type. My plan is to work my way up the distances until achieving Ultras. I picked the six most common race lengths: 5k, 10k, 7 miles, half marathon (13.1 miles), full marathon (26.2 miles) and Ultra (50k - 100k). Split into two columns of three, I applied the right numbers and letters for each. I used blue tape to act as a guide to ensure that each character was inline and straight. It took a little finagling, but the end result is what I was going for.
Step 5: Medal Hooks
As I plan to run a large number of races, I couldn't decide on the number of hooks I wanted. Did I want one hook for each year? One hook for each month, then mount previous years' medals somewhere else or...? The decisions went on.
I settled on 23 hooks, spread over the length of the bottom and staggered on a 1 inch basis. The hooks are large enough to allow for multiple medals to hang from each hook. If they get unwieldy in the future, I can always modify and adjust as needed.
As with the ring binder hardware, I ensured the line of hooks was aligned with the mounting baton on the rear. Marking out the position of each hook, I simply screwed each one in after drilling pilot holes. I used a collar on the drill bit to ensure the pilot hole depth was correct and I did inadvertently drill through the back of the display board or baton. I used bull nose pliers to get the leverage needed to screw the hooks in.
I decided to include an extra hook in the top right; to hang my favorite sweat band.
Step 6: Mounting to the Wall
Because I'd made a cleat to mount the piece to the wall, it was simply a case of working out where I wanted it placed, and then attaching the bottom half of the cleat to the wall. I located as many studs as I could find in the area where I wanted the display.
I only found two studs. I first screwed the cleat into the left stud, then ensured the cleat was perfectly level before screwing it into the second stud (after making pilot holes). I doubled up the screws in the second stud to reduce the load on each screw.
All that was left was just to hang the display on the stud and slide it along so that the bottom cleat wasn't visible from the front. The picture shows how the cleat works against a wall. It is a very secure method. It doesn't wobble, or have any play when trying to pull it away from the wall. Remarkably, it also supports my weight.
Step 7: Closing Remarks
This was a simple build; no special tools were required, no fancy woodworking skills were (fortunately) needed and the total time was around 2 hours. The finished piece matched pretty closely with the overall design I had in mind.
The use of pocket screws to construct the back board may be a little over kill. The overall weight of the piece is more than I was expecting, but it's not heavy enough to need any heavy duty wall mounts.
I'm pleased with how this project turned out. I may in the future give the piece a finish - I need to noodle on what type, if any, to use. As the ring binder hardware is only screwed to the back board, I will be easy enough to strip the piece down to apply a finish if I decide to. All that I really need to do now is keep putting one foot in front of the other, earning those race bibs and medals, and watch as this display fills up.
I hope you enjoyed this Instructable, and could take something away from it. I have an eclectic list of upcoming projects. Pop back to see more.