During the last snow season I got into cross country skiing in a big way. I bought a complete set up of gear for myself and I found myself out on the trails at just about any time you can imagine. In fact, I spent most of my time skiing in the dark with my mother and sister. One thing that was always a bit of a pain was that when we got back to the house after an outing we had wet skis to deal with. Most of the time they just got propped up in a corner to dry. Aside from occasionally falling down, this worked fine for the three sets of skis that we had.
This season is a bit different. The success that we had last year prompted us to purchase skis for the other members of my family. Now we are up to six sets of skis and the corner is not a good place to stash that much gear. It was with this problem in mind that I began to look around for something that could be used as a ski rack. The main hurdle I had to cross was space management. With six people at my house, there isn't room for much. The solution came in the form of an old backless (the back had been removed at some point in the past) office chair. A rotating ski rack would fit the bill nicely.
Those that know me well know that I am a terrible pack rat. I keep just about anything that I can see as useful. Normally this would be great but as I said before space is an issue at my house. I decided that I would use as much of the materials around my house as possible. Not only would this keep the cost of the project down, but it also helped limit the time involved and helped eliminate some extra clutter. Talk about a multipurpose project! Below is a list of the materials I used as well as the tools that I used to complete this project. This list is admittedly not comprehensive but it does give the general idea of what I used. I found many occasions when I had to adapt my original design to fit the materials I had on hand. This is what made this project so satisfying. It was fun to try to come up ways to use more or less random pieces of plywood, carpet, and glue to make something useful. I believe this to be the true spirit of DIY.
Plywood: I used two pieces of 5/8 AC grade plywood that were about 32 inches by 24 inches. I work at an cabinet shop and these were sides that where cut wrong. This plywood has a very nice pine face ply that usually makes up the interior of our cabinets. I really don't need plywood that is this high grade. In the end I didn't leave any of the plywood open to casual inspection. I just had this on hand so...
Lumber: I used a redwood 4x4 post that I had left over from another project. Also used were three lengths (about 40 inches each) of pine 2x2 and about six feet of pine 1x2. These last two where used in the mill finish, I did no sanding beyond taking sharp edges off and removing the blowout from sawing the pieces.
Carpet: There was 12 to 15 square feet of a neutral brown carpet used.
An office chair: 'nuff said
Misc.: Wood screws, wood glue, spray-on adhesive (I used 3M Hi-Strength 90 Spray Adhesive from The Home Depot), wood shims for the base, and metal washers for running screws through the legs of the chair
All of the materials used in this project should be readily available at places like The Home Depot, Menards, are similar stores. The office chair can be found at thrift stores, on the curb to be taken away with the trash, or in other more imaginative places. The only criteria for the chair are that it is stable and the seat pivot is free to move. The tools I used were also those that I already have. I used a compound miter saw to make the cuts on the lumber but even a hand saw will get the job done. Compass, pencil, push pin, floss (to be explained), tape measure, steel ruler, cordless drill, a screw bit, a twist drill bit, a jig saw with a wood blade, clamps, and a sturdy table. These are just the tools I used, as with the materials, these may also be adapted and substituted as need dictates.
Step 1: The Basic Layout
I had three basic goals for this project: require a minimum of floor space, rotates to allow easy loading and unloading, and has some sort of positive retention to hold the skis in place. With these in mind I made a plan for what I wanted. The base would be just a carpeted ring for the skis and poles to rest on. The hole in the center was sized so that the part removed could be used for the middle "adapter:" piece. This piece had to be big enough to cover the metal bracket that held the seat of the chair yet small enough to allow the skis room to stay on the base. The top is where the magic really happens. It is slotted so the skis and poles can lean in toward the center. Flaps of the covering carpet would then be left in place to provide the retention that I wanted. Holding the skis more or less upright would mean that this rack would only need about as much floor space as the chair had originally. The swiveling wheels on the bottom of the chair legs would let this thing rotate and I would just disable the seat pivot to keep the skis from splaying out when you try to turn it. I actually managed to follow this plan pretty well but there where a couple of changes that were made which yielded better results.