Ratcheting straps: We love to use them, but we hate putting the strap away in a tangled mess. Oddly enough, we also hate to take the time to properly wind up the strap to store it nice and neatly.
Personally, I won't store my straps in a jumbled mess, so I take the time -each and every time- to wind the strap. I decided to make a super simple tool for my cordless drill to help make winding the strap much more painless.
I should tell you now that it's going to take you more time to read this Instructable than it is to make the tool. Using it is even quicker
Fun fact: When I made this, I was pretty proud of myself. It's quick, easy, dirt cheap, and performs the intended function well. I was so proud of myself that I showed it off to my wife, who's reaction was less enthusiastic: "Um, yeah. I've seen those before."
Step 1: Gather Your Supplies
First off, if you don't have a hand held power drill (corded or cordless, it doesn't matter) this Instructable is not for you. Also, although I used a bandsaw to make mine, not everybody has one so I've included instructions on how to make it with a hand saw.
What You Need No Matter What:
small drill bit (I used a 3/16", but a 1/8" or 7/32" would work as well)
1/2" dowel, at least 4" long
pencil & ruler
Method A (with bandsaw)
Method B (without bandsaw)
mitre box (totally optional)
1/2" drill bit
chunk of scrap 2x4, or something similar.
Step 2: Cut Dowel to Size
Open your drill chuck and fully insert the dowel. Close the chuck snugly and mark the dowel at the end of the chuck. Next, measure the width of your strap, and mark that on the dowel, too. Then make another mark about a 1/2" past the second mark. You'll end up with 3 marks, as pictured. The last mark is where you cut the dowel.
Zip it through the band saw.
Cut it with your hand saw.
Note: I used my mitre box, but only out of habit. A freehand cut is perfectly acceptable.
Step 3: Cut the Slot Into the Dowel
Cut a slot in the dowel from the side you just cut to the first line (as pictured)
Zip it through the bandsaw.
Drill a 1/2" hole in the scrap chunk of wood. Put the dowel in it. This will hold the dowel securely as you carefully cut down the middle of the dowel.
Once the slot is cut, use the small drill bit and drill a hole at the end of the cut. Use the cut as your center point.
Step 4: How to Use Your New Favourite Tool
This is the best part: using it! It's actually quite fun. Okay, maybe I'm just easy to please.
Insert the tool into your drill chuck, tighten and start by putting the end of the strap in the slot. Using your thumb and index finger as a guide, slowly start to wind up the strap. Once you've wound up a bit of strap (several rotations of the drill) you can increase the winding speed. Go as fast as you are comfortable with. Don't worry if the strap starts to wander a bit, you can always pause to straighten the roll out. When you're done, take the bit out of the chuck (taking care not to undo your awesome winding job) and set the roll on a flat surface, and pull the tool out of the roll while holding the strap in place
Note: Don't over tighten the tool in the chuck! It's wood, so it will grab securely without tightening the chuck all the way.
Pro Tip: Don't spin it fast as you reach the ratchet end of the strap. Seriously. That ratchet hits harder than you think.