Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Lakeside Kayak/Canoe Rack

If you’re like most canoeing enthusiasts, your starting to collect a pile of them in the yard.  If you live by the lake, you’ve probably got your canoes and those of several friends.  Instead of leaving them piled up against the garage where snakes can nest in them, check out this easy to build canoe rack.  This requires a few basic tools and some concrete, lumber, bolts and screws and a couple of hours.

Materials List:

Two 9 foot telephone poles or 4x4 posts
Six 6 foot pressure treated 2x6’s (2x4’s will work)
Six 6 inch long ½ inch carriage bolts with washers
Eighteen small 2 inch lag screws
Nine screw in eye bolts
Four bags of pre-mix concrete
Twelve 18 inch long metal straps with holes in the ends.

Setting the posts:

Find a nice spot with plenty of room around it.  You’ll need lots of space to maneuver canoes onto the rack without stumbling over things or bumping into garage walls.  Dig two 3 foot deep post holes eight feet apart.  Set your posts in them so they stick up about 6 feet above the ground.  Mix up your concrete in a wheelbarrow and pour it into each of the holes around the base of the posts. 

While the concrete is still wet, prop the posts up so they are vertical.  You can do that by propping them up with boards and temporarily nailing them in place.  Don’t drive the nails all the way in, because you’re going to want to pull them out when the concrete sets.

Once the posts are set, mark them at 2 foot intervals from the ground to the top of the post.  This will mark the top of the crossmembers you’re going to bolt into place.  The lowest member will be two foot from the ground.  The highest will be even with the top of the post.

Drill holes in the center of each six foot 2x6.  I used 8 foot 2x4’s for mine, but I’ve never really needed the extra width.  If I had it to do again, I’d use 6 foot 2x6’s for the firmer support.  Mine rocks a bit when loading and unloading. 

Clamp the cross member in place, drill a hole to match into the post.  Unclamp the cross member and finish drilling the hole through the post.  Reclamp the cross member and bolt it to the post.  Once you’ve got all the cross members in place, set them horizontal with a T-square and then add a couple of long galvanized screws to hold them firmly in place.

This still won’t be enough to keep the crossmembers from wobbling when you plop a heavy canoe on them.  On the side of the post where the cross member is bolted, lag screw the ends of two of the metal straps  into the post about 14 or 15 inches below the top of the cross member.  Next bolt the other ends of the metal straps to the back of the cross member on both sides to form a “V”.  This will give you good support without taking up so much space it scrapes against the hulls of your boats.

Now screw eye bolts into the ends of each cross member on the horizontal face.  Don’t stick them up or out from the ends as they will catch on the gunwhales of your canoe.  I know from bitter personal experience.  Put one eye bolt at the center of the crossmember or into the vertical post itself if you don’t want to drill any more holes in the cross members.  These eye bolts provide handy tie-down points.

When you put the canoes on the rack, always, at the very least, drop a bungee cord over the top to hold them down.  You’d be surprised what sort of lift a stiff breeze gives to a canoe hull.  You don’t want to wake up the morning after a thunderstorm and find canoes on the garage roof.  The eye bolts make it easy to keep your boats tied down.

This design is compact and versatile.  I’ve got kayaks, canoes, sail boards and the mast for my catamaran stored on mine.  It took me about 2 hours total to put it all together not counting the time it took the concrete to set. 

(c) 2009 by Tom King - All rights reserved
All images copyright 2009 by Tom King

1 comment:

  1. Just what I was looking around for, thanks!