In order to improve the storage and functional options in my home gym, as a
lifter, I want better cable storage and a plyo box.
Since I’ve gotten back into weightlifting I’ve spent a lot of time in the
unfinished part of my basement. Spending five hours a week in a room with
concrete floors and no walls makes me start to do Fantasy Interior Design in
In between jobs I did a week-long project to build a new set of cabinets out
in my shop, and I ended up with one full 4’ x 8’ sheet of ¾” birch plywood
left over. I’d been wanting a plyo box for workouts for awhile, mainly for
box squats and
step-ups. Rogue sells a
CNC-cut one for $135 plus
shipping (!) but I wasn’t about to buy when I could build.
There are a variety of build videos on youtube for making plyo boxes; I liked
the one below specifically because of the effective cut-list diagram at 13s
into the video; it helped for easy breaking down of the plywood sheet.
It went together easily, though when I tried to add a whazz stencil I didn’t
apply the stencils correctly and got quite a bit of paint bleed. The stencil
pieces are just paper, and I didn’t think to mask with blue painter’s tape
first and then tape stencil over and cut out the tape to match the stencil.
I’d do that next time to get a much better effect.
30in x 24in x 20in wood plyo box
Once the stencil dried I added two coats of Watco Exterior Finish, both
because it was on-hand and because I expected it would get some rougher
treatment. I’m going to wait until it’s seen a bit of use and then decide
whether to add a few coats of polyurethane.
Once that was done, I still had some plywood scrap leftover, and a problem to
I have a variety of bands that my wife and I use for different exercises, and
as I’ve accumulated them I just throw them over the multi-purpose storage
however, there are a ton of bands draped over the thing and they’re getting
in the way.
I sketched out a simple wall rack to hold them, and thought it would be nice
if I could get a small shelf on there also, to hold notebooks, drink cups,
bar collars, and markers for the dry erase board. Basically a little work
center for in-between sets.
The size and shapes were largely dictated by how much scrap I had, so I fit
the dimensions to the pieces of plywood rather than the other way around. I
also wanted to trim it with some kind of dark hardwood but I’m loathe to
start chopping up the nice 8/4 walnut for a project like this. I had some
spare sapele from a box I made awhile back, though, and it worked perfectly.
Gluing up the main assembly
I cut dados in the sides and back to hold the shelf in a little better, then
glued everything up after using a Forstener bit to drill out the holes for
the pegs to hold the bands.
Gluing on the hardwood banding
The sapele was already planed to just over ¾” thick, so I ripped ¼” thick
strips. This worked well because it was slightly wider than the plywood
edges. I glued them on then flushed them up with a flush trim bit in my hand
Fill loose joints and cracks with glue and sawdust
Before starting the sanding process, I mixed some glue and sapele sawdust
from cutting the trim to length with my dovetail saw and filled in anywhere
the banding did not meet flush. This worked great to hide some places where
my precision in cutting the banding wasn’t as high as I would have liked.
Glue in the rods
A few years ago someone gave my a couple of old closet rods. Over time I’ve
cut them to lengths at the bandsaw when I needed rods for hanging items in
the shop. This was an opportunity to nearly finish off that stock, but I
didn’t have enough to match them and the rods I had left were two different
diameters. I unfortunately didn’t find that out until I’d already drilled
holes of the smaller size across the bottom of the rack, and so I needed a
way to fit a 1½ inch rod into a 1⅛ inch hole. I ended up using my disc and
belt sanders to narrow one end of each rod until it fit in the hole, then
glued all four in, using a speed square to make sure each was perpendicular
to the base.
Attaching the cleat
Finally, I added a french cleat to the rear of the rack. Since my studs are
exposed in the basement, it would be easy to mount the wall side of the cleat
and then the rack could easily be hung. I liked that method because then it
would be easy to move around in the basement if we decide to fiddle with the
gym equipment layout.
Finish was shellac and then lacquer
I didn’t do a ton to finish this; I went with two coats of 1.5 pound cut
shellac and then a coat of spray lacquer over the top. Similar to the plyo
box I’m going to see how that holds up given its use in the basement and if
I need to beef up the layers of finish I can take it back in the shop and hit
Hung next to the deadlift platform in the basement
And that’s it! Each of these items was a one-day build in and of themselves,
and I was able to turn that extra sheet of plywood into some functional
additions to our home gym! Coming soon: EZ curl bar rack made out of
laminated ½” plywood I have in the shop!