View topic - Help with Canoe Rack Design

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PostPosted: July 27th, 2019, 10:08 am 
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Hey folks, I have a pair of canoe rack "trees" that came off a trailer - got them for free off kijiji last fall. They are 2" (measured outside) square steel tubing and 2 layers high so hold 4 canoes. They are made with a cotter pin hole to secure them in place once inserted into the mount. I'm hoping you all can picture this so far without my having to drag them out of the garage and take photos - pretty standard stuff from what I've seen around. Like a T but with an extra T on top.

Anyway I want to use these as part of my new back yard rack, and build a base that will hold either 2 or 4 more canoes and have the existing Ts removable so that if I some day ever got a trailer I could move them back and forth between the trailer and the back yard rack.

The only way I can think to do that is to buy some similar square tubing that is 2" measured on the inside so that these will drop down into them, and buy long enough so that I can plant them with cement a good 3 feet or better 4 feet into the ground, then stick up above the ground the required distance.

OK how's that so far? Is there anything wrong with this idea yet?

Now comes another part of the puzzle - how do I attach another T to the part that is permanently planted in my yard? How do I attach something to that piece of steel I just planted in the ground? I guess I could get a welder and attach more steel but I'd sooner DIY cross pieces with wood. Just simply drill a couple of holes through the steel post and line them up with holes in some wood an affix it with heavy duty bolts? In this scenario the wood would cross the steel at 90 degrees but would be butted up against each other side-by-side with nothing underneath the wood supporting the weight. I guess I could get a smaller piece of steel welded to the side of the vertical that would support the weight of the wood.

I hope my descriptions are clear enough.

Thoughts or ideas?


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PostPosted: July 27th, 2019, 3:45 pm 
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Embedding a tube in concrete to slip the existing racks into is a good idea. Make sure the bottom of the embedded tube extends through the concrete so water can drain out of it. Sure it will rust, but it won't fill with ice. Maybe you could grease the inside once every five years. Spray "Never-Seize".
For a wooden cross, I might cut the arms out of 2x to the width of the embedded steel, then tie the arms together right from tip to tip on both sides with 1x. Diagonal bracing from the mid-span of each arm down to the concrete will prevent them from slipping down or tipping. Obviously, you don't want to put fasteners into the steel. Polyurethane glue like PL Premium will help keep water out of the joints, just be aware that it needs some water in order to cure.


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PostPosted: July 28th, 2019, 5:36 am 
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I would add to make sure you fill a good 6" of 3/4 clear stone in the hole to promote drainage out the bottom as RonB mentioned. Dropping 2" sq tube into a larger tube in concrete seems sound, and you can drill holes to use longer hitch pin / bolt to act as a depth stop into the above ground piece. I may consider doing steel extensions rather than wood to your system - but either way bolt them so they are removable if need be. Curious as to what you come come up with


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PostPosted: July 28th, 2019, 9:29 am 
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Joined: January 11th, 2005, 4:58 pm
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Location: Manitoba
A quick photo of a sketch would help.

Your idea sounds fine and secure albeit permanent. Not something that would be easy to move. I can’t imagine many paddlers have outdoor boat racks cemented into the ground. This doesn’t mean your idea isn’t sound.

Did you try searching for converting a trailer canoe rack....

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PostPosted: August 3rd, 2019, 8:35 am 
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I got pricing on the steel verticals - going to be about $300 with taxes. A bit more than I was hoping for, which combined with another factor has me thinking about other designs.

The other factor is this - I need to get those two verticals perfectly squared with each other over the 10 foot span between them. I'm not exactly sure how to go about doing that. I've put in 4x4 fence posts in the past and that's usually kind of challenging.

So I'm wondering whether it will be possible to put 4x4s in the ground and have them sticking up a bit, then a piece of the steel on top of that - not sure how to affix it. But is there a way to attach the steel to the top that will make it easier to square the two pieces of steel with each other across the 10 foot span?

My rack at my old place was cemented in place on one side and attached to the shed on the other side. I don't see a compelling reason not to only that we really have to plan out the yard well at the new place before taking that leap.


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PostPosted: August 3rd, 2019, 10:38 am 
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You could cut down the steel cost by reversing the original configuration, that is, by embedding something in the concrete that your new free racks will fit down over. A heavy wall round pipe with an OD slightly too big would be ideal. You would then have to grind flats on the outside of the pipe so the racks could slide down to the right height and in the right orientation. It's not a hard thing to do by eye, with constant trial fitting. Once things fit, drill right through and pin things in place with a bolt.


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PostPosted: August 3rd, 2019, 6:35 pm 
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And you can cut down your concrete cost by buying pre-mix bags and mixing at home instead of getting concrete delivered. A minimum load charge on a truck is not insignificant. The best way to mix dry mixes is to pour a bag into a scrap of tarp, and, with a helper, roll it back and forth while adding water. It is amazing how easy and effective that is. Do not get the concrete too wet, but make sure everything gets wet. Soupy is very bad.
Pour concrete into the pipe, too. Then the inside can't rust and it does make it a bit stiffer.
I could imagine getting this job done for $70 - $80 in materials.


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PostPosted: August 4th, 2019, 8:24 am 
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Oh I would be using the self-mix fencepost cement that you pour in the hole and add water afterwards. I've done a lot of those at my old house and always had great success - the ones I first poured the second year we were in there were still rock solid when we moved out 17 years later.


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