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Above Garage Door Grappling Mat Storage Rack

As someone who feels that martial arts training is an important part of their life, it is inevitable that some sort of home gym set-up occurs. I had grown tired of the climatological extremes of garage training at our old place so I had not pursued it at our new home. However with available training partners only a few blocks away, I felt that it was a good time to have a midlife training crisis and supplement with some garage rolling.  Unfortunately although my garage is advertised as a two-car garage, it really only feels like a car and a half.  There is very little room for storage, particularly something as bulky and space consuming as mats. The next house we get will have a finished basement.

I did some investigation on the internet and found this interesting article on the Family Handyman. I wanted something like a shelf but the idea of using rollers to assist with storing the mats appealed to me. A friend of mine had some solid (non-folding) mats he was interested in getting rid of, they measure 3’ 6” by 6’ 6” and weigh approximately 50 lbs, so this needed to be a sturdy arrangement. I decided on using three rollers based on six foot 5/8” threaded rods, with 5’ PVC as the roller.

Mounting Bracket, View 1Mounting Bracket, View 2

Mounting bracket (upside down) constructed from 14" 2” x 4” with two 5” corner braces bolted on with three 1/4-20 x 2 1/2” machine bolts. SAE 1/4” washers were used on both sides. The hole at the “top” is 5/8” to accommodate the six foot 5/8” threaded rod used in the roller assembly.

The mats I have are 6’ 6”, so I placed the brackets every other ceiling stud thereby spanning approximately 5’ 6”. Originally I tried placing the rollers as near the outer wall as possible, but the garage door would impact the mounting brackets as it turned from vertical to horizontal, so I moved it in one ceiling stud in and had no clearance trouble.  I measured the opposite mounting bracket position with an assembled roller and confirmed that the bracket would be mounted into the ceiling stud with a stud finder.

I used six #14 x 2 1/2” wood screws into the ceiling stud to mount each of my constructed mounting brackets.

Next I made a 5/8” hole in another 2” x 4” and mounted it on the end of the threaded rod to line the mounting bracket furthest from the garage door. Using this “straightedge” and a stud finder I positioned the mounting bracket. Once mounted I measured and trimmed the connecting 2” x 4”. I did the same thing on the opposite side but confirmed my position with a roller assembly before fastening the opposite mounting bracket. I then attached the connecting 2” x 4”s to the threaded rod.

At this point I weight tested the assembly with my own (not inconsiderable) bodyweight. Nothing moved, nothing broke, and nothing sounded like it was going to give.

Using the connecting 2” x 4” and a stud finder I fastened the middle mounting brackets. Then I bored out the 5/8” hole for the threaded rod in the connecting 2” x 4” on both sides. I assembled the inner hardware of one side and the PVC pipe of the roller, and slid it through the inside holes nearest the wall. It was slid far enough to allow the opposite end to clear the mounting bracket on the opposite side and then I slid it into the mounting bracket hole after placing washers and inside nut. I then tapped the rod into place gently with a mallet, adjusting the nuts on both sides to allow equal amounts of the threaded rod to be seen bilaterally projecting.

A roller assembly is a nut, locking washer, flat washer, connecting 2” x 4”, mounting bracket, flat washer, locking washer, nut, 5’ of PVC pipe, nut, locking washer, flat washer, mounting bracket, connecting 2” x 4”, flat washer, locking washer, nut.

All told this project took me between 6-8 hours including hardware shopping time. But I’m a pretty poor excuse for a carpenter.

Mat Rack with Garage Door Closed

Empty, finished mat rack with garage door closed

Mat Rack with Garage Door Open

Empty, finished mat rack with garage door open

Loaded mat rack

Loaded mat rack

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