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DIY Vehicle Ski Roof Rack (Homemade)

diy vehicle ski roof rack

Ski season is just around the corner, and that means it’s time to start thinking about how you’re going to transport your skis to the mountain. If you’re like most people, you probably don’t have a ski roof rack installed on your car.

But don’t worry, it’s not too difficult or expensive to DIY a ski roof rack that will get the job done. Plus, it’s a great way to save money and get creative!

In this step by step guide, we’ll show you how to build a vehicle ski roof rack that will keep your skis safe and secure on your way to the slopes.

What Will I Need?

For this project, you are going to need these materials and tools:

Tools:

  • Miter saw
  • Drill and drill bits
  • Table saw
  • Sander
  • Router with a round-over bit
  • Bolts, U-bolts, and screws

Materials:

  • Wood pallets
  • Plywood scraps
  • Linseed oil
  • Other stuff – brackets from a satellite dish, broken deck swing and armrests from a broken office chair  (Feel free to use substitutes)

If this seems like too much, you can always carry your ski bag in an uber.

Step 01: Getting Oak

We are going to be building the roof rack out of wood. We can use sturdy, light wood like oak for that. When choosing oak, it is best to use repurposed oak. 

You can buy them for super cheap from a local farm. Pick some good pallets. Next we need to use a table saw or thickness planer to cut it because oak is often rough. 

If you don’t have a thickness planer, don’t worry, it can be managed with just the table saw. If it’s difficult, you are going to need a thickness planer.

Step 02: Making The Base Block

To make the base block, we will use a piece of oak that’s about 3.5″. Please make sure you trim the rough corners and edges of the wood to get the good stuff that’s underneath. 

Next, cut the oak into four 6″ pieces, and afterwards cut a bevel at each of these four blocks. 

To give a nice smooth, and round edge, we can use a round-over bit in your router. At last, we can get a finished block with a smooth surface by using sandpaper. 

Step 03: Drilling The Holes

Next you need to drill a large 1-inch hole in the middle of each of these blocks. Please make sure that you drill this hole about halfway through the block. 

drilling the holes on ski rack

Afterwards, we can drill a smaller hole, like 3/8″ size, through the remaining section of each block. We can use those small holes to bolt the block to the vehicle’s roof.   

Step 04: Open The Roof Rack Holes

The base points of the rack are almost done now. Let’s remove the plastic clips that cover the bolt holes on the roof so you can fit the blocks to the roof. 

Step 05: Complete The Base Blocks

You now need to cut a 3″ narrow in the top, before you go ahead and attach the block. Make sure that these notches are about ¼” deep and 3″ wide. 

To cut the channel, we can clamp the four blocks together. The table saw can be used for it. Make sure that the table saw fence is set to be 2″ from the blade and that the depth is set to 14″. 

Start cutting the first one and then move the fence away from the blade by about 1/8″ further where the second cut should be made. We can now adjust the fence away from the blade further and further and eventually finish the channel.

Weathering is something you should be concerned about when using lumber for this DIY vehicle ski roof rack. So, we need to apply linseed oil to the blocks as linseed outperforms urethane coating by a wide margin!

Because wood can absorb linseed oil, we can refinish the wood whenever we need to without sanding it using this technique. Plus, you could even cover these blocks with marine epoxy and fiberglass to give them an extra layer of strength.

Step 06: Fitting The Base Blocks On The Roof

Blocks are done and now we have to install the finished blocks on the vehicle roof. Use a metric #6 screws and a washer, and attach each block to the vehicle’s top. 

Fitting The Base Blocks On The Roof

Step 07: Making The Cross Rails

Now you need to construct the cross rails and again, we can use the pallet oak. Using the thickness planer, table saw, and miter saw, cut two sections of 40″ long, 3″ broad, and 1″ thick. Use the router’s round-over bit to get a nice round off the rail’s edges. 

Please allow 4 to 6 inches at each corner of the square. The channels of each block are about to accommodate such components. Sand on the rails to even out the surface. 

Linseed oil can then be applied after that. Remind yourself once again to treat the rails in marine epoxy and fiberglass for added strength.

The next step is to fit the rails to the block. We can use the #8 x 2″ GRK low-profile washer head screw to attach those rails to blocks. To prevent the rails from separating, pre-drill the holes. 

Step 08: Making the Ski Holder 

Now you need to make the two ski traps. Cut two 3/4-foot long, 3″ wide, and 1″ thick pieces from the same oak pallet. We must also cut additional two pieces of oak to create the space between the rain and the previously cut piece. 

Each rail should have two parts that are each one inch thick. You can choose the length and width accordingly. These two pieces are nailed to the rail at a distance of three and a half feet. 

After that, you can attach a section measuring 3 feet long to the top of the two pieces we fixed. The back of the car should have those two ski holders lined up.

Step 09: It’s Done!

There you have it! The roof rack is complete. You will be amazed to see how solid the wooden roof rack is. On the other hand, it’s a shame to buy those proms on the market without missing the fun of making them. 

Read our guide on how to transport skis in vehicles for tips and tricks on fitting and carrying you skis.

Bottom Line

We hope you enjoyed this helpful guide on how to make your very own ski roof rack for your vehicle. We think it’s a great way to save money and get creative with your skiing equipment. Let us know how it turns out for you and if you have any tips or tricks of your own to share.

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Picture of Lisa Hayden-Matthews

Lisa Hayden-Matthews

An avid Skier, bike rider, triathlon enthusiast, amateurish beach volleyball player and nature lover who has never lost a dare! I manage the overall Editorial section for the magazine here and occasionally chip in with my own nature photographs, when required.
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