Creating a Temporary “Sauna Bench” Style Equipment Rack

This post is all about a temporary equipment rack even though the next major task in my Phoenix theater build log is, believe it or not, installing tile in the entryway in front of the theater. That’s been bare concrete since that wall originally went up. In fact, my previous post on creating the door threshold was a preliminary one just so I could do the tiling.

Well, this is also a preliminary step in preparation for the tiling!

In this case, the issue is that my AV equipment (HTPC and AVR) are sitting directly on the floor in my equipment closet and thus also sitting right where the tile is going to go. This means that I need to elevate the equipment somehow — a simple shelf acting as an ersatz equipment rack.

01-on-floor

The Video

As is typical now, I always create a video and usually (but not always) create a post to go along with it. Here’s the video:

A Quick Hack

My goal for this was to create a temporary solution that takes me less than an hour total to build and uses exclusively scrap lumber that I have lying around.

I started by looking at what I had. OCD people with expectations of perfect cable management: avert your eyes!

02-rats-nest

Heh. Yeah, that’s pretty nasty. I promise that it’ll all be much better when I finish the equipment closet for real. I just don’t want to commit to any particular cable length until everything is finalized.

I sort of kind of a little bit started organizing by figuring out what bundles of cables go where and making sure I wrapped them around the corner just to keep them in place.

03-moved

What follows, then, is covered in the video but I don’t have any pictures. So use your imagine or just watch the video.

I started by getting out my laser level and striking a relatively random line, just to have a place with enough space under it for me to work with the tile. I then got a couple of spare 2x4s to use as shelf supports and screwed them into both sides. The right side was very straightforward since the studs are still exposed and so I just screwed directly into that. The left side should have been straightforward, but wasn’t.

The problem was that I was using 2″ long screws. That was fine on the stud size since that give 1-1/2″ for the 2×4 and 1/2″ embedded into the stud, which is enough for these purposes. But the theater wall is different. It’s made of two layers of sheet goods. The first layer is particle board and the second layer is drywall. What I didn’t think through was that a 2″ screw would have its 1/2″ of protruding screw embedded entirely into drywall, which has zero holding power in this fashion.

So when I started screwing the slats into the supports, even the mild pressure from that action was enough to rip the screw out of the wall. D’oh!

I rummaged around in my boxes of screws and found a few 3″ (or maybe larger) ones that easily had enough length to bite into the particle board. I mean, particle board doesn’t have fantastic grip strength either, but it’s still worlds better than drywall!

The shelf slates were made out of ripped 2x4s that I had created as part of my earlier sandbox build and were left over. They were in my scrap wood pile destined for firewood so those perfectly fit my requirement of “scrap lumber”.

I predrilled all of the holes in the slats since they are prone to splitting otherwise. I also decided to space the slats out for better airflow and to give more space in the back for the cables.

The end result looks like so:

04-finished

That look immediately reminded both me and my wife of something — a sauna bench! We’re both very familiar with saunas since I grew up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (Yooper country) which was heavily settled by Finnish people. Both of are have mostly Finnish ancestry. I love the inadvertent resemblance!

And here’s what it looks like with the equipment loaded back up.

05-stacked

It definitely looks just like a temporary solution and that’s exactly what it is. I’ll eventually build a proper equipment closet with a proper equipment rack, someday. But for now, this is keeping the AV equipment off the floor and gives me room to tile, so I consider that mission accomplished!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *