I have to admit I’ve pondered this project for at least two years (not full time – don’t worry) and had a few false starts. I’ve been thinking of a cheap, durable, compact boot dryer which could handle at least four sets of boots and had an easily replaceable heater unit, as that’s the part which most often dies. I also wanted something that could be easily disassembled and put away in the summer, as our shop space is at a premium and I didn’t want a bulky seasonal item hogging precious floor/storage space.
This is basically a wooden box with PVC risers which is powered/heated by a cheap-o hair dryer. All told, I think the cost was about $30, not counting an existing shop full of tools and shed full of scrap lumber. It involved a length of 2″ PVC pipe, a 1″ x 6″ x 8′ length of pine and a hair dryer from WalMart. I chose a Revlon dryer as it has two fan settings and two heat settings. For longer drying, I set it at medium/medium, but if needed, it can be cranked up to high/high for a quick dry or to warm boots up in the morning.
For summer storage (it seldom rains in Utah during the summer), I unscrew the bottom plate, pull out the PVC risers and place them, plus the hair dryer inside, then screw it all back together with 4 screws. I thought about getting fancier with hinges and clasps, but a screw gun is pretty hard to beat.
The plans can be easily scaled up/down for the number of boots you want to dry. For faster drying, or for more boots, a second hair dryer could be added on the other end.