DIY: Canoeski storage tool

The "Canoeski" device: a simple method of moving an upside-down canoe.

Problem The need was for a method of easily storing a canoe under the house front porch during winter. This had previously been a two-person job, with one person at each end of the canoe. The person at the leading end of the canoe would kneel on the ground, lift the canoe end, and crawl backwards under the porch. This was an awkward task, and eventually the volunteer crawlers grew up and left home.

Solution The solution found was to place a large "ski" under one end of the upside-down canoe, so that one end of the canoe is lifted and the other end is dragged or pushed. The "ski" shown in the photos is a wood plank that is beveled on its under-side at both ends and has four blocks of wood fastened to its top side.

It stays in position under the end of the canoe as the two high blocks fit loosely around the front and back of the canoe's carrying handle, and the other two low blocks are set in a V so that the point of the canoe nestles between them. No fastening is needed. The canoe can be skidded in a straight line forwards and backwards over most flat surfaces, including the gravel driveway shown.

The "ski" in the photos was a 2 ft long piece of the 5/4 x 6" pressure treated lumber that is normally used for surfaces of decks: it was handy. The brick in the photo gives an idea of scale. A slightly longer piece of 2 x 8 lumber might be better, as it would reduce the tendency of the "ski" shown to occasionally dive into the very soft dry sand under the porch.

Each canoeski would have to be custom made to fit the end of your canoe, but it's a simple tool to piece together and should hopefully make storage of your canoe a little easier. Especially if you store it in a hard to reach area, like under your porch.

First used: Fall 2004, and it's still in service today.

Colin Hardman 

Oakville, Ontario, Canada

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