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Fishing rod rack

Ugly, but functional.

If you receive our newsletter, then you probably read about my first real woodworking project. If you don’t receive the newsletter (which you should, it’s full of good articles and some exclusive content), then I will sum up that project for you. It was a disaster.

For my second project, I decided to build something practical. My dad is an avid bass fisherman. He fishes an amateur tournament series every summer. Let’s just say he has a lot of fishing rods. Some may say he has too many rods (my mother included). So, I chose to build him a fishing rod rack.

I designed the rack myself. I decided to go with function over form. I used walnut lumber, because I’m a sucker for walnut.

I cut two sides out of a single board of walnut. Then, I cut three stretchers to connect the sides. For the top stretcher, I used the band saw to cut out nine divots for the rods to stay in place. I used a router to chamfer the edges of the cuts, and sanded it to get rid of the saw marks.

Fishing rod rack

Abby approves of the functionality.

For the bottom stretcher, I used a Forstner bit to drill nine holes to match the divots that I cut in the top stretcher. I used the router to chamfer the edges here as well. Rinse and repeat.

The last stretcher was simply used to keep the rods from falling all the way to the floor. This is precious cargo we are dealing with.

I glued up two boards, and cut two feet from them. Finally, I simply used dowels and glued the piece together.

Looking at the piece now, I realize it’s ugly. It’s functional, but ugly. Even though it’s ugly, my dad uses it every day. That makes me proud. That fledgling woodworker made something that the person he looks up to the most uses every day.

— Jon Russelburg


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Showing 8 comments
  • roketa36

    Love the piece. I was thinking of making one very similar out of pine.

  • Ding-Dong-Rodeo

    SHEW-BUDDY! that sure is a mighty fine lookin’ piece of dead tree there son.
    My gran-pappy used to have one a them when i was just knee-high to a grasshopper. I always done thunked it a piece a wood needed a bit of “character” as i seent Francis up there callin it. keep at er.
    Always remember it like jesus said, “teach a man to fish and he’ll probably just drink beer in his boat all day” or something like that.

  • Francis

    Please! Tell me what is ugly about this piece. I totally agree with the other commenters. There is such a thing as being OCD on a piece. If there are flaws in a piece I call them “character”, and I’m probably the only one that can find them. Lighten up, give yourself a break. I like it.

  • jppierson

    Wow!, that looks nearly identical to the pool cue rack I built in woodshop in 1974! Only difference is the top bar had holes in it and there was a cupboard with hinged drop down lid below to hid the brush and chalks. Mine was walnut also. I don’t think your rod rack is ugly at all. It is much better than the 5 gallon bucket in a garage.

  • josborne1946

    What more could you ask for. Your Dad loves it and you love Dad and your Mom loves all.

  • TOD

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. As you said the person it was for likes it. Best to leave it at that – what more could you ask for in this world.

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