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Hello Forum;

Question: Would a 1" oak wood dowel be strong enough to use as a safety pin in a weightlifting power rack?

I'm 66 years old. The safety pins are for the bench press. I would bench a maximum of about 160 lbs. on the bar.

Lowe's has got steel pipe that is used for plumbing. The inside diameter is 3/4". The outside diameter is, I think, 1.05". If I am reading my engineering scale correctly (see pictures below) the diameter of the holes in the power rack are 1.05". That would leave zero clearance. It would not fit easily or may not fit at all.

There is another option. I could get a steel pipe from Lowe's with about a 3/4" outside diameter, then drill a 3/4" hole in a 1" wood dowel and then insert the 3/4" steel pipe into the wooden dowel.

I'm guessing that a 1" Oak dowel probably would be strong enough for my needs. I would just like opinions.

Thank you in advance.


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yacht woodworker
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It would work for a while. The wood would compress under the load and become deformed. At that point there's a greater chance of failure if you were to set the bar down hard on the dowels.

I'd stick with metal. You may even be able to find what you're looking for on Ebay so you wouldn't have to build your own.
 

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When you bought that rack it must have come with something? What was it and what has become of them?

A machine shop can make what you need.

George
 

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Smart and Cool
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Hello Forum;

Question: Would a 1" oak wood dowel be strong enough to use as a safety pin in a weightlifting power rack?

I'm 66 years old. The safety pins are for the bench press. I would bench a maximum of about 160 lbs. on the bar.

Lowe's has got steel pipe that is used for plumbing. The inside diameter is 3/4". The outside diameter is, I think, 1.05". If I am reading my engineering scale correctly (see pictures below) the diameter of the holes in the power rack are 1.05". That would leave zero clearance. It would not fit easily or may not fit at all.

There is another option. I could get a steel pipe from Lowe's with about a 3/4" outside diameter, then drill a 3/4" hole in a 1" wood dowel and then insert the 3/4" steel pipe into the wooden dowel.

I'm guessing that a 1" Oak dowel probably would be strong enough for my needs. I would just like opinions.

Thank you in advance.


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First congrats on staying active!

The only way to tell for certain if the dowels will work is to try them. My gut says they will but will have a significant sag to them, that will eventually cause them to fracture.

The metal pipe may have a little sag as well with 160lbs on them, and take into consideration that there will likely be some momentum as the weight is placed on the supports after a set.

The easiest way to get the pipe to work is to make the holes slightly larger, wouldn't take much with a die grinder although it would be messy, or perhaps a 1" drill bit with a little "wobble".
 

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What are the consequences if it fails? I would let that guide my choice of material. If a wood dowel may fail eventually, and someone could get hurt or something might get damaged when it fails, then I would not use a wood dowel. It seems like common sense to me.

... and FYI:
The lynch pins that @Dave McCann suggested are also available in the loose part bins at Home Depot.
 

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Your distance between supports (vertical) will exceed the strength of the dowel under the weight you intend it to support. Just from the picture it appears app. 2-foot. The dowel will sag very soon and the fiber fail.
 

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I'd find a way to use metal. For the overall structure lots of people use 4x4s, etc. But when it comes to safety pins and bars, I'd be afraid to not use metal.
To quote Coach Mark Rippetoe regarding wooden weightlifting equipment, "There's a reason they don't make cars out of wood."
 

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If you're in Lowe's go to the farmost aisle where the roofing and masonry supplies are. They have solid metal rods that may work for you. Similar to rebar but smooth and solid.
 

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Wood crushes and breaks, metal deforms. A sudden failure is much more likely to happen with wood, metal will give you plenty of warning before it finally fails

Personally, no way in carolina would i use wood as a safety mechanism for a weight bar. All it takes is the bar being dropped in the wrong way for that wood to crack and suddenly fail. A steel bar will flex and deform way before it just shears, unless you lift like the incredible hulk
 

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Not a good idea. There is potential for a slip/drop that would easily do in the oak dowels.

I used 3/4" steel pipe in my rack and it supported well over 300 lbs. with no problems. If you have a metal supply house nearby you can get either steel dowel or steel tubing at just about 1.00" diameter.
 

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As a registered structural engineer, I say do not use wood. there are multiple options for a metal solution, all of which are less expensive than a hospital visit
 
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Wood crushes and breaks, metal deforms. A sudden failure is much more likely to happen with wood, metal will give you plenty of warning before it finally fails

Personally, no way in carolina would i use wood as a safety mechanism for a weight bar. All it takes is the bar being dropped in the wrong way for that wood to crack and suddenly fail. A steel bar will flex and deform way before it just shears, unless you lift like the incredible hulk
You have something to say about Carolina? Bring it.
 
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