Dumbbell Rack Repair

When we had our old house demolished and a new one constructed, we rented out a small house near our lot. The house we rented was small and so space for our stuff was very limited.

And with hardly a space to do my home gym workouts, I decided to set aside all the weight training equipment for the time being. That, or at least put them into some good use somehow.

Damage from the Rains

I used my dumbbell and barbell weight plates to raise steel tubes off the ground. This assembly supported the carton boxes that held our stuff. Unfortunately, not even this raised platform prevented the boxes from getting wet in a flooding disaster).

The exercise weights plates developed rust and eventually, I had to clean and repaint the dumbbell and barbell weight plates.

Anyway, with no space inside, I took the weights and dumbbell rack outside. It didn't have any protection from the elements other than a plastic tarp that blew with the wind.

We rented the house for the second half of the year which was practically the whole rainy season. Alas, the onslaught of the typhoons and rains took its toll on whatever was outside and the rack was not spared.

After settling in the new house, I noticed the dumbbell rack's guide rail had cracks. With a screwdriver, I probed and pried into the cracks and noticed some parts of the wood to have rotted.

The wood inside has turned black and has become soft from being drenched continually. This guide rail was made of softwood unlike the rest of the wooden parts of the weights and dumbbell rack.

I guessed the rack can still be used because the guide rail was not bearing load when the rack is in use. But then I suppose the rotted wood would just continue to deteriorate.

I wasn't sure there were no termites, so that too was a concern should termites infest the remaining good hardwood.

Long story short, I decided to replace the damaged guide rail of the weights and dumbbell rack. After all, I've already decided to resume my fitness training.

Replacing the Dumbbell Rack's Guide Rail

Here's what I did to replace the damaged part.
  1. Continue prying open the cracks of the damaged wood with the screwdriver.
  2. Pry up the protective metal sheets that cover the edges of the guide rail.
  3. Pull out the small nails attaching the metal sheets to the wood with a pair of pliers.
  4. Use a paintbrush to scoop out and brush away all other rotted wood debris.

  5. Scrap the hardened excess paint on the bottom board with a paint scraper. The bottom board is hardwood and was not affected by the rot.

  6. Measure and cut marine plywood to replace the rotted wood.
  7. Treat the newly cut plywood with anti-termite solution.
  8. Form and flatten the old metal sheet with a pair of pliers, vise-grips and a hammer.

  9. Clean out the inside of the metal sheets with an old chisel.
  10. Prepaint parts of the rack, the plywood and the metal sheets before assembling them together. This ensures all the parts are coated with paint.
  11. Use screws to reattach the metal sheets at the corners. The ends of the guide rail were vulnerable and so I used screws instead of nails. Nail the rest of the portions of the metal sheet to the wood.

Shown below is the completed and newly painted guide rail for the dumbbell rack. Notice the guide rail narrows at the right side. This is to allow the spin-lock dumbbells which have shorter handles (4-inch length). The other dumbbells have longer handles (5 inches).

Stabilizing the Side Brace

I noticed that the nail heads on the side brace were rusting and when I forcefully shook the rack, it wobbled just a little. So it was time to tighten up the side brace board. Here's what I did:
  1. Identify the spots to put screws. Screws, rather than nails, have stronger holding power. They should be positioned away from existing nails, wood knots, checks and other wood imperfections.

  2. Pre-drill holes for the screws to facilitate screwing in.

  3. Use a screwdriver to drive the screws in. If power is inadequate, use a pair of locking vise-grips. Lock on to the screw head and turn the vise-grip clockwise as if it were a wrench.

Refinish the Surface
  1. For rusted nail heads, scratch lightly with sandpaper and then repaint.
  2. For holes, dents or cracks, mix wood epoxy clay and apply. Shown below is the bottom of the dumbbell rack. There's a long surface crack that has been covered with wood epoxy clay.

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