Forum > Drillin' & Cuttin'

Rod Holder/Utility Rack

(1/3) > >>

The basic goal I wanted to accomplish with this rack is to provide a vertical rod holder storage option without the use of a utility box or crate of some sort. I wanted the tank well to be free for storage of my fish bag and some miscellaneous gear that needed to be handy while fishing like a hawg trough. I thought it was only going to be for rod storage, but so far it also works as a handy place for a Scotty rail mount for my safety light, a place to mount my safety flag (shown on a recent thread) and a fish sprayer that douses the tank well repeatedly if I have fish lying back there. I wish I could take credit for the whole thing, but the idea of it was developed by a guy I used to work with down in San Diego at OEX. His was made entirely of metal so it obviously added a lot of weight to his ‘yak. His primary focus for it was the fish sprayer so his also had an additional battery and second through-hole pump dedicated to the fish sprayer.

Pretty much all of the measurements were done on the fly and are dependent on only my idea of a comfortable reach behind me and the shape of the rear tank well of the kayak. As you can see, this design is based off of my X-Factor, but I can see this add-on being modified and adapted to fit other kayaks fairly easily. The biggest thing to consider when fitting this to your kayak is the ability for the base fittings of the rack to be mounted in a nice flat area that will position the rack to be within a comfortable reach behind you. The great thing about using PVC is that you can put the whole thing together to make sure it is just right before making everything permanent. There were a few places where I started the sections too long and then cut down bit by bit until they were just right and everything fit the way I wanted it to.

The materials I ended up using:
Schedule 40 PVC  - All the fittings and tubing for the frame were in ¾” size:
4 – 90 degree elbows
4 – T fittings
4 – Male reducer ¾” slip to ½” MPT(threaded)  
2 - 135 degree elbows
10 ft. of tubing
2 ft. of 2” tubing for rod holders
4 – 90 degree 7/8” stainless deck rail base (West Marine has these)
16 - #14 1” or 1 ½”  stainless coarse thread screws
4 – ¼ - 28 x 5/8” socket head screws (stainless if you can find ‘em, steel alloy is all I can ever find)
4 – ¼ x 2” stainless carriage bolts with matching nuts
30 – 4 x ½ Stainless metal screws, Phillips, flat head (these are pretty small)
Tools & other materials:
Measuring tape
High speed drill with sanding disc and misc. drill bits
Marine Goop
goggles for the PVC dust

1.  My first step was deciding placement and my methods for this were pretty crude. I simply put my kayak on the ground, and by sitting in the seat and reaching behind me, decided on a spot that would be a comfortable reach. About an inch or so behind that was going to be the placement for the two rear base fittings for the rack. Mounting of the base fittings was pretty straight forward. Make some small pilot holes for the #14 self tapping screws, then Goop the bottom of the fittings, arrange them in the desired area and drill in the screws. Next, I decided what the height of the frame should be from the placement of the two rear base fittings to where the top of the vertical rod holder tubes should be.  Again, just going by what felt comfortable.

The front two base fittings ended up being 9 ½” from the back two (center of socket to center of socket). To be honest, I forget how I came up with this measurement.  :icon_scratch: If I were to do this again though, it would make the most sense to build the rack and determine the appropriate placement of the front two sort of at the same time, so mount them later.

Here's a pic of the basic layout of the PVC fittings:

2.  Construction of the frame started with the back half. Essentially, it is two cross bars connecting the posts that slip into the back two base fittings. The bottom of the two posts will connect to the male reducer fittings, which will provide the coupling to the base fittings. The bottom cross bar was created only to provide a bottom anchor spot for the rod holder tubes. The top cross bar has a T fitting in the middle for the section that joins the front and back sections of the rack.

3.  Attaching the rod holder tubes to the back half is next. I wanted a lot of space between the tubes on this rack to allow the most storage space possible in the tank well as mentioned earlier.  On the top cross bar, identify points about 3 ½” inside from the edge of the 90 degree fitting on each end and start your drilling. On the bottom cross bar, make your holes in line with the holes in the top bar. Making the rod tubes point slightly away from each other can be done too for more of a rocket launcher look. If you’re concerned about losing tank well space though I recommend making the distance between the top two holes slightly wider instead of shortening the distance between the bottom two. I used stainless carriage bolts to attach them to the frame since the rounded heads work great on the inside of rod holders. When drilling the holes in the rod holder tubes, use a bit you would normally use to drill a hole for the size of carriage bolt, then take a smaller bit and try to bore out four corners to make these holes somewhat square so the bolts set further in. I threaded them into the holes with mono tied to the tip of the threaded ends.

4.  The cross bar for the front will be the same length as the distance between the two front base fittings with a T fitting in the middle. This obviously means that this is one of those spots to start too long and cut to fit. The sections running from the 90 degree fittings at each end of the front cross bar to the 135 degree elbow fittings need to be a specific length which probably could be determined by some crazy trigonometric diagram and equation, but it’s just easier to start long and cut them little by little to fit.  The right length we’re looking for with these sections will allow the front half and the back half of the rack to be level with each other once they are joined together. Those sections will connect to the 135 degree fittings, which will be connected to the male reducer fittings that sit in the sockets of the front base fittings.

5.  The section joining the front and back halves is a variable length that must be long enough to provide a wide enough gap between the front and back halves to allow room for the rod holder tubes, but as long as is required to allow the most convenient placement for the front base fittings. This could end up being a weak spot of the frame if the section is too long though. If the space between the front and back halves gets too large, two of these joining sections could be made instead of one. All that would be needed is two extra T fittings.

6.  The male reduction fittings will need to be shaped with some kind of grinding disc. I used a plug in drill that had two settings: off, and OMG FAST! Grind down the threaded side of the fitting, mostly focusing on the base of the threaded section. Try to work for a uniform diameter from the base to the tip of the threaded end that fits snug all the way into the sockets. Next, simply drill a hole in each fitting for the securing socket head cap screws after lining up the fittings how you would like them to sit in their respective sockets.

7. At this point, everything should be put together, but not made permanent just yet so it can be twisted, adjusted, cut here and there and what not. Now would be a good time to mount the two front base fittings permanently the same way the back two were mounted. Once the frame is adjusted to the desired form and sits in the sockets so the socket head screws can secure it in to place, make everything permanent by drilling the small stainless metal screws into the side of each slip fitting. Pilot holes help a lot here. It’s best to tighten these with a hand driver since the material is so soft. I tried to keep most of them on the underside or inside of the frame simply to try and keep them out of sight to try and make it look a little better. You could also use some of the PVC glue or cement, but I just used the screws to avoid the mess. Plus if you ever wanted take it apart for any reason, the screws would make that easier.

I recommend sanding the tacky looking info printed on the PVC and slapping some stickers on it. You could even spray paint it to match the color of your boat and you’re good to go!

Fred "True" Trujillo:
Ah, I love this stuff.



Very nice.. if you want I can make this into an article on the front page.




[0] Message Index

[#] Next page

Go to full version