Introduction: Reclaimed Wood and Pipe Bike Hangers

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Our office was a mess of bikes. With a little bit of reclaimed wood, pipe fittings, and some scrap rubber innertube, we tidied things up nicely.

Step 1: Cutting and Finishing Your Wood

We found decent boards of scrap wood for nearly free at Building Resources, a non-profit salvage company here in San Francisco. These were cut down to the same length, and then cut little triangular pieces off the corners mostly for aesthetics. You'll see you later photos that the pipe flanges sit off-center to the left so that the bike wheels will rest on the right side of the wood. The asymmetric shape makes this look more natural.

(Note, btw, the chunk of concrete we used as a jig for quick cutting. Low tech.)

After cutting, we quickly sanded all the edges and rubbed down the surfaces with tung oil to protect it and bring out the grain a bit.

Step 2: Assemble Your Pipes

For the actual hanger part of the hangers, we used standard pipe fittings from the hardware store. These were all 1" diameter pipe, flanges, elbow joints, and end caps. Pretty straightforward. For our rack, the piece running out from the rack was about 3" and the horizontal piece that contacts the wheel was about 2.5".

Assemble the elbows but not the flanges, yet -- that bit will be done directly on the wall.

Step 3: Mount Your Boards and Pipes

Mark off the wall where you'll be hanging your racks. We used blue carpenter's tape to sketch out where the bikes would hang, leaving 18" horizontal between each bike and offsetting each one 12" vertically. This seems to work great for packing in bikes without being too much of a tangle of handlebars when you try to hang your bike.

For our concrete wall, we used a masonry bit and impact driver to drill holes and drive concrete screws to hang each piece of wood. Two at the top (one under where the flange goes, one to its right) and one at the bottom. They're rock-solid.

After the wood is attached to the wall, screw in the flanges (4 screws each), then twist in your pipe elbows. By the end, you'll be putting your back into it to get the pipe pointing the right way, but this means the bikes won't be moving them at all once they're hanging on them.

Step 4: Wrap Your Pipes to Protect Your Bike Wheels

Hanging bike rims directly on metal pipe is pretty harsh on their paint jobs. We used some busted inner tube that we had laying around. Wrap a segment around your pipe to see how long it needs to be to cover the pipe. Measure out pieces of this length and cut them with a deep angle so that it will wrap neatly.

See the photos: you get it started, overlapping by about half with each turn. On the last turn, use a finger to keep a gap open, then tuck in the end on that last turn. If you get it nice and tight and overlap enough tubing, the friction of the rubber should keep the wrapping on quite well.

Step 5: Hang Your Bikes!

Your rack is done. Take all those bike laying everywhere and hang them up. Ahhhh... so much more space to play with, now!