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Weekend Project: Ski Rack

By Raj Chaudhry
Published: December 1, 2006
Photo by Raj Chaudhry
Placed on a porch, in a mudroom or outside a back door, this stand will ensure that your skis are ready to hit the trail or slopes whenever you are.
The construction is simple, sturdy and inexpensive. The project uses common dimension lumber and a few scraps of plywood. Both the end rails and posts are made from fir 2x4s. The stretchers and dividers are 1x4s of pine or poplar. Poplar, being a hardwood, will take a little more punishment than pine.
Because the end rails are bolted in place, the unit breaks down easily when it’s time to put it in storage.
As designed, the stand will keep up to five pairs of skis organized, out of the way and protected. It will accommodate most conventional skis, both cross-country and downhill. For extra-wide skis, the design can easily be modified to build room between spacers.

Table saw with dado blade
Miter saw, jigsaw, band saw or handsaw
Combination square and tape measure
Scratch awl
Claw hammer
Nail set
Drill with Forstner, spade and brad-point bits
Screwdriver or driver bit for drill
Hand clamps or C-clamps
3/8-inch plug cutting bit (or 3/8” wood dowel)
Socket wrench with 9/16” socket
Finish sander or sanding block
Putty knife
Flush cutting saw

Sandpaper, assorted grits
Water-resistant yellow wood glue, PVA Type II
1-1/2-inch No. 8 wood screws (I used square-drive galvanized screws)
4d galvanized ring-shank nails (often sold as shake or underlayment nails).
Four 3-1/2-inch-long, 3/8-inch-diameter galvanized carriage bolts, with matching   
nuts and washers.
6d finish nails (or, if using a 15 gauge or 16 gauge pneumatic nail gun, 1-3/4-inch
Wood filler
Shellac-based primer
Exterior-grade paint of choice


Part     Quantity          Thickness       Width           Length          Material         

A         4 - Stretchers          ¾"          3-1/2          31-1/4"         Pine or Poplar1X              

B         2 - Posts                1-1/2”       3-1/2”        16”               Fir 2X                              

C         2 - Rails                 1-1/2”       3-1/2”        16”               Fir 2X                                

D         4 - Dividers            ¾"           1-3/4"        12-1/2”          Pine or Poplar 1X                  

E         4 - Foot pads          ½"           1-1/2"         3"                Plywood                        
Photo by Raj Chaudhry
Here’s how to make it:

1. Crosscut the four stretchers (FrontView.PDF, Part A), two posts (FrontView.pdf, Part B) and two end rails  (FrontView.PDF, Part C) to finished length. Both the posts and end rails are 16 inches long. The stretchers are 31 ¼ inches long.

Photo by Raj Chaudry
2. Chamfer the end rails by sawing off the top corners at 45 degrees. Each leg of the triangle of wood that is removed is 1-½ inches long.

Photo by Raj Chaudhry
3. Add foot pads to the end rails. Cut four foot pads, each 3 inches long and 1-½ inches wide, from ½-inch-thick plywood. Attach these with wood glue and 4d ring-shank nails, four per pad. Pre-drill for the nails with a 1/16-inch bit. Use a nail set to sink the heads just below the surface (Picture 3290HR). This will prevent scratched floors.

Photo by Raj Chaudhry
4. Notch the posts for the end rails. (Picture 3305HR). The notch, on the inside bottom of each post, should measure 3-½ inches long, to match the rail width, and 1-½ inches deep, to match the rail thickness.

Photo by Raj Chaudhry
5. Bore 1-inch holes in the rails. Carriage bolts, two per end, attach the rails to the posts. The threaded portion of the bolt requires a 3/8-inch hole, which will be drilled in the following step. The corresponding washer and nut sit inside a 1-inch-diameter hole, which is bored first. Draw a center line on the inside face of each rail, from top to bottom. Using the awl, mark for two bolt holes along this centerline, 7/8-inch from the top and bottom edges. With a 1-inch Forstner or spade bit, bore a ½-inch-deep hole at each awl mark.

Photo by Raj Chaudhry
6. Bore bolt holes through rails and posts. With a pencil, mark the center of the post, just above the notch for the rail. Clamp the rail and post so that their center index marks are aligned. (Picture 3307HR) Make sure that the pieces are square to each other. Using a 3/8-inch spade bit, and starting in the center of each 1-inch rail hole  drill a bolt hole through both rail and post. Bolt the pieces together. Seat the bolt heads by tapping with a hammer. Place a washer over the end of each bolt and tighten the hex nuts with a 9/16-inch socket wrench.

Photo by Raj Chaudhry
7. Cut the dadoes for the spacers in the stretchers. (This setup is depicted in Picture: Dado=groove) Cutting all 16 dadoes (four per stretcher) requires just two setups of the table saw. First, adjust your dado blade to cut a 1/8-inch deep slot about ¾-inch wide: The divider stock should fit snuggly in the slot. Next, clamp a block to the rip fence, several inches ahead of the blade. (For safety reasons, never use the fence itself for crosscutting: If the wood were to jam between blade and fence, it could kick back violently.) Set the fence so that the distance from the blade's cutline to the block is 7-¾ inches. Use a miter gauge to keep the stock square, and start each cut with the end of the board butted against the face of the block. Cut one dado; flip the board around, and on the same face, cut its mirror image. Continue on to the next stretcher. After you've cut two dadoes in each board, readjust the fence for the next cut, which will start 12-3/4 inches. From the end of the board. Cut the next eight dadoes as you did the first eight.

8. Cut the dividers to finished size. On Paper, the dividers are 1-3/4 inches wide. But the best way to ensure a tight fit is to clamp the stretchers in place  and measure the actual dado-to-dado distance between them. Rip the dividers to this width. Then crosscut the dividers to 12-1/2 inches.

9. Countersink for screw heads. Screws, four per end, attach the stretchers to the posts. The heads of the screws are countersunk and will later be covered with plugs. First, draw lines across the stretcher 3-1/2 inches from each end to represent the edge of each post. Within this area, mark for the four screws with an awl. With a 3/8-inch brad-point bit, drill a ¼-inch deep head bore on each mark.

10. Attach the stretchers. Mount the bottom pair first, working on a level surface. Clamp the stretchers in place. Check for square and use the dividers to ensure that the dadoes are aligned side-to-side, and top to bottom. (Picture 3324HR). With a 7/64-inch brad-point bit, drill pilot holes for the screws. I do this in stages. First, I drill for and drive on pair of screws per end – one top, one bottom. After all of the stretchers are attached with two screws per end, I go back and add the remaining screws. Don’t over-tighten the screws. The stand will have to be disassembled. At this stage, it helps to mark the stretchers so that you will know where each belongs during reassembly. Disassemble the stand.

Photo by Raj Chaudhry
11. Lightly sand all non-mating surfaces. Remove the sanding dust.

12. Re-assemble the stand. Glue and screw the stretchers to the posts. Add a small dab of glue near the tops of the dadoes in the bottom stretchers only. With a mallet, or hammer and block of wood, tap the dividers into place, from top to bottom, so that their tops are flush with the top stretchers. Pin the dividers in place with 6d finishing nails. Each divider should be pinned with a total of eight finishing nails, two through each side of the top and bottom stretchers. Wipe off any excess glue that squeezes out with a damp paper towel. Then set the nail heads. (Picture 3330HR shows stand completed through this stage).

13. Plug the screw holes. If you have a 3/8-inch plug-cutting bit, you can cut your own plugs from scrap wood. Otherwise, use a 3/8-inch dowel. Apply glue to the plug or dowel and tap it firmly into place with a mallet. Wipe off excess glue with a damp paper towel. Use a flush-cutting saw to trim the plug close to the surface. After the glue has dried, sand the plug flush.

14. Fill any nail holes and other imperfections. You can use commercial wood filler or make your own putty by combining wood glue with fine sawdust. Allow the filler to dry.

15. Sand the project. Work with the grain, from rougher grades of sandpaper through progressively finer grades, to 220 grit.

Photo by Raj Chaudhry

16. Finish. After removing the dust from sanding, brush on a shellac-based primer and allow it to dry. Follow with a couple of coats of paint, applied according to the manufacturer’s directions. I used an exterior-grade acrylic latex paint with a semi-gloss finish.

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