Pack, Stack & Rack

Shaun Garrity takes advantage of the lockdown to have a clear out and uses some rediscovered plumbing parts to make some model racks

Lock down has actually had a number of benefits in the Garrity household. With all this time spent inside the home, I had finally run out of excuses for all those jobs I’ve been repeatedly putting to the back of the queue for far longer than I would care to admit.

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A visit to the Plumbers' Merchants resulted in this little lot. Guess work was involved for the quantities but it wasn’t expensive.

One biggie was the loft; when we moved into our current home, I made the mistake of boarding the floor, then plaster boarding the walls and ceiling to make a large, dust free storage space with a semblance of temperature control. Strangely, I then decided to carpet the floors - I can only assume I banged my head on one of the roof joists as it seemed like a good idea at the time!

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At around £5.00 this pipe cutter is a great buy and makes the job much easier. You mustn’t use them like scissors but squeeze and rotate around the pipe to cut it.

Twenty years on it was now loaded to the gunnels with stuff - out of sight, out of mind, as the saying goes. Quite how these many kilograms of past treasures (mostly junk) never joined us in the room below, by coming through the ceiling, is truly amazing. It was time for the clear out I had been promising my dear wife for years.

DE-CLUTTER
As a starting strategy, I decided a primary run through into three piles of Keep, Not Sure and Chuck would be prudent. It was quickly obvious that a skip was going to be required, but a slight problem reared its head due to lockdown as permits were not being issued for putting a skip on the road outside.

Never mind, this was a first world problem that could easily be overcome, so I just moved the bagged-up junk from the loft and relocated it into a spare bedroom until such a time that the necessary paperwork could be arrange for the skip.

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The adhesive comes with a handy brush in the lid. As this is solvent based use it in a well-ventilated area and keep the lid on, otherwise you may start seeing magic elves and pixies!

During the sorting and clearing process, what was a tad worrying was this 'out of sight, out of mind' philosophy clearly doesn’t work for me as I was finding multiple, identical items, such as two Veron Big Eagles, two Veron Veloxes and two Veron Sopwith 1 ½ Strutter kits - oops, wasting money again! As I buy kits to build (eventually) and not to collect, the duplicates will be soon making an appearance on a selling site so other modellers can fill up their lofts with these cherished reminders of days gone past.

The ten mobile phones, including fixed in-car and portable versions with batteries the size of house bricks, are going for recycling, as is the huge box of audio/visual cables, dead laptops, printers, a fax machine and even some modems (remember them and their incessant beeping and squealing?) Oh dear, I’m starting to sound like a serial hoarder.

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Dry fitting the parts first should eliminate any problems. The joints won’t come apart once glued.

During this voyage of discovery, I also unearthed a few lengths of PVC overflow pipe, elbows and T-pieces. Looking at the pile of wings and fuselages that I also had stored up in the loft, an idea came to mind - build some racking. After a few tentative sketches I decided winging it was the way forward, so a quick measure up, with a lot of guess work, and I had a parts list. A trip down to the local plumbers' merchant saw me ready to get cutting and gluing.

BUDGET RACKING
The racks are surprisingly cheap to make with the T-pieces and 90-degree elbows costing around 60p each, tubing (21.5mm) around 50p per metre and a tin of glue at £4.00. One widget definitely worth buying for around a fiver was the pipe cutter; it's far easier than having to hacksaw each piece to size, then chamfering the edges off.

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I made three racks, each differing a little in design. All are sturdy enough for their intended purpose.

To start with I decided to make one rack for wings and another for fuselages, intending to fit them under some shelving in another loft; we have a lot of loft space, as we live in a bungalow. Once you have established the size, start by building the basic frame. I added additional struts to stop any flexing that may occur when loaded up with models, but there’s no need to make it absolutely rigid.

As you’ll see from the accompanying images the designs varied with no definitive shape. You don’t have a lot of time to move things around once the solvent glue is applied, so I would suggest a dry run first to make sure everything lines up because once glued the only way to remove a Tee or Elbow is with a saw, or the pipe cutter.

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Foam pipe lagging, slid over the tube, will prevent any potential damage to wings and fuselage when in use.

If you work on the end panels first, assembling them on the work bench will ensure they are not twisted. Once the glued pipe has been inserted into the fitting don’t forget to wipe off any excess glue that may have oozed out.

Most of my wings are stored in bubble wrap bags but to protect the fuselages I bought some thin 22mm pipe lagging to slide over the tubes to protect them. These racks will definitely maximise storage space; I managed to get eight fuselages into the space where I previously stored three - a great result!

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The first rack I made was for wings and it can be slid out from under the shelf to give access.

Was it worth it? Most definitely, with the racks working out around £10.00 pounds each. Wood could have been used as an alternative, but the plastic tubing is so easy to work with, light weight and each rack can be made in less than 10 minutes.

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This rack proved to be a very efficient space saver. Previously, just three fuselages took up the same space.

I’m not claiming any originality for this racking system and I’m sure it’s been done before, but why didn’t I think of this years ago!

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