This piece is far simpler than either of the aforementioned DIY projects. The only real figuring was deciding how many spaces I wanted and how big I wanted them to be. I ended up settling on 16 spaces that measure 4.5" each. My largest reel is about 4.25" so that determined the size of the spaces. It's a pretty close fit for that particluar reel. It's located in the space at bottom right. It is a J.W. Young reel branded for L.L. Bean's "Guide" series. The reel pictured to its left is the same type in a smaller size. I'm certainly no collector of Young reels, but I do have a thing for L.L. Bean. There are five other Bean reels on the shelf including my Hardy made GQS. I think some of the smaller reels, like the antique Pflueger Medalist #1492 in the upper left, look a bit dwarfed by the 4.5" spaces. So, if your reel collection trends toward smaller reels, I would recommend making the spaces smaller.
I used 1 x 4 pine for all but the top which is a 1 x 6. I got a little carried away during the process and ended up cutting too many pieces for the shelves. I actually used up wood that should have been left to complete the top, but it turned out to be a "happy accident" (term my 9th grade art teacher used way too often)... one of those situations that worked itself out in a really nice way. Without enough 1 x 4 left to make the top, I opted to use a 1 x 6. I think it capped the piece off very nicely, and I ended up with a larger, more functional top shelf.
I decided to employ the top shelf to help organize my pile of ultralight spinning reels from days gone by. Those reels have caught a lot of fish and have taken quite a beating over the years. Some of them are "Franken-reels" assembled from random interchangeable parts from several donor reels of different brands. None of those spinning reels were expensive or high quality when new, but they served me well and are still functional. They deserve a nice place to spend retirement... but they don't need to be mounted to a board or put in a sealed shadow box. They may be called back to active duty at any time.
In case you were wondering, this is how the boards are cut to create the square spaces.
This is not precision carpentry by any means. As with most of my carpentry pieces the finished product has a rustic quality. I used a Danish oil finish in a walnut color to give it the look I wanted.
My goal was to create a shelf that would get the majority of my reels (and spare spools) in one place... instead of stashed among several separate gear bags. I wanted to be able to look at the wall and easily locate the reel that I want to use on any given day. Now when a reel is out of place, I'll know it.
The only problem is that this shelf filled up so quickly, and I already need a second shelf. At least I got an unintentional head start...
If you have any thoughts or questions, please don't hesitate to ask or comment below.