We’ve built north of 50 Nicerinks in the New England area in the past few years wearing our Elite Backyard Rinks hats. And while we can throw together a rink in short order, I’ll admit, an efficient offseason storage solution for Nicerink brackets and boards eluded me until this season. Before this year, I’d put the boards in one stack, the brackets in another jumbled pile (or try to fit them into a box), and call it a day. We began offering storage this year, and with several customers taking us up on the offer, it was about time I figured out how best to store the parts in a safe and sturdy way that minimized the overall footprint of the parts. And I think I may have succeeded.
This method utilizes the Nicerink board’s built-in notches and holes, which allow the boards to stack nicely. Only this method also incorporates the Nicerink brackets into the stack. The end result is that you should be able to store all of your boards and brackets in a single tower that’s the same 18″x4′ footprint as a single board, which is great for folks who store in a small shed or cramped garage (which, let’s be honest, is nearly all of us).
To start, make sure all of your brackets and boards are dry. If necessary, tilt the boards to drain them and leave them out a day or two so the insides aren’t holding any water. Once you’ve determined where your stack will go, put about 1/3 of your boards down on the ground. Since I was storing several rinks, I put them on a large pallet that I had left over from the fall’s deliveries. Check Craigslist’s free section if you’d like to nab one local to you.
Once you have a third of your boards down, start layering in your brackets. You’ll need to be a bit delicate here to make sure they stack, but it’s not hard. In order to allow for more boards to be stacked on top of the brackets, lay them out in this pattern:
(BTW, all credit goes to whoever at Nicerink put together the Nicerink In A Box kits, as this is how the brackets are stacked inside those boxes.)
You should be able to carefully stack two rows of brackets (for a total of 10) using this pattern. Now it’s time for another 1/3 of your boards, followed by a couple more layers of brackets, etc. Using this pattern, I was able to fit three entire Nicerink systems, boards and brackets, onto a single large pallet (4’x6′). Two of the rinks were fit into single towers, and one large (40×60) rink was split into two towers.
Now here’s the important final step: while the boards are notched and sit nicely on top of one another, the brackets can move around if bumped and bring your whole setup crashing to the ground. So I bought an inexpensive ($18, found in the moving/packing section) roll of plastic wrap with a handle at my local hardware store and wrapped the whole thing up. It’ll be even sturdier if you can wrap it around something immovable (a post in your garage…a beam under your deck…a young, patient sibling…etc).
As for larger items like bumper caps or kickplates, these are a bit harder. Bumper caps can be cut into 4′ lengths and stacked on top of your boards and brackets, or left as 8′ lengths and stored in garage or shed rafters (as shown recently on Nicerink’s FB page). Kickplates…well, if you have an idea for those, let me know in the comments.
But hopefully this helps you make the most of your storage space, keeping your Nicerink parts clean and safely stored in the offseason.
Do you have an innovative way to store your rink parts? Post it in the comments!