I used the sharp blade from my Gerber
multi-tool to make the initial cut and then used a fine hacksaw blade
to cut off the top of the container. The exposed, cut edge was a bit
rough, so I covered it with duct tape.
I got so busy with the process of making
the panniers that I forgot to stop and take pictures of the
intermediate steps, but the process was pretty straight-forward.
I used a coroplast campaign sign cut in half lengthwise to make the
lids for the panniers. I folded the coroplast along the flutes to
make a hinge on one side and a lip about 3 cm wide on the other. I
folded a tab over on the front edge to form a box end and secured the
corner with a zip-tie. I also used zip-ties to secure the lid to the
Next I mounted the towel hooks to the pannier. I test fitted things
against the rack to make sure I had the hooks in the right spot and
then locked everything down. I had a number of old toe-straps in my
pile of bike parts and I cut a couple of slots that would let me use
the straps to lock the pannier hooks to the rack.
Once I had the basic panniers done, I covered everything in duct tape.
The tape blocks UV rays from the plastic so it shouldn't become brittle
over time. Also, if the plastic does ever crack, the tape will hold
things in place. As Red Green
would say, this duct tape is structural! Finally, the gray color of the
tape matches my Kogswell perfectly.
Finally, I added some reflective tape to the back of the panniers and I
used several ball-end bungie-cords to hold the lids closed and keep the
panniers snug against the rack.
I test rode the panniers today and they worked great. They hold a lot
of stuff, have tons of heel clearance and I think they are pretty
spiffy looking. My collegues at work were impressed and my pal Mark
took a bunch of pictures of the finished product.
The total cost for this project was in the neighborhood of $40 =
$20 for the containers, $4 for the hooks, $4 for the bungies, $5 for
the reflective tape, and a few dollars worth of tape and
zip-ties. The coroplast and toe-straps I scrounged, so I basically
count those as free. I guess I spent a couple of hours working on this
project but I don't bill myself for my time.
If anybody reading this wants to make similar panniers, go for it.
Remember what Red Green says, "If the women don't find you handsome,
they should at least find you handy."