Thursday, February 27, 2014

DIY: A rod rack shelf for the other rods

I'm not as proud of this project as I am of my fly rod tube rack, but it serves a purpose... definitely a bit more function over form. Thanks to a rekindled interest in fishing with lures too heavy to be cast with a fly rod, I decided about six months ago it was time to build some sort of rack to organize the growing number of non-fly rods. Several of these rods are one piece (6' or longer) with no protective case... very different from the rods organized by my fly rod tube rack.

The inspiration for this piece came from two sources- the wire rod rack shelves that are readily available at the big box outdoor outfitters and a wooden shelf I saw at a local thrift shop. This project was my attempt to synthesize those two things.

First, I acquired the nifty piece of wood that made the bases of the rod racks on each side of the shelf. They are cut from a factory milled wooden deck railing. The baluster recesses were just right to receive a fishing rod handle. I went to Home Depot with a vision... not knowing exactly what I would buy... until I found this piece of wood. I instantly knew I had found what I was looking for... the Holy Grail of an uncertain quest.

I went home and almost immediately cut the railing down into two equal pieces- one for each side of the shelf... and then the project sat on a back burner for about four months during the course of moving into our new house. As soon as I got the garage workshop somewhat operational (it's still not quite fully functional), this was one of the first orders of business. It's an important piece of furniture in our obnoxiously fishing themed spare bedroom... critical to organizing the disorganized mess of rods that had been carefully leaned in the corners of the room.


In a quest to acquire the right piece of wood to make the box, I found a unique piece of plywood at Lowe's. It was a  4' x 8' sheet of 5/8" sheathing (low grade plywood- not intended for cabinetry)... supposed to be pine, but a layer of poplar at the mill snuck its way onto this sheet somehow. I don't know exactly how things work in a plywood production facility, but I did work in the lumber department at Home Depot... and I know that this isn't normal. This sheet was special, so I snatched it up. I used it to make the exterior of the shelf, while the interior shelves are made of some plywood leftovers from another project.

The color variation in the poplar gives this piece a lot of character.

The most frustrating part of the project came when I began trying to install the first set of rod retaining hooks I purchased for the project. Much like the wood railing... I thought I had found the perfect piece of hardware for the job, but that turned out to not be the case. I tried to use "safety" cup hooks that have little spring clips that essentially close the hooks. They're readily found in the hardware sections of home centers and even Walmart... but beware! They're made out of some really cheap "pot metal" that breaks easily... as I quickly found out when trying to align the hooks how I wanted them. Turning them just a wee bit past their first point of resistance broke the screws off very easily. I eventually gave up on the safety cup hooks and installed the hooks you see in the photo above. The rods are now just leaned into the hooks... but I would much prefer them to be securely held in place. It's a compromise.



I finished the piece with several coats of clear semi-gloss spar urethane- a very smooth and durable finish. If you're interested in further details or dimensions, please comment below.

Thanks for checking it out.

18 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Thanks, FFF.
      It's a bit "rustic"... but that's kinda my style.

      Delete
  2. I like it and really need one for the same purpose. I can't bear to get rid of my spinning rods. That being said, I've got no talent when it comes to building. Every thing I make turns into an ashtray!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Howard, I think you've mentioned that ashtray problem before... and as long as it doesn't encourage you to smoke... I guess it's okay. The big problem with these rods is they don't break down or there are no cases for them... so you can't just throw them in a closet or lean them in a corner without causing problems. I've got a few classic rods in the lot that would be hard to get rid of... and I admit, I'm enjoying fishing on the dark side again.

      Delete
  3. That is great. I was motivated to use old fence pickets to make our raised garden beds. Then I wanted to make a new tying desk but all of the pickets are warped. :(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think a tying desk is worthy of finer boards than fence pickets... but if you really wanted to use them... wood will bend!

      Delete
  4. Looks great and durable too! I wish I had the talent.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! You gotta start somewhere... and the talent is really just the ability to use tools. As a fisherman, you should be pretty well versed in using a tool (a fishing rod) to accomplish a task (catching a fish). I'm sure you could build something similar if you put your mind to it.

      Delete
  5. Jay
    Beautiful piece of work and a great idea with the storage area. Some advice don't put in the garage it might get stolen. Thanks for sharing

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Bill... for the kind words and the good advice.

      Delete
  6. Bro are you kidding me?! That thing looks like you bought already made! you are a Pro, great job!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Juan. I've been doing woodwork since I was a teenager. It's taken me a while to get to where I am, but I promise I'm still not a pro. I am somewhat limited by my tools (I don't have pro tools). Although a few of my tools are top notch, most are pretty basic low end equipment.

      Delete
  7. I happen to like it, it keeps your rods protected but visible to show off to visitors. Nice job!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Rick. Unfortunately, I get more positive feedback from my fellow fishing bloggers and other followers in cyberspace than I ever would from visitors to our house. Very few of our family and friends are interested in fishing... part of the reason I started a blog in the first place.

      Delete
  8. Pretty cool!!! Gosh, I'm sorry that I have been on a hiatus of sorts... but, I'm back following your blog again! Hope things are going well...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Emily. I went on a pretty long hiatus myself. I've just gotten back into the swing of things in the last few months.

      Delete
  9. Hey Jay, shoot me an e-mail when you get a chance, I have a question about LL Bean. juanlopezjr77@gmail.com. Look forward to hearing from you!

    ReplyDelete