If you love skiing, you know the importance of having a ski tow bar. A ski tow bar allows you to quickly attach your skis to your car to transport them to and from the mountain. Making your ski tow bar is easy, saving you money in the long run. In this article, we will show you how to make a ski tow bar using readily available materials at home. Let’s get started!
Many people who love skiing enjoy the convenience of a ski tow bar. However, buying one can be very expensive. Making your own is not only economical but also easy to do. If you have the necessary tools and materials, it should take about thirty minutes or less to make your ski tow bar.
What Is a Ski Tow Bar?
A ski tow bar is designed to make pulling skiers on the water easier. It can be used in flat-bottomed boats, including small boats like kayaks and aluminum fishing boats. One end of the ski tow bar attaches to the back of your boat, while the other end attaches to the skis (or wakeboard or kneeboard, though these are generally towed using different types of equipment) you’re using.
The person being towed holds onto handlebars that are usually mounted somewhere near the front of the ski tow bar for stability.
Materials You’ll Need
- 1″ Schedule 40 PVC pipe long enough for the ski tow bar
- 2 bulkhead fittings 1″, with four holes for bolts
- 1/4″ X 20 X 3/4 flat head wood screws 5/8″ long
- Drill with 1/4″ bit and 5/8″ spade bit
- Hacksaw or hand saw to cut pipe
- A vice or wrench to tighten fittings when needed.
- 3 regular nuts
- Shrink tubing
- A PVC cutter
- And of course, the rope
A Stepwise Guide on How to Make a Ski Tow Bar
Step 1: Determine How Long the Ski Tow Bar Should Be
First, you need to determine how long you want your ski tow bar to be, depending on your needs and preferences. It should contain a minimum length to allow the skier to sit comfortably while riding on it. In addition, it must be long enough to give way for turns if ever there is a need for such maneuvering.
Your ski tow bar should at least be twice as long as your snowboard or wakeboard’s measurement from tip to tail. If possible, add more feet so you can have enough room for adjustments according to our experience in skiing and boarding. We made a few ski tow bars for our friends, and each one has its unique length.
Step 2: Find Proper Tow Bar Size
A ski tow bar requires a 1″ Schedule 40 PVC pipe. This is standard, so you have nothing to worry about. However, it would be advantageous if your bulkhead fittings are also made from the same material – this will ensure that they fit together seamlessly and will not fall apart while in use.
The size of your bulkhead fittings must be at least 1″, with four holes for bolts (anywhere between 5/8″x3/4″ to 7/8″). As for the bolts, their diameter has to match the size of your nuts (1/4″ x 20). However, I recommend getting screws instead of bolts – these are easier to put through PVC piping without threading them down.
Step 3: Cut the PVC Pipe into Two Equal Lengths
Cut it with a hacksaw or hand saw once you’ve determined how long you want your ski tow bar to be. Since we use bulkheads, we need the PVC pipe to be shorter to insert them snugly inside.
Don’t forget to also cut along the side of the bulkhead fitting’s pre-drilled holes – this is very important for your skiing experience not to suffer from back pain and other boarders’ complaints. Finally, make sure that both pieces are equal in size, or else your ski tow bar won’t be balanced.
Step 4: Drill the Holes for the Rope
Using a 1/4″ drill bit, hold both pieces of PVC pipe in your vice or wrench and start drilling holes at least 10 inches apart on both sides. This is where you’ll pass the rope through, so they must be evenly spaced. You can also use combs or “V” shaped blocks cut from 2×2 lumber to achieve the ideal position for drilling – but don’t forget to drill holes on each side of these blocks!
You need to place two 5/8″ spade bits in your drill and drill a hole in the center of each block – both on the top and bottom. For example, if your ski tow bar is 36 inches long, divide this length by three and add 1 inch. This is how far you should drill down from the top. The distance between the blocks must be at least 9 inches apart before you drill on one side. This is a crucial step in how to make a ski tow bar.
Step 5: Insert Bulkhead Fittings Into Rack
Grab one end of the PVC pipe (without any cap) and rotate it to form an L-shape (make sure not to obstruct the length). Next, placee a washer over each bolt, make sure they are snug against bulkhead fitting, then insert them into the corresponding holes you’ve drilled on the rack.
Don’t forget to place a washer and nut, which should be tightly secured using a wrench or vice. The bulkhead should fit snugly, but it shouldn’t be too tight that you can’t rotate or wiggle the pipe. Now do the same for the other end of your PVC pipe (leave this one without any cap).
Step 6: Insert PVC Pipe Into Fittings
Grab the other end of the PVC pipe and insert it into each bulkhead fitting to fit snugly and secure them with nuts. Remember not to tighten your nuts too much – we want them to be loose enough to adjust our ski tow bar later on depending on how we like it (i.e., higher or lower).
Insert your ski or snowboard and make sure that the tip is only about 2 inches away from the top of your tow bar. This way, you can slide in place using a safe angle between your board and tow bar – however, make sure not to lay it flat against your ski tow bar because this will prevent you from going fast!
Step 7: Secure Nuts With Shrink Tubing
Once all bulkhead fittings are correctly secured into the rack, the nuts again use shrink tubing. We usually use a lighter for a quick shrink but don’t forget to leave 1 inch out so you can push them in when needed.
They shouldn’t be too tight or too loose – they should be just enough to hold the tubing in place. Slide your ski or snowboard and make sure it can easily slide in and out of your ski tow bar without any problems.
Step 8: Secure Rope Onto Rack Using Cable Ties/zip Ties
Now it’s time to adjust your ski tow bar so you can securely tie down the rope using cable ties. Cut two pieces of 12″ string and place one end on each side of the rack – do not go over bulkhead fittings (we don’t want our board or skis to touch them).
Make sure that the rope is somewhat taut – this will ensure that your pipe stays in place while sliding around without worrying about any loose ends flying inside your car. The number of cable ties depends on how sturdy you want your ski tow bar to be – remember, excess cable ties are always good for future repairs!
Step 9: Wax Pipe and Board
You’re done! The last thing we suggest is to wax the outside of your ski tow bar and the top and bottom of your board. This will ensure a smoother slide and less friction between the tow rope and PVC pipe – it also looks aesthetically better than having rusty old bulkhead fittings!
Now that you have your ski tow bar don’t forget to have a helmet, suitable winter clothes, and boots for the season. Make sure that everyone in the car is wearing a seatbelt as well – safety always comes first!
What Are the Benefits of Making Your Own Ski Tow Bar?
One of the main benefits of making your ski tow bar is to have complete control over its construction, design, and material that goes into it. This allows you to make the tow bar that’s durable, safe to use, and lightweight enough to pull skiers up hills quickly.
Another benefit of making your ski tow bar is to save money since doing it yourself will reduce the cost and ensure that you get high-quality components like chains or cables that are strong enough for light hauling needs at home or in the mountains.
If you are looking for an easier way to get up the mountain, a ski tow bar may be the perfect solution for you. With this accessory, you can easily pull yourself and your skis uphill with little effort. We’ve provided some tips on how to make a ski tow bar for your needs, so be sure to read them before making your purchase materials.
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