Punching Bag Brackets


Sad and LonleyFor months, my punching bag has sat in a lonely corner in the garage, with ladders and push brooms leaning on it like it were a garbage sack full of leaves.  Before that, it lay in an even lonelier corner in a storage unit far from here.  It once held a position of honor, a place we went to create copious amounts of sweat and expend kinetic energy.  It was a staple of my workouts.

The PlansOnce we built this garage, I didn’t think the joists would be strong enough by themselves to hold the bag up.  They probably were, but the engineer in me really likes to over-fortify things.  So I thought to make these large brackets to help spread the load out and stabilize the joists it hangs from.

I’ve got a plethora of scrap lumber, not the least of which a few 2 x 12’s just waiting to be sawn into something useful.  Some people pay extra money for wood that looks distressed or a little weathered; I got it coming out of my ears.

Reclaimed Wood

The piece on the left is as I found it.  The piece on the right is after sanding.  Turns out very nice.

Here they are being cut and sanded down.  No matter what you do to construction lumber, it’s always going to look like construction lumber.  But if you cut and sand carefully and give it some crisp edges and shape it carefully, it doesn’t have to look like you have 2×12’s sticking out of your wall.  I had some leftover sikkens, which is basically linseed oil with some pigment to it, and that worked great for wood treatment.

Ready to be punched Installed

The final product works great.  I still need to adjust the chain a bit but otherwise the bag takes impact well and I don’t feel like I’m going to pull the whole roof down when I work out.


Scrap Wood Project: Planter Box

Scrap WoodEvery woodworker has a surplus of scrap wood.  It just piles up, faster than you know.  I purged a lot of my scrap wood on the move out here but I did keep a few choice pieces.  But after the garage was built, I inherited a small pile of lumber, mostly construction grade stuff.  Lots of 2×6’s and a few nice 2×12’s, and quite a few pieces of cedar trim.

When you live on this island, you don’t let a lot of things go to waste.  I get that, and I’m totally down with that concept, but at the same time I don’t want to be a hoarder.  Not only do I not have the storage space, but the tenets of my religion forbid it.  Thou shalt not be a freaking hoarder.  Don’t own stuff you don’t need, don’t keep stuff you won’t use.

WoodAnyway, that’s a long way of explaining why I feel compelled to periodically make a woodworking project entirely out of scrap wood.  In my case, I have a crapton of 2×6’s, most of which are marked to make a deck or a shed or something but I can spare a few.

BambooThe back door of the house is a double door with these big glass panes that let the light through.  They’re lovely.  And they afford the entire living room a direct view of the ugliest shed in the San Juans (click here if you think I’m joking).  So we figured we’d get some bamboo for screening and put it in a big planter box so we can look at the bamboo and not the shed.  We’re pretty smart, huh?

Carpenter AntThe wood, I discovered, was being guarded by a small army of carpenter ants.  I’d ask them to work for me since I have a myriad of carpentry jobs to get done but they’re union and I’d have to pay out the wazoo.  Well, the rule of ants is that where there’s one, there’s a million, so I had to make sure the wood I took from the wood pile was ant free.

More woodThe planter box would be pretty simple, I hoped.  I’d just cut notches in the ends of each piece and stack them all together.  I’d like to thank my mother for buying me Lincoln Logs for Christmas in 1972.  They taught me a lot about how to build things.

Lincoln LogsI was actually hoping to not have to use fasteners or nails of any sort but I decided to toe it together with some tenpenny nails just to make sure it didn’t fall apart.  Since I don’t own a nail gun, that involved me hammering nails at an angle into corners and hard to reach places.  Yeah, there was a lot of colorful language coming out of the garage in that particular hour.

Eagle2The bottom was a piece of scrap plywood that had been sitting outside in the rain for about eight months so I figure it’s already acclimated to being moist and moldy.  I did line the inside with some thick plastic, just to help the thing live longer.  This planter box should age well.  I expect within a year it will be gray and pitted and have moss growing on it, which is the intended look I’m going for.  A bald eagle stopped by and gave my planter a little nod of approval, and I took that to be a sign of good fortune.


So there you have it.  Nothing but a few 2×6 beams and a sheet of plywood screwed to the bottom with like twenty decking screws just to make sure it stays affixed for as long as possible.  I didn’t even treat the wood with anything, I’m just leaving it outside to rot.  In a good way.  It should weather well out here, and should look great for many years.  When it’s finally ready to be put out to pasture, literally, it can be simply taken and set in a field where the planter and whatever’s growing in it can just become part of the earth.  It happens faster than you think out here.

Better View

It sure beats staring at that ticking time bomb boiler in the crappy shed.

I fully expect that bamboo to take off like a weed on steroids.  There’s actually two species of bamboo in the planter, both known for their aggressive growth and screening properties.  If the whole thing gets overtaken by bamboo growing out the sides and bottom, I’ll be happy.