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old rack bars


Active member
So what's the best thing we can do with old rack bars?
A lot of people have long piles of them and it strikes me that there must be someone who can do something useful with that much scrap aluminium.


New member
Here aluminum cost is going up - i'm sure you could take 'em to a scrap metal yard here and get some cash for it. Do you have such things there? Assuming they are hollow, you could make jewelery too. Or perhaps art piece for the wall?


Well-known member
Yeah, I can see a set of worn-out rack bars on a piece of 8mm rope would make an eye-catching necklace.

I'll gladly swap a set of new ones for mine - they've got an interesting collection of  sculptural forms :)


New member
barrabus said:
Make them into key rings.

Hmmm, I know what my friends and family are getting for Xmas.
Can I be your friend? I'll trade a mini rack necklace I make =)


New member
Amy said:
Can I be your friend? I'll trade a mini rack necklace I make =)

Of course, but you'll have to collect it from the Dales.

Don't think a mini rack necklace would suit me though.


Well-known member
Bill Steele won the art competition at the International Congress two years ago by entering a necklace made of his old brake bars. Hidden Earth comes up shortly - you saw the idea here first! ;)


New member
my ally rack bars contain either tungsten carbide or high speed steel inserts and therefore never wearout  :tease:

saying that... in the days of Waletails cavers sometimes built them back up with a mix of ally powder and epoxy


New member
pete which rack have you got i am bord of getting though bars.

moose has made a caving spine sculptrue that hangs down one of his door frames.

i will take any old bars and way them in if i get the money.

i did look at making bars out of a more were resistant grade of ali but the material cost would be about ?2 a bar and then the machining and heat treatment would mean you were doing it for charity if you sold them for ?6 (about the same as pezil and i don't know what there grade is so i could not say they would last longer till i had spent the time and money making them) so i did not.

i have a box of them when i am feeling poor i go though it and sort out the least worn and put them back on for a bit more use.



New member
My rack was built by my father in 1979.  Due to the unavailability of equipment in New Zealand back then and in some cases to this day, Kiwi Kavers often manufactured their own kit.  My rack was based on the 'Super Racks' made in the US in the 70s but with 3/4" square bars instead of 1" square.  The frame is just a U-bend made from 1/4" 303 or 304 stainless with a pair of locked nuts on the top of each side of the frame. 

This rack was tested to destruction in 1979 and I'm still using it!  :eek:??? you might say.  It was assumed that the greatest force you could apply to a rack was plummeting down a rope till you hit a knot.  The rack was therefore mounted in a rig that pulled on the frame and on a rope (12mm) with a knot jammed under the bottom bar and then an increasing force was applied until something broke.  The rope broke and the frame bent a bit.  After this test the frame was straitened and given to me.  I still use it as my main abseil device.

As for the hardened bits... drill a hole in from one end a suitable depth.  The first time I did this I hammered a 1"x 1/4" diameter piece of hardened silversteel into an interference size hole and then hammered a piece of Aluminium behind it.  Later versions just used a hole the same size as the hard insert with the insert having a sharp point ground into the edge to be inserted first with an ally plug behind with just the hole peined over to stop it falling out.  I have bars done this way that are now over 20 year old and have not worn since hitting the inserts.

If you want a quick and easy tip... The hole needs to be accurate to size, so if your crap at sharpening drill bits... Take a new 1/4" or 6mm bit, drill the hole with it then break or cut off the shank then grind a point on this and insert it.  Dill bits are cheap.


New member
Gerbil007 said:
Grind 'em to powder, mix with Iron Oxide. Hey presto, you have THERMITE!

Being a science teacher, I wish I had thought of this one.  How about saving up old bars and rusty mallions for your clubs next Guy Fawks party!!!

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