This thing will carry canoes, kayaks, ladders and lumber as advertised. It will also haul pipe or posts and gives you something to tie bottles of welding gas or oxygen to so that it doesn't fall over. Here's what you need to build it.
4 pressure-treated 12 foot 2 by 6 boards
2 pressure-treated 8 foot 2 by 6 boards
Box of-3-1/2 inch long galvanized screws
8 half-inch carriage bolts,
4 inches long with nuts and lock washers
Carpet strips, 6 inches wide the width of the pickup bed
8 half inch lag bolts, 4 inches long
4 3/8 inch eye screws
2 spring clamps
Staple gun and 1-1/2 inch staples
Carpenter Speed Square and pencil
Drill and drill bits
Ratcheting tie-down straps, 12+ feet long
How to Make It:
First measure the inside dimensions of the pickup bed. Measure the narrowest distances of the length and width of the inside of the bed so that final assembly can be lifted in and out of the truck bed. If the bed has wheel wells in it, the lower side boards will be mounted above them.
Cut four 2 x 6s the length of the bed and four the width of the bed. measure the height from the bed of the pickup to the top of the cab. Add 12 inches and cut 4 boards that length to act as uprights. Assemble the ends first.
Lay out two legs and clamp a 2 x 6 cross member (width of the bed) so the top edges are 4 inches below the top of the legs. Drill half inch holes and bolt the cross members in place with the carriage bolts, nuts toward the inside of the frame. Note the cross members will be oriented toward the inside of the bed.
Clamp the second cross member in place at the bottom of the legs and bolt it in place. Repeat with the other legs to make two rectangles.
Set the legs up with the cross members toward the inside of the truck bed. Clamp the long side boards to the sides of the legs at the top, even with the cross members. Drill a half inch hole through the side boards into the ends of the cross member. Be careful not to drill into the carriage bolts. Lag bolt the side boards to the sides of the legs.
Lag bolt the second side board to the side of the legs so the bottom of the board is a half inch higher than the top of the wheel well. Repeat the process on the opposite side.
Add screws at every joint to stiffen the frame and strengthen the attachment. Wrap carpet strips across the top of the cross members to pad the frame when carrying things. Staple the carpet strips at the bottom to hold them in place.
D rill and attach eye screws to the front and back of the end frames at the top to act as tie-downs. When you need to use it, simply lift the frame into the back of the truck, attach bungee cords or ratcheting tie-downs between the eye bolts and the truck bed to hold the frame in place.
Now, you're ready go. This pickup rack allows you to carry long or bulky things without them sticking out the back or resting on the cab roof. When you're done with it, you can get a helper, drop the tailgate and lift it out.
It takes only a couple of hours to cut out and assemble the pieces. You don't have to leave it in your pickup and it doubles as a canoe rack if you set it in the backyard and strap your boats to it.
Tom King is a freelance writer, consultant and blogger living in Washington State. A native Texan, Tom has worked for 4 decades in the nonprofit sector doing fund-raising, marketing, promotion and public relations. He’s helped start 5 successful nonprofits, led bi-partisan community initiatives, served on a number of nonprofit boards. Tom is author of 5 books available on Amazon.com, including “Going for the Green”, a manual for hosting charity golf tournaments. Tom also won gold awards for screenwriting at the 1995 Worldfest Charleston International Film Festival and at the 1996 Worldfest H