Saturday, May 15, 2010

"The Tack-Box To Be" Part I

***EDIT*** Noticing that there is a HUGE number of hits on this blog entry, I'm adding the "Tack Box Project" as a topic in the sidebar. You will be able to see all of the entries about this project from start to finish. Enjoy!!!

Since my soon-to-be barn has ample room for storage I finally get to build the type of tack storage unit I've wanted for a good while. The last Arab barn I was at in MN had a tackroom full of these big vertical armoire type boxes. My new tack area is also exposed to barn dust from the indoor round-pen, shavings, etc. so covered storage will be great. I can also use the closed tack rooms, but this area is much closer to my stall. The final plans are not in place yet, but I'll give you the journey thus far.

Though my job has makes me have to stay in a cold dark basement on a gorgeous saturday like today, it also provides me with talented student carpenters who will do darn near anything for cash. Thus I am able not only to have it built, but have it engineered to my exact specifications. WIN.

In my OB I have a trunk type box sitting outside my stall to hold my stuff and my saddle and bridle are in the office tack room where there aren't really enough saddle racks for all the boarders. This means that if I want to keep both my saddles there they have to sit atop one another. Though I am proud of the well choreographed swapping technique I've mastered (with the help of a nearby chair) when pulling my western saddle out and replacing my English saddle in one fluid motion (... okay maybe it's a few more than one...) I would prefer not to do that, so I need a box with two racks.

I started looking for plans even before I bought Junior, but ended up scrapping the project because I couldn't keep a box that big in front of my stall. I'm glad I didn't take the chance since the front of my current trunk shows evidence of a tractor (or six) driving by. I found Elite Tack Designs and I'm mostly basing mine on the Armoire and Western designs, but with space for two saddles instead of one and I'm trying to use as little plywood thingies as possible, opting for some things I found at The Container Store. The only problem with this is that the plywood interior sections actually help keep the box more stable, so I have to make some engineering decisions to make up for that.

I am currently working on my fifth and hopefully final set of basic dimensions and cutting diagrams. Here is the first four:
I'm playing with the options of one door or two, and with a dimensional door or just a simple flat door. I'm trying to consider size and weight, balancing a box that's big enough to store all of my tack and supplies in an organized and easily accessible way, but not so gigantic or heavy that it becomes a cumbersome behemoth. I'm also stuck on a desire to have a box that's wider than it is deep, but with a western saddle it needs to be at least 30" deep.... then if it's wider than that it takes up a LOT more sheets of ply. More ply = more money.

I'm also going back and forth between 1/2" and 3/4" plywood, a combination of both, or a combination of plywood and "one-by" lumber. Though the plans for the Elite boxes use primarily 1/2" ply my engineer suggests using at least 3/4" for any surface that needs to have items (bridle racks, baskets, saddle racks, etc.) screwed into it. The thicker the ply the more expensive and the heavier the box, but more stable, too.

I'm going to buy two racks from Schneiders to use. These seem to be the best option for what I need, even though I'll need the blanket bar removed from the top one to be able to stack them close enough to get the English saddle tucked up underneath the western. Here are the minimum dimensions I need for the two saddles:
The racks will have to be bolted through the back wall rather than screwed into the wood.

If I do the dimensional door storage I'll use THESE or THESE and if I use just the flat door I'll make the cabinet wide enough that they can go along one wall. After digging through a box for so long I will LOVE being able to see and grab whatever bottle or tool I'm looking for. I'll also need somewhere for bridles to hang, either inside the door or along a wall. I like the door storage better than wall storage because I can just see how often I'll bump the side items while taking the saddles in and out. BUT a dimensional door packed with stuff will have considerable weight to it which will stress the hinge(s). I will be putting casters on the box, too, but more to make it move a little if necessary, not intended to be trucked around. I could also put the door on a caster, though, too and that would certainly help with the weight of it but might look silly.

I also want to mount a light on the inside so I can see even if the barn is dim.

And then there's the finishing... stain and varnish? Paint? What color?

Is your head spinning yet? Mine sure is! So many things to consider and when you make one decision it tends to snowball into a bunch more. My goal is to have the basic dimensions to the student by the start of July. Plenty of time to get it done, finished and moved to the barn before school starts. Though the student can do the intricate drafting parts I still need to make a bunch of decisions on dimensions.


  1. Wow! What I would give to have storage like that! At my new place I get one saddle rack per horse and can "store my brushes in that spot over there... somewhere. We'll make room for ya!" LOL I still can't wait to move, though!

    I'll end up putting most of my stuff in my trailer I'm sure. I'm paranoid about stuff coming up missing. Right now I have a nice, locking, plastic tack box, but I won't have room for that in the new tack room. Guess it'll be time to sell some of that stuff I've been holding on to "just in case".

    Your plans are coming along nicely. You'll have the perfect storage unit in no time!

  2. Wow, this sounds beautiful! I've never seen these before >.< I just have one of those huge Rubbermaid boxes for my brushes, random might-need vet stuff, etc. and stick all my bridles and saddles on hooks in the tack room.
    Your plans sound so much prettier and cooler though =] Good luck with all those decisions!