I’ve had this link in my bookmarks ever since fishing from a kayak got stuck in my head. The PVC kayak rack is very easy to build - all you really need is a saw (hack saw, chop saw, jig saw, whatever) and a drill. Actually, now that I think of it, I bet you could get the hardware store to do the cutting for you, if you come with the measurements… You absolutely do need a drill, along with a good measuring tape and a wrench.
I picked up seven 10′ lengths of 1.25″ PVC pipe (I built two stands. You only need four pipes if you are building one stand). Cut one of the pipes in half, giving you two 5′ (60”) sections. Cut one pipe into two 56″ lengths (keep the leftover bit, and bolt it to your milk crate to use as a rod holder!). These four pipes will be the long sides. Now cut two 36″ sections from the third pipe, along with one 32″ section (again, you’ll have a leftover bit to turn into a rod holder). Cut one more 32″ section from the last 10’ pipe.
Your collection should look a bit like this. Throw in eight elbows and a pair of 4.5″ long bolts, and you’re in business.
It’s time to make a pair of rectangles. Using the elbows, join the 60″ and 36″ sections, and then the 56″ and 32″ sections. When done, you’ll see the smaller rectangle fits inside the larger one perfectly.
You’re collection should look a bit like this. Throw in 8 elbows, and a pair of 4.5″ long bolts, and you’re in business.
Using the elbows, its time to make a pair of rectangles. You will joing the 60″ (5′) and 36″ sections, and then the 56″ and 32″ sections. when done you’ll see that the smaller rectangle fits inside the larger one perfectly.
Now we’re at the most important part. To make the stand fold easily and straight, you need to drill four identical holes. Make these in the exact middle of the short ends of the rectangles. If you’re a bit off, getting the bolt all the way through will be difficult. If you’re way off, things just won’t work exactly right. I ran my tape measure down between both the inside and outside sections, and marked my holes at the same time for each side. [Editor’s note: Some readers may find it easier to mark and drill these holes before assembling the sections.]
After drilling the holes, twist the pipes until the holes line up and run your bolts through. You should install washers on each side, and tighten things down with a Nylock nut. No need to go crazy tight here - tighten just enough to hold things together, and to give the Nylock nut a couple of turns in so that it won’t back out. Do this again on the other end and your stand is pretty much done!
Now, how does the stand hold up your kayak? With your load straps! Just loop them loosely around the stand, and set your kayak on top! You can easily adjust the straps to cradle your kayak the way you want. Using your straps also gives you a lot of adjustability, and makes sure you don’t lose them.
That’s it! If you have a powered saw, this build takes just a few minutes. Measured on a beer-scale, this is a 1/2 beer project.
That’s it! If you have a powered saw light a jig or chop saw, this build takes just a few minutes. If measured on a beer-scale, this is a 1/2 beer project.
A few folks have asked if I glued the stand. No, I haven’t glued it yet. So far it seems to be holding up just fine without glue. If you’re concerned, then by all means, go ahead and PVC the joints, but do so after the project has been measured, cut and fitted. Next step for me is some Krylon “Fusion” to make it look good.
• 4 – 10′ long 1.25″ PVC pipe (~$4 each)
• 8 – 90 degree 1.25″ elbows (~$1 each)
• 2 – 4.5″ long 1/4″ Bolts (~$.50 each)
• 4 – 1/4″ washers (~$.10 each)
• 2 – 1/4″ Nylock nuts (~$.20 each)
Total – about $23
If you want a stand with different dimensions, either taller (longer inside measurements) or longer (longer outside dimensions), that is very easy to do. The main thing to remember is that all the pipes for the inside rectangle need to be 4″ shorter than the pipes for the outside rectangle. This allows for the additional length created by the elbows.