How to Build a Ski Rack

Who better than master carpenter Norm Abram to help us craft a ski rack?
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"I used to ski way back, but now I have carpenter's knees," says Norm Abram, master carpenter, native New Englander, and a star of television's "This Old House" for more than 25 years. Abram may have retired from the slopes, but he remembers how awkward it can be to store skis—they're long, they're sharp and their bulky bindings protrude in the wrong places. 

There are nice racks, and there are nice racks. Nothing is more important to containing the chaos than a well-designed ski storage system. Check out Cozy Winters (cozywinters.com) for options. Or get your Tool Time on and go for it.: How To Build a Ski Rack

Ski racks come in all shapes and sizes. The best type of ski rack is the one that fits your skis and will store them out of harm's way. 

"We used to lay our skis up across the joists in the ceiling of the garage," he recalls, a good solution only if your garage ceiling happens to have exposed joists. 

Drawing on his background as a skier and a homeowner—not to mention his considerable genius with the table saw—Abram designed an easy, do-it-yourself horizontal rack especially for skis, similar to one he once built in his own garage. It'll hold skis of all sizes and shapes, out of the way but easily accessible. Best of all, you don't have to be Norm Abram to build it.

DIY Ski Rack for Your Garage

DIY ski rack for your garage

Abram's DIY ski rack design: a rack that will store your skis horizontally on 3/4-inch dowels. 

Supplies

  • Two 2x4s, each about 6 feet long (good for four pairs of skis)
  • Two 4-foot lengths of Armorflex pipe insulation, to fit over dowel
  • Latex caulk
  • Exterior-grade paint
  • 6 feet of 3/4-inch dowel
  • A few 3-1/2-inch drywall screws

Tools

  • Saw
  • Heavy-duty shears (to cut Armorflex)
  • Caulk gun
  • Bevel gauge
  • Fine sandpaper
  • Pencil
  • Tape measure
  • Drill
  • 3/4-inch drill bit
  • Chamfer routing bit
  • Level
  • Paintbrush

Directions

  1. With the 4-inch sides of the 2x4s facing you, chamfer and sand the two vertical front edges. Used on a regular drill, a chamfer routing bit creates a uniform beveled edge. Paint the wood to protect it against moisture.

  2. Divide the length of the 2x4s by the number of skis you plan to store, and mark them with a pencil at appropriate, evenly spaced intervals. Example: If you have four pairs of skis, make a mark every 15 inches on each 2x4. If you're only storing two pairs, cut the 2x4s in half, which will still leave ample room to create rests for two pairs of skis.

    "You just have to make sure there's enough space between them that the binding on one ski won't hit the one above it," Abram says. Using a bevel gauge to guide the drill bit into the wood at a slight angle, drill holes for the dowels where marked. Drill 1- 1/4-inches deep with the 3/4-inch bit.

  3. Cut the dowels into 6-inch lengths and sand one tip of each piece. Insert the dowel lengths (sanded side out) into the holes in the 2x4s and apply a bead of latex caulk around the base of each. Cover each dowel with Armorflex. Your skis will lie across these pegs. "The Armorflex will provide a nice, soft cushion," says Abram.

  4. Choose an empty wall in your garage or basement where the skis will hang. You'll need a spot where you can attach the 2x4s to the wall parallel to each other and far enough apart so that the dowels become shelves for the skis. You can mount them out of the way, or close to the floor for easy access. 

  5. Screw the 2x4s into the wall. "In the garage, most walls are finished with drywall, so you'll have to find two studs," says Abram. (Studs are typically 32 or 48 inches apart.) The 2x4s should be 3 to 4 feet apart—far enough so that the dowels won't interfere with bindings, but with plenty of clearance between the dowel "rests" and the tips of your skis. Use a level to make sure the 2x4s are hung so that the skis will rest exactly horizontally.

Related: Off-season ski gear maintenance 

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