How to Build a Martial Arts Belt Display

Written by andrew pedry
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How to Build a Martial Arts Belt Display
(Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

Training in the martial arts requires dedication, hard work and perseverance. A belt rack serves as an excellent motivator to focus a student's progress as he earns a black belt, and it provides a suitable place to honour the belt, the dojo and the dojo's masters. With some woodworking tools and basic materials you can make an impressive-looking plaque for your martial-arts student.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Wood router
  • Saw
  • Drill
  • 1/2 inch drill bit
  • 1/2 inch wide dowel
  • 18 inch wide wood board
  • Wood glue
  • Wood stain
  • Brass plaque (optional)

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  1. 1

    Cut a half-inch-thick piece of wood backboard 18 inches wide, and 6 inches long with an additional 6 inches added for each belt intended to be displayed. For example, a display for five belts would be 36 inches long. This design will allow the belts to be suspended one over the other with space at the bottom for engraving or a plaque. The number of belts will be dictated by the recipient's martial arts school, so you should check ahead of time to see how many belts will be mounted. A hardwood such as oak, walnut or maple is preferable, but pine can be used as well.

  2. 2

    Using the router, round the edges of the backboard with a decorative bit.

  3. 3

    Draw a vertical line parallel to the vertical edge of the board 3 inches in from the vertical edge. Repeat on the other side. Your vertical board will then have two pencil lines running up and down its height 3 inches from either side.

  4. 4

    Measure 3 inches down from the top of the board on one of the two lines that you just drew and mark the spot. Repeat on the other line.

  5. 5

    Measure 6 inches towards the bottom of the board from the spots that you marked and place another spot. Continue until you have as many pairs of spots as you have belts to be hung. There should be a total of 9 inches below your last dot.

  6. 6

    Drill a 1/2-inch hole in each spot, stopping just before breaking through the back of the board. Take care to drill as straight as possible, because a crooked hole will result in a loose or canted peg, or both. If you have access to a drill press, use it.

  7. 7

    Cut a 1/2-inch dowel into as many 3-inch pieces as you have holes. Ensure that the wood type and colour of the dowel matches that of the backboard.

  8. 8

    Place a small amount of wood glue into your first hole and slide in one of the dowel sections. The dowel should fit snugly. If you need to, use a rubber-headed mallet to gently seat the sections. If the dowels are snug enough to need a mallet then you do not need to use glue.

  9. 9

    Place dowels and glue in all of the holes in the same manner that you just did the first one. Allow the glue to dry overnight.

  10. 10

    Following the instructions on the wood stain, stain the front and back of the display. At least two coats will probably be needed for a quality appearance.

  11. 11

    Mount an etched plaque or use a router to inscribe various details about the belt recipient in the open space at the bottom of the plaque. Name, date training started, date of receipt of first-degree black belt and name of their school would be appropriate.

  12. 12

    Loop the belts around the pegs and tie them off so that they have 3 inches coming out of the knot. With 3 inches of belt coming off of the knot the tails will brush the belt below with the lowest belt's tails just brushing the engraved plaque.

Tips and warnings

  • Always use safety equipment when using power tools. Apply stain in a well-ventilated area.

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