Monday, June 30, 2014

Mounting Saddle Racks on Walls Without Studs

When we started trying to mount saddle racks on the tack room walls, at first we thought the stud finder wasn't working through the pine paneling. Eventually we figured out that the tack room walls were framed with horizontal beams only, no vertical studs! I can't imagine why anyone would build a tack room that way knowing that people like to put racks and shelves on the walls, but we had to deal with it somehow. This is what DH did to solve the problem, and it turned out quite nicely! It seems sturdy enough for English saddles though if I ever own a Western saddle again I will probably put it on a standalone rack just to be safe. I would hate to rip all that pretty pine paneling after I spent so long staining it.
  1. Buy quality 1" thick wooden boards to match your walls. We used 1x3 pine boards because each of the pine panel boards were about the same width (2.5" or so). Check them for straightness before you buy them. (We didn't do this so ours are a little off but I don't think anyone would ever notice but me.)
  2. Finish the boards with the same stain or paint as your walls.
  3. Find the horizontal beams in your walls with a stud finder, and confirm their location by tapping in a very thin nail. When you meet more resistance on the other side of the panels, you have probably found a beam. Don't assume that the beams are level or continuous--check independently everywhere you want to put racks. Mark their location with a pencil or painters' tape once you find them.
  4. Take your first board and line it up over the panel board where you want your first column of saddle racks to go. Trim the ends as needed (since the ceiling is sloped, we needed to cut the top at an angle to meet the molding).
  5. Drill pilot holes and, using long, strong wood screws, attach the boards to the beams that you found, lining up the board and panel board edges as best you can. It may take one person to hold the board in place and another to drill and screw.
  6. If you want more than one column of racks, repeat with the second board. If you have a sloped ceiling, start with the board where the ceiling is higher then trim the second board to match the length of the first board, using a level. I find a miter saw easiest for straight cuts. See the first picture below for what your project should look like now.
  7. Once your boards are in place, secure the two vertical holes of your saddle racks. Be sure to use good screws or bolts for this too.
  8. To support the sides of the saddle rack, cut a similarly stained and sized board to fit the "wings" on either side (two for each rack). If desired, stain the newly cut edges. Then position the small pieces under the wings of the rack and screw the sides of the rack down.
Steps 1-6:
 Steps 7-8:

Voila! As you can see, the new boards are hardly noticeable and will be even less so once there are saddles on the racks.

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