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My Canoe Rack


Rick Zieger
By Richard Zieger, Iowa

This is my home made, cheap canoe rack. It takes some PVC pipe, four "T" joints and four 90 degree joints. Some glue to glue some parts together. A tape measure and a hand saw are all that are needed. Measure the width of your truck bed, from hole to hole. Also the length from hole to hole. Then measure the rough height of your side pieces. With the four short pieces, discussed later, this will give you an idea of how much pipe you need to buy.

The four vertical posts go in the holes in the sidewalls of the truck bed. Measure these to see what diameter pipe you can put in them. Then get the pipe and the fittings in that size. You can see this in picture one above.

Picture 2 is the cross bars that go across the width of the truck. These have a "T" joint on each end that fits down on the vertical posts in the side walls. You want this cross bar to be just a little higher than the top of the cab. That way you can put some foam cradles under the gunnels of the canoe to keep it off the cab.

You will need to measure the side pieces, including what goes into the "T" to get this height.

Cut four of them and put in the holes. Then measure, how long the cross bars will need to be, remembering to adjust for how much the "T" joints will change this. Glue one of the pipe ends and put it into the "T"joint. Let it dry. Do this on the second bar. Now put the "T" joint over one of the vertical pipes. Glue the other end of the pipe, slip the "T" joint on it and then place it over the vertical pipe on the other side of the truck bed. This is a quick way to make sure they stay vertical. The "T's" are shown in picture 3.

Picture 4 is of the bars that run the length of the truck bed. This do not do much to hold the canoe on, but they do provide a lot of stability tot he whole rack. Measure the length of this pipe, again remember how much the 90 degree elbow will take out of the total length.

Cut four pieces of the PVC pipe about four inches long.

Picture 5 is of the ends of the 90 degree elbows. The pipe has to be glued into them to fit down into the "T's" on the cross bars. Again glue one 90 degree end on and place it in the "T."

Then glue the other end, place the 90 degree elbow in it and put it in the "T" at the other end.

Do the other side the same way. After you put the glue on you have enough time to slip the fittings on and get them placed into the "T" or onto the pipe. This way none of the pipes have fittings that are twisted out of alignment.

Picture 6 is how it looks from the front of the truck. You can see that the cross pipes are just over the top of the cab. I got the regular car top carrying system to get the foam blocks to protect the cab. I have a Discovery 174 canoe. It is 17 feet four inches long.

I can tie to the front and rear bumpers, using ropes with "S" hooks on each end. I then tie over the canoe on the cross bar nearest the cab. This has kept the canoe secure while driving at 70 mph at times.

If you travel much over very rough terrain you might have to put some bolts though the top of the "T" and the pipe that comes down from the long side bars. This will keep the rack from coming apart. I show this in picture 6. I use long bolts and wing nuts as they are faster to take apart.

After several years of use, I have the bolts on two of the "T's". After a time they got loose from wear.

I hope that this might help some of you. ~ Rick

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