How to Build a Canoe Rack for a Pickup Truck

by Steve Smith

A canoe rack is a great accessory for a pick-up truck. It can be used to tow your canoe to your favorite pond or to carry ladders and other accessories like rafts, kayaks and more. You can build these racks from 2-inch steel pipes if you have welding equipment or access to a welder. They will be very strong and sturdy just like your truck and it really beats carrying the canoe in the bed with the tail gate down.

Measure the distance from the top of the truck cab walls to the top of the truck cab. Then add 7 inches, and cut four lengths of 2-inch steel pipe to this length.

Measure the width of your truck cab, from the center of the top of one of the truck cab walls, to the center of the top of the other. Then cut two lengths of steel pipe to this measurement plus 4 inches. Also, mark down the width from the center of one truck cab wall to the center of the other for the next step.

Set two of the pipes you cut in step 1 side by side next to each so they are perfectly parallel to each other and this distance apart (the top center of one truck cab wall to the other).

Clamp one of the pipes you cut in step 3 across the two pipes so it is 5 inches from the top and perfectly perpendicular to them. Use a square and a level to make sure they are perpendicular and straight. Tack weld the pipe at both ends, then use a filler bar to create a full bead around the seam of the two pipes.

Repeat step 4 for the other two pipes you cut in step 1. This creates two supports for the pick-up truck rack.

Cut two 3-inch-by-3-inch 1/4-inch metal plates using a metal saw from a sheet of steel plating. Drill 1/8-inch mounting holes around the outside edges of the metal plates using a power drill with carbide bit.

Weld the plates to the bottom of the pipes that form the rack supports using a filler bar and welder.

Set the racks on the truck bed walls and mark holes to drill for mounting. Remove the racks and then drill your mounting holes with a 1/8-inch carbide tipped drill bit. Then install the racks by lining them up to the holes and driving in 1/8-inch steel screws with a dab of silicone on each.

Measure the distance between the two racks (front and back), then cut another length of steel pipe to this length plus 4 inches.

Line this pipe up with the racks, and mark holes in each end to mount the support with screws to the racks. Then drill out 1/4-inch holes straight through both pipes. Line pipe holes up so the holes match, then thread a 5-inch, 1/4-inch bolt through the holes, secured with a locking washer and silicone-tipped nut on both ends. This will support the rack and allow it to be removed and stored very easily.

Items you will need

About the Author

Steve Smith has published articles on a wide range of topics including cars, travel, lifestyle, business, golf, weddings and careers. His articles, features and news stories have appeared in newspapers, consumer magazines and on various websites. Smith holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from University of New Hampshire Durham.