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View Full Version : Looking for ladder rack design for my truck



Ned Bulken
05-29-2006, 9:51 AM
Anyone know of a shop built ladder (lumber really in my case) rack for a pickup truck? I've googled it but only come up with commercial designs in metal, and I'd like to build it myself. I have a couple of ideas, I'm looking for simple, sturdy and not too expensive.

Matt Meiser
05-29-2006, 11:25 AM
For 8-10' stuff I would think you really don't need anything. I carry stuff that size with my Ranger no problem I generally leave the tailgate up and let the stuff hang over the tailgate--then I don't have to worry about stuff coming out when you accelerate. For thin sheet goods, I put a couple 2x4's in to support the sheets.

Ned Bulken
05-29-2006, 11:40 AM
I suppose that's true, that shorter lengths won't be an issue. I'd still like to build a rack though, in case I can find larger items.

Jamie Buxton
05-29-2006, 11:57 AM
I once designed and built a wood rack like you're contemplating. It was maple with a clear finish, and it looked beautiful when I installed it on the truck. It lasted about five years before it died. The constant vibration and the stress of carrying heavy wood loads opened the joinery enough that water got in, and it rotted the joints from the inside out. Since then, I've used commercial steel racks.

If you're determined to make a wood rack, I'd suggest two things. First, use a deck lumber like ipe. Second, consider wrapping the wood with fiberglass, like the guys who make wood strip kayaks.

Ned Bulken
05-29-2006, 12:10 PM
good advice, thanks Jamie, hadn't considered the vibration aspect. Ok, so I'll look again at metal racks.

Matt Meiser
05-29-2006, 12:25 PM
good advice, thanks Jamie, hadn't considered the vibration aspect. Ok, so I'll look again at metal racks.

If you make it easily removable, and only install it when you need it that probably wouldn't be as much of an issue.

Ned Bulken
05-29-2006, 12:52 PM
that is another option. a panel to secure it to the bed rails, with 2x4 supports running down to the bed floor, and some braces to keep it from wracking (sorry, had to do it), I can see that, yep. nothing fancy, but for infrequent use, it could work.

Jamie Buxton
05-29-2006, 2:09 PM
If you make it easily removable, and only install it when you need it that probably wouldn't be as much of an issue.

Truck racks come in all sizes and shapes. The kind I've put on my trucks is, I think, the most common kind. It holds 4x8 sheets horizontally, protruding over the cab of a compact pickup. It can also handle lumber, again protruding over the cab. It is quite a convenient addition to a truck, and I like having it on the truck all the time.

This size of rack is actually a pretty big object. The exterior dimensions on my current one are 5'x2.5'x9'. In steel it is pretty heavy. Removing it and re-installing it is not a casual task. The installers use a fork-lift. You could do it with a couple of strong friends, but after the first on/off cycle I'd bet it would just stay on the truck. I suggest that if you're going to build a removeable wood rack, you don't just reproduce this steel design. Instead think carefully about how you're going to do the removal and re-installation -- maybe modularize the pieces, or maybe limit the functionality.

Ned Bulken
05-29-2006, 4:38 PM
just spotted this, which will eliminate the need for any permanently installed rack whatsoever:
http://www.deflectashield.com/deflecta_shield_truck_product_detail_objectname_Hi tch_Hand___truck.aspx
(http://http://www.truckstuffusa.com/hitchhandbydeflectasheild.html)

Jim DeLaney
05-29-2006, 4:54 PM
just spotted this, which will eliminate the need for any permanently installed rack whatsoever...


Ned,
1. You need to fix that link.

2. To use that product, you need a Class III hitch installed on your truck, if you don't already have one.

3. Harbor Freight has a similar product for about 1/4 the price of that one. In fact, it's often on sale for about 30 bucks.

Ned Bulken
05-29-2006, 9:14 PM
thanks jim, i was at work earlier, and didnt' have time to test the link. all fixed. I'll keep the HF link in mind. as for the Hitch, don't have one yet, but I will eventually.

Mike Evertsen
05-30-2006, 9:51 AM
I have a rack like this on my dakota the racks are removable so you can use a tonnoe cover

http://www.pickup-rack.com/im3/ladder2c.jpg

Jim Becker
05-30-2006, 12:36 PM
Ned, with the Tundra I used to drive, I had the hitch-received extender from HFT mentioned above. Under 10', I didn't need it. (6'6" bed, material fully supported to 8' with gate down) You could even use a bumper-mount hitch receiver for this simple need.

Remember, putting heavy materials up on a rack raises the center of gravity of the vehicle big-time...take care in driving it when you do!