row2k Features
Boathouse Builds
Rowing Hack: The Motor Roller
March 16, 2023
John FX Flynn, row2k

Ready to roll out...

This week's Rowing Hack comes from Richard Misdom at Dallas Rowing Club, who sent us these photos of his custom-built outboard carts.

Thanks to Misdom and his wood-working skills, we bring you: The Motor Roller.

You can buy carts like these, of course, but building his own allows Misdom both to save a few bucks and to add one pretty rowing-coach-friendly feature:

That bottom shelf carries a three-gallon gas can with ease--or a boat's worth of life-jackets.

As we've seen before--with the Gas Cart Hack--moving gas cans on something with wheels is a genius move and, for programs where outboards need to come indoors every day, having a less back-breaking way to bring your engines back inside on the regular is an equally or perhaps even more useful hack.

Misdom also gives his Motor Rollers the full four-wheel treatment: even the four-wheeled racks you can buy tend to go with small casters on the front or else cost a fortune (an "all terrain" engine cart with similar wheels can run you north of $600). Those small casters work fine for moving engines around on a cement floor, but Misdom's heavy duty wheels can handle rolling all the way down, and onto, the dock as needed, without the hefty price-tag.

His four wheel design is also a safety feature, says Misdom, since the broad base and mass prevents the carts from tipping over.

Well-marked Motor Rollers
Well-marked Motor Rollers

Misdom's design also offers a handy surface on the side where each Motor Roller can sport the logo of the school it serves, which helps the five different youth sculling programs which call DRC home keep their engines straight.

Even if you don't have to move your outboards on a daily basis, Misdom's cart is great for out-of-season storage and puts the engine at a perfect repair-and-maintain height for whoever keeps the engines running at your place.

Of course, if you do need to leave engines outside, don't forget this classic hack for Theft-Proofing Your Outboards, and make sure you have some heavy duty locks and chains.

As you can see in the two photos above, the Dallas Rowing Club folks did spring for those handy outboard harnesses that make lifting the engine easier as it goes on and off the boat (and cart)...and both those harnesses and the carts will help prevent your outboards from getting dropped or, in the case of a four-stroke motor, winding up on the ground wrong side down and spilling the oil.

Turns out Misdom prefers to solve most of his boathouse's storage issues with lumber:

From oar racks...
From oar racks...

to overhead sling storage...
to overhead sling storage... indoor slings. indoor slings.

Definitely some cool hacking here in Misdom's other do-it-with-wood builds that we will have to visit in detail in a future column.

Do you have a hack creates a slick solution for the stuff in your boathouse? If so, share your tips--and hacks--in the comments below.

If you have a great rowing hack to suggest for future inclusion, then please send it to us like Richard did and we will feature your idea in a future column.

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